Last fall, Argon18 introduced the Krypton endurance road bike, which they called their “most engineered bike ever”, and was a departure from their traditionally racy road bikes. Now, they’ve applied many of those design features in a new model that brings back some of the speed, but turns its wheels toward rougher roads. The all-new Argon18 Dark Matter gravel road bike uses shorter stays than the Krypton, but keeps the longer front end and some clever options to make it a fast but customizable dirt road racer.

2018 Argon18 Dark Matter gravel road bike

2018 Argon18 Dark Matter gravel road bike

Up front is their 3D Plus head set cap system that offers 0mm, 15mm and 30mm heights integrated into the frame for a cleaner look while still fitting a wider range of rider types.

2018 Argon18 Dark Matter gravel road bike

Like the Krypton, it gets bent fork legs designed to flex and absorb vibrations and mitigate impact forces before they reach your hands. Smaller frames get shorter rake, larger frames longer, all designed to provide size appropriate handling and keep toes from contacting tires.

2018 Argon18 Dark Matter gravel road bike

It’s designed for 700×45 max tires, with no mention or intention of swapping in 650b wheels and tires. Add fenders or an eTap front derailleur and you’re limited to a 700×40 rear tire.

2018 Argon18 Dark Matter gravel road bike

Clean cable routing courtesy of their modular system with caps specific to mechanical, electronic and 1x/2x systems.

2018 Argon18 Dark Matter gravel road bike

A carbon seatpost and low-slung seatstays help smooth the ride out back, but shorter chainstays keep acceleration tight, traction solid, and handling a little sharper…which is part of what leans this bike toward the racing side of gravel.

2018 Argon18 Dark Matter gravel road bike

Want to run a front derailleur? This removable adapter uses the two water bottle bolts to attach, but still lets you place a bottle cage on top of it. Out back, there’s an optional Shimano Direct Mount rear derailleur hanger available.

2018 Argon18 Dark Matter gravel road bike

The downtube protector adds another bottle cage mounting position and hides a cable access port to ease drivetrain and brake installation or service.

2018 Argon18 Dark Matter gravel road bike

Ports for electronic and mechanical front shifting are there if you need them.

2018 Argon18 Dark Matter gravel road bike

Silicone chain guards sit top and bottom where needed, and a metal “drain” sits at the lowest point on the frame to encourage water to drip off.

Claimed frame weight is ~1,300g for size medium (painted, no small parts) and the fork is 470g (with hidden fender mounts). Pricing and availability coming soon.

Argon18bike.com

14 COMMENTS

  1. really great looking bike… However, nothing says blown-out paint job like cables rubbing all over the head tube. It seems that with all the other attention to detail they would have thought of this. Am I missing something? Sure, add a big ol’ patch of 3m clear frame protector and everything is cool.

    also, the front der solution is super–but is it stiff enough to deal with di2/eTap?

  2. I’m really over sram 1x shifters on gravel bikes. Yes 1x is simply and robust but the shifter is really bloody hard to use accurately on a rough roads

    • I don’t race “gravel,” but I’ve used SRAM 1x on my CX race bikes for years (since before there was actually “1x” anything), and can accurately shift with even winter gloves on. I have issues with 1x, but accurate shifting ain’t one of them. Well, other than shifting out of the lowest gear on accident… that’s always annoyed me with SRAM, but is also a 2x problem.

  3. I think that you mean, shorter frames get longer rake. Or shorter frames get shorter trail in order to keep toes away from tires.

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