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Argon 18 Krypton Pro Ultegra Di2 2024

8
£7,000.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Looks like a road bike, rides like a road bike, but is very capable on the rougher stuff too
Great ride quality
Impressive performance on road and hardpacked surfaces
Internal storage is roomy
Stiff and light
Road-focused gearing is quite tall for off-road sections
Road groupsets limit tyre clearance
Weight: 
7,600g
Contact: 

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The latest Argon 18 Krypton Pro sits in the company's 'all-road' line-up, which conjures up images of a road bike with an identity crisis, but credit where credit is due, I reckon it's pretty much nailed this sub-genre of many genres. On the tarmac it's a light, fast, nimble road bike, while being capable and fun to ride when pointed at a bit of rough stuff, whether that be broken lanes or a gravel trail. It's that bike that everyone keeps telling us non-racers we need.

Stock of the Krypton Pro is currently making its way through to dealers. The SRAM Force AXS model is already for sale online; this Shimano Ultegra Di2 build will be available very soon.

If you don't have £7,000 to spare, check out our best road bikes buyer's guide, covering machines from just £300 up to £12,000-plus.

Argon 18 Krypton Pro: Ride

A lot has changed on the Kryton Pro since I reviewed its predecessor back in 2019, a quirky-looking endurance bike that arrived with, by current standards, some rather skinny 25mm tyres.

This model is much smoother and, dare I say it, a much better-looking machine. I especially love the way the design of the front end masks the fact that it has a tall head tube and therefore stack height, making it look like a quite aggressive race bike.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - 2.jpg

It rides like one, too.

At 7.6kg (including the toolkit inside the down tube, more about that in a bit) in this Shimano Ultegra Di2 build, it's light enough to be responsive and fun, great for rides calling for plenty of acceleration or when climbs are a big part of your chosen route.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - down tube detail.jpg

Out-of-the-saddle efforts highlight the stiffness running throughout the lower half of the frame, so if you choose to bury the pedals you are going to feel flattered by its resistance to flex, and if you are contesting the sprint on the chain gang you aren't going to be under-biked either.

The geometry still allowed me to get a decent aero position in the drops to get out of the wind, and it certainly helped when descending too. I was able to keep my centre of gravity low enough that the Krypton Pro never felt top heavy when leaning it over for tight, technical turns, and thanks to a stiff fork, understeer – or any vagueness in the steering department at all – is completely kept at bay.

Because of the various angles and tube lengths, it's not the sharpest-handling machine I have ever ridden, but neither would I expect it to be. For what it is, an all-road bike with large tyre clearances, it tracks very well and is a joy to push through the bends.

Argon 18's designers haven't focused purely on the stiffness either, there is a good level of compliance built into the frame and fork in various places. The slenderness of the lower half of the seat tube, for one, where it looks like a cutout around the wheel promotes a bit of flex, and the fork legs bring a bit of relief to your hands and wrists from high-frequency vibration.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - fork.jpg

Coming as standard with 30mm tyres, it's able to tackle the majority of poor road surfaces without you making any changes, but you can go a fair bit wider should the need arise.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - seat stays.jpg

With this build the Krypton Pro will take up to 38mm tyres, which isn't exactly gravel bike territory, but if your trails are hardpacked or at least dry and firm you'll find yourself aboard a very capable 'soft-roader'.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro Ridden.jpg

Unfortunately, because of the amount of rain we've had here in the South-West over the last few months the majority of the trails I use for riding gravel bikes are basically mud baths, so I couldn't really exploit the gravel attributes of the Argon.

I did fit a set of wheels I had in my shed which were wearing some 36mm road tyres and hit some of the local canal paths and bike trails, and even when hitting the shallow puddles and slippery sections I loved the way the Krypton Pro felt easy to control with a bit of bodyweight shifting, which leads me to think that on the simpler gravel sections it is going to be a fun and capable bike to ride.

For pure gravel riding you are going to want a specific bike, but if you are just going to dabble with friends, or to explore that local trail you ride past on your road bike, then you are definitely going to be able to exploit the Krypton Pro to its full potential.

