Over the weekend in Québec, Hugo Houle of Astana gave Canadian bike maker Argon 18 the first World Tour race test of their new disc brake aero road bike – the Nitrogen Disc. A long time in the making since the original Nitrogen’s debut, the new aero carbon disc brake road bike promises increased performance with no weight penalty and appears to completely replace the rim brake version.
2019 Argon 18 Nitrogen Disc aero carbon road bike
Argon 18’s head of R&D Martin Faubert says it was much more than just slapping some disc brakes on the old Nitrogen Pro, “Sure, it does offer great braking power and modulation, but it’s the increased torsional rigidity that really makes it shine especially in out of the corner accelerations.” Faubert lauds the bike’s performance, fit adjustability & adaptability across many road racing discipline for making it a versatile modern road racing bike.
That also explains why is has been four years since this World Tour road race bike got a major overhaul. And seeing how the rim brake version of the Nitrogen is no longer in Argon 18’s catalog, consider this the all-new, top-tier aero road racing bike for the brand.
While the overall aero shaping of the new Nitrogen Disc looks similar to its predecessor, the new bike definitely gets major updates to the now slimmer top end that no longer needs to support rim brakes.
The most significant shaping updates are the overall smaller seatstays which lend a more forgiving ride while not sacrificing control, and a smoother more neatly integrated fork, both without the linear pull brakes of the prior Nitrogen Pro. The new disc fork itself was said to improve lateral stiffness by a surprising 80% while delivering the same ride comfort, thanks to relocating brake forces at the dropout and with the move to a thru-axle.
The new bike’s rear wheel cutout is also not quite as tight as before, a direct nod to the use of larger volume road tires, even in the pro peloton. This new Nitrogen Disc is said to have room for 30mm actual tires, which Argon 18 says are really 28c tires mounted to modern rims.
Overall the monocoque carbon frame maintains the same weight as the old version even with the move to disc brakes, claiming a frame weight of 948g (size M without alloy hardware), plus a 378g fork.
The move to discs also brings industry standard 12mm thru-axles and flat mount disc brakes, with Argon 18 using DT Swiss RWS thru-axles with removable levers for a clean, aero setup.
The bike also features a new aero shaped, two-bolt carbon seatpost and a hidden wedge style seatpost clamp set into the toptube. The bike features a tapered 1.5″ steerer, a press fit BB86 bottom brackets, and full internal cable routing for mechanical or electronic drivetrains. The bike also has a replaceable alloy derailleur hanger, and includes a Shimano-ready direct mount hanger as well.
Nitrogen Disc Geometry & Fit Adjustability
The geometry of the new Nitrogen Disc looks to mostly remain the same as the old Nitrogen Pro with a road racing 72.7° headtube & 73.5° seat angle. Chainstay length does climb about half a centimeter to 413mm to fit the larger tires and optimized chainline for the wider rear hub spacing that disc brakes bring.
The new bike retains Argon 18’s 3D System fit which gives three different effective headtube length options with their integrated upper headset cups. The system promises 5% or 11% more front end rigidity vs. standard headset spacers in its +15mm and +25mm setups.
2019 Argon 18 Nitrogen Disc – Pricing, Spec & Availability
The 2019 Argon 18 Nitrogen Disc is available in five sizes (XS-XL) and as a frameset only option or two complete bike builds. The frameset alone sells for $3000 including frame, fork, headset & the proprietary aero seatpost.
Both complete bikes are build up with Shimano Ultegra with 160mm front % 140mm rear rotors, FSA alloy cockpit, and Mavic Cosmic Elite Disc wheels wrapped in 25mm Vittoria Rubino Pro tires with Graphene+. The more expensive model gets Di2 electronic shifting for $5400, while mechanical shifting will cost you $4200.
Both complete bikes and the frameset are slated for availability in the coming weeks according to Argon 18 president Gervais Rioux.