Arktos 29 Mountain Bike Frame
The Alchemy Arktos 29 Mountain Bike Frame is the ultimate do-it-all trail weapon. Responsive yet stable, playful but controlled, the Arktos 29 strikes that perfect balance to allow you to find your limit at maximum speed. The heart of the Arktos is the Sine Suspension System, Alchemy’s patented design that’s plush at the start of the travel, progressive in the middle, and smooth at bottom out. Sine makes the Arktos one of the best pedaling trail bikes out there, but also gives it unrivaled capability on descents. So yes, the bike handles well. But that's just part of the story. The frame itself is a work of art, being crafted in the USA by carbon fiber experts and then hand painted with a stunning paint job that withstands the test of time.
Alchemy the brand is a tight-knit group of designers, engineers, machinists, and painters. The company got its start in Austin, TX around a decade ago but the call of the Rocky Mountains proved too much and the brand relocated to Denver, CO. We first saw Alchemy bikes in the flesh at NAHBS including the Arktos 27.5 and we'll admit that its bikes are equal part functional art and state of the art technology, and are built to withstand whatever you can dish out. It's consistently in the mix as award-winning bikes both in the looks and functional department, and Alchemy has quickly made a name for itself as a brand that caters to the most discerning cyclists. It utilizes construction processes and techniques on its frames that are unique and are simply unachievable in typical mass-market manufacturing.
The Arktos 29 is a full-suspension carbon frame that's handmade in the USA, an industry first, and its ride has garnered it a favorite among cycling editors and its owners. Its attention to detail, use of premium raw materials, and craftsmanship from its highly skilled artisans that lay-up and cure the carbon fiber is simply unmatched anywhere else in the industry. 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, its 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 frames then head 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 Vanilla or Grey colorway.
Quality frame construction is one thing, but it doesn't mean much if the frames don't ride well. However, after coming back from our first ride we can declare that it leaves very little to be desired. Thanks to its exclusive dual-linkage platform dubbed Sine Suspension it rides 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 hard 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 5.5-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 140mm of fully active suspension, even under braking, that gobbles up the terrain letting you ride faster and with more control.
A quick glance at its spec sheet reveals everything we like to see on frames. It has clearance for up to 2.5-inch rubber afforded by its Super Boost+ 157mm spacing that also helps stiffen up the frame's rear end and your wheelset, and allows for that short 438.5mm chainstay length. Its supple and adjustable FOX DPX2 Factory rear shock handles travel duties offering a smooth, plush, and supportive stroke. The recommended fork length is 150-160mm with Alchemy's blessing to go all the way up to 180mm. We never hide our preference for threaded bottom bracket's as they are easier to install and ensure proper bearing alignment so the BB last longer and is less prone to creaks, pops, and moaning. It's also worth noting that the frame is designed for 1x drivetrains only, and it has ISCG-05 mounts should you wish to run a chain guide.
- A speedy trail and enduro rig with a well-made carbon frame
- 29in wheels carry momentum and float over obstacles
- Strong and lightweight carbon frame made in the USA
- Modern geometry provides agility and downhill stability
- Sine suspension system is plush and offers efficient pedaling
- Factory DPX2 shock keeps your tires glued to the ground
- Superboost+ rear end increases tire clearance and improves wheel stiffness