Argon 18 Krypton Pro: Frame & fork

The carbon fibre frame of the Krypton Pro comes in at a claimed sub 900g, which is impressive for one that is designed to take on a bit of rough and tumble. It also includes neat design cues like the internal storage space found on the down tube.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - UCI sticker.jpg

A cool little arm, colour coded in copper to match the rest of the frame details, allows you to remove the door, giving access to the inside of the frame.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - down tube storage.jpg

Argon 18 provides a neat pouch with multiple pockets to store tools and kit, and, before you ask, it doesn't rattle, even on rough surfaces.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - tool bag 1.jpg

Gone is the press-fit bottom bracket of the previous model, with a move to a T47 which exploits the same dimensions as the press-fit setup in terms of tube sizing around the shell, but uses a threaded interface to give a secure and tight tolerance fit.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - bottom bracket.jpg

The frame takes a 27.2mm diameter seatpost which for me was exposed a fair bit because of the sloping top tube design. This promotes flex to add to the comfort that the frame already provides.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - top tube graphic.jpg

There are plenty of mounts too, suiting that 'adventure' sort of design ethos, including twin bottle cages in the usual position and an extra set under the down tube, plus two more on the top of the top tube.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - head tube.jpg

The Krypton is also mudguard and rack compatible too, which brings me neatly on to tyre clearances. With guards fitted you are looking at a maximum of 35mm, and if you are using one of Shimano's road groupsets like we are here, you are limited to the same size even without guards.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - rear disc brake.jpg

Running SRAM AXS 2x groups means you can up that to 38mm, while 1x systems, Shimano's GRX gravel groupsets or SRAM's Wide offerings allow you to use the maximum 40mm clearance.

The Krypton Pro is available in six sizes ranging from XXS to XL, or 496mm to 604mm if you are going by horizontal top tube measurements.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - rear.jpg

This one is a medium, with a 558mm top tube and 520mm seat tube. The 189mm head tube length adds to the 608mm stack height, both measurements including the 25mm spacer which fits flush with the top of the top tube.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - stem.jpg

The overall wheelbase length, including 415mm chainstays, is 1,005mm and the head angle is 72.3 degrees, which is slightly slacker than the seat tube at 73.7 degrees.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - front.jpg

As you can see from all of this, the Krypton Pro is a balance of endurance road edging into gravel bike territory.

Argon 18 Krypton Pro: Finishing kit

According to Argon 18's website the Krypton Pro is available in two builds, Shimano Ultegra Di2 as we have here, and SRAM Force AXS, as well as a frameset only.

I like the way Argon 18 hasn't scrimped anywhere on the build. Even for this sort of money it's not unusual to see many own-brand components including wheels, but this bike is specced with some top-level kit from proven brands.

Take the wheels, for instance, a set of Hunt's excellent 44 Aerodynamicist Carbon Discs, which we found to be near faultless when we reviewed them back in 2022. Their 20mm internal rim width is designed to be optimal with 28mm tyres in terms of aerodynamics, but an external width of 29mm means tyres of the width capable of being fitted to the Krypton Pro still have a smooth profile.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - rim and tyre.jpg

With a claimed weight of just 1,466g the wheels certainly help in terms of acceleration or when climbing.

The saddle is from Repente, the Prime 3.0 (a newer version of the one Dave reviewed in 2019) which has a carbon fibre shell and rails to keep the weight down. The padding is on the minimalist side, which I'm a fan of, although some might want something a little more luxurious if spending a lot of time away from smooth roads.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - saddle 2.jpg

There is even more carbon on offer, too, with Argon 18's own TDS-C seatpost, and the FSA SL-K SCR Compact handlebar.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - bars 3.jpg

The bar has a noticeable amount of flex when riding on the hoods, which adds to your comfort without bringing any vagueness to the handling at all. The shallow drop means you can exploit the lower positions on offer without pushing too much of your weight forward on to your wrists, which means they work just as well off-road too.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - bars 1.jpg

The Ciclovation Leather Touch Tornado Gloss bar tape is quite thin to the touch, but surprisingly plush in use.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - drop bar.jpg

As for the groupset, well I won't go into massive detail here as you can read our full review of the latest Ultegra Di2 groupset.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - crank.jpg

In a nutshell, the shifting quality is amazing, as is the braking performance. The ergonomics are great as well – I love the shape of the shifters, and if you want to tweak things there is app integration too.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - lever.jpg

The Krypton Pro uses a 52/36 chainset paired to an 11-30 12-speed cassette, so definitely gearing biased towards the road. For the all-round kind of riding the bike is aimed at, I'd have thought the 50/34 chainset and an 11-34 cassette would probably be a better option.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - drivetrain.jpg

For braking, Argon 18 has gone for a 160mm rotor on the front and a 140mm on the rear, which in my opinion provides more than enough outright stopping power and control in all of the conditions I encountered.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - front disc brake.jpg

In fact, the only thing I'd change out of the whole build is the tyres, but only if I was going to spend all of my time on the road.

