Unveiling the Argonaut Cycles Process Part 02

Last week I introduced you to the process Argonaut Cycles uses in fabricating their 100% custom carbon fiber bicycle frames. Through working with ICE, or Innovative Composite Engineering, in White Salmon, Washington, Ben has developed a new process that sets Argonaut apart from other manufacturers. When we left off earlier, we had fresh parts for a frame, straight from the molds. From there, Ben takes the frame parts to Portland where he joins the tubes with a Hysol specialty aerospace epoxy and then bakes the frame to cure the adhesive.

Once the frame is cured, it’s off to the painter for a clear coat or graphics treatment. Frames can be either custom painted, or with stock logos. For my frame, Keith Anderson painted a scheme I mocked up. Once coated, Ben can either build the bike up with the parts kit a client orders through him and ship it out, or just send the frame out to his client. For me, picking the bike up and going on a ride was the best experience I could have wanted.

I am far from a carbon fiber expert, but I’ve been enthralled in this whole process. It’s hard to not be enthusiastic over this whole project but as my bike keeps racking up miles, I’m a believer. This is the first carbon frame that I’ve felt any sort of attachment to, but that’s because I’ve never had one tailored to my specific riding style. The Argonaut process made that easy.

Now, there were a ton of comments and questions in last week’s post, so if you missed Ben’s replies, I updated Part 01 here.

  • James Sawyer

    This whole thing was super awesome to hear and learn about. Very kool. 
    But what bar tape is on your argonaut? looks nice

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      That’s Fizik but I usually ride Lizard Skins

    • Goog Smells

      It looks like Fizik Microtex Soft Touch…

  • http://www.digicycle.net/ Tucker

    bike porn for nerds.

  • mtbmtbmtb

    …how is he going to make money?

  • http://twitter.com/michael_slevin Michael Slevin

    Incredible! Any more details on that seat tube? It looks like there’s another piece that slips over it (painted purple on your bike) – never seen anything like that before.

    • Chris Dunbar

      That’s the mast clamp for attaching the saddle to the seat mast. It allows a small bit of adjustment up and down. I solid interface between the seat mast and saddle could be done but you’d be unable to change saddle height if you change your saddle, shoes, pedals, cranks, etc.

      • BenFarver

        We make the saddle clamp as well, and ENVE hardware clamps to the actual saddle rails. To Chris’s comment below, there is 2cm of adjustability once the seatmast has been cut to allow for changes in saddle and pedals. Additionally, the saddle clamp has the same profile as the seatmast, so it’s always straight. 
        The saddle clamp is meant to bottom out on the seatmast, so the pinch bolt is more meant to merely hold the clamp snug as apposed to carry the rider’s weight. The adjustability comes from inserting and removing spacers. 

  • Ian Stone

    Is the black gone from brake wear yet?

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      Still there…

  • Meghan Wallace

    John, gorgeous and incredibly interesting! If there’s a part 3 or maybe in a separate segment, could you go into detail the geometry of the frame, why you chose the setup there you did, and how it’s affected your riding. A lot is talked about custom geometries and we all know the theory behind wheelbase, head tube angle, rake, blah, blah, blah but it would be great to get some insight on how customization improved your performance. That is, if it’s not too personal of course. Cheers!

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      Sure thing!