CYCLOCROSS / GRAVEL
CYCLOCROSS / GRAVEL
A gravel bike’s potential should shine on asphalt as well as on gravel and in light off-road terrain. The decisive factor here is correctly placing the bike along the wide spectrum from road performance to off-road capability, the bike wants to set the pace and the range that it can optimally cover. A gain in off-road performance through wider tires and a more upright riding position goes hand in hand with a loss of road speed and range due to higher air volume and rolling resistance. If, on the other hand, the focus is set more towards the road, narrower tires quickly reach their limits off-road and a front-heavy riding position makes handling more difficult. A classic conflict of objectives, in which NICOLAI’s Argon GX shows new and very interesting solutions. The Argon GX is a new addition to the Argon family, which includes lightweight NICOLAI hardtails and classics such as the Argon CC, Argon FR and Argon Road. The name comes from the gas argon, which is used as an inert protective atmosphere when welding the frames. GX stands for Gravel plus Cross.
A NICOLAI bike is easily recognizable even without branding, its characteristic scaled welds and the machined aesthetics of the milled parts. Nothing is sanded down or concealed. The industrial design language is not an end product in itself. It reflects the product’s development process, shows off the design logic and reveals its properties and functions. This not only creates trust in the product, in its quality and durability, but also ensures a highly identifiable brand with a constantly growing and loyal fan community.
Welding is done by hand using the TIG method by specially trained welders with many years of experience. For each model and frame size a precise welding jig is built, the so-called frame gauge. In it, the CNC-cut tube sets with all turned and milled parts of a frame that are to be welded are precisely assembled and fixed.
The frame components are first tack-welded with individual spot welds, welded at precisely specified points in a defined sequence and then, to minimize distortion and stresses, welded in several passes. The uniformly flat-shingled weld seams so characteristic of our brand are produced by a very slow welding speed. This results in deep fusion of the material and large-area dissipation of the loads and forces occurring in the frame.
NICOLAI manufactures all frame components and tube sets of the Argon GX in its own German factory. In addition to its many years of experience, the manufacturer relies on topology optimization during the design process, a computer-aided simulation of the forces that will be found in the real world. This process enables the construction of particularly durable but lightweight components and assemblies. Thanks to modern 5-axis CNC machines, there are virtually no limits to NICOLAI’s ability to produce complex, optimized 3D milled parts. Particular characteristics found on the Argon GX such as the seat stay yoke or the combined bottom bracket/chain stay yoke are made possible by our so-called ‘Hollow Mill’ technology.
Welded at NICOLAI by experienced hands in several passes at a very slow speed to achieve a deep fusion of the material, minimizing stress and distortion. The iconic flat and even scaled welds on the Argon GX are not only visually impressive, above all they optimally dissipate the forces placed on the frame. The manufacturer has complete confidence in its designs because where most gravel bikes limit the total weight of rider and bike to 125 kg, the Argon GX frame has no weight limit and a 5-year warranty that includes the toughest uses and competitions.
The Argon GX is designed to be torsionally stiff, which means that the pedaling force is converted directly and efficiently into propulsion. 142 x 12mm thru axle dropouts further strengthen the frame construction. On some Gravel bikes, flexible rear stays are installed or elastomers are glued into the frame to gain some comfort, NICOLAI does without such features. Durability and an efficient drive are clearly the top priorities here. NICOLAI sees wider tires as the prime factor for ride comfort and the rear triangle of the Argon GX provides ample clearance. A short seat tube in relation to the frame size allows a longer extension of the seat post, which further increases seated comfort with more flex.
The frame of the Argon GX is made of 7020-T6 aircraft aluminum not only for comfort through absorption and self-damping, especially considering the off-road capability of a gravel bike, the tires are an important core factor. The wider the tires, the lower the air pressure that can be run without risking a puncture, lower pressure means a larger contact patch for the tire off-road increasing grip and safety. The Argon GX can accommodate tires up to 45mm wide on 28 inch wheels or 50mm wide on 27.5 inch wheels, putting it at the upper end of the scale compared to other gravel bikes.