When we reviewed the 30mm Vittoria Corsa Control TLR G2.0 tyres we described them as 'fast wet-weather tyres' and thanks to all of the rain we have had I can vouch for that.

2024 Argon 18 Krypton Pro - tyre.jpg

They are tough, too, which has made them ideal for this time of year and more than robust enough for those hardpacked bridleways. Grip levels are good, as is the ride feel for the type of tyre that they are. If you are going to use the Krypton Pro as a fast road machine, though, it will really benefit from some faster-rolling rubber to really allow the frameset to show its true potential.

Argon 18 Krypton Pro: Value

This build is priced at £7,000, the SRAM Force AXS model is £7,500, and if you go for the frameset option it's £4,000.

As I mentioned earlier, if you are using this Ultegra 2x build then tyre width is limited to 35mm according to Argon 18, which means there is competition from the likes of Merida's Scultura Endurance and Canyon's new(ish) Endurace CFR.

I've ridden both, and the Argon 18 is definitely a better road bike in terms of performance and rider involvement than the Canyon. I wasn't overly enamoured by the way it rode. The Merida Scultura Endurance was from the lower end of the line-up and came with aluminium wheels, stodgy feeling tyres and alloy finishing kit, so wasn't exactly rapid. I have ridden higher specced models in the past, though.

Both the Merida and Canyon have similar geometry to the Argon 18, with tall front ends and an endurance bias, so are surefooted on rough roads and the like.

The Ultegra Di2-equipped Scultura Endurance 9000 is £5,200, which includes Reynolds deep-section carbon wheels, Continental GP5000 tyres and carbon finishing kit. It uses Merida's CF3 carbon grade for the frame, unlike its top-end CF5 lighter grade used on some bikes in its catalogue, which would be more in line with the light weight achieved by Argon 18 for the Krypton Pro.

Since I reviewed the Endurace, Canyon has dropped the prices, so both the Shimano Dura-Ace and Campagnolo Super Record Wireless models are now £8,599, while the SRAM Red build is £8,119. Canyon doesn't offer an Ultegra Di2 model for a direct comparison, but if it did, I imagine it would come in at around the same price as the Krypton Pro.

I also reviewed Ridley's Grifn recently, an all-road bike that has geometry similar to an endurance road bike but with those larger tyre clearances. Like the other two above, it isn't as performance orientated as the Argon 18 out on the road, but it was still a pleasure to ride on a range of different surfaces.

With the 2x Shimano GRX Di2 build I reviewed, tyre clearance was limited to 38mm, with 40mm being possible with a 1x setup. Specced with Ultegra Di2 and similar finishing kit to the Argon 18, it comes in at around £6,100.

The Vitus Venon EVO-RS is also a very impressive all-road bike, available in both road and gravel builds. It isn't quite as quick and nimble as the Argon 18, but you certainly can't turn your nose up at its value, with the SRAM Force AXS-equipped Aero model coming in at £4,699.99.

While it's hard to find direct comparisons, I'd say the Argon 18 is there or thereabouts in terms of pricing, especially against the likes of the Canyon. It's a very good frameset, and arguably a slightly better bike on the road than the others in terms of ride quality.

Argon 18 Krypton Pro: Conclusion

If I was in the market for a new bike, the Krypton Pro would definitely be on my shopping list. It has that relaxed position that I prefer now my racing days are over, but it still feels aggressive enough for me to believe I can turn a crankset in anger if I want. It also doesn't look like an all-road bike. It looks fast, svelte if you like, and with its great ride quality and handling this really is a very capable machine.

