Argon E-114 (frame, fork and stem) - First ride review£2,799.99

Canadian horizon hunter

BikeRadar score4/5

Canadian composite specialists Argon 18 have a three-strong aero bike range, with the E-114 sitting right at the top. This super-stable and well-proven bike is as uncompromising in terms of power delivery and straight-line stability as it looks.

Ride & handling: Comfort enhanced yet super-stiff and super-low

The first impression of the E-114 as you pull away is of massive stiffness from the tip of the base bars to the horizontal rear dropouts. You’ll also notice a lot of rumble and roar from the deep carbon wheels and oversize frame tubes on even, slightly pitted roads, and upshifts clunk into place with a solid echo.

The other thing you’ll notice early is the very restricted turning circle caused by the ‘ONEness’ stem-front segments. Add the long wheelbase, and looping round on a single carriageway road is a real squeeze. The fact it’s a solid frame on fork lock means it’s easy to overbalance. In other words, you need to be careful when you’re trickling about before or after a ride.

The combination of stiffness and stability takes on a much more positive perspective as soon as you’re on the open road and opening the throttle. Whether you’re standing, or deep in the tuck, turning the pedals over smoothly, there’s a direct connection between shoe sole and tarmac.

The ONEness system means the lowest front-end position we’ve seen since those freaky handlebar-on-fork-crown track bikes way back when, so your tuck can be as extreme as you can take it without crushing your lungs. Add a relatively low complete bike weight, and the momentum boost of the deep wheels, and this is a proper horizon-hungry, high velocity ride.

Considering how stiff it is in power-transfer terms, it’s not that harsh on rougher roads either, with only potholes and other tarmac trauma coming through joltingly hard. While the amount of side area means it’s potentially prone to gusting in sidewinds, the long back end acts like a  kite tail to keep you from getting slung off course.

The stable steering angles and long wheelbase also make it super-surefooted and friendly on descents or when you’re reaching into a pocket for gels. In fact, the only thing that occasionally breaks the relaxed character is its tendency to tuck and swerve  if you get too far over the front out of the saddle on climbs.

Rock solid under power, super-stable and with the lowest potential ride position of any production bike we’ve tested, the E-114 is a proper horizon hunter. This frame is still able to compete with the latest wind-beating machinery too and its Canadian rare breed appeal will always attract interested looks.

Frame & equipment: Integrated carbon chassis with your pick of kit

The E-114's angular tubes and flowing lines are built from a custom 7050 carbon fibre blend for stiffness with a hint of sting reduction. Super-deep stays and the wheelhugger seat tube sprouting from the massive bottom-bracket section mean there’s no structural flex though.

The oval seatpost is reversible to switch seat angles, and conventional rear brake mounting also makes life easier, if slightly less aero. Four frame sizes from XS to L should fit most riders. Because of its integrated design, the E114 comes as a frame, fork, seatpost, cockpit and brake chassis for £2,799.99.

That leaves you to add your choice of transmission, wheels and saddle. Argon certainly hadn’t skimped on our sample, opting for featherweight SRAM Red go gear and a SRAM S60/S80 carbon wheelset package. This helps it to a healthily low overall weight though the frame itself is relatively heavy at over 1,400g for a medium.

Argon e-114:
Argon e-114:

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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