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SpiderTech’s Secret Weapon – Argon 18 Reveals Some Answers

by John Symon

August 17, 2010 (Montreal QC) – Following up on rumours of a new, top secret bike that is being used by members of the SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy team, we contacted Montreal-based bike manufacturer Argon 18. We spoke to Bruno Paradis, their communications coordinator. “Have you seen photos of the team with a funny-looking bike?” Paradis asked. “I guess the cat is out of the bag now.”

Paradis explained that four or so SpiderTech team members have been riding a prototype bike since early in 2010. Guillaume Boivin won stage 11 of the 2010 Vuelta a Cuba in February on such a bike. Martin Gilbert has been riding one, and so have Bruno Langlois and Mark Batty. The prototypes look fairly inconspicuous being all black and devoid of stickers. Authorized dealers are not yet aware of the bike’s specifications that will be offered in as part of Argon 18’s line up for 2011. The bike should be available in Canada by early winter.

The prototype is provisionally named Mendy 3.1 after Dmitri Mendeleev (1834-1907), the inventor of the periodic table of elements – hence the name Argon 18. The Montreal-based bike manufacturer has been working with SpiderTech, and especially the team’s sprinters, to develop a laterally stiffer bike. Argon has already been working to improve rear end stiffness. The Mendy 3.1 has some interesting features such as a new monocoque frame, massive forks and integrated head set with spacers as wide as the head tube – and the chain stays are asymmetric. There are also some novelties with its geometry that will be revealed at the ExpoCycle 2010 show in Montreal in early September added Paradis.

Paradis agreed to send along some photos, but explained that, “The bike was not fully assembled and prototypes can sometimes end-up looking somewhat like Frankenstein so I did my best to get something presentable. No efforts were made on the cosmetic side. For instance, the black fork doesn’t match the frame. The Mendy’s are all painted with a uniform undercover-like- black finish.”

According to Paradis, “When Martin Gilbert received his Mendy 3.1, he was speechless and his eyes were very big. This bike looks very mean.” We asked about the suggested retail price of the Mendy 3.1 and Paradis laughed. “It’s an upscale bike and the price will be right up there.”

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