Verdict

Looks like a road bike, rides like a road bike, but is very capable on the rougher stuff too

road.cc test report

Make and model: Argon 18 Krypton Pro Ultegra Di2

Size tested: Medium, 558mm

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

Wheels: Hunt 44 Aerodynamisist Disc with XDR

Tyres: Vittoria Corsa Control TLR G2.0 700x30c

Brakes: Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8150

Brake Levers: Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8150

Rotors: Shimano Ultegra RT-CL800 / F:160mm R:140mm

Shifters: Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8170

Bottom Bracket: TOKEN T47 BB

Front Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8150

Rear Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8150

Crankset: Shimano Ultegra R8100 52/36

Chain: Shimano Ultegra CN-M8100 12S

Handlebar: FSA SL-K SCR Compact

Stem: FSA OS-99

Bar Tape: Ciclovation Leather Touch Tornado Gloss

Saddle: Repente Prime 3.0

Seatpost: Argon 18 TDS-C

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Argon 18 says, "Designed for speed and comfort over all surfaces, the all-new Krypton Pro offers increased tire clearance for versatility, a downtube storage compartment to carry tools and gear, and shorter chainstays for a more responsive ride."

It's a quick road bike that is also very capable on rough surfaces not just smooth ones.

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

As well as this Shimano Ultegra Di2 build, there's a SRAM Force AXS build for £7,500, plus a frameset only for £4,000.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
9/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

A stunning frame that is very well built and finished with excellent attention to detail.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

The Krypton Pro uses carbon fibre throughout its construction.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The geometry is similar to an endurance road bike, but with a slightly taller front end which helps give stability when riding it away from the tarmac.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

It has a taller stack height than a typical road bike of its size, but similar to bikes like the Canyon and Merida mentioned in the review.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Comfort is very good for such a stiff bike. There is subtle compliance built into various sections of the frame and fork which reduces road buzz.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Stiffness is impressive, making the Krypton Pro a capable climber and sprinter.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Transfer of power is also good because of the low weight and stiffness.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?

No.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The Krypton Pro has neutral handling on the road, making it easy to ride quickly and also meaning it doesn't feel a handful on rough descents.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

I liked the slender shape of the saddle, and the handlebar has a small amount of flex which takes the sting out of rough roads.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The stiffness of the Hunt wheels helps out-of-the-saddle efforts.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

For pure road use in dry conditions I'd upgrade the tyres to something more supple and lighter.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
8/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

A stunning groupset all round, with great shifting and braking performance.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the wheels for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels for comfort:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?

Deep enough for an aero advantage, with a low enough weight to help when climbing or sprinting.

Rate the tyres for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for comfort:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?

Good all-round tyres to suit the all-round attributes of the bike, though sluggish for speed work.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

A top-end mix of kit that means you won't need to upgrade anything soon.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's about the right sort of price when you compare it to the competition mentioned in the review, consider the engineering that goes into the frameset plus the high-end finishing kit.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
5/10

Use this box to explain your overall score

For this kind of bike, the Krypton Pro is one of the best out there in terms of the ride quality; the geometry makes it a very impressive machine to ride quickly, or when just out getting the miles in. It's well specced, too, and very much the complete package. It's very good.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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4 comments

Avatar
Destroyer666 | 1 month ago
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Up to now I though tyre clearance was only a frame issue. But it seems then that the front derailleur/chainline can be a problem as well. Aren't there some offset adapters to for example make the Ultegra groupset work with 40mm tyres?

Avatar
mark1a replied to Destroyer666 | 1 month ago
0 likes
Destroyer666 wrote:

Up to now I though tyre clearance was only a frame issue. But it seems then that the front derailleur/chainline can be a problem as well. Aren't there some offset adapters to for example make the Ultegra groupset work with 40mm tyres?

I've not seen any. The "official" route from Shimano would be to use GRX (Ultegra equivalent 800), this has a 5mm wider Q factor and a front derailleur offset of 2.5mm to accommodate wider chainstay frames and tyres. 

Avatar
Destroyer666 replied to mark1a | 1 month ago
0 likes

Ok, thanks for the input!

Avatar
RoubaixCube | 1 month ago
0 likes

For a bike thats worth 7k. The pictures sure dont do it justice. Im guessing the colour scheme will also be a little divisive. While I do appreciate a good metallic paint. Im not a huge fan of the copper Argon 18 Logo.

 

I think this is a bike that looks 1000x better when riding out in the sun or proper daylight.

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