Argonaut may not be a bike brand you’ve heard of. It slots away in a neat, niche corner of the industry: custom, produced in-house and unapologetically high-end. Unlike other brands on the market, Argonaut only offers one model on their website: the refined, intricately designed, do-it-all RM3. Ben Farver, who founded Argonaut back in 2007 in Portland, Oregon, explains that the brand’s fundamental aim is to create “a great riding bike.” Argonaut makes no compromises on its way to achieving this goal.
As many brands focus on creating bikes that have aerodynamic properties or specific lightweight attributes, Farver sees ride quality far above aero gains, and currently has no desire to expand the Argonaut range. In fact, as he tells me from the Argonaut HQ in Bend, the intention of the RM3 is solely to achieve “next level ride feel.”
“It’s a well rounded road feel so you can tell what kind of surface of road that you’re riding on, but not in a negative way. The bike soaks up road vibrations super well and rides super smooth, but then also gives positive feedback.”
How the bike fits with the rider is also of utmost importance to the brand, and not just from a surface level perspective. Argonaut goes further than simply attributing a frame size to a rider by engineering the carbon inside the frame so that bending stiffnesses are individual to every consumer.
While Argonaut used to only offer fully custom frames to consumers to achieve these lofty heights of superiority compared to a mass-produced monocoque bike, the brand has recently forged a new path entirely by introducing 12 different pre-made geometries.
This doesn’t see them say goodbye to the custom element that sets Argonaut apart from the rest: every RM3 is still made to order and each of the frames’ carbon layup is still individual to the rider based on factors such as weight, FTP and the general landscape where the bike will be most commonly used. Rather than having one set of adjustable moulds for each size, Argonaut retains geometry specific tooling meaning that each size has its own set of frame tooling.
If a rider doesn’t fit with the pre-existing geometries and wishes to go full custom then the brand’s unique, 3D printing frame moulding allows Argonaut to have, so they say, no limitations on geometry – they can make bikes of any size, for any rider.