The decision is yours. The ARGON GX has three bottle cage mounts in all frame sizes from S to XXL. From now on we can also deliver your NICOLAI directly with the NICOLAI x FIDLOCK water bottle. With the 0.6 liter TWIST bottle, Fidlock sets standards for optimally functioning drink bottles.
The bottle can be intuitively snapped onto the down tube without an ugly plastic or metal cage via magnets with a twisting motion. Jumps or rock gardens can not dislodge the bottle. Rattling or lost bottles are a thing of the past.
Now also available online individually in the store.
Many NICOLAI models can be equipped with a Pinion GmbH gearbox on request. The transmission is low-maintenance and optimally integrated into the bicycle frame. The central centre of gravity and the lighter rear wheel bring noticeable advantages in handling, driving dynamics and rear-end performance. The transmission reacts to shift commands at lightning speed. The Argon GX PI will be available from May 2021.
Type | P1.18
Gears | 18
Overall ration | 636%
Increments | 11.5%
Gearbox weight | 2700g
Type | P.12
Gears | 12
Overall ration | 600%
Increments | 17.7%
Gearbox weight | 2350g
The cables and lines on the Argon GX are routed via minimalist, screwed guide clips in the down tube so the bike appears clean and tidy, which further emphasizes the technical aesthetics of the frame. There are multiple options at the front of the down tube on both sides. This allows for a variety of routing options including routing for a Shimano Di2 electronic shifting system and for a dropper seatpost.
The exit of the housings under the bottom bracket is protected by a cover from dirt and water. How far NICOLAI thinks in detail, is also evident in the rear derailleur cable guide: an additional guide clip, which is bolted to the dropout, guides the shift cable housing at the optimum angle for shifting precision to the rear derailleur. At the same time, the housing is tightly secured to the frame and protected from damage.
Like mountain bikes, gravel bikes are equipped with disc brakes. This ensures a sensitive dosage of braking force with a constant pressure point regardless of dirt and weather. The Argon GX uses the new Flat Mount 140 standard, which allows a particularly compact, lighter brake design.
The frame of the Argon GX is made from 7020-T6 aircraft aluminum (AlZn4.5Mg1), which has a 30% higher tensile strength and a 20% higher elastic limit compared to the 6061-T6 alloy (AlMg1SiCu) commonly used in frame construction. Compared to lighter carbon frames, an aluminum construction can have a weight disadvantage, but is generally less sensitive to stone chips and crash damage.
Manufacturing exclusively from 7020-T6 alloy – also known as German Aircraft Aluminum, we remain true to our philosophy that this aluminum is the superior material for mountain bike construction: all milling and cutting scraps, as well as discarded frames, are 100% recycled to the original raw material, which can then be used to create new, high-quality bikes. Our goal is a complete circular economy.
Compared to the alloy 6061-T6 (AlMg1SiCu), which is usually used in bicycle construction, the widespread use of 6061-T6 is partly due to the fact that it can be processed at lower tooling costs and the frames can be straightened after welding with less technical effort.
Sometimes inadequate carbon frames can spontaneously break and collapse in the event of an overload, NICOLAI bikes are calculated and designed to deform in a defined area of the frame in the event of an overload, significantly reducing the risk of serious crashes or injuries. A NICOLAI aluminum frame is designed to withstand many years of severe competition conditions.
The geometry of the Argon GX combines sportiness and efficiency with control and handling across a wide range. The recipe for this is a relatively long top tube and reach dimension for efficiency and speed in combination with a slack steering angle and a longer rear for smoothness and driving stability on dirt roads and trails. The frame is also compatible with gravel suspension forks up to 40mm travel, which NICOLAI offers as an upgrade option. NICOLAI applies adaptive geometry to the Argon GX, which takes into account weight and proportion for different body sizes. As the length and height of the main frame increases, the seat angle becomes flatter on larger frames, while the steering angle becomes steeper. This ensures that the bike’s characteristics remain the same at each size. The Argon GX is offered in 6 frame sizes, from XS to XXL, suitable for riders from 155cm to 208cm. Few manufacturers offer such a wide range.
