Hands On: 3T Luteus Disc Brake Cyclocross Fork Photo’d, Weighed

hands on with the 2012 3T Luteus carbon fiber disc brake cyclocross fork with photos and actual weights

Sure, there are a handful of disc brake specific cyclocross forks popping up on the aftermarket now, but none seems to have elicited the response that 3T’s new Luteus has.

We just got one in for testing and, honestly, it’s a darn nice looking fork out of the box. We’ve heard from some Euros that it’s hands down the best one available, but we’ll put it through our own cruddy, grimy, muddy hell to see for ourselves starting in October. For now, check out the photos, actual weight and some other heretofore unknown details about the Luteus right after the break…

hands on with the 2012 3T Luteus carbon fiber disc brake cyclocross fork with photos and actual weights

The basics: The Luteus is a full carbon fiber, disc brake only fork set up for a 160mm rotor with post mounts. The dropouts have a small metal insert where the hub and skewer hit it, and they face dramatically forward to keep the wheel securely in place despite rotational counter forces from the rotors. The controversial outside-the-leg cable gutter has been cleaned up from prototypes we’ve seen, further smoothed over by the glossy black paint. We do wish there was a black/gray or matte black color option, but for now the red stripes/white logos are the only offering.

hands on with the 2012 3T Luteus carbon fiber disc brake cyclocross fork with photos and actual weights

hands on with the 2012 3T Luteus carbon fiber disc brake cyclocross fork with photos and actual weights

Steerer tube comes in tapered or tapered. Hope you want tapered. The crown is wide with a big opening, measuring about 26.5mm where the tire will sit. Axle-to-crown is 395mm (claimed) and rake is 47mm (claimed).

hands on with the 2012 3T Luteus carbon fiber disc brake cyclocross fork with photos and actual weights

hands on with the 2012 3T Luteus carbon fiber disc brake cyclocross fork with photos and actual weights

We’ve heard a few industry folk saying 140/140 will be a good road standard, but personally, a 160mm rotor on the front is where I’ll be sitting. The Luteus’ post mounts are sized up for just that.

hands on with the 2012 3T Luteus carbon fiber disc brake cyclocross fork with photos and actual weights

While the legs are plenty wide, the frontal profile is quite thin. Slice and dice, baby.

hands on with the 2012 3T Luteus carbon fiber disc brake cyclocross fork with photos and actual weights

Upon opening the box, which wasn’t proper retail packaging, we found…the fork. Normally, carbon fiber steerers require some sort of special expansion wedge or other manner of pulling the top cap down to tighten the steering assembly on the bike. Ours had nothing of the sort, so a quick email to 3T had this little kit shipped post haste.

The forks will ship with a metal insert with a preinstalled star nut, carbon fiber top cap, bolt, alcohol wipe, sand paper and epoxy mix. Customers are encouraged to determine the proper length of the steerer tube for their bike, cut it (or have it cut by a shop with a proper carbon cutting blade preferably), then bond the metal insert into the tube. Shown on the left, the top of the tube is flared to stop it from sliding beyond the top of the cut steerer tube. 3T says you can use a standard expansion wedge (NOT a star nut) without this insert and it’ll work just fine. The benefit of putting this in is increased tube strength when clamping down your stem.

hands on with the 2012 3T Luteus carbon fiber disc brake cyclocross fork with photos and actual weights

The fork with uncut steerer comes in at 442g.

hands on with the 2012 3T Luteus carbon fiber disc brake cyclocross fork with photos and actual weights

Excluding a gram or two for the epoxy, the necessary parts to attach the fork to your bike add just 35g. Theoretically, you could trim down the length of the metal tube, but it would lessen the overall bonding surface area and reduce the amount of steerer tube that’s further protected from overtightening your stem. Just sayin’.

Claimed weight for the fork is 470g, so this comes in about right if you add in the installation hardware.

