// Slalom and DH

The annual Sea Otter Classic took place this last weekend in Central California and it was the first 2019 racing on US soil for Alchemy Factory Racing rider Cody Kelley. Kelley competed on board a modified Arktos 29ST in both the downhill and dual slalom and saw great results in both events.

He finished on the podium in DH with a fifth place. Although he was knocked out in the quarterfinal round in slalom, it was by eventual event winner Mitch Ropelato, and Kelly won one of the two head to heads.

“Overall, I felt really good this weekend,” said Kelley. “Thanks to Bikeco Joe, my set up was on point and it really helped my confidence. I was able to push hard all weekend and get the results I was looking for. It was a little disappointing to get beat by my buddy Mitch, but as we found at the end, he was definitely the fastest guy of the day.”

Kelley’s Arktos was something special at Sea Otter, equipped with a ST shock, link, and fork to make it more competitive on the mild terrain of the Otter.

“The bike Cody rode was built just for Sea Otter,” said Joe Binatena, Alchemy Factory Racing’s mechanic.  “We used a new Arktos 29ST link, with a custom tuned DPX2 shock, and a Bikeco-tuned 130mm travel Fox 34 fork. We focused on making it quick handling because the tracks at Sea Otter aren’t all that rough.”

Kelley is fresh off back-to-back EWS events and is arguably having the best season of his young career. He finished top American in the New Zealand EWS and is currently top American in overall EWS standings. Not sure if you saw the hair as well, but it’s pretty dialed if you ask us.

// ROUND 2 – ENDURO WORLD SERIES 2019

The second round of the 2019 Enduro World Series headed back to Derby, Tasmania for one of the rowdiest races to date. The event proved again to be both a rider and photographer’s favorite, with both rough and scenic trails providing a superb background for a tight weekend of racing. And while Stage 1 saw a brief rainstorm mid-stage, it was mostly sunny skies and clear weather for the entire event.
Alchemy rider Cody Kelley followed his solid performance at the New Zealand round with another strong performance in Tasmania. While not retaining his top American status, he finished closely behind American challenger Marco Osbourne, and is currently in 26th place in the overall rankings.
“I was a little too cautious in Stage 1 because there was some rain just before my start time,” says Kelley. “Because it was such a long stage, that really put me behind the eight ball and I spent the rest of the event trying to play catch up.” Kelley’s best finish of the event was a 16th place earned on Stage 4.
“Cody is really starting to come into his own,” commented race team mechanic Joe Binatena. “This season is really about honing his race craft and you can see that he’s finding a nice balance between fast and risky. The season goal is a top 20 finish overall and some top 10 stage finishes.”
The series now takes a small break before heading to Madeira for round 3 of the series. Also one of the most inspiring riding locales in the world, the event promises to provide some of the best photos and riding of the EWS season.
Photos Courtesy Sven Martin and Dave Trumpore

 

// ROUND 1 – ENDURO WORLD SERIES 2019

The first round of the 2019 Enduro World Series went off with a bang last weekend, with round one taking place in Rotorua, New Zealand. Alchemy racer Cody Kelley had a great event, finishing in 25th overall and taking honors as the top American finisher at the event.

“I had a strong, injury-free offseason and was really excited to get back to racing,” said Kelley. “Maybe I started off a little too cautious in the first stages at Roto, but by the end of the day, my flow was working and I managed to get some really solid times.”

 

Kelley’s best results came in the longest stages, which meant his two top 20s meant a lot in terms of gaining time.

“It was so important to go fast enough to keep in the mix,” said Kelley. “But the stages we  long, it was important to maintain consistency from start to finish. I could have pushed a little hard to improve my results, but overall I am happy where things ended up.”

Kelley is contesting the series on the new Arktos 29, which features 140mm rear travel, but for EWS racing Kelley has boosted the fork from the normal 160mm to a 170mm travel Fox 36. Kelley’s Arktos also uses suspension that has been race-tuned by factory mechanic Joe Binatena, the owner of Bikeco bike shop located in Orange County, California.

 

From Rotorua, the series continues its Southern journey, as the EWS heads to Derby, Tasmania for Round 2. Derby features some of the rider’s favorite course, with hand-cut trails winding way through the rainforest singletrack.

Photos Courtesy Andy Vathis and Dave Trumpore

// OVERVIEW

Whether you are a top World Cup downhiller, EWS racer, or just a weekend warrior, one of the most important aspects to having your mountain bike perform at the highest level is understanding how to set up your suspension properly. With a basic understanding on how Sine Suspension functions and the set up recommendations below, you can easily have your Arktos working in tip-top shape in no time.

 

// DESIGN

Both the Arktos 27.5 and Arktos 29 mountain bikes feature our proprietary Sine Suspension system, which was developed by renowned suspension designer David Earle. The Sine Suspension system is a one-of-a-kind dual short-link system. Sine was derived from superior design elements of David Earle’s previous coveted suspension systems. What makes Sine Suspension so unique and superior is that it didn’t start with engineering, but rather with a focus on suspension kinematics. By shifting focus from engineering to the bike’s movement and design, it allowed David to create the ideal mountain bike suspension system that performs exceptionally on all types of terrain, while also optimizing the bike design itself.