So that you can hit every lane on the trail, we mount a form-fit sliding, exchangeable dropout for track and camber adjustment on all frames. Due to the differently milled, right dropouts for adjusting the lintel, the rear only needs to be slightly readjusted after installation. This takes the strain off the material. The respective lintel height is milled into the RADO with the digits 0, 1, 2 or -1 and -2. After the toe and camber have been set, the RADO is fixed ex works with a pin. This makes the original setting easily reproducible during replacement. This is the only way we can guarantee that NICOLAI products work precisely on the track.
With a NICOLAI frame you determine the design. Every Nicolai frame can be produced in a color according to your preferences. NICOLAI operates its own powder coating facility at the factory and offers a choice of over 50 colors for the Argon GX, each in high gloss or satin finish. However, the frame can also be optionally hard anodized, with a choice of black, bronze and titanium. On request, the frame can also be supplied uncoated in the “factory raw” aluminum finish.
Powder coated, anodized or factory-raw – you decide what your frame looks like. Powder coating is a melted plastic coating that is significantly more resistant to scratching and impact than conventional coatings.
Lacquer. Anodising is an electrochemical process used to colour the surface of aluminium. The oxide layer is even harder and more scratch-resistant than any powder coating. Additional weight is not applied during anodising. However, the thin oxide layer can be penetrated more easily. With a powder coating or lacquer you can hide flaws in the surface. Scratches, scoring and tool marks can be filled and smoothed like skin folds with make-up. An anodizing does not hide anything, reveals every flaw; the brighter the anodizing tone, the clearer. This is why different colours are produced on welded frames during anodising. However, the current trend is towards frames which are delivered “factory-raw”. The frames are not coated after production, but move directly to assembly. You get your frame without coating (also no clear lacquer). Over time, an oxide layer/patina forms on the frame, causing the shine of the raw aluminium to fade slightly. With the help of a polishing fleece, however, the old shine can be restored in a few easy steps. In addition to the unmistakable look, the “factory raw” look best reveals the manufacturing quality and technical charm of the frame.
Click here for the colour samples!
You can choose between the Nicolai standard lettering or the NICOLAI BIG N logo for the decors. The decors are available in different colours and finishes – you decide.
You have the choice of adjusting the colour of your bell crank, the tension brackets and the preload covers to your frame. We offer various anodising colours with which you can refine your bike. Due to the process, there may be colour deviations between the components of light anodised colours due to material properties.
Multi day bike tours through remote areas are very much in vogue, and more and more bikers would prefer to experience their adventure on a fast, lightweight gravel bike instead of a classic touring bike. The Argon GX has all the mounting points for mounting mudguards and pannier racks. NICOLAI has succeeded in hiding these so discreetly that the look of a purebred gravel sports bike is not affected. The mounting threads for mudguards on the dropouts and inside of the yokes you discover only with a closer look.
For the installation of a strong rear panier, NICOLAI offers an adapter, which is inserted into a transverse cutout of the seat stay yoke and screwed through two holes located on underneath. The Argon GX has 3x bottle cage mounts in all frame sizes. A bracket under the down tube can be used for mounting a toolbox, for example. The front triangle is ideal for mounting frame bags thanks to straight-cut trapezoid shape.
The possibility of carrying equipment naturally includes roadworthy bags and packs which make the Argon GX very attractive as a fast commuter and everyday bicycle.
You can order, pay and pick up your custom frame directly from us or from your Nicolai dealer. For technical details we are directly at your disposal. First we need to know why you want to ride a custom frame. Mostly the reasons lie in the past.
Which bike did you ride? What geometry did it have? What problems did you have with it? Maybe back pain, aching knees or a twinge in your neck?
Next, we want to know your body measurements and body mass, i.e. your height, your stride length, your arm length and your weight. Which sitting position do you prefer? Do you have any health problems? What do you want to do with the bike? Cross country racing or freeriding? Easy touring or steep trails? What parts do you want to ride or be able to upgrade later?
Often, after evaluating the information in more detail, we find that a stock frame can also meet your needs. However, if we notice that our series frames do not meet your requirements, then we design a custom geometry for you.
