Last weekend was a big weekend for Alchemy Bicycles, as the company scored a top ten at a Enduro World Series event. Alchemy Factory Racer Cody Kelley finished in 7th place at the Northstar, California race, a career-high finish for the Salt Lake City native. Equally impressive is that Kelly piloted Alchemy’s new nine7five mixed wheel mullet bike, which uses a 29-inch front wheel combined with a 27.5 rear wheel.
Alchemy developed the nine7five for Kelley out of a specific need at EWS races: quick acceleration and faster cornering. The terrain at an EWS is very technical: competitors are basically riding World Cup-level downhill tracks on trail bikes. Races are won and lost with just a few pedal strokes and how quickly the rider makes speed or cuts corners can be the difference between the top step and 50th place (Note: the first and second place times at Northstar had a differential of less than a second).
As we know, the benefit to 29-inch wheels is their ability to mow over obstacles and carry speed, but the downside is it takes longer to turn the wheel over to get the bike up to speed. To combat this acceleration loss, common sense tells you that using a smaller circumference rear wheel will improve the acceleration, AND quicken the ability for the bike to turn. And that’s just what you get with the nine7five: The 29er rollover capability combined with the quick acceleration and turning of a 27.5 bike. Some would say the best of both worlds.
There are other benefits on the mixed-wheel platform, and they are not just for EWS racers like Kelley. Smaller riders who are outgunned on a 29er bike, who feel that the 29er wheelbase is too long (making the bike feel unwieldy in corners), but still want the 29ers ability to plow over rocks and roots, the nine7five is a great option. There are also riders who miss the playfulness of a 27.5 bike. Again, same conclusion: the smaller rear wheel provides quicker handling which makes the bike easier to throw around.
Alchemy is one of the first companies to produce a production ready mixed-wheel bike. The nine7five is based on the Arktos 29 platform, but features specially-engineered linkage to accommodate the smaller 27.5″ rear wheel. The bike has a degree slacker head angle than the standard 29″ wheeled model, going from 65.5-degrees to 64.5. This positions the rider’s body further back on the bike and makes it comfortable to ride at speed.
// So the question is: Is the nine7five the bike for you?
The answer really comes down to what kind of bike you are riding now and the terrain you are riding it on. If the terrain is tight, technical and challenging, the nine7five is your best option. It’s quick turning because of the smaller rear wheel, but still rolls over terrain with the 29er front wheel. It also makes sense to go for the nine7five if you have been on a 27.5 bike until now, and want a middle ground between the two wheel sizes.
Alchemy has four different complete bike nine7five models available. The SRAM GX Eagle model will be the base build, starting at $5,399 with Industry Nine’s Enduro S wheels.