Nicolai Bicycles have taken their first brave step into the world of gravel cycling, releasing the all-new Argon GX. This gravel bike joins the Nicolai CX, hardtail and road bikes of the Argon range, named after the inert gas used when welding the tubes together. With a super stiff aluminium frame and clearance for high volume tires, the Nicolai Argon GX is definitely worth a closer look.
Nicolai Argon GX Gravel Bike
Better known for their super aggressive geometry enduro mountain bikes, Nicolai have now ventured onto gravel with all-new Argon GX. Welded in Germany, the frame consists of 7020-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, which has a 30% higher tensile strength and a 20%
higher elastic limit when compared to the 6061-T6 alloy commonly used in frame construction.
This gravel bike looks like a Nicolai thanks to the flat, clean welds and the characteristic machined frame details seen at the BB-CS yoke and the seat stay yoke. 5-Axis CNC-machines permit this Hollow-Milled technology, allowing the manufacturer to shave grams where material is not needed.
Nicolai are so confident in the strength of the Argon GX frame that they stipulate no maximum weight limit and offer a 5-year frame warranty that covers racing use.
The frame is designed to be particularly torsionally stiff, with 142 x 12 mm thru axle dropouts permitting generous tire clearance. Running a 700c wheelset, the maximum tire clearance is 45mm. On 650b wheels, you’ll get 50mm tires in there. It’s worth noting however that if you opt for the Shimano GRX 2 x 11 group, the presence of the front mech reduces tire clearance to 42mm.
Sizing & Geometry
The Nicolai Argon GX is available in six frame sizes, from XS to XXL. When run with the stock drop bar, these frames caters to riders from 160cm to 208cm. Swapping it out for a flat bar shifts the size range down, now accommodating rider heights of 155cm to 202cm.
Given the super slack head angles we see on the Nicolai G1 enduro bikes, I admit I was expecting to see geometry figures akin to those on the Evil Chamois Hagar. I was wrong. Geometry of the Argon GX is much more conservative than that, putting the bike more toward the all-road end of the spectrum, as opposed to a drop bar bike that tends toward gnarly singletrack. Rider skills permitting, of course.
A 71° head tube angle (M & L) is paired with a 47mm offset fork. Seat angles start at 74° in XS and S, slackening off slightly to 73° for the bigger frames.
Reach spans a super wider range from 371mm in XS to 424mm in XXL. Chainstays measure up at 430mm across all six frame sizes. The BB drops 75mm from the dropouts in sizes XS and S, dropping a further 2.5mm on the larger frames.
Seat tubes have been designed to be short relative to the frame sizes in order to permit use of long travel dropper seat posts.
Pricing & Availability
Nicolai offer the Argon GX as a custom build, where you can choose from various components and finish options via an online configurator to assemble the bike how you wish.
For road, gravel and occasional use on trails, Nicolai recommend a 700c wheelset with 32mm wide Continental Cross King tires with the Shimano GRX 2 x 11 group.
For the adventurous singletrack enthusiast, Nicolai recommend a 27.” wheelset running 2″ tires and a SRAM Force Eagle 1 x 12 group; more like how one might setup a hardtail mountain bike. Nicolai also offer a dropper seat post, suspension forks and a flat bar for those who really want to ride more technical terrain.
The frame retails at 1,449 € with a choice of over 50 powder coating finishes. It can also be hard anodized in bronze, black or titanium. Additionally, customers can request their frame be left in the factory raw aluminium finish. Head to the Nicolai website for info on pricing of complete bikes.