The manufacturing quality itself is not yet an added value for a customer. The following two added values “durability & precise driving characteristics”result from production quality. Only if the welds are welded deep into the root and have no notches, a bike frame can withstand the impacts from the ground for many years without breaking. Precise riding characteristics are achieved when the rear wheel is precisely straight to the front wheel and even a layman notices that an oblique bike rides strangely (but usually he thinks it’s because of his riding ability).
Over the last 20 years, we have continuously optimized our production in order to further increase production quality and, of course, to be able to implement ever more sophisticated designs. Of course you can also outsource a production, but then you have to plan a certain additional effort to check the processes at others. We do not do this, because we manufacture everything in-house. However, this trivial fact leads to the next reason:
Customer-specific adaptation options
Since we only manufacture a NICOLAI bike when we have received an order from a customer, it is easy for us to implement different wishes such as colour, train guidance or even a special geometry. The possibilities and limits can be evaluated in a personal discussion with our sales and technical team. Oh, and here’s another reason:
Personal contact continues even after purchasing a NICOLAI bike. There are customers with whom we have been friends for 20 years and if after a few years of hard work a bearing needs to be changed or a frame needs a new coating, you can simply call the guys from the service department. Since we also manufacture all small parts on our machines, we can also produce all spare parts for older models if required. In three words:
10 years spare parts availability
We do not follow any trends, but test everything ourselves and come to our own convictions and that for 20 years. We have a great deal of experience. In my opinion, it borders on insulting customers to announce a bike as a novelty in one year and to discontinue the same model as a discontinued model next year. A NICOLAI is timeless. Straight drawn round tubes paired with elaborate CNC milled parts and beautiful detail solutions result in a frame design that will please even after many years. I call it that:
Durability and value stability
The manufacture of products close to the customer is environmentally friendly. This applies to bread, milk, meat and any other product. And it applies above all to large objects. I do not want to transport bulky bicycle frames, which consist almost exclusively of air, in containers across the oceans. I just want to produce the things that are needed. For more and more customers this sustainability and the jobs here on site is a reason to choose a NICOLAI bike. Worn phrase:
But back to the bikes. Every NICOLAI frame is developed in Lübbrechtsen. The bike is designed, prototypes built and tested until we are satisfied. The feedback of our team riders, our customers and our own experience as bikers is incorporated. Our goal is always the same: To make best function, durability, reliability and the good better. And that’s the best reason:
The best bike
We provide a 5-year warranty on all frame models against breakage and material failure, even for competitive use and jumps. The prerequisite is that the respective models are used within the scope of their designated purpose and have only been equipped with components for which an approval has been obtained. In addition, we guarantee the availability of spare parts for all models for a period of at least 10 years.
NICOLAI offers the Argon GX as a custom build, where you can choose from various components and finish options via an online configurator to assemble a bike according to your own requirements and dreams.
NICOLAI Rahmen-Kits und Kompletträder werden im Direktvertrieb angeboten und können entweder als reguläre Modellvariante bestellt oder mit einer Vielzahl von Ausstattungsoptionen über einen Online-Konfigurator individuell zusammengestellt werden. Das persönliche Gespräche und der direkten Kontakt zu unseren Kunden stehen bei uns an erster Stelle.
NICOLAI frame kits and complete wheels are offered through direct sales and can either be ordered as a regular model variant or individually assembled with a variety of equipment options via an online configurator. Personal discussions and direct contact with our customers are our top priority. With our test bike selection, we regularly visit bike parks and trail centers, where interested parties can extensively test our bikes after prior registration and receive individual advice. At the NICOLAI factory we have set up a showroom where all current models are on display. Here you can make appointments for personal consultations, test rides, buy bikes directly or pick up pre-ordered bikes.
We have developed a sturdy and reusable bike box for our mail-order shipping. In this box, the new NICOLAI bike arrives protected and guaranteed safely inside a wooden structure to the customer, it is ready for use after a few simple steps. The same box is reused when the bike is returned to us for repair or service. All transport protection included in the bike box such as pads, retaining straps, brackets and bolts are also reusable.
The following boxing and unboxing videos show the thought we put into shipping and how much engineering can go into a box alone:
The NICOLAI Bikebox is also available individually in the store.
Cyclocross / Gravel