Argonaut Cycles Launches US Made Bladder Molded Custom Carbon Frames

 

Argonaut Cycles has previously been known for making custom steel tube-to-tube frames. But times, they are a changing. And with that, Ben Farver has gone head first into the carbon fiber frame business. Tube-to-tube carbon construction is done by several companies, and would have been the easy route to take, but that isn’t Argonaut’s style. These frames are made using bladder molded frame sections produced in the Pacific North West, which are then assembled by Ben in his shop in Portland, OR. This allows Argonaut to provide both stock and custom geometryies, as well as custom carbon layups to tune the frame to the riders preference. It’s nice to see the material being used to it’s full potential. The frame specs are no slouch either.

  • PressFit 30 Bottom Bracket
  • 44mm Head Tube ID to Fit Chris King co-designed I8 Headset (details over at Prolly is not Probably)
  • Integrated Seatmast with Argonaut Proprietary Seat Clamp
  • 1.25″ – 1.125″ Tapered
  • ENVE 2.0 Road Fork
  • Argonaut Id Two-Part Dropout System

Stock geometry should fit the needs of just about everyone on the planet as well. Sizes here (warning: PDF link). Cost runs $6000 for stock sizing, $6500 for custom geometry (frameset only), and includes custom layup for a rider specific tuned frame. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Ben a few days ago to talk about the new frames. We have a full shop tour lined up for late September, so stay tuned for an in depth look at the manufacturing process. Beyond the jump you’ll find images of the new hotness…

Argonaut Cycles Full Bike Argonaut Cycles Seat Stays Argonaut Cycles Front End Argonaut Cycles Dropout Argonaut Cycles BB

Comments

The Goats - 09/05/12 - 9:24pm

BRAVO!!!

Yeahaaa!!!_ - 09/05/12 - 9:43pm

A black background makes a black bike hard to see. Im sure its a damn nice ride:):):):)

jon - 09/05/12 - 9:50pm

That price is simply stupid. And people wonder why Americans don’t buy American.

Brandon - 09/05/12 - 9:57pm

A $6k stock frameset that comes with a geometry chart that doesn’t give you head tube length, stack, or reach?

Speedy - 09/05/12 - 10:21pm

Parlee Z1 frameset is what, $5800? and Indy Fab XS frameset MSRP is $5985. So that is pricing for tube to tube construction. The Argonaut bike sounds way better to me! Customer tuned layup using bladder molded parts would result in a much nice bike. Not just old steel manufacturing tech being duplicated in carbon. YAY for innovation!!!

greg - 09/05/12 - 10:36pm

6k is reasonable IMO. much more reasonable to me than a $3k steel frame (IF factory lightweight, etc).
nice shapes, cool derailleur hanger/dropout. i wish the seatstays didnt bolt to the dropout, though.

Speedy - 09/05/12 - 10:40pm

@ greg – but that way you can run a SS belt drive set up! Versatility FTW

greg - 09/05/12 - 10:43pm

plural of geometry is geometries

Nick Burklow - 09/05/12 - 10:57pm

Of course it is. I knew that – update processed. Thanks Greg.

Sevo - 09/05/12 - 11:20pm

Brandon-You generally don’t see stack and reach on road bikes…oh…ever. Purely a mtb thing and even then, no one really cares. Something like 3 companies use that.

$6000 is quite reasonable for a custom carbon frame with custom layups. That’s a pain in the ass. Anyone who has actually worked with carbon or designed with it can tell you that. Some production frames are costing damn close to that and no customization/more logo placements than needed.

That said…I think it’s up for debate the value of the molded parts. Think in the right hands tube to tube ain’t bad by any means. Brompton, Calfee, and Parlee are all masters of it. Just depends who’s building it and asking questions of the customer.

Kudos to Argonaut for making the leap though. This ups the stakes a wee bit.

prolly - 09/05/12 - 11:31pm

I’ve seen all of this bike’s competitors being made and I can say that this frame is using technology that no one else is even close to. You’re getting not just a custom geometery, but a custom ride. The carbon can be laid to give you the performance area you desire and the tubes are all made in the USA. Most other companies order stock tubes from overseas. Each Argonaut tube is made spec’d to order in Washington.

Just a few things to consider…

Wilee - 09/06/12 - 8:52am

Maybe you should look into Parlee again. They use all USA made materials in their custom bikes. They choose from 5 different types of tubing made for them by ENVE, and hand wrap the lugs. They are able to tune the ride to the rider and offer bikes for riders from 4’5″-7’5″. Prolly said the same stuff about Parlee that he is saying about Argo. I am in no way knocking Argo, I think their bikes look damn good. Their bikes cost more because they have a much more labor intensive process to build the bikes. Bladder molding is no joke!

Brett - 09/06/12 - 9:35am

I’m sure this is a lovely bike, and the price is like a few other carbon builders’ here in the US that also use US made tubes.

Sometimes its nice to have the builder close to home. If I were in the Pacific NW I’d stop over and chat before getting a bike, just like I would if I were going to get a bike from IF or Parlee.

The ability to communicate easily and consider ideas with someone is one of the tools that allows customer and builder to get that custom frame done right. And that is part of a 6k price.

If you want a bike made in China or Taiwan for a broad range of riders by a sleepy lady that doesn’t get it, go ahead, great race bikes are quasi-disposable anyway.

Best of luck on the new venture!

Brandon - 09/06/12 - 10:36am

Sevo: I’m not sure you know what you’re talking about, actually, I know you don’t know what you’re talking about. Stack and Reach was developed for TRI bikes and moved into road bikes by pretty much all of the major fit philosophies, not mountain bikes. It’s so heavily used in the TRI community that slowtwitch has compiled a database for it:

http://www.slowtwitch.com/stackreach.html

Find that on MTBR for me.

I don’t really care which manufacturers list it, but I’ll tell you one thing: the custom bike building community uses it….a lot.

Trek lists stack/reach for road bikes, Felt did as of 2012 (though the 2013 site doesn’t have it listed yet), Cannondale lists it. It’s not some off-the-wall measurement like you’d lead people to believe.

With that said, without stack/reach and without head tube length, how would one figure out the mountain (or lack there-of) of spacers they’d need to make this bike fit?

My point being, for $6k I’d at least want a complete geometry set to ensure the bike is actually going to fit. Use whatever set of geo you like, but make sure it’s complete enough to help make an informed decision.

erikv - 09/07/12 - 10:54am

This is pretty awesome. It’s out of my price range but I can see how it’s worth it and I’d love to have one some day. Custom layup and bladder construction is pretty cool.

Stack and Reach are the best measurements you can use to compare one frame to another, in terms of fit. Everyone should include it, so I won’t have to calculate it anymore from those annoying geometry charts that omit it. Everyone should care about those two numbers.

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