 

// KINEMATICS

So, let’s start with how Sine works. As the bike moves through the travel, the rear wheel path resembles a mathematical Sine curve. At the beginning of stroke, you see suspension regression in order to allow the Arktos to absorb small bumps and provide climbing traction. As you move into the middle of stroke the suspension moves into a progressive shock rate. This prevents  wallowing on big hits or in hard and fast corners.

When you really push it and open the end of the stroke, the suspension becomes regressive again to enable full use of the rear wheel travel. This pattern is specifically designed to minimize chainstay growth, improve pedaling efficiency and keep the suspension active under braking.  All these factors make for an incredibly lively and efficient ride.

 

// HOW TO PERFECT YOUR OWN SINE SUSPENSION

The Sine Suspension system is optimized for use at 30% overall sag. However, personal preference and riding conditions can influence the amount of sag desired. We encourage you to mix it up and experiment to find what works best for you.  The “sag” is the amount of travel the shock uses under normal rider weight. An ideal suspension sag will optimize the three areas of travel: negative, mid-range, and deep travel. You’ll know you’ve perfected the sag when you experience a plush, small bump feeling in your negative travel, a firm and lively feeling in your mid-range travel, and a ramping and bottomless feeling in you end travel.

// HOW TO CHECK SAG

  1. Gear up head to toe so you start with an accurate rider weight.
  2. With someone holding the bike, stand on the pedals and get in your normal riding position on the bike.
  3. Bounce up and down on the bike, compressing the rear end of the bike and the rear shock; when you are steady again, have someone push the travel ring up the shock against the wiper seal.
  4. Dismount the bike gently (as not to move the travel ring).
  5. Check your shock. The amount of stanchion shown between the wiper and travel ring is your sag. (30% sag would show 21mm of exposed stanchion between the wiper and travel ring.)
  6. If there is less than 30% sag, remove the valve cap and let out some air with a shock pump. If there is more than 30% sag, add more air. A good starting point is to pump your rear shock PSI to your rider weight and work from there: 180 lbs=180 PSI.
  7. Repeat steps 2-5 each time you add or remove air from the shock or fork. 
  8. Once you have the PSI set on the rear shock, use the tuning guide below to adjust your rebound and really dial in your suspension. 
  9. After the shock is set, do the steps for your fork.
  10. Now you are ready to go ride some trails.

 

FOX DPX2

FOX 36 FORK

 

Still not sure if you’ve got your Sine Suspension up properly? – Contact us at alchemy@alchemybicycles.com or visit our Denver factory and we can help you find your perfect settings.

 

SHOP ARKTOS

SINE WITH DAVID EARLE

A conversation between Alchemy and Jed Peters…

 

// Q: How did you hear about Alchemy Jed?

A: Research, research, research! I wanted a cool, unique bike brand and I knew it looked like a quality product.

 

// Q: What made you ultimately decide to choose The Arktos 29 over other options?

A: Options were initially between the new Specialized Stumpjumper 29 and the Transition Sentinel 29. I chose the Arktos because it appeared to be the “best of both worlds” offering superior pedaling performance, with David Earle designed suspension, the 140 travel in rear and 160 up front, and the “all mountain” geometry.

 

// Q: What was your first impression when you saw your bike?

A: Gorgeous. Simply Gorgeous. Highest praise possible, actually.

 

// Q: What was your first impression riding your bike Jed?

A: Hmmm…this is a tough one, but WOW. The Arktos is a “jack of all trades” really. I’ve ridden it mostly as a straight big travel XC bike, but it’s actually performed in full on DH mode shuttling as well. In essence…it’s a do-it-all type machine, and more suited to big mountain, all day riding.

// Q: How does it stack up against other progressive trail 29ers you have ridden?

A: Honestly it pedals as good as the Switch series bikes from Yeti, but is more progressive and “fun”. Not as playful/poppy as a DW-link or DELTA bike, BUT much more plush and planted. The Arktos 29 pedals INFINITELY better than the VPP and FSR style bikes…not to mention the horst-link bikes that are just harsh and linear.

 

// Q: Okay Jed, what is your FAVORITE thing about The Arktos 29?

A: The pedaling!!! I know that sounds weird–but this thing gobbles technical single track. It likes to be “ridden hard and fast”. I’ve actually put people on it, and they’ve been markedly faster on this than their old bikes. Pretty cool to see.

 

// Q: Would you recommend Alchemy and the Arktos 29 to friends and family?

A: Heck yeah, I want another Alchemy myself! And to friends? Of course. Alchemy kept me appraised at every turn, and they were on the ball with any questions I had. The Arktos is a very special bike. I can ride pretty much anything I want–and I’m happy riding the Arktos 29. Every time I ride the bike (or look at it even) it makes me happy! I haven’t found a situation that I’ve wanted something “more”… yes, I’ve wanted “less” bike (like a hardtail or a single speed), but the bike has never left me wanting for more. And having rode the old and the new Yeti SB’s, Santa Cruz’s, Ibis’, YT’s, etc.. that’s saying something!

 

Thanks Jed, Happy Trails out there!

 

SHOP ARKTOS