“Get Creative” Series – Showcasing Ready-To-Paint frames

Unique paint finishes for 3T Strada and Exploro framesets

We offer most of our frames in a Ready-To-Paint option, a blank canvas for you and your local custom painter to create a unique piece of 3T art. The new Get Creative series will highlight some of the boldest and most beautiful designs

We offer a lot of our frames in a special version: Ready-To-Paint (RTP). These frames are – as the name suggests – prepared for painting but still unfinished. They allow people to create a truly unique frame using the custom painter of their choice.

The first ever RTP frame was an Exploro painted by the legendary Italian bike designer, manufacturer and painter Dario Pegoretti. I’ve always been a big fan of the man and his work, and always enjoy my visits to his workshop (first near Trento and now in Verona, I can really recommend it). It was really special for me when he agreed to do this custom finish, so here is a small gallery of that frame:

Since then, these RTP frames have proven popular for:

  1. Individual consumers who are looking for something really unique and who know a local custom painter they want to work with (or ask us for suggestions).
  2. 3T retailers who wish to do a small run of special frames to offer to their best customers.
  3. Ourselves, when we feel like doing something different with the paint finish, so we’ll do a one-off or small batch in collaboration with a painter we like.
  4. Other brands who want to offer their customers something truly special.

To showcase all the possibilities with the RTP frames and hopefully provide some inspiration for those looking to do their own custom-painted 3T frame, we’ll start featuring some of most interesting designs on our blog. And to give you a true insight into the process, we’ll show you not only the final product but also the process that led to it.

Anything is possible when the frame is a blank canvas for you to express yourself, and some of the upcoming projects will be very different, some of them classic, other totally wild!

The first frame we’ll showcase is a collaboration with Toby Stanton at hottubes.com, one of the finest custom painters in the USA. His mission (should he choose to accept it) was to get an Exploro RTP ready for US National Champion and Aqua Blue Sport rider Larry Warbasse.

I’ve known Toby for many, many years as he is also the driving force behind the Hottubes Junior team, a team we started sponsoring around the year 2000 while I was still at Cervelo.

Then in 2002, he mentioned he knew Tyler Hamilton and I told him that it would be great if he could help get a Cervelo P3 to Tyler. He put me in touch with Tyler, we sent the frame, and Tyler rode it in training the morning of the 2002 Tour de France prologue. Unsure about making such a big switch the morning of the biggest race of the year, Tyler decided against using the P3.

But then his teammate Laurent Jalabert asked “Can I use it then?” and thus it came to be that Jalabert finished second to Lance Armstrong that afternoon on a Cervelo P3 with Look stickers. And the year after, the whole team was on Cervelo bikes, though now without any Look stickers on it. Anyway, I told Toby that as a token of our appreciation, I would sponsor his team for life and we do to this day.

But back to the custom painting, we wanted Toby to paint something for Larry and one of my favourite ways to work together creatively with somebody is to give a very vague brief, almost ensuring it is misunderstood. And then from that confusion often comes something really cool and different. I have a whole list of designs that were created that way.

So I told Toby I wanted something clean and simple, referring to the US flag but without an actual flag on it – that would be too obvious. To “clarify”, I included a very bad sketch. To be honest, my sketching is bad at the best of times, but this time I didn’t even try to make it look like a frame, also because I only had 30 seconds to sketch, photograph and send it to Toby as I had a plane to catch and Toby only had a few days to paint the frame.

But that sketch and more will have to wait for the next post, Part 1 of the Hottubes Larry Warbasse frame!