Road to NAHBS 2014: Argonaut Gets on the Gravel

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We’ve been following Argonaut’s Ben Farver since his launch, with an in depth look at how they make the bikes and a full review of the gorgeous road bike. Now, after dialing in the process further, he’s launching his second model and we’re stoked to see it jumping on all the right bandwagons.

BIKERUMOR: What are your main building materials?

BEN: Carbon fiber, with aluminum and titanium dropouts.

BIKERUMOR: What’s new with your company since NAHBS last year?

BEN: Oh man… so much! We’ve even further refined and developed our layup patterns to more accurately and specifically meet customer’s needs. We’ve also developed what I’m calling a gravel racer. The gravel racer is a variation on our current road bike, but with disc brakes and slightly more stable geometry.

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BIKERUMOR: Any killer custom bike builds in that time?

BEN: Here are some shots of the first gravel racer we’ve made. I’m really digging everything about this bike, especially the wheel setup. Pictured are a set of ENVE 29er XC tubeless rims built up on Chris King R45 disc hubs. Running tubeless 28′s is a dream on gravel.

BIKERUMOR: Say a customer gives you free reign, where do you draw your inspiration for the best projects?

BEN: Man… free reign is tough. I really try to listen to customers and pick out one or two things they’re trying to accomplish and focus on that. My bikes are really purpose specific – race style road bikes. I try to picture how they’re going to use the bike and build around that in terms of both the frame and the components; ie., climbing, sprinting, all day riding.

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BIKERUMOR: What are you building this year that’ll draw a crowd?

BEN: I think the gravel racer will turn some heads, although I’m sure it won’t be the only disc road bike at the show. I’m also really excited to show the bike I made for one of my female brand ambassadors. I want to tell people about why an Argonaut is a great solution for all riders – not just men.

BIKERUMOR: Scenario: NAHBS introduces a new category called Mashups, pairing two completely different builders to make one bike. Who’s the yin to your yang, and what kind of bike do you think you’d build?

BEN: I love Geekhouse bikes, and I’ve always been a huge fan of Curtis Inglis’ work. I’m not sure what a collaboration with either of those shops would look like, but it sure would be fun!

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argonaut-disc-brake-gravel-road-bike-preview

 

ArgonautCycles.com

Comments

Jason Spiker - 03/13/14 - 4:45pm

Sick bike. Looks like it could own pretty much all roads. I’d like to go bomb some local hills with those Shimano hydro discs.

Ben Schwartz - 03/13/14 - 5:02pm

Saw this on John Prolly’s Instagram a few days back. Gorgeous bike.

WannaBeSTi - 03/13/14 - 5:27pm

There is just something to be said about clean lines, good color choice, and a hint of bling.

SSS - 03/13/14 - 6:23pm

This bike is more gran fondo than gravel. 28mm tyres are way to small for serious gravel and dirt road riding. You really need some 32mm or bigger.

Troy Junge - 03/13/14 - 6:23pm

That bike…..perfect

buriedundersnow - 03/13/14 - 8:24pm

Helllllooooooo, bee-uuuu-teee-ful. Can’t say how it performs, but damn, that’s sexy.

David - 03/13/14 - 8:29pm

@SSS: Yes, it’s got a more in common with the “century” bike I built last summer: disc brakes, plus Enve fork with clearance for 28 mm tires. (Mine was ti, though.) The point is, that’s not the bike I run on gravel — it’s way too pretty and it won’t take 42 mm tires. But this Argonaut is a gorgeous machine, that’s for sure!

elsid - 03/13/14 - 11:16pm

You folks find a lot things “sexy” on bikerumor. Just seems like a strange choice of adjective.

Whatever turns you on, I guess.

Blo - 03/14/14 - 8:47am

Not enough fork clearance to ride on dirt, gravel. And most 28′s will not fit in there either

Grind - 03/14/14 - 10:01am

Sure, it’s a good looking machine.
Ben clearly needs to get out and spend more time on gravel roads and B roads.
The road with a sand dusting to the coffee shop in Portland does not count.
28c? with zero extra clearance? Maybe on a dry sunny day of hardpack gravel.

But, it’s a good looking machine, just call it what it really is.

Bomar Stagnasty - 03/14/14 - 10:37am

Keep an eye out for the Alchemy gravel bike at NAHBS this year if you want meaty rubber.

Mike - 03/14/14 - 2:11pm

Do you typically want lower or higher wheel inertia on loose surfaces?

Those tubeless tires are 290g and rims are 380g. They’ll be able to spin up fast, sure, but is that such a good thing on gravel?

Jason Spiker - 03/14/14 - 2:56pm

Personally, when I saw this I thought about riding in Eastern Europe in Spring, where the roads are pitted and you find lots of loose stone on the road left from winter. miles of steep downhill on shitty roads can be stressful and tiring on traditional road setup. This would be an excellent setup for that. I could give a shit less about gravel specific bikes. I have a cross bike for that and the “gravel” roads in new england aren’t even long. We ride our cross bikes on 1track..

Bob - 03/14/14 - 2:59pm

That logo being covered by the chainring really bugs me. I wish it were slightly smaller.

Henry - 03/14/14 - 4:28pm

Awesome bike!

But if it is being built for gravel 28c Hutchinson tires???? Really??? Interesting….

Park - 03/14/14 - 7:16pm

@Bob

Put a compact crank on lol

prolly - 03/14/14 - 8:30pm

I’ve ridden with Ben and the JVA dudes before up and down some really f*ing gnarly gravel roads in Mt Hood National Forest. Guess what? He was on 28c and I was on 25c. No one flatted or crashed and then we got back to Portland extra fast because we were on road bikes…

Anyone who says you can’t do “gravel / dirt / sand” whatever on a 28c is just showing their inexperience and lack of finesse on a bicycle.

SSS - 03/15/14 - 4:09am

@Prolly – Yes you can do gravel on 25-28mm tyres, hell I have done it on 21mm tubulars. However it doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for a bike that is specifically designed for these conditions.
It still is a fine looking bike though.

Al - 03/17/14 - 2:26am

“because we were on road bikes”

Yes, you can do gravel rides on skinny tires. Therefore, all road bikes are gravel-able bikes. Still, you’re riding a road bike on gravel. To be a gravel-specific, a bike must offer something beyond what a road bike does. The question is, are angles like these and hydro discs available on a road bike?

bikesinmud - 03/21/14 - 8:11pm

Saw these guys at the Rouge Roubaix in Louisiana. Great looking bike and well thought out. looking forward to replacing my current bike with one of these.

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