2020 Argon 18 Krypton CS Frameset

Argon 18 created the Krypton platform to handle a wide array of conditions in comfort. A fondo bike, a cyclosportif bike, that sort of thing. This is the Krypton CS, short for CycloSportif. It’s an evolution of their endurance platform to make it more comfortable, more capable, and ready for bigger tires. It also boasts disc brakes. The CS and GF share a geometry, and molds, the difference being in the composition of the carbon-fiber used. The CS uses lower modulus plies, and thus needs more to yield the same ride qualities. As a result, you get a bike that performs identically, with a much lower price and slightly higher weight.

When Argon 18 looked at how to create their endurance platform, they wanted something that would be comfortable and stable, two features that are great both for riding on rough roads and for riding all day regardless of the road conditions. They got to stable by lowering the bottom bracket, lengthening the wheelbase, slackening the seat and head tube angles. The trail is 61.7mm, which is longer than a traditional race bike, but still short enough to turn easily. They got to comfort by shortening the reach and rising the stack, to put the rider in a slightly higher position.

They also worked the comfort angle by both shaping the tubes and moving material around. There are nods to aero shaping at the heat tube, the way the fork crown nestles into a notch between the down and top tubes, and the underside shaping of the downtube, but much of the work has gone into compliance. It starts with the curved fork blades and how they’re shaped to give vertically. The thinking also informs the wide and shallow downtube, the thinned sea tube, the dropped chainstays all contribute to great compliance. The seat tube is topped with Argon 18’s 27.2mm round seatpost, which is also tuned for compliance.

They went with flat-mount disc brakes and thru-axles for the wheels. You know the story there, they allow for bigger tires. Thanks to the design, you can now fit on 32mm wide tires, which is wide enough to go cyclocrossing. It also has fender mounts, so you can stick on fenders, stay dry, and fit 28mm tires. The ability to fit the wider tires is a hint that this bike should be stable and comfortable on rough and gravel roads. It also features pretty huge bottom bracket drop for a road bike, and a longer wheelbase than Argon 18’s Gallium’s. When the longer wheelbase is combined with slacker seat and head angles, shorter reach and taller stack, you’ve got a bike that is easier to build into a less aggressive position for your body.

Argon 18 has also adjusted their 3D headset system for the Krypton. It’s the 3D Plus here. This is a proprietary means of adjusting the head tube height without the flex of stack spacers. The bike comes with 15mm and 30mm stack extenders. that both sits in the head tube and secure to the top tube. Both more aero and more secure than the 3D system you’ll find on the Gallium’s. The upper headset race sits inside the extension, which is wider and stiffer than spacers. So if you’re going to have more than 10mm of stack from the top of the head tube, you might as well install one of the extensions.

And this kind of thinking you’ll find throughout the bike. The seat post has a reversible saddle clamp, allowing you to choose between 15mm and 25mm of setback. Choose the one that supports more of your saddle. There’s a chain catcher built into the BB86 bottom bracket shell. There are even two sizes of catchers that come with. one for 34-36 chain rings, one for rings larger than that. The bike comes with a full complement of cable stops, plugs, and covers, so you can run mechanical, electronic, or wireless shifting. If you go with a battery, it mounts inside the seatpost and if you go Di2, the junction box sits inside the downtube to keep everything looking clean. The bike comes with 12mm thru-axles, front and rear (100x12mm and 142x12mm). As they saw an excellent design made by DT Swiss, Argon 18 went with those. There’s an inlaid anti-chainsuck plate to protect the carbon of the chainstays. The brake caliper mounting is flat-mount for low profile goodness. They’re designed to work with 140 or 160mm rotors.

The Argon 18 Krypton CS is a bike that’s fast enough for your most intense riding and comfortable enough to ride an epic dirt road fondo.