Gravel News

NICOLAI present the ARGON GX gravel bike – Can it strike the perfect balance?

Here comes the ARGON GX! With their new gravel bike, NICOLAI offer riders a wealth of custom options, making it one of the most versatile gravel bikes on the market, equally at home on- and off-road. Have they struck the perfect balance? Read on for all details about the German wannabe-chameleon.

NICOLAI ARGON GX | from 8.5 kg | from € 3,750 | Manufacturer’s website

With the ARGON GX, NICOLAI present the latest addition to the ARGON family (link to ARGON CX here), striving to build the perfect bike for on- as well as off-road riding. To achieve this, Nicolai have designed a frame that lends itself to any build configuration, whether you prefer skinny slicks for the road, knobblies for the trail, or anything in between. Moreover, they wanted to build a lightweight frame while keeping it robust and capable of dissipating big impacts, such as you might encounter on a trail. In this pursuit, the German brand rely on aircraft grade aluminium (7020-T6). It is said to have a higher tensile strength and yield point than the aluminium alloys that frame builders traditionally use. Certain sections of the chain and seat stays are machined, and the individual frame tubes are welded together by hand. NICOLAI have so much faith in their German-made construction that they don’t impose a weight limit on the frame and offer a 5-year guarantee that doesn’t get voided even if you race. The frame is built to be stiff so that it offers instant acceleration without flexing when you pedal. Depending on the terrain and intended use, your primary source of comfort will be the tires.

You’ve got plenty of options in the way you choose to build the bike, allowing you to tailor the ARGON GX to your intended use. There’s enough clearance in the rear triangle for up to 50 mm wide 650B tires (or 45x700C). You can choose between a rigid gravel fork and a suspension fork with up to 40 mm travel. With a 31.6 mm seat tube, the frame of the ARGON GX isn’t limited to rigid seat posts either, as it will accommodate modern dropper posts with internal cable routing. You’re also free to choose between dirt-drops or flat mountain bike bars. You can use most 1x and 2x groupsets on the market for the drivetrain, though the 2x GRX groupset will limit the tire clearance to 42 mm – as with all bikes. To ready the ARGON GX for gravel adventures and bikepacking trips, NICOLAI have included mounting points for mudguards, racks, and up to three bottle cages on the aluminium frame. There are multiple cable inlets on both sides of the down tube, which means that all cables, including the dropper post cable, can be routed internally. For the paint job, you’ve got a choice from over 50 glossy or matte colours. The frame is also available in hard-anodized black, bronze or titanium. You can even opt to leave the aluminium frame as is.

The frame is available in six sizes, from XS to XXL, catering to all riders between 155 cm and 208 cm tall. In size M, the frame weighs 1.9 kg, and it costs from € 1,449. Complete bikes weigh at least 8.5 kg and prices start at € 3,750. Both options can be purchased via Nicolai’s webshop.

The geometry of the NICOLAI ARGON GX

For the geometry of the ARGON GX, NICOLAI have opted for a long reach, a slack head angle, and long chainstays, aiming to provide an aggressive riding position and stable handling. The following geometry table lists all the details.

Seat tube 460 mm 490 mm 510 mm 530 mm 550 mm 570 mm
Top tube 528 mm 545 mm 560 mm 580 mm 595 mm 615 mm
Head tube 120 mm 130 mm 150 mm 170 mm 180 mm 190 mm
Head angle 70.5° 70.5° 71.0° 71.0° 71.5° 71.5°
Seat angle 74.0° 74.0° 73.5° 73.5° 73.0° 73.0°
Chainstays 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm
BB Drop 75.0 mm 75.0 mm 72.5 mm 72.5 mm 72.5 mm 72.5 mm
Wheelbase 1,012 mm 1,019 mm 1,036 mm 1,052 mm 1,062 mm 1,082 mm
Reach 371 mm 380 mm 390 mm 403 mm 410 mm 425 mm
Stack 548 mm 559 mm 575 mm 596 mm 606 mm 625 mm

Concluding thoughts on the NICOLAI ARGON GX

The NICOLAI ARGON GX straddles the line between road and mountain bike, allowing riders to configure the build to suit their preferred terrain. However, the concept’s versatility seems limited. A 1.9 kg frame is rather heavy for a road bike, and 50-mm-tires could reach their limits in regards to heavy-duty off-road demands. We’ll have to test different builds to see how the bike performs in the real world. That said, we can’t fault the craftsmanship and finishing quality of the frame.

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Words: Tobias Hörsch Photos: NICOLAI Bicycles