Argon 18 E-117 Tri Disc – First Look

It was just about four years ago that Argon 18 launched their E-117 Tri and Tri+ bikes. At the time we said, “At a glance, both the E-117 and E-119 check off all the boxes we look for when we start considering a new bike.” But four years is quite a bit of time in tri-tech years and what athletes were looking for then has had a few changes versus today – most notably disc brakes. So, it should come as no surprise that Argon 18 felt that they could make a good thing even better with the introduction of disc brakes to the E-117 – and thus the E0117 Tri Disc was born.

The Argon 18 E117 Tri Disc

The E-117 is Argon 18’s entry level tri and TT bike (yes this is UCI legal for those looking to get some TT’s in during the off season). Argon 18 sees the E-117 as many an athletes introductions to triathlon frames.

“We’ve found that the E-117 is often a triathlete’s first dedicated tri bike. They’ve competed on a road bike with clip-ons, and they’re looking for a high-performance tri bike to get that added aero advantage,” says Martin Faubert, VP Product at Argon 18. “But most importantly, they’re looking for a versatile, easy to maintain bike that offers confidence and fit adjustability as they continue to refine their position. The E-117 Tri Disc is that bike.”

Improved braking performance is coupled with the stiffness of thru-axles as well as clearance for 28C tires, offering increased comfort. For those new to the TT position, this handling and comfort is a game changer, especially on full-length courses or for athletes coming from a running background.

“We added disc brakes to the E-117 even before the E-119, because we believe that handling and confidence on the bike were top concerns for many of our age-groupers, for both racing and training,” says Faubert. “This is the bike that will grow with you as an athlete – no matter what your level is now,” adds Faubert. “Confident, highly adjustable and flat-out fast.”

The bike features a standard non integrated cockpit. Under your saddle is an adjustable offset seatpost, and Argon 18’s 3D system for three headtube heights offering layers of adjustability at both the basebar and pedestal. The 3D system allows for 3 head tube heights for every frame size while adding 5% and 11% more stiffness vs. standard spacers at 15mm and 30mm.

The E-117 Tri Disc meets all the storage needs of today’s crop of tri bikes, including toptube, downtube and rear hydration mount locations.

For those wondering about the aero penalties or gains from rim brakes to disc. The penalty is less than 0.002m2 of CdA for an average rider. Argon 18 tells us that after a one hour race on a flat course the difference would be about 7 seconds – probably less than the gain from increased confidence in overall handling or later braking.

Geometry

The E117 Tri Disc features the same geometry of its rim braked brother.

Builds

At launch the E-117 will be available in 2 builds plus a frame set. The frameset for $1,599 US includes frame, fork, headset, 3D system and seatpost.

The Ultegra\105 mix features Shimano Ultegra derarilleurs front and rear with a mix of Ultegra and 105 consumables. The wheels are Vision Team 30 Disc Tubeless and the saddle is a ISM PR1.0. Braking is handled by TRP brakes. This will set you back $2,999.

For those looking for electronic there is the Ultegra Di2 E-117. Featuring Shimano Ultegra Di2, Mavic Cosmic Elite Disc Tubeless wheels, and the ISM PR1.0. With the Di2 kit you get Shimano brakes.  Stepping up to electronic retails for $5,699.

Our Thoughts

The E-117 meets a need that has largely fallen out of favor – the classic entry level bike. We can think of less than a handful of “entry level” tri bikes with disc brakes (Cervelo P-Series and Quintana Roo PR four disc). Most companies have been focusing on their halo bikes at the top and not options for those just getting into the sport. At $2,999 the E-117 is right in line with the few other bikes in this class. One big difference we see though is where some of these other companies have chosen to include bento boxes, rear hydration, and other nutrition storage options, Argon 18 has instead looked to up the group set with a fairly full Ultegra build out instead of Shimano 105. Though a frame specific bento box is available from your local Argon 18 carrying bike shop.

At $1,599 for the frameset – this also has to be one of the cheapest frames available on the market today.  We can see people and shops building up one of these with either 1X (the front derailleur hanger is removable), SRAM AXS, or something else special versus the builds on offer.

We do have to point out the cabling for the front brake does hang out in the wind (similar to our thoughts on the Cervelo P-Series). Companies like Parlee have been successful routing this cable in the fork and we would have liked to have seen Argon 18 do something similar.

Wrapping Up

There is a definite need for entry level tri bikes – especially ones with disc brakes (since that is where the industry as a whole as going). The one addition we would have liked to have seen is some included frame specific storage. We agree that rear and front hydration can be athlete specific, but bento and draft boxes are frame specific. It’s a little thing that adds value to the bike and when done right can have an impact on aerodynamics versus just buying a bento box off of the sales floor. At $1,599 for the frameset and $2,999 for the Ultegra (not just 105) build, Argon 18 is offering a good value and is in line or better than the competitors. Stay tuned for an indepth review when we get an E-117 in for testing and don’t forget to check out Argon 18s other release today – the 118!

[Updated 10/8/2019 8PM EST: Argon 18 does offer a frame specific bento box as an additional accessory]

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