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Argon 18 Started with a story of a combative little kid riding his very first bike race. His bike is nothing special; heavy, a mass-produced clunker with fat tires. The kid looks kinda funny too. This being Canada, he’s borrowed a buddy’s hockey helmet to ride the race, a race he ends up winning. It’s 1973 and the kid’s name is Gervais Rioux and he’s about to discover a whole new world, the wonderful world of cycling and he decides right there and then that he is going to make that world his. A few years later, he witnesses the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and there’s no turning back now, his path is set: he too must reach the topmost rung of the ladder, the pinnacle of cycling achievement, pushing the envelope to the limit.
The kid turned out to be one of the most successful North-American racers of his generation, with 150 or so victories in America and Europe. The list includes three Canadian road racing champion titles, three Quebec road championships, a win at Grand Prix de Beauce, a Tour of Luxembourg, a Tour of Nevada. While a member of prestigious, powerful squads such as Ten Speed Drive and Evian-Miko, Gervais Rioux also represented Canada in major international events for over a decade, such as the Commonwealth Games in 1982 and the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Throughout his racing career, three personal traits defined Gervais Rioux: leadership, an unflagging determination in his every effort as well as an undying passion for his sport. These qualities have remained undiminished in his current role as cycle designer and company CEO.
In buying a Montreal bike shop at the close of his racing career, Gervais chose to put his vision of cycling to work in serving his customers. Thanks to this vision, the shop became an eastern Canadian authority in matters of road cycling and bike fit. More than 2000 bike fitting sessions took place in the store between 1990 and 1999. Alongside these developments, the house brand bike, the Argon 18, began attracting increasing attention everywhere in Canada, for its impeccable handling, quality fabrication and refined, detailed finish. The year 1999 marked a turning point for the fledgling company; that’s when Argon 18 bicycles first appeared at Interbike and soon after became available everywhere in North America. This was extended to Europe the following year, and then to Asia and Oceania. Soon, Gervais Rioux, who by now was primarily occupied with bike design, began working with a material of almost unlimited potential: carbon fiber. This development work eventually yielded the Helium, the first full carbon frameset to bear the Argon 18 name.
A watershed of a different type occurred in 2006, when Argon 18 won triple world champion honors thanks to the considerable athletic talents of Canadian Samantha McGlone (Ironman 70.3) as well as Torbjorn Sindballe and Bella Comerford (LD Triathlon World Championships). The Argon 18 collection for 2011 includes 13 models, of which 6 are 100% carbon fiber framesets. Argon 18 is presently enjoying a strong tailwind and intends to keep the pace high. A striking example of this is the E-114 time-trial frameset, brainchild of Gervais Rioux and the Argon team.
Argon 18 is particularly proud to announce that the E-114 has been chosen for a prestigious Eurobike Award, in recognition of its original and well-considered design. This is the second such prize for the E-114; last year, the Institut Design Montréal chose the bike as first prize winner for best industrial design. Gervais Rioux was present at Eurobike and accepted the award on behalf of the Argon 18 company. He was clearly very pleased to see his company’s work rewarded by this latest prize. In his view, this award "confirms, at the international level, Argon 18’s capacity for innovation." He added that "the E-114 is much more than just another bike; it reflects our determination in pursuing the company’s international development in the highly competitive market for ultra high-end bikes."
1989: A cycling vision takes form: the birth of Argon 18.
1999: First Argon 18 presence at Interbike, largest gathering of the bike industry
2001: First Argon 18 100% carbon frameset launched. Innovation, Argon 18 state of mind.
2005: First Argon 18 monocoque Gallium
2006: Argon 18 becomes triple world champion with three of his triathletes: Samantha McGlone (Ironman 70.3), Torbjorn Sindballe and Bella Comerford (full distance world champion)
2007: Argon 18 at the head of the bunch, with two podiums in the Ironman world championship (Kona) : (Torbjorn Sindballe 3rd, Samantha McGlone 2nd).
2008: E-114 start up : a new story about cycling, with the ONEness concept. A full integration of stem, fork and handlebar.
2008: Argon 18 wins prestigious Eurobike Design Award with E-114.
2008: Argon 18 bikes are available in more than 30 countries.
2009: New 3D System, an Argon 18 exclusive : a structural extension of the headtube for increased rigidity.
2012: Spidertech, powered by Argon 18 bikes, made another breakthrough in professional cycling, receiving an invitation to race the Tour de Suisse, the first-ever invite from a WorldTour race in Europe.
2012: E-118 start up, born of an exhaustive R&D effort in close collaboration with triathlon champion Tim O'Donnell. The bike of champions, UCI-certified.
2013: Argon 18 is proud to sign new partnership agreements with Amore&Vita (Italy), Team People4you-Unaas Cycling (Sweden) and five of the best triathlon champions: Terenzo Bozzone, Leon Griffin, Magali Tisseyre, Ivan Rana and Clemente Alonso Mc Kernan.