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by Iain Treloar
June 2, 2020
Photography by Argonaut
Argonaut has announced the latest refinement of its custom road platform with a ground-up redesign bringing it up to date with modern standards, and in some areas, forging a new path altogether.
The frameset – which features fully internal cable routing, a T47 bottom bracket and clearance for 35 mm tyres despite a 408 mm chainstay length – is the result of what the brand calls a “comprehensive overhaul of every aspect of Argonaut’s design and manufacturing techniques.”
The RM3 frame is entirely designed, manufactured and tested at Argonaut’s Bend, Oregon facility, giving the brand a level of in-house control that few other brands can claim. This new model also brings another breakthrough for Argonaut – rather than sourcing forks from Asian manufacturing partners, as most other custom builders do, the company has brought those in-house too.
“Because the new Argonaut RM3 deserves a fork with an equally high level of design and engineering the team had no choice but to bring production of the fork, and stem for that matter, in-house,” says Argonaut. “Using the same patent pending molding technology used in the frame, the Argonaut fork and stem substantially elevates the frameset package rather than simply being a third party add-on.”
Argonaut’s fork and stem are each claimed to be lighter than competitor-made offerings, at 370 g and 125 g apiece (the latter quoted for a 120 mm length). The stem is available in lengths ranging from 90 mm to 120 mm, with a choice of four different angles (-7º,-3.5º, 0º, and +6º).
The RM3 is offered in 12 pre-designed geometries, with the layup of each individual bike tailored to the rider based on their size, power and riding preferences. If a rider doesn’t fit within the existing geometries, Argonaut will do custom geometry, too. The company CNC-machines customer-specific frame molds in-house, even going so far as engraving them with the rider’s name.
Argonaut says that the RM3 “aspires to be the new benchmark of what a high-performance custom carbon road bike can be”, and all that attention to detail and innovation comes – of course it does – at a price. A pre-designed geometry frameset – that is, frame, fork, headset and stem – comes in at US$6,000, while a custom geometry frameset is US$7,500. Custom paint starts at US$600, and complete builds are available through Argonaut starting at US$11,000.
The pictured build, featuring SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset and ENVE SES 3.4AR wheelset, would come in at 15.1 lb/6.84 kg, at a cost of – deep breath – US$14,110. It’s a premium bike at a premium price, although at least it comes with the assurance that every step of the frameset’s production has been conducted in the same building.