Alchemy Arktos trail bike first ride review

Standout American-made carbon fiber rig stands up to big boys

27.5 All Mountain Trail
The Alchemy Arktos is a 150mm, 27.5-inch wheel carbon fiber trail bike handmade in the U.S.A.

The Alchemy Arktos is a 150mm, 27.5” carbon fiber trail bike handmade in the U.S.A. (click to enlarge)

Eight years ago Alchemy Bicycle Co. was born, a brand from the Mile High City focused on high-end, custom handmade carbon fiber and stainless steel road, cyclocross and mountain bikes. Alchemy started out building steel bikes, but has now shifted the majority of its business to carbon fiber, and the resulting award for “Best Carbon Construction” at the 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show has escalated Alchemy’s brand as one of the premier names in custom carbon construction.

Alchemy’s latest offering is the Arktos, a 150mm travel trail bike with 27.5” wheels and full carbon fiber construction. Although it doesn’t sound like anything all that different, what sets the Arktos apart is that the front triangle is 100 percent made in the U.S.A., with the rear triangle imported from Asia. Molds are cut, composite layup is completed and paint is shot all in Alchemy’s Denver location. If the Arktos didn’t have Alchemy badging on it, you’d easily mistake it for a production bike from Santa Cruz, Intense, Yeti or Pivot. It’s quite a looker thanks to its sleek lines, internal cable routing, and numerous paint options, which have already won accolades, including “Best Mountain Bike” and “People’s Choice” at NAHBS 2016 in Sacramento.

The Arktos recently won “Best Mountain Bike” and “People's Choice” at NAHBS 2016.

The Arktos recently won “Best Mountain Bike” and “People’s Choice” at NAHBS 2016 (click to enlarge).

“Breaking the mold” in the composite bike business is as much an idiom as it is a cliché, but this is exactly what Alchemy has done with the Arktos. An American-made carbon fiber full suspension bike in today’s world is virtually unheard of. If the Arktos rides half as good as it looks, the brand will surely have a winner on its hands.

Learn more about this bike’s unique Sine Suspension in our Arktos report from Interbike.

The Sine Suspension system was developed by David Earle, the man behind Switch at Yeti and VPP at Santa Cruz.

The Sine Suspension system was developed by David Earle, the man behind Switch at Yeti and VPP at Santa Cruz (click to enlarge).

Yes, the Arktos gets an A+ for presentation, but what about the suspension design? The Arktos is no garage-developed suspension platform; it’s a legit design created by one of the industry’s top minds. Sine Suspension on the Arktos was designed by kinematics guru David Earle, the man behind Switch suspension used by Yeti, and the man who pioneered VPP suspension at Santa Cruz. So will this custom bike hold up to heavy trail use and abuse? One look at Alchemy vice president of R&D, Matt Maczuzak, says it all. The thick-bearded Maczuzak is every R&D department’s dream – the guy resembles Paul Bunyan. With Maczuzak being the rider who put the Arktos through its paces, I had no hesitations about taking this bright colored carbon trail bike for a rip around the trails of Fort Ord at the Sea Otter Classic.

Continue to page 2 to read our first ride impressions of the Alchemy Arktos »

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • droptop says:

    Alchemy was originally located in Austin, Texas. They moved to Colorado a few years back, maybe 3-5 years ago.

  • M-F says:

    This is certainly a very nice full-suspension trail bicycle, but the profit margin is so high that serious questions arise in the cost-versus-benefit realm. I also wonder what the design life expectancy of this bike is. I would argue that bikes this expensive should come with 50-year all-perils warranties.

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