Despite Portland Oregon being consistently one of the most bike centric cities in the US, it’s rare I get to discuss something from my home town. So, when I heard that Argonaut cycles had an exciting new website update – the Argonaut Custom Bike Builder – I knew I wanted to talk about it.
If you aren’t familiar with Argonaut, Ben Farver of Argonaut began making steel frames in Portland, Oregon in 2007. In 2011, Farver switched materials and started building custom carbon fibre frames made by hand in the USA. Argonaut controls every step of the process, making the tooling as well as the frame parts themselves, in the USA.
Argonaut has won several Best Lay Up awards as well as Best In Show at NAHBS 2014 (North American Hand Built Bicycle Show), becoming the first carbon builder to receive this prestigious award. Earlier this year, Argonaut actually left the Portland metro area and moved about 150 miles south to Bend, Oregon, but when we are talking about one of the world’s most desirable bikes, I’ll call that close enough to still be home turf.
If you’ve never gone through the process of having a custom bike made, it can feel a bit intimidating. And you can’t really explore the process much on your own. Typically, you’ve got to get things started by having a long conversation with the builder. During the conversation, you are likely to be asked questions you haven’t considered, and it can feel like you are on the spot a bit.
As a response, Argonaut has added a custom bike builder to their website. It’s simple from a technology standpoint, but that’s not the point. It allows you to play around with paint colours and different builds to get a sense of what the final look and price will be. More importantly, it asks the tough questions that you’ll want to answer before ordering a custom bike. Instead of having to answer those questions on the phone, you can take all the time you want in front of your computer. You can really think through the answers, maybe bounce your thoughts off a riding buddy, and take your time coming to a concise answer before you pick up the phone.
Check it out at Argonaut Cycles and even if you never thought about commissioning a custom bike, I encourage you to spend a bit of time window shopping. You won’t be disappointed.