To coincide with their new Spork, Rode Labs has just announced their Trail Donkey 3.0 frameset. The Trail Donkey is a garage clearing wonder, with room for a 2.25″ x 27.5″ tire on rims with a 24.5mm ID or on 700c rims it’ll go all the way up to a 2″ tire with a 24mm ID. The bike will handle anything you throw at it and can be built for just about anything.
Combine that with internal dropper routing, flat mount disc brakes, tons of room for extra cargo cages and this is the perfect Swiss Army Knife. Bikepacking, dirt, gravel, road riding it’ll happily do it all. Rodeo Labs has a great writeup on the new Trail Donkey on their blog. Awesome Colorado goodness.
Now in its third major iteration, Traildonkey has upped its capabilities to match our ever growing ambitions. Since 2014, our eyes for rugged conditions have only gotten bigger and the punishment we’ve subjected the bike to has only gotten more severe. While we wanted to create a more capable bike, we did not however want to turn Traildonkey into an overbuilt, drop bar mountain bike. We wanted to stay true to the original principles of the bike which required that it feel at home in the intensity of a competitive road group ride, a 200 mile gravel race, a winding ribbon of singletrack, or a multi-day bikepacking trip.
TD3 is not only an exercise in increasing capabilities, it is also an exercise in restraint. The lines of the frameset have become more elegant and the execution of the details has become more focused.
The entire 3.0 rear triangle, from the seat tube back, has been completely redesigned. Over the years we’ve formed some strong opinions on what makes a great bike. We’ve woven those ideas into this frameset. High on our list of improvements for TD3 was increased tire clearance. Our newest Donkey has that in spades. On Rodeo 650b rims with a 24.5 mm ID a 2.25″ (57mm) tire will fit on TD3. On Rodeo 700c rims with a 24mm ID a 2.0″ (50mm) tire will fit on TD3.*
In order to achieve greater tire clearances, extensive and careful shaping was required in the design of the rear triangle. Pronounced asymmetry between drive and non-drive side stays can be clearly seen in our design. We also took the opportunity to refine and simplify the dropout design, brake housing routing, flat mount brake mounts, and derailleur housing routing. When wireless eTap shifting is used on TD3, no residual housing protrusions are seen on the frame. This results in a beautiful, minimal aesthetic. Both 2x or 1x drivetrains work equally well on TD3 and when 1x drivetrains are used the front derailleur mount can be removed. Rack and fender mounting eyelets are once again standard on TD3 on both the frameset and fork and now feature larger clearances for fender / tire combinations.
TD3 features extensive mounting options for long-distance travel and bikepacking. On the rear triangle we include eyelets on the upper stays and just above the rear through axle dropouts. On the main triangle, the frame features two bottle mounts on the main triangle as well as one mount beneath the lower down tube. The top tube includes two mounting points for top tube bags or a standard water bottle cage.
Traildonkey 3.0 and Spork 2.0 were developed in tandem to work together as a single system. Spork 2.0 matches TD3 tire clearance and adds additional versatility in the form of integrated dynamo hub, headlight, and USB stem cap integration. Spork 2.0 features mid-leg eyelets allowing expanded water and 12.5kg of gear carrying capability. Spork also features two axle eyelets on the end of each leg and an optional offset eyelet hardware kit (available February ’19), which allow for a massive range of rando racks, low rider racks, fenders, and combinations thereof.
TD3 doesn’t pay lip service to strength and durability. When we upped the technical capabilities of the bike we were careful to also increase strength in critically stressed areas. In both lab and real-world testing TD3 is leaps and bounds stronger than any previous Traildonkey frameset. So many modern bikes are engineered with a disproportionate emphasis on light weight. We believe that the arms race to shave grams has resulted in a reputation for carbon framesets as fragile, almost disposable. With TD3 we have created a frameset that will reliably serve its owner over the long term and we back it with a lifetime warranty*. Our engineering culture is to integrate an excess of strength into the frameset; to create a frameset that will stand the test of time on road, gravel, and trail.
Rodeo was one of the first bike manufacturers to standardize all of our framesets around the threaded T47 bottom bracket standard. The removable bottom bracket cover on TD3 features a drain hole which allows water to escape the frame in wet conditions. The result is a quiet, low-maintenance bottom bracket experience for every owner.
The “naked” raw carbon + clear coat 58cm Traildonkey 3.0 without various hardware weighs in at 1350 gr. The average hardware weight on the frame is about 70gr. The average Spork weight is about 600 gr. Paint weights vary, but paint can add between 50gr and 150gr to the frame and fork. Each frame size 56cm, 54cm, 52cm weighs approx 50gr less than the size above it.
Traildonkey is constructed with Toray T800 carbon for high strength and high performance in real world use. Each frame is constructed entirely by hand in Taiwan by a manufacturing partner with over 30 years of high-end carbon manufacturing experience.