T-Lab All-Terrain X3 Titanium Gravel Bike Review: with Shimano GRX Di2

“We meticulously engineer, manufacture and finish every T-Lab frame out of our headquarters in Montreal, Québec.”

2020 t-lab all-terrain x3 gravel bike review

“To redefine what’s possible with titanium, our engineering and design team is urged to innovate at all levels. Starting with the development of proprietary, precision forming techniques that allow us to radically shape the noblest of bike-building metals without compromising its inherent properties.”

“Given that capability, we can create something truly remarkable: shapely Ti bike frames that deliver composite-inspired performance characteristics and everlasting durability, all while turning heads along the way.” – T-Lab Bikes

2020 t-lab all-terrain x3 gravel bike review

2020 T-Lab All-Terrain X3:

  • The 2020 variant of the X3 sees marked improvements from the original; the compact rear triangle now accommodates tires up to 700c x 45mm and 650B x 51mm.
  • Proprietary shaping technology produces an exceptionally profiled titanium frame that delivers 30% more lateral stiffness and related performance versus leading round-tube Ti frames.
  • T-One Dropout; this future-proof design offers an exponential advantage with regards to stiffness, shifting precision, adaptability and durability.
  • Plenty of attachment points to carry gear, including the full-carbon fork.
  • A ton of finishing options.
  • This variant weighs about 18.5lbs including pedals, cages, etc.
  • Note about the Bento Box critique in the video – this is available as an option on the X3!

2020 t-lab all-terrain x3 gravel bike review

In this review video, JOM of Gravel Cyclist takes the 2020 T-Lab X3 to his Aussie homeland, for five weeks of gravelly road riding in the states of Victoria and South Australia. Highlights include rides in the Australian Alps, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Flinders Ranges and a lot more. Be sure to subscribe to the channel for more of JOM’s rides from his Australian Summer of Gravel, 2019 / 2020 edition.

2020 t-lab all-terrain x3 gravel bike review

Additionally, the X3 has seen plenty of action back in the USA, making appearances at two Florida grass-roots gravel events and a ton of training kms / miles.

T-Lab Bikes

Links of Interest:

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  1. Avatar Brian Jacobson

    Did you weigh the complete bike with the Enve wheels? I do not consider weight to be that important as I can stand to lose more weight than my bike ever can but I’m always curious how titanium bikes stack up against their carbon brethren.

    • JOM JOM

      Brian, I amended the weight to the review text, it was missed in the video. You’re looking at around 18.4lbs.

      Carbon can go lighter but I like the ride and resilience of titanium.

      • JOM, That is a very respectable weight for a gravel bike. I own a shop in Chicago and sell many 3T Exploros and Cervelo Asperos that come in at that same weight. I was a Guru dealer at a previous shop and I am going to start representing T-Lab as well. Like you I love the ride of titanium and because of it’s resilience I think it is the perfect material for a gravel bike. Thanks for the great review.

  2. Avatar Steve Braun

    Carbon vs Ti- Can you compare the ride of the TLab X3 to the NIner RLT RDO?

    • JOM JOM

      Sorry Steve, I generally avoid making comparisons like that. I review the bikes, and like my audience to figure it out for themselves. Regardless, thanks for your question.

  3. Avatar Derek Cooper

    Great review Jom – very detailed. I’d say you like the bike! Looking forward to getting mine in March for my build. I’ll let you know how it rides! Thanks again.

  4. Avatar Rusty Turbo

    Hi JOM
    Great work as always. You do a outstanding job of advertising our beautiful state of South Australia too!

  5. Avatar John

    Hey Jom,saw your review of the GRX di2.(really enjoyed it) I’m looking to buy a T-Lab Omni R3 but it doesn’t seem to be offered with GRX di2. I’m leaning towards 48/31 front, 11/34rd(for hills/heart rate) Was the di2 a special order for your X3?

    • JOM JOM

      John, you need to talk to T-Lab, they can build the bike with any groupset you desire.

      • Avatar Derek

        You’ll love your T-Lab is you go through with the purchase. These guys in Montréal make incredible frames – build quality is as good as it gets. Even consider a custom geometry – that’s what I did for my X3.

        • Avatar John

          Thanks Derek. I will be ordering custom geometry and internal cable routing. I want GRX for hills around my area and to leave my options open. I mainly ride my synapse carbon on road and save the trails for my x-country mountain bike. Thinking that in case I want to do some gravel, the ability to run a reasonably wide tire would be great as well. Then Jom and others talk about GRX di2- new ball game. I don’t want to regret not getting something useful but feel like I can’t tell anyone how much I really paid for the bike if you know what I mean. I’m not a racer, I just like nice things- and this bike is nice. Fender (mud guard) mounts? No paint and get the di2 and mudguards?

          • Avatar Derek

            IMHO don’t get too fussed about GRX. Di2 is nice – I don’t disagree, and I would definitely opt for it over mechanical. But you could go with Ultegra Di2 just fine – I run Dura-Ace Di2 on my T-Lab X3. GRX is marketing-speak for “New sales,” in a new category, but at the end of the day, it shifts like the other Shimano tech. No biggie there.

            Mud-guards – no.
            Di2 – yes.
            Custom paint – no.

            For the paint – it’s ti, so just get something basic and save your money. In a few years when it’s banged up, just get someone to strip it down and re-paint it for you beautifully. We are lucky up here in Ontario – Montréal is just across the border in Québec and Velo Colour the other way in Toronto and they do sublime paint jobs. They’ll re-pain my X3.

