Argon 18 has built a reputation for building well-engineered bikes that combine light weight with excellent ride quality and clever design touches. The Gallium Pro hits the lightness mark, as Argon 18 states that this disc version of the Gallium Pro is lighter than the rim-braked model, which itself has a sub 800g frame.
The Gallium has the latest iteration of its 3D headset system, where interlocking solid parts extend the effective head-tube height to get the perfect fit. Argon 18 claims that the 3D system keeps the stiffness in the head tube compared to standard spacers, which can leave room for flex. Every frame size has three head-tube height options, and I set my medium test bike at 165mm.
The 72.7-degree head angle and 73.5-degree seat angle add to the race-orientated ride position making the Gallium a real racer’s bike, with a low, slightly forward ride position you feel on top of the pedals and encouraged to press on faster.
My test bike was put together by UK Argon 18 distributor I-Ride UK, who included a set of Token Zenith Ventous carbon clinchers. The 36mm deep rims are wide (27.4mm) and have a blunt aero profile with the 20mm internal dimension shaping the Continental Grand Sport tyres very well. The Tokens roll well, are quick to accelerate and feel feathery on the climbs, making their claimed weight of 1,404g easy to believe.
The wheels are locked in place by 12mm thru-axles, and it’s here where Argon has again scored well, using the integrated NAILD system, which uses its Locit lever.
The large quick-release lever has another lever set into it, to open you depress the red inner lever, which will allow the black lever to activate. Like the Rapid Axle Technology system on the Cervélo R5 Disc, it takes a quarter-turn to pull the axle out. The beauty is that it’s virtually impossible for it to come loose on its own or to not secure the wheel when replacing it.
The Gallium is a gloriously fine-handling bike, the chassis is stiff through the head tube, bottom bracket and chainstays. Above this solid undertray, the Gallium has a beautifully smooth level of compliance making it fantastic for covering ground quickly.
On descents I’d have preferred a 160mm front rotor instead of the 140mm Icetech Ultegra one fitted. On a couple of longer descents I managed to make the front disc pretty vocal, something that didn’t happen on the same descents on bikes equipped with 160mm units that I was also testing.
Shimano’s Ultegra is used throughout the Gallium, which makes it not as good value compared to the well-priced Cube Litening C:68 SLT disc and Cervélo R5 Disc. In pure performance terms Ultegra is every bit the equal of Dura-Ace, the electronically assisted shifts are spot on and the feel of the braking every bit as good. You just lose out in the weight stakes and arguably a few finishing touches.
The Gallium Pro’s wonderful ride is balanced by such a clean and understated piece of design it runs the risk of being overlooked in favour of more flamboyant bikes, which would be a huge shame. Just a few small tweaks to the build would take the Gallium Pro Disc from very good to stunning superbike.