// WE DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY

Whether you have been following Alchemy for a while or are relatively new to the brand, you may have noticed an interesting detail on our carbon Road, All-Road, and Gravel bikes. Around the frame junctions (think headtube, bottom bracket, rear dropouts) there are some interesting lines as your eye draws from the junction down the tube. When finishing our bikes, we often just put a clear coat over the carbon or use a tint to color the frame while maintaining the ability to see this craftsmanship.

So what’s the deal? Why is it such a big deal to be able to see these lines?

 

 

 

 

The answer is that this is a symbol of the way we build our bikes, a one-of-a-kind process that we take a great deal of pride in. Most bike companies have moved their carbon building process to a monocoque mold (where a bike comes out of a mold in one or two pieces and is epoxied together for structural integrity) to maximize the stiffness-to-weight ratio on their bikes. While this looks good on paper in bike bibles, we do things in a much more labor-intensive manner to give our bikes the absolute best ride-quality in the world.

 

 

 

 

Our bikes are built using a process called tube-to-tube construction. What this means is that each of the tubes in every one of our bikes is molded separately. The carbon fibers in every single tube are oriented, layed up, and molded based on the functionality of that tube in the overall ride quality of the bike.

 

 

 

 

These tubes are then cut, mitered, and assembled using hand-wrapped pieces of carbon around the junctions. Most bikes rely on epoxy for their structural integrity which adds weight and becomes an eventual fatigue point. By wrapping the junctions with actual carbon fiber, our bikes will maintain their ride-quality with the strength to last a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

The result is an incredibly stiff frame purpose-built for the task at hand. Road bikes and All-Road bikes are meant to be ridden all day, so our Atlas and Hyas models are built with industry-leading stiffness that won’t rattle your bones over countless miles.

 

 

 

 

Our Ronin gravel line has more forgiveness built into the frame without sacrificing any of the stiffness that our Atlas and Hyas models are renowned for. Each tube, down to the very fiber, is manipulated to give every one of the bikes that head out our door a ride-quality refined for its specific use down to its very DNA.

 

 

 

 

As a company, we refuse to sacrifice ride quality. We believe in unrestrained performance even if it means more work for us. We’ll do the sweating so you get the ride of a lifetime.

Click here to learn even more about our carbon process

 

 

 

Shop Atlas
Shop Hyas
Shop Ronin

 

// STAGE 4: VAL DI FASSA, ITALY

 

It’s July now, and while it seems like the 2019 Enduro World Series just got started, the season is over half over, five rounds down and only three left to go. The last two weeks featured back-to-back rounds in Italy and France, and Alchemy racer Cody Kelley faced some serious challenges on both rounds. While the first stages of the Val Di Fassa, Italy round went well for Kelley, finishing stages 1 and 3 right in the hunt, a slow-speed jump-off on stage 5 left him with a severe ankle sprain. At that point, it was just survival for the rest of the race and Kelley ended round 4 well out of the points.

“I felt really good leading up to the race, with a couple of solid days of practice with my buddies Richie (Rude) and Shawn (Neer),” said Kelley after the event. “I was hoping this was going to be my turn-around round, but like EWS usually goes, things don’t turn out like you expect. Instead of checkers, it was wreckers for me and I ended the race barely able to walk.”

 
 

// STAGE 4: LES ORRES, FRANCE

 

Round 5 was the following weekend in Les Orres, France, just a car drive away from the Italy round, which gave Kelley time to rest the sore ankle, with the hope he would be able to race. After a few days of downtime, Kelley returned to practice and noted his injury was worse off the bike than on.

“I was really happy to arrive in France and feel some strength coming back in my ankle,” said Kelley. “Being in Europe and not racing would not have been an option for me, so I soldiered on. Practice event went well and I was excited about the race and the tracks.”

But, it was not to be for Kelley. A small crash at top of the stage launched Kelley into the course tape, which somehow found it’s way into the rear caliper. It ended melting into his rotor, leaving him with no rear brake and basically ending his chance at a good weekend’s result.

Next up on the agenda for Kelley is the USA Cycling National Championships in Colorado, where Kelley hopes for a shot at a National Enduro Championship. The Enduro World Series resumes in Whistler in early August with round 6.

 

// NEVER A BETTER TIME TO BUY AN ALCHEMY

Alchemy’s mission is to build the best bicycles in the world. The quality, durability, and performance are something we stand behind. But like you, we understand that buying a new bike is an expensive proposition. And once that bike gets ridden, there is an assumption that the value drops precipitously. But we are so confident in the resell value of your Alchemy, WE GUARANTEE IT.

Alchemy Bicycles Guaranteed Rewards Program is designed to keep you on the latest model Alchemy bicycle, with a confidence knowing the value of your first purchase is guaranteed. Alchemy will provide a guaranteed credit value for your Alchemy bike within the first three years of purchase, to be applied to an upgraded Alchemy bike.

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1 | Bring in Your Bike

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2 | Get a Credit

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3 | Ride Out on a Brand New Alchemy

Guaranteed Rewards joins a slew of great Alchemy purchase programs including Ride Now, Pay Later financing, our 14-Day Ride Guarantee, and our liberal Lifetime Warranty and Crash Replacement programs. There has never been a better time to buy an Alchemy.

