We like this carbon road racer not only because it looks blazing fast and subtly unique from all the plastic bikes out there—not to mention the iconoclastic single-word name—but also because it comes from Portland, Oregon, which is better known for retro-feeling lugged-steel frames.
Ben Farver, the mind behind Argonaut, actually began building with steel in 2007 but says he shifted away from the material to gain more control over his products. “With steel you were limited to just a few distributors and couple of different tubing options,” he says. “With carbon the possibilities are endless.” To maximize those possibilities, Farver opted to lay up and mold his own frames (as opposed to purchasing tubes and using tube-to-tube construction), which allows him to offer custom geometry and layups that allow him to fine-tune the fiber orientation based on rider weight, ride quality, and stiffness. Farver even builds the compression-molded carbon dropouts, which interface with the frame by way of custom machined titanium plates. A stock Argonaut, including frame, fork, and seat clamps, runs $6,000, with custom geometry going for $6,500 and up.