Astana Pro Team is a Kazakhstan registered professional cycling team, named after the country’s capital city, Astana, and sponsored by the Samruk-Kazyna (National Welfare Fund), a coalition of state-owned companies. The team has gone through a few different iterations to reach where they are today, but the biggest changes for 2017 come in the form of their team bikes – new frame and component suppliers for the upcoming season. This example of the new Argon 18 Gallium Pro belongs to Artyon Zakharov, a 25yo professional from Petropavi, Kazakhstan, and member of the team since the 2016 season. Click on through to see more…
Argon 18 comes on board with Astana for the 2017 season, a relationship that Gervais Rioux, founder and CEO of Argon 18, feels will be a beneficial in many ways – there is no better way to develop and improve top-level equipment, unless there is involvement at the World Tour level.
It was no accident that Argon 18 opened their first European office at the time of this announcement. The European office is located in Busnago, Italy and will operate sales and marketing divisions.
The Argon 18 Gallium Pro is touted as “The Ultimate Climbing Bike for Reaching New Heights”. A size medium frame weighs a claimed 790 grams which includes paint and clear coat.
Argon 18’s HDS system combines rigidity and comfort, which are qualities that are typically seen as mutually exclusive. The idea behind the system is each frame tube is designed for a specific purpose.
The tubes in the lower section of the frame are made with more carbon fiber to deliver maximum rigidity, especially around the bottom bracket. Argon 18 call this the “Power Zone”.
The tubes in the upper section of the frame are made of less and more flexible carbon fiber to absorb vibration and ensure maximum comfort on all types of terrain. This is known as the “Comfort Zone”.
For 2017, Astana is slated to be the only World Tour team aboard FSA’s new K-Force WE semi-wireless groupset. Full scale production of the system begins in May this year, but early units have been spotted on Astana team bikes at training camps.
In the interim, the team is relying on Shimano’s 9070 series Di2 electronic gear shifting system, with German-made Power2Max power meter systems. FSA’s K-Force Light crankset is one of the parts that will comprise the forthcoming FSA WE groupset.
Unfortunately, no sneak peek photos of FSA’s WE drivetrain. Rather, the well-proven Dura-Ace 9070 rear derailleur for now.
Yet another Dura-Ace 11-28 cassette, the near perfect all-round cassette, especially with 11-speeds on tap.
Another FSA item making an appearance is the FSA SLK brakeset.
FSA’s sister company, Vision, supplies the Metron 40 SL tubular wheelsets to the team. Also of note is the Schwalbe Pro One HT tubular tires. Astana is the only World Tour team on Schwalbe for the 2017 season.
Garmin’s speed sensor isn’t exactly a svelte item on a wheel optimized for aerodynamics.
The Gallium Pro’s fork is made from the same HM7050 Nanotech tubing as the frameset.
The team’s cockpit parts are all supplied by FSA.
A not so common sighting on a World Tour bike – FSA carbon fiber handlebar.
The Gallium Pro features Argon 18’s Press-Fit 3D system – every frame size has three head tube heights. Argon 18 claims their system preserves rigidity versus standard spacers, when the handlebar is set at heights of 15mm and 25mm.
Plenty of setback is available on the FSA K-Force carbon seatpost.
Prologo Nago saddle is fitted with the company’s CPC vibration damping system.
Tacx Deva bottle cages are tasked with keeping the team’s water bottles secure.
Article and photos by Gravel Cyclist. Jayson O’Mahoney is the Gravel Cyclist: A website about the Gravel Cycling Experience.