Argon 18 is the ‘other’ Canadian cycle manufacturer. They might not have the same profile as Cervelo but they are making some very fine bikes. The company was founded in 1989 by retired pro cyclist Gervais Rioux in Montreal, Quebec. The city has a strong aerospace composite industry which has gives access to a pool of the engineering skills that a modern bike company needs. The company name is derived from the element Argon, which is number 18 on the periodic table of elements.
For UCI Time Trials Argon-18 produce the E118. For Ironman and Triathlons, freed from the UCI regulations they can push the aero boundaries even further with the E-119 Tri+ having a 14.89% better CDA than the E-118 ridden by the Astana Pro team.
As you’d expect, it’s another futuristic looking bit of kit with a few unique in-house features. The front brake looks to be a simple centre pull sitting behind a fairing but the custom design took one of their engineers 6 months to perfect. At the rear another custom brake sits operated by a cam sits above the seatstays in a completely horizontal position for minimum drag, again sitting under an aerodynamic cover. As you’d hope from a modern bike wide tyres are no problem - there’s space for 28mm rubber here.
The Tri+ designations means that the bike comes in their highest grade, lightest, carbon layup and is complete with Argon 18’s storage solutions. The ‘tailwind’ system attaches to the seatpost and is modular allowing a mix of up to three bottle cages or two cages and a plastic storage box. Mounted behind the rider they’re out of the wind, and, by filled the low pressure area here actually improve airflow. Attached to the top tube is the rubber lipped “cookie jar” for stashing a few gels and bars. The Torhans AeroZ system at the front gives the option of a front mounted reservoir between the tri-bars. Our example has been used for just two races and we’ve cut £1400 from the list price.
We also have a Gallium Pro in stock - this is a stiff lightweight race bike with a Frame weight of under 800g for a size medium. It’s another great looking bike and the company’s neat graphics and tube profiles set each other off well. An engineering approach to design shows up this time in the 3D headtube which can be set at different heights without compromising structural integrity. This uses inserts that sit on top of the headtube below the headset bearing resulting in a stiffer steerer tube than a bunch of spacers under the stem and keeps the handling sharp. You can safe £1800 on the original price of our 2016 bike.
So it’s that time of year again where we all start to look back and pick out our favourite moments, products, and memories. Despite 2020 not going to plan, shall we say, as far as new bike tech goes there have been some real highlights. Here’s our bikes of the year list for 2020!