            For wheels, get the Rene Herse Bon Jon Pass tubeless – they are 35mm and are the fastest tire on the gravel. No tread. If you need tread cause you’re riding knarly stuff, just look at a larger Rene Herse. I run their 48mm Switchback Hill in 650B on a set of Woven rims with DT Swiss 180 Straighpull hubs when I need extra width. Plenty of room on the X3 frame for it.

            What are you doing for wheels? I run a few but prefer the DT Swiss ERC – very nice and some depth for speed. Typically ride 28kph on 80km to 150km rides. Our gravel trails are mostly old rail beds so the 35mm Bon Jons are sublime.

            And don’t worry about what you pay for your bike – you only come around once and you should enjoy life. Treat yourself.

  6. Avatar John

    Hey Jom, I’m doing custom geometry but based on the Omni R3. It’s a lot of money and now I’m considering GRX Di 2. My wife will think I’m mad. Roberto said he could do GRX as a’special order’. Ii should probably make up my mind about the groupset but the more I learn,the more I want! On one hand I’m thinking: if I’m building the mythical’forever bike’ shouldn’t I get it fully loaded?. Then I think- but do I really need electronic shifters? ( adding nearly $1500 Canadian?

    • JOM JOM

      Life is too short to skimp. I have Di2 on my T-Lab X3 and I bought a sports car two years ago. Zero regrets.

  7. Avatar Steve Braun

    Get the Di2. It’s REALLY nice. We put it on our tandem and its fantastic. Clean, crisp, fast shifting and the battery lasts forever. My new Diverge runs GRX mechanical, only because Specialize doesn’t offer a 2x DI2 option. While mechanical GRX works beautifully, Di2 works at a whole different level.

  8. Avatar John

    Thanks Derek, the reason I’m looking at GRX is simply for the gearing. I want 48/30 or 46/30 front and 11/34 back. It looks like GRX is the only Shimano that offers that type of gear spread. I kept trying to do things on my 2013 synapse that it wasn’t built for- can’t run a larger rear cassette and nobody could tell me if 46/30 would work on the front. Can’t fit larger than 28mm tire in back. The 30 made a huge difference in comfort on rough pavement but rubbed the chainstays. So- looking for a new bike and the lbs/ bike fitter shows me a T-Lab frame. WOW,I was hooked. I mostly do road but wanted to leave the door open for gravel,so omniR3. I can ask for whatever tire size I want to dictate some of the geometry. I have not been researching wheels. Have watched video on tires/ gravel tires/gravel vs road/ tmi- brain exploding. Thanks for the advice on wheels/tires. I will be discussing details with my bike fitter (he makes the order with Roberto) He will help with peddal length etc. I felt like I needed the gearing out here in BC for the big hills to keep my heart rate down. Seems Ultegra doesn’t have the 48/31 or 46/30 options. T-Lab sent me their Shimano supplier list and only GRX had the smaller front chain rings. I was thinking about splitting the difference between road and gravel with perhaps 32 mm tires but asking to have room for 40mm. Is that reasonable or not narrow enough focus?

  9. Avatar Derek

    30 front to 34 rear – wow. You could climb up a wall with that ratio! I run a 48:32 oval with 11:28 rear. I like 35mm tires – you’ll have to decide if 32mm works for you.

  10. Avatar John

    Roberto from T-Lab suggested that 1:1 so a 50/34 with 11-34 is fine for most people but I got into this for the gearing. I overthink stuff but I want to get this right- I don’t want to regret following the norm when my gut said go with the tree climbing gears. On steep long hills my heart rate can exceed maximum quite easily (164 BPM). To keep it lower I have to crawl up the hills. I can and want to go faster but the cardiologist says it’s irresponsible- ? I’m barely pedaling which makes balance tough. I figured a little more cadence would help- thus the 46/30-11-34 or 48/31 11-34 Do you ride 35mm tires on the road too or do you have a dedicated road bike. I’m thinking that initially I’ll be road riding until I find some places to do gravel riding. There is a guy near me with 2 tlabs and I was speaking to him on speaker phone with my bike fitter. I’d like to see his bike/ touch it- ask questions in person to try to figure out which direction I go but covid throws a wrench in things like that.

  11. Avatar Derek

    John – super easy to change things too once built, eh. Replacing a cassette or front chain rings is easy. Don’t over-think things.

    • Avatar John

      Hey Derek. I’m going to put the deposit on the T-Lab. I guess my question is (maybe this isn’t the appropriate place to talk$$) but did you spend 8$$$+. Am I crazy ? or smart and fortunate?

      • Avatar Derek

        You’re gonna love it – no question! Enjoy.

  12. Avatar John

    Thanks Derek. A friend of mine said: you’re asking the wrong question- you need to know if Shimano105’s can take smaller rings on the front. That way if the 50/34fd with 11-34 isn’t enough- drop in a smaller front ring. I found that the 105’s could not go smaller than 34 for front small ring. That sent me to the GRX. The only one on the T-Lab list of group set with the 48/31 .

  13. Avatar Gary

    Hi Jom, big fan here in Texas and I follow your YT channel closely. I’m strongly considering the T-Lab X3 after watching your review. You said the size small in this bike fit you perfectly. May I ask how tall you are? I’m 69″ tall with 33.5″ inseam. Thanks!

    • JOM JOM

      Hi Gary, I am approximately 5’11”, 32″ inseam. Please do not base my height and inseam on your own sizing, as bike fitting is a very personal thing. I do my best to ride the smallest bike I can get away with, but that method isn’t for everyone. You may want to check with a qualified fitter. Good luck!

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