It’s All About The Bike!
When I was racing in the nineties our bikes were quite different from today. Carbon was just starting to come around, but everyone was suspicious and we thought that it was more fragile than the rigid aluminium and iron frames we were riding.
Our bikes back then where stiff as nails in every direction – and as comfortable as sitting on a percussion drill going full throttle. In Speedos… Fortunately, a lot has happened since the nineties with design and materials.
At the time, I was proud to ride a comparatively cheap, heavy ass rig in Hawaii, coming out of the water in 250th place and finishing the bike in 50th place and cheering everyone on (who had nice bikes) with a nice bike, man! as I past them. My back often hurt so bad after the bike leg that my run was a disaster.
A few years before I decided to take my extensive break, a multiple Canadian Road Champion and Olympian by the name of Gervais Rioux retired from cycling and purchased a small bike shop on St-Laurent street in Montreal, Canada.
Gervais Rioux in action
Like many former cyclists Gervais wanted to stay in the sport he loved and the story could have ended there – in the bike shop. But Gervais had bigger ambitions and by recruiting and developing a great team around himself he freed up time to take on the real challenge – to design and develop the optimal bike – a bike that would have the perfect balance between stiffness, light weight but still be comfortable.
He founded ARGON18. That was a few years back and since then ARGON18 has become one of the fastest growing brands in cycling. ARGON18 now has a team in Tour the France as well as Ironman legends like Craig Crowie Alexander as ambassadors in triathlon.
Even with this phenomenal success ARGON18 keeps the small shop feeling with excellent service, customer contact and avoids the anonymity and bureaucracy that typically thrive in large multi-national companies.
I came in contact with ARGON18 last year when I rode the E-118NEXT. The top time trial/triathlon UCI approved model. It amazed me from the first ride – it was comfort without compromise in stiffness and an extreme responsiveness from the frame.
Ironman Mallorca 2015
In 2016 ARGON18 brought out a new series of pure triathlon bikes (non UCI approved).
At first I didnt really see any reason to upgrade as I was extremely happy with my E-118NEXT that was barely broken in (and still have not gone fast in a race) but there was a couple of things on the new range of bikes that really caught my interest:
- Simplified adjustment of brakes and easier to use wider rims and tires.
- Integrated hydration system (I have launched enough bottles into orbit in my career using different bolt on hydration systems to appreciate that a manufacturer takes this seriously….).
- Triathlon adapted geometry 78°.
How could anyone resist the e-119tri+ ?
Last week the E-119Tri+ was delivered to Cykloteket and I went in to get it set up by Jonte, who also made the fitting on the E-118Next last year. Every measurement was copied from the previous fitting except an additional centimeter that was reduced in drop to save the lower back a little.
The bike felt very much like the E-118 on the fitting trainer, as I was not really pushing any gears at the fitting. I did not really get any feeling of power distribution and responsiveness of the frame at this point in time.
Getting set up at Cykloteket by Jonte
The first ride on a home trainer (20 @w-up, 20 @L4, 20 @L3, 20 @c-down) is where the first real positive surprises occurred:
- I preferred/felt more comfortable in the aero position than the upright position.
- Power was significant higher at every level without higher heart rate.
This weekend I took it out for the first time. I headed out for an easy 30km adjustment ride (in +4°, light rain and gravel still on the roads – its as much as you want to do on your new triathlon bike outdoors this time of the year).
I ended up riding 80km and unwillingly returned home with a big smile on my face
Happy as a 10 year old.
I have no clue how this bike can be so different given that its from the same manufacturer, with the same measurements, but its an amazing difference:
- Aero position feels like the more comfortable position – which makes no sense and has never happened to me before.
- My hips feels more open and less restrained so I can produce more power.
- The seat post angle makes me more compact without crunching and reduces the stretch I used to experience to reach aero bars – I have more of a 90° angle between torso and upper arms in the aero position.
- Adjustments and fine-tuning was exceptionally easy to make (even for a all thumbs guy like me).
Maybe its the one-centimeter reduction in drop – but I doubt that that small change would make such a big difference.
So far I have only found one disadvantage and that is that you have to remove 3 screws to get to the connection box to charge the Di2 battery – but I can live with that given that you only need to charge the battery once or twice every season.
Now I dont have time to write more about this amazing bike – have to get on it and train harder than every before. I dont want to be the guy on the nicest bike getting passed by people in the races yelling nice bike, man….
Stay safe on the roads!