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Sarah Max’s Prototype Argonaut GR3 Gravel Bike

Max piloted this bike to victory at Belgian Waffle Ride Asheville

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Gravel racer Sarah Max has been helping Bend, Oregon-based Argonaut refine a new gravel bike, testing different iterations of it at top races this season. At Unbound Gravel, she rode the bike to an 11th place finish.

The latest version of the GR3 — a placeholder name subject to change by the final release — seems to be working quite well for Max. Last weekend, she rode it to the top step of the Belgian Waffle Ride Asheville podium.

With the GR3, Argonaut is hoping to offer something a little bit different from what’s currently on the market. Argonaut COO Alex Candelario calls it “a rowdy race bike that is is capable of devouring gravel.” It shares a ride quality with Argonaut’s road bike, he says, but with the ability to easily take on rough roads.

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The bike is currently on its fourth iteration, with each version featuring subtle changes to the carbon layup as Max helps the brand figure out what is needed to contest big races.

Because Argonaut creates its own frame molds and assembles the frames in house, the brand has been able to make adjustments quickly, going from tooling to rideable product in as little as 23 days. This in-house capability also means Argonaut will be able to offer this gravel bike with custom geometry, something that is hard to come by in carbon frames.

The GR3 will be Argonaut’s first true gravel bike, with tire clearance greater than 35mm. Though Candelario wouldn’t provide details on the tire clearance, noting that it could change by the final product, judging by the ample space around Max’s 700x40mm IRC Boken tires it appears to be well north of 40mm.

Another point of interest is a reversible dropout in the fork which changes the bike’s rake. Whether that makes the final production version hasn’t been decided says Candelario. Argonaut is targeting a fall release for the bike.

We got an up-close look at Max’s prototype bike before Unbound Gravel.