Argonaut Cycles building facade

Behind the Curtain: Argonaut Cycles factory tour

Ever wonder how the boutique carbon brand manufactures its frames? Well, wonder no more.

James Huang
by James Huang 02.11.2023 Photography by
James Huang
More from James +

Welcome to Behind the Curtain (we’ll see if the name sticks), a new and recurring series at Escape Collective where we take you behind the scenes at various factories worldwide to show you exactly how the sausage is made. Aside from companies maybe covering travel costs, rest assured these are not sponsored articles in any way. We still ask the questions we want to ask, we still show what we want to show, and we are by no means trying to sell you anything (although we also reserve the right to say when we think something is cool, too).

Want to see more of these? Make sure you sign up to become a member of Escape Collective. And if you’re already a member and have suggestions for who we should visit, go ahead and leave them in the comment section below.

Argonaut Cycles has been around since 2007, but it wasn’t until founder and builder Ben Farver switched from steel to carbon fiber in 2012 that he started to stand out from the crowd. While many brands at the time were deeply immersed in the weight weenie wars prevalent at the time, Farver was instead more interested in how to replicate the ride quality of steel that he’d always enjoyed. That the composite frames he was making happened to be light while also closely mimicking the classic aesthetic of metal was a nice bonus.

Farver doesn’t shy away from the fact that he’s made some mistakes along the way (haven’t we all?), but he’s also learned a lot in the process, culminating in the development of Argonaut’s latest RM3 road and GR3 gravel bikes – the only two bikes in the entire company catalog. Both incorporate a novel (and supposedly patented) construction method that Farver claims is not only superior to more conventional processes, but one that’s also adaptable for an unusually broad range of custom geometries and stiffness/flex characteristics while still offering the ride quality benefits he’s been chasing for the last decade.

But does all of this make for a better bike, or one that even fully justifies the sky-high asking prices? It’s not for me to say what’s “better” for a particular rider, and while Farver fully answered all of the questions I presented to him, I wasn’t about to dig into the company’s balance sheet. That said, the unusually laborious nature of Argonaut’s construction methods is hard to dispute, and if nothing else, it was quite the sight to behold. 

I hope you enjoy this virtual tour, and fingers crossed, we’ll have another Behind the Curtain installment for you sooner than later.

What did you think of this story?