We get you; we know you enjoy the finer things in life and sometimes like to march to the beat of a different drummer. And while it's never fun seeing someone riding the same bike as you on the trail, there aren't a ton of great options if you want to roll on a boutique brand with suspension on both ends. Well that all changes with the Arktos 27.5 GX Eagle Complete Mountain Bike from Alchemy, a bike designed to efficiently get you up and down the mountain with an innovative suspension platform and a smart mix of parts that'll have you on something a little more special than the cookie-cutter bikes for a lot less than you might think.
Alchemy is a tight-knit group of designers, engineers, machinists, and painters. The company got its start in Austin, TX a decade ago but the call of the Rocky Mountains proved too much and the brand relocated to Denver, CO. All of its bikes are equal part art and technology and designed to last the long haul. Consistently in the mix as award-winning bikes, Alchemy quickly made a name for itself as a brand that caters to the most discerning cyclists. The construction processes and techniques on its frames are unique and are simply unachievable in typical mass-market manufacturing.
The Arktos 27.5 is a handmade in the USA carbon frame, an industry first and a favorite of cycling editors, people's choice, and shows awards internationally. To achieve this, it requires premium raw materials and the work of highly skilled craftsman to lay-up and cure the carbon fiber over several days.
The frames start life as carbon pre-preg sheets that are precisely cut on a CNC plotter of up to 500 pieces for a single frame. These pieces, specific weaving strands, and its dedicated lay-up process yield the bike's ride quality which obviously maximizes stiffness and minimizes weight. Those pieces are meticulously placed in CNC-machined molds that form the frame's individual tubes where bladders are placed within the carbon sheets and pressure is increased, molding the tubes during the baking process. After baking, the tubes are then mitered, placed in a frame jig, and tacked together with high strength epoxy. It's important to note that Alchemy frames come out of the molds so clean, it doesn't use epoxy as filler to make the frame look more cosmetically pleasing.
The frame then heads to in-house Ethic Paint Works to receive its award-winning paint job. Two layers of clear coat are applied over the carbon fiber, it's hand sanded, and the top coat paint scheme is applied. A final clear coat is applied over the color showcasing the carbon’s natural fibers, allowing the all-important, high-quality construction to be on display. The versions we have here are offered in a stunning Black/Orange or Black/Gold colorway.
Ok, now that we know how the construction is done, how does it ride? Thanks to its exclusive dual-linkage platform dubbed Sine Suspension, very, very well. Sine is the brainchild of bicycle suspension guru David Earle. David has over 25 years of experience in designing suspension in the cycling industry including working for many of the other mountain bike brands we carry. It gets its name from the shock rate, which resembles a sine wave as it moves through its travel. It starts off from its negative travel, i.e. through the sag point, with a regressive rate allowing for it to be plush off the top with small bump compliance while providing excellent climbing traction. Towards the middle of the stroke, it turns progressive and firms up to avoid wallowing on bigger hits and cornering. Deeper in its travel, at the last 15-percent of its stroke, it turns regressive again to overcome the natural progressivity of an air shock so you get all the 6-inches of travel you paid for and a plush, bottomless feel. Just like the frame construction, the devil is in the details, but the real magic happens when you throw a leg over the bike and hit the trails. You'll experience remarkable pedaling efficiency, thanks to its minimal chainstay growth, paired with the control of having 152mm of fully active suspension, even under braking, that gobbles up the terrain letting you ride faster and with more confidence.
This particular build gets SRAM's excellent GX group adding reliable shifts and a huge range at an amazing price. Alchemy relies on Shimano XT brakes to scrub speed on those high-speed Colorado trails and we're certain you'll attest to their power and modulation on your local trail networks. FOX handles the suspension duties with a Float Performance 36, that we can't sing the praises for enough, and the DPX Performance Elite out back. Mavic XA Elite wheels slot into the front and rear Boost spaced dropouts, adding appreciable amounts of lateral stiffness and it all rolls on Maxxis Minion rubber. All-in-all it’s a unique bike that you're certain to not see a lot of on the trails, yet packs the technology, craftsmanship, and dedication that exceeds many at its price point.
- An aggressive trail bike that can still pedal and climb
- 6in of Sine suspension is optimized throughout its stroke
- All-mountain is surefooted descending and climbs comfortability
- Artisinal carbon construction drops weight and builds stiffness
- FOX suspension tames the terrain
- SRAM's GX Eagle drivetrain is precise, durable, and has range up and down the mountain