 

Click here to learn more about the Alchemy Guaranteed Rewards program

// OVERVIEW

When Alchemy introduced the Arktos 29 at the Sea Otter Classic in 2018, it wasn’t much of a surprise. Alchemy had debuted a 27.5-inch wheel version of the Arktos three years earlier, and it seemed natural for a larger-wheel-size version of the bike to exist. But the Arktos 29 was long in the making, overall taking two years from inception to wheels hitting the dirt. For Alchemy, this isn’t the exception. Every Alchemy bike goes through an extensive development process like the Arktos 29.

 

// US Design and Development

The start of any new suspension mountain bike frame begins with the kinematics, in this case by David Earle, the designer of the Sine Suspension System and a legend in the bike industry. David starts by determining the dynamics of the suspension system, ensuring the bike will climb, descend, and generally handle the way Sine was designed. This process, because of the experience gained on the Arktos 27.5 and Sine, is typically pretty short, taking around a month.

Once David is finished with the kinematics and overall suspension design, he passes it off to Alchemy’s Matt Maczuzak, one of the principals of the company and the person responsible for Alchemy entering into carbon with road bikes 8 years ago.

 

Matt Maczuzak cuts an Arktos mold using Alchemy’s in-house CNC machine.

 

Matt works first on the overall aesthetics of the frame, ensuring that visually the frame will match the overall look of Alchemy’s mountain bike lineup. After that, the real work begins. Matt’s long experience with carbon comes in to play as he looks to determine the carbon layup that will maximize strength and stiffness while minimizing any added weight.

Alchemy is unique in that we are one of the few US companies with the capability to design and prototype carbon frames at our facility in Colorado. This enables Alchemy to completely understand the dynamics of a new bike before it goes into full production. Most manufacturers are forced to prototype bikes with aluminum, which only allows them to get a “feel” of a new bike. Aluminum prototypes are typically 30 to 40% heavier than the carbon models, so the ride quality is significantly affected by the weight of the proto itself. Alchemy can also prototype exact replicas to production bikes.

 

// The Carbon Layup

The carbon used in bicycle frames is called prepreg. Prepreg is the common term for sheets of carbon that have been impregnated with resin. The resin is typically an epoxy with a curing agent so the carbon can be hand placed directly into a mold for curing. The main advantage of prepreg carbon sheets are their ability to be highly engineered, easily handled and the carbon to resin ratio is very consistent (eliminating imperfections at the prebuild level of course results in a more consistent frame). Alchemy buys carbon prepreg sheets directly from Japan and has a CNC cutting machine to create the shapes necessary for use on a frame.

When Matt is looking to optimize the frame layup, what he in reality is doing is determining the layering and orientation of the prepreg fiber sheets. Engineers like Matt can provide almost any desired strength and torsional stiffness by varying the quantity and orientation of the fiber sheets as they are applied in the mold. Carbon is unique in that it is relatively easy to add strength only where needed, while significantly reduce weight elsewhere by proper application of the carbon prepreg. For the Arktos 29, extra material was placed in key areas requiring high strength, such as the head tube and bottom bracket, and both the orientation and layers of prepreg used are proprietary to each Alchemy 29.

 

Carbon is hand-cut and prepped for application to an Arktos frame.

 

// The Molds

Alchemy is also unique in that we CNC machine all of our molds in house at our Colorado headquarters. Again, it’s Matt’s expertise that comes into play.

“I’ve been machining the molds for the road bikes for years,” says Maczuzak. “But my first experience with a monocoque design was with the Arktos 27.5 frame. We use a tube to tube construction on the road bikes, so the molds are smaller in comparison because the individual pieces themselves are smaller.”

 

An Arktos mold waits to be wrapped with carbon.

 

The Arktos 29 is a monocoque design as well, meaning that the entire front triangle comes out of the mold in one piece. The rear triangle comes out of the mold as two individual pieces that are then joined together in a secondary mold process.

Matt cut the prototype Arktos 29 molds from aerospace grade 6000-series aluminum, starting with the medium size frame for prototyping and ride testing. It took about 30 days from mold-design completion to the point when the first front and rear triangle were pulled from molds. The majority of this time is spent determining the lay up schedule.

 

// Next Steps

Alchemy has been painting frames at its headquarters in Denver since the start, and like most prototype carbon frames, the first Arktos 29 was painted white. Painting the surface white allows us to easily see any potential cracks in the carbon during our lab and ride testing.

The ride testing period for the Arkos 29 was actually pretty short, mainly because the bike reacted as expected during the lab and ride tests. Alchemy EWS racer Cody Kelley was one of the first people to put any significant time on the frame, and quickly came back impressed.

“It both pedaled and descended super well,” says Kelley. “And the geometry was spot on. I felt super comfortable on the prototype right from the start.”

 

Cody Kelley waits for the final touches to be applied to his Arktos 29.

 

// To Production

As anyone who has visited Alchemy in Denver knows, the factory is set up to hand build each bike one at a time. While this process is excellent for tube-to-tube construction, it is far from efficient when making a monocoque frame like the Arktos 29. Building a monocoque frame is more suitably done in batches, as the labor-intensive process requires many fabricators working in unison on each frame. This ensures repeatability and guarantees every Arktos is of the highest quality.

 

The final product gets built and goes through the paces on one of the harshest testing grounds in the world.

 

We chose to partner with one of the most distinguished manufacturers in the world, a company that has been working with carbon for over 30 years and is known to produce some of the lightest, strongest carbon frames on the market. But, our development process didn’t just stop with the pass off of the drawings and the layup schedule. We work directly with the factory to ensure that our strict quality standards, as established in Denver, are followed to a “t”. We also continue to quality check throughout the process to see that the frames follow the same procedure with each production run.

 

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