Alchemy has made quite a name for itself crafting artisanal frames from carbon fiber and titanium. Each frame, regardless of the material, is painstakingly handcrafted and is equal parts a rolling piece of art as it is a high-performance rocket ship. If you've been riding on the road for a few seasons and are looking for something a little different than the norm that is full of character and makes you excited every time you throw a leg over it, might we suggest the 2018 Atlas Red eTap Complete Road Bike from Alchemy? The frameset exceeds expectations and its inclusion of premium materials, dialed geometry, and bespoke construction, finished off with SRAM's excellent eTap group and Zipp cockpit and wheels takes it over the top and will gain you the admiration of everyone on the club ride.
If you get a chance to take an Alchemy out for a spin, the first thing you'll notice is its remarkable ride quality. Firm under pedaling while allowing for just enough comfort to take the edge off a long ride over broken pavement and chip seal. By building bikes out of different materials, Alchemy is able to hone in on the best attributes of each medium and the Atlas' carbon construction lets it distill this DNA into its frame while dropping serious grams. It also affords Alchemy the ability to utilize size-specific layup schedules to give all riders, regardless of their size, the ability to enjoy this refined ride.
Because each frame size receives its own layup, a cyclist on a 60cm frame gets a rock-solid bottom bracket and head tube that doesn't get floppy while linking up apexes on a twisty mountain road than if the same layups of a size 52cm were utilized. So, across the board, the ride quality should be the same regardless of size. The Atlas strives for an excellent all-around ride that is certainly able to be raced but is also just as comfortable pedaling from vineyard to vineyard on a Sonoma Valley tour. There may be lighter and stiffer carbon frames on the market, but few ride this well and are this balanced.
In an age where aerodynamics is everything, the round tube profile is quite refreshing. Wind tunnel testing has its place and we don't disagree that marginal gains are important for athletes whose paychecks depend on results. For the rest of us, we'll take a more comfortable ride and the more aesthetically pleasing looks of a traditional frame. Generous tire clearance also encourages you to push the boundaries and by throwing 28mm tires on this bike, almost any gravel or dirt road is fair game.
Looking for the fastest ride possible on the road, stick with the 25mm tires and you'll be rewarded with a sublime ride that will make quick work of thousand foot climbs and provide plenty of confidence when it's time to head down. Super stable at speed, the Atlas only gets better as it's put to its limits. Push the pace on the group ride on Tuesday and head out for an