2017 Argon 18 E117+ Tri Frameset

The “+” of the Argon 18 E-117+ Tri refers to two things. First is to the fact that the frameset is over 100g lighter than the standard version. That weight comes in handy in general. But it also helps offset the weight of the accessories they included with the frameset. You need to eat and drink and carry stuff in a triathlon, and the included accessories not only allow you to do that, but keep them all very aero.

The first accessory is the TorHans H2O bottle. It sits horizontally between the extensions, has a pop-top accessible from the flat position as well as a drinking straw. It fits 22 fluid ounces. The second is the Cookie Jar, which sits on the top tube secured by two bolts a standard distance from the stem. It’s long and simple and works like a stash box. It’s stiff on the side, flexible on the top, and has a slit running lengthwise. Perfect for bars and gels. The third component is the rear storage box that attaches to bottle bosses on the end of a removeable bar sticking from behind the seat post. The box is big enough to hold a tubular and tools, and the mount is actually one of three on the post. And it actually reduces your aero drag by smoothing out the point at which the wind moving around you rejoins. The other two can be left empty, or used for water bottle cages, or anything else that fits on bottle bosses. The box can be removed, as can the entire component.

Otherwise, this is identical to the E-117. It’s a travel-friendly, UCI-legal version of the E-119. The tubing profiles fit into the official 3:1 aspect ratio. They’re not as drawn out as on the E-119. While this does increase drag in the windtunnel, it may well increase speed on the road. The reason is that with a slimmer fork, shallower head tube, smaller downtube, thinner connection between the seatsays and the frame, the bike has more vertical compliance designed in.

The front end relies on a more traditional tapered 1 1/8” to 1 ¼” steerer as well. At the top is Argon 18’s Press-Fit 3D system, which allows you to customize the head tube height, by either not using the system for zero stack, using the system to add 15mm or 25mm of stack. The system is essentially extending the upper cup of the headset by those distances, and by so doing, stiffening up the system compared to using narrow 1 1/8” stack spacers.

A standard front end works for you in multiple ways. For one, it’s easy to break down for service and travel. For another it gives you far more flexibility in terms of stem and handlebar choices. You can really dial in the fit of every element, and use the components you’re happiest with.

The seat post also offers tremendous fit flexibility. The seat angle is 78-degrees, but the saddle clamp sits atop a rail that allows you to move the clamp forward or back 28mm. You can be incredibly aggressive, totally conservative, or sit somewhere in between.

Argon 18 loves their aerodynamic shapes. But they use them to serve practical ends. The BB86 bottom bracket allows them to build the downtube wide for aerodynamics, but also set the seatstays wide for greater stiffness and allow for wider wheels and tires. Rims up to 28mm wide and tires up to 25mm will fit. They also designed the V-brakes hiding behind the fork and seatstays. The shaping is unique to Argon 18 and specifically designed to fit in these spots. The rear brake sits atop the seatstays rather than under the chainstays both for convenience and simplicity. They also chose to build with vertical dropouts in the back. Easier wheel changes and the derailleur hanger is forged aluminum. The bike works with both electronic and mechanical shifting, if you go with the former, the Di2 battery hides in the seatpost.

All this is useless if the frame doesn’t ride well. It’s a smooth, confident ride thanks to smart design. You’ll find a 78-degree seat angle and 72-degree head angle across the line, but each successive size has a longer top tube and taller head tube. Even with these, they keep a low bottom bracket, 75mm of drop, across the run, and short chainstays, 405mm, to make sure the rear wheel is close to the frame and the drivetrain stiff. The geometry is nearly identical to the E-119, though the head tube is a bit taller and the top tube a tiny bit shorter. This allows for more position flexibility.

The Argo 18 E-117+ Tri sets you for fast.