Argon 18’s Nitrogen Pro debuted at the Tour de France in 2015 under the Bora-Argon 18 squad. As a Pro-Continental team, they were overmatched against WorldTour squads, but they were at the front all the same, attacking, going for the long bombs, and the Nitrogen Pro helped. The 2016 model is even faster than the 2015, if only they had this then.
The 2016 model is a mere 830g for the frame. And the fork has been lightened by another 50g. They also took some weight out of the seatpost, and added an integrated aerodynamic handlebar. At this weight, it’s feathery for an aero road bike, and the bars are 30% faster than a traditional round-tubed handlebar clamped into a standard stem.
The bars are incredibly trick. Light at 400g, the stem length is actually adjustable thanks to interlocking teeth on both the steerer tube stub and the handlebar stub. This way the stem’s length can be changed by changing the rear stub and adding an interlocking piece between the two ends. There are three different steerer tube stub lengths. And each of these can have a 20mm section added to them. A dust cover is included to keep the mechanism dirt free. Depending on the bar width, the effective stem length can be anywhere from 70-130mm. All the steerer tube stubs are included with the frame.
The seatpost also has adjustable setback. You can use the rearward position for a traditional road setup and then flip it forwards for a more tri’-style position.
The head tube has the 3D fit system you’ll find on their other carbon road offerings, but the added stack pieces are teardrop shaped for improved aerodynamics. You customize the head tube height, by either not using the system for zero stack, using the system to add 15mm or 25mm of stack. The system is essentially extending the upper cup of the headset by those distances, and by so doing, stiffening up the system compared to using narrow 1 1/8” stack spacers. By moving out the upper headset race, stiffness and durability is improved. And the steerer tube tapers on it’s trip down to the fork crown, out to a 1 ¼” diameter.
Versatility is important to Argon 18. That’s why they also chose a BB86 bottom bracket shell, and a removeable front derailleur hanger, which can accommodate standard, compact, oval, elliptical chainrings, or even a single ring-you can remove the hanger entirely.
Likewise, you can run mechanical or Di2 shifting, and if you run electronic, the battery resides in the seatpost.
All this integration and flexibility is worthless if the ride is uncomfortable. But Argon 18 dialed that in as well. With a conventional seat angle, a low bottom bracket drop, you’re put in a traditional, stable position. The frame molds are all size-specific, meaning the tubing profiles and layups change across the size spectrum. The seatstays join the seat tube low on the tube for compliance, and the top tube is flattened and reduced on it’s travel from the head tube to the seat tube. All of these help provide compliance, while the oversized bottom bracket shell, the tapered steerer and straight fork legs provide the lateral rigidity you need for brutal efforts.
They’ve even re-thought braking. While they have mounted their integrated fork brakes in the traditional position, behind he fork crown, the rear brakes are on the seat stays, which is easier to service, and easier to fit. The design, btw, is the result of a collaboration between Argon 18 and TRP, with the arms shaped specifically for the Nitrogen frame.
Brakes are included with the frame. As is headset, seatpost, handlebar/stem, adjustable pieces, and all the stops and plugs needed to run whichever derailleur system you want to use.
The Argon 18 Nitrogen Pro is one of the fastest aero road frames around, with a weight that makes it competitive with ultralight climbing machines. The best of both worlds.