When Argon 18 set out to design the Dark Matter, they made sure not to come up with just another gravel bike.
Their vision was to build a true gravel racer: a fast dirt road bike with a geometry adapted from our celebrated road frames. They wanted a bike offering improved stability but with a racing behavior, a bike that would feel just as fast and responsive on the trail that it would on the road. Mission accomplished.
The Dark Matter has a longer wheelbase than their endurance bikes, but it remains shorter than most other gravel bikes available with equivalent tyre clearance. This is only possible with their dropped chain stay design. The Dark Matter offers a longer front end than their road bikes. It adds stability and prevents toe overlap. True to their design ethos and road race background, the Dark Matter was primarily intended to be used with 700c wheels although 650c wheels will work depending on tyre width.
Optimal Balance - Optimal Balance is the design and fabrication philosophy behind all of Argon 18’s bikes. It is the subtle alchemy of lightness, rigidity, comfort and aerodynamics.
The result: a high-performance bike that is easy to ride, that handles well when climbing and is quick off the mark. What’s more, it provides the rider with a feeling of satisfaction without any unwanted fatigue. Much more than a simple idea, Optimal Balance is the result of over 25 years of research and development—expertise which reinforces Argon 18’s reputation as a world leader in high-end bikes and technology.
Integration - The cycling industry is highly competitive and rapidly growing. In this market full of innovation and integration, Argon 18 is leading the way with technological solutions that are ever more effective. Agon 18's solutions are tailored to the specific needs of cyclists—both men and women—at all levels of competition. Moreover, our constantly evolving innovations are easy to both implement and use. Evolution is the key to adaptation.
Aerodynamics - In high-performance cycling, every second counts and aerodynamics can change everything. That’s why any reduction in drag—not matter how small—is of utmost importance. By testing our bikes in true wind conditions, we ensure that all our products are infinitely more accurate and competitive.
AFS - Argon Fit System - Argon 18’s expertise in geometry is based on Gervais Rioux’s vast experience as a professional cyclist and a bike shop owner as well as extensive research and development. The Argon Fit System (AFS) is designed to provide riders of all physical dimensions with consistent performance and optimal ergonomics. No matter what your morphology or your racing style, your positioning will always be efficient and comfortable, ensuring the ultimate in handling.
Positioning and Geometry - At Argon 18, we design our bikes by breaking the frame down into eight distinct sections, each with a specific role. As the length of the frame increases so does the length of each section. This preserves the bike’s well-balanced proportions and ensures that all our frames, regardless of size, have ideal ergonomics and flawless handling.
3D System - Argon 18’s exclusive 3D System is a clever mechanical solution that extends the headtube for more positioning options. Three headtube positions are possible for every frame size; this increases rigidity by 5% at 15mm and 11% at 25mm, versus traditional spacers. With this system, the handlebar height can be perfectly adjusted to meet the needs and preferences of every rider.
HDS - Horizontal Dual System - With its Horizontal Dual System (HDS), Argon 18 has succeeded in combining rigidity and comfort, qualities that are typically seen as mutually exclusive. The basic idea is simple: our frame tubes are each designed for a specific purpose.
High performance gravel specific monocoque carbon frame - With removable aluminum front derailleur hanger for clean looking installation of 1x crankset; frame compatible with 46/30t to 52/36t or 1x46t (max)
Monocoque carbon fork with hidden integrated fender mounts - Rake 54mm on XXS/XS/S frames and 49mm on M/L/XLframes
Aerodynamics - Aerodynamically efficient frame and fork designs for better performance and riding pleasure
Modular cable routing system - Clean, smart and efficient; compatible with all modern transmissions (mechanical, DI2, etap and eps)
Flat mount disc brakes - For 140 or 160mm rotors
Optional direct mount rear derailleur hanger - For optimal installation of shimano rear derailleurs
Up to 45c* tire clearance - For maximum traction on any road surface 40c with fenders or if built with sram etap front derailleur
TDS-C Seatpost - Easy-to-use, offers compliance and comfort
3D+ System - Their 3D+ system delivers all the handling and stiffness benefits of the original 3D system in a streamlined version that merges seamlessly with the frame it offers 3 head tube extension heights for every frame size: 0mm, 15mm and 30mm
DT Swiss Type 12mm Thru-Axle - 100m front and 142mm back
Inlaid chainsuck protector with integrated drain hole - Protection of the carbon chainstay against wear from the chain’s movement
Downtube protector with bottle mount and access to internal cable routing - Plus silicone chain stay protector
Frame: Argon18 Dark Matter
Fork: Argon18 Dark Matter
Seatpost: Argon18 TDS-C Carbon 27.2mm
Headset: FSA 30 + 3DPLUS
Argon 18 is a Canadian cycle manufacturer founded in 1989 by Gervais Rioux in Montreal, Quebec. The name is derived from the element, which is number 18 on the periodic table of elements; it's also one of six natural noble gases. After retiring as a rider, ex-Olympian Rioux opened a bike shop, where the brand was born. In 2001 they produced their first carbon frame and the brand is now distributed in 31 countries. Argon 18 sponsors German pro cycling team Bora-Argon 18 and debuted at the Tour de France in 2015.