Something a little more aero I think - Argon-18 E117

Ready to roll!
Ok, ok, I know I said the Spin (below) was "the" bike but as anyone who rides bikes and has that two wheeled bug will know; "there's always room for one more!"

Spin Industries Lightning custom Di2 hydraulic
But seriously though this wasn't a knee jerk reaction to seeing one in a shop window (although Donna might say otherwise), there was a chain of events leading to this......

It started with a Shimano Dynamic bike fit from Service de Velo - something that I'd been meaning to get done for ages and following some very good review of a new bike shop in nearby Botley (Service de Velo run by Mark Alexander) I decided to book in and get fitted.

2 x 3hr sessions later (the 1st of which I paid for and the 2nd Mark insisted we do, FOC, to get things right) I left knowing a few things;

  1. my Spin set up is aggressive, but comfortable for me, but riding it through an Ironman "may" not be my best option
  2. my left leg is slightly shorter than my right (on the bike) and a 3mm shim in my left pedal sorts this out
  3. heat-form insole's sort out my foot rolling around in my shoe and make power distribution though the pedal much more consistent
  4. Mark @ SdV is passionate about bikes and bit fit - it helps that he's a genuinely nice bloke (if he ever reads this I hope he won't mind me saying that he's so busy that sometimes communications can be lapse but he always gets the job done to a terrific standard.
    There are very few people that I'll let near my bike for service etc - Mark is very much in that limited list of people

So following the bike fit, adjustments to pedals etc and test rides I got to thinking; "is a TT style bike worth it, will I use it and more importantly, how can I justify it?!"

The answer came from the sale of 3 bikes; my Cannondale "hack", my Singlespeed (I love the idea of this bike but just didn't ride it enough) and my first Spin Ti bike which has been, scandalously, downgraded to a winter bike - it deserved better than that!
And from my lovely wife allowing me to use this money to buy a new one!

So, to the decision on what bike to get.  I'd looked around a fair bit at options and kept coming back to the Argon-18 E117, for a few reasons.  A number of guys at the Tri club (HERC Triathlon) ride Argon's and Mark (SdV) gave some great insight and advice into the bike and it was that personal advice that made my mind up.

**It is (I think) really important to point out that as I generally service and build my bikes (MTB or Road) I very much use Wiggle, CRC etc for buying parts but I'm very much for the good old LBS and will happily pay more for parts, bits when the service and advice that is available from the local bike shop is part of that sale.
Could I have saved a few quid online, yes probably.  Could I have got the advice, support and enthusiasm from a website? No!!

I might sound like a slight hypocrite saying this but, go into your LBS, chat to them, get to know them and support them as Wiggle will not be able to help you all the time!**

Anyway, back to the bike and importantly, the finishing kit.  I knew from the outset that I wanted to have Ultegra Di2 (as per the Spin) and that I was going to use my 90mm/60mm Spin carbon wheels handbuilt by Drew @ Spin Industries but after talking to Mark I also decided to add Rotor Q-rings instead of the std Ultegra cranks.

And then the wait..... for the Spin "winter" bike to sell and for the parts (frame mainly) to arrive and to be built by Mark.

So there's the justification over with, now for some very lovely pictures of the bike courtesy of Mark Alexander @ Service de Velo

Argon-18 forks and Spin hub
Rotor Q rings
A beautiful Spin Industries rear hub and Ultegra 11spd cassette

Dream machines

I picked up the bike during a flying visit before heading off on a weekend break to Devon so didn't really have time to do anything other than pay and carry the bike to the car, grinning!

My first ride on the Argon was interesting, having never ridding a TT bike before and having picked a windy, blustery day for the first 5 miles or so to the bike shop.  90mm wheels and an aero bike + wind + narrow tri bars make for a twitchy ride!!

4 or 5 rides in and I'm loving the bike; it's quick and now that I'm getting used to the position on the bars and the handling (as well as the feeling of carbon rims and brakes vs the discs on my other bikes!), confirming that I made the right decision to get this for TT's across the summer and for Ironman Weymouth in September.

With the all important riding position in mind and a final thumbs up for both Mark @ SDV and local bike shops Mark has arranged a follow up bike fit to make sure that the new bike/saddle combination fits and is right for me - couldn't really ask for more could I? Other than to start taking some serious time of m triathlon bike times!


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