Now we’re just waiting on our Moots Psychlo X frame to come in so we have something to put this on…

Comments

fleche1454 - 09/30/11 - 5:27pm

i have yet to see someone mess up using an expansion wedge or even heard of it happening
this on the other hand, looks like a mess to deal with and doesn’t seem like you could move it from bike to bike very easily

the fork looks super wide though good for mud, i hope its stiff

Xris - 09/30/11 - 9:49pm

Speaking from experience on having that system on my R3, it works nicely and it feels more secure than using the expander plug which I was initially using. The only reason you’d make a mess is if you had no clue about what you were doing.

kcr - 09/30/11 - 10:31pm

I’ve seen plenty of carbon steerer tubes that have bulged out from an overtightened expander plug (and/or weak steerer tube) This system has been around (Alpha Q did it on their forks) and works well. It’s as messy as you make it, which if you’re careful there won’t be a mess at all. Way better system than an expander, IMO.

Cross-Kiwi - 09/30/11 - 10:37pm

I have the same system on my Alpha Q CX forks, it works very well. As Xris states above the system is much more secure than a expander plug setup.
My forks were supplied with all necessary instructions, resins, sand-paper, mixing ice-block stick, etc. It is pretty hard to get it wrong.

halfwheeled - 10/01/11 - 1:43am

Why not just bond that thin sleeve to the upper 1/3 of the steerer tube at the factory instead? Because then they can’t call it a full carbon steerer?

Robin - 10/01/11 - 3:22am

The sleeve isn’t bonded at the factory because the steerer is supposed to be cut before the sleeve is bonded to the inside of it. This allows the metal tube to provide support over a greater length of the steerer tube.

Bikerumor - 10/01/11 - 8:21am

HW, Robin’s nailed it. This let’s you fit it perfectly your bike without having to run a longer than necessary metal insert and add weight. You only install what you need. We’ll report back on how easy (or hard or messy) it is to put together once we get the frame in and have it measured and cut.

AndyD - 10/01/11 - 12:35pm

I’ve installed a TON of these glue in star nuts in 3T forks, if you are judicious in your glue application there is literally zero mess to speak of. I’ve only seen 1 pull out, and it was not installed properly, by an amateur mechanic. The sleeve the is glued in is also long enough that you can knock the star nut down a fair bit (2-3cm probably) if for some reason you needed to cut the steerer shorter after install, like if it was resold to a second owner. I’m excited to see more carbon disc compatible forks popping up.

AndyD - 10/01/11 - 12:43pm

I would like to see some kind of provision for holding the brake cable & housing/hose in place besides zip ties. A nice fork like that shouldn’t rely on a zip tie, they could come up with something slick imo…

Jinxtown - 10/01/11 - 9:56pm

I just purchased a Specialized Crux disc frameset and finished the build yesterday. Their fork allows for use of a 140mm and I’ve got to say that a 160mm would seem to be overkill. I’m using the BB7s road version with the G2, 140mm rotors on each end. They are very powerful – a good 4-5x stronger than cantis and that issuing one finger. 1 finger braking for both ends is down right easy, also. In fact, I can keep my index finger all the way on the top of the lever (where there is the least amount of leverage) and still get awesome power. They feel so much better and im already anticipating the benefit of less hand fatigue. Just get me some wet and mud now! I’m sold on cx discs for sure.

M - 10/06/11 - 3:31pm

Disc brakes on cyclocross machines are NOT necessary. Just add a TRP 8.4 CX and you’ll get what you want/need without all the weight and caliper mounts. Uff.

bazookasean - 10/07/11 - 7:39pm

I heard that argument 5 years ago on xc mountain bikes. Disc brakes modulate better and are more consistent. Especially in the mud. And what is everybody’s beef with zip ties. They weigh almost nothing, are super cheap and hold securely. If you want bikes to just LOOK good go ride a cruiser.

ted - 10/10/11 - 8:41pm

volagi’s fork is wayyy better than this..internally routed..ballin

reggiegasket - 10/14/11 - 3:55pm

Enve’s CX fork is nicer. Discs will be everywhere in 2012.

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