Talk about Argon18 and images of sinewy climbers on exotically named alpine passes come to mind. Imagine our smile when we saw the Argon18 Krypton GF for the first time, “Hey, they make bikes for guys like us.” Built with Ultegra Di2 and a set of HED Ardennes GP Plus wheels, Argon18 has equipped the Krypton GF perfectly as a long miles campaigner, with plenty of performance on the hypoxic edge for the screaming fast club ride.
Bikes in the endurance class are a necessity for a lot of us ‘weekend warriors’, but it doesn’t mean we don’t like to twist the throttle every now and again. Argon18 has brought its pro-peloton expertise to the ‘Fast x Comfortable = Endurance’ equation to deliver a bike designed for just that – a rider looking for a bit more cushion, but not ready for the pasture just yet. The bike has the long and relaxed endurance geometry we’ve come to expect with this type of platform, but not too long or too relaxed. Its chain stays are just 5mm longer than the disc Gallium – Argon’s top end racer – and the head tube is just 9mm taller when size large is compared. It manages to take the weight off the hands, reducing strain at the neck and shoulders, yet allows you to slide forward in the saddle, bend the elbows and still feel race ready when needed. It’s a feeling echoed by the lower half of the bike, which under big watts is among the stiffest endurance bikes we’ve ridden.
But don’t worry, the dropped stays, aggressively raked fork and some carbon lay-up magic make the Argon18 Krypton damn comfortable. It’s not going to be as plush as a Trek Domane RSL or the latest Specilaized Roubaix, but it does have clearance for 32mm tires. Run those tubeless at a nice, low pressure and it’s über-plush. Also, if you do want a bit more stack for a more relaxed position the new 3D+ system is a stiffer alternative to spacers and comes in three different stack heights allowing for up to 30mm of clean, integrated extension.
The ride is light and responsive and always predictable. Is it fast? Yes, but it’s more than that too. 30+ mph in a tight paceline and you’re dying for a gulp from your water bottle? No worries, it’s stable at speed, one hand on the drops. Flying down your favorite pass doing 60kph and need to cut the hairpin a little tighter to avoid debris? No problem, just lean it over and the bike rails you through without drama. With a set of 32mm tires on it, the Krypton GF can even handle some light gravel, the perfect bike for a race like the Belgian Waffle Ride or Rouge-Roubaix.
We tested the Shimano Ultegra Di2 build with HED Ardennes GP Plus disc wheels and meaty Challenge Roubaix 27mm tires. It’s kitted with FSA alloy bar and stem, but runs an Argon18 specific carbon seat post, which helps up the comfort in the saddle. The size large weighed 17.5lbs/7.9kg with this build, so not for the pure climbers out there. With its dropped stays, integrated 3D+ system, aggressive fork stance and modular cable routing, the Krypton GF is a very handsome bike that paves its own aesthetic path, especially in the often uninspired endurance world. Whether you are considering an upgrade from an older generation carbon, steel, or aluminum endurance, or finally retiring your crit-racer, the Krypton GF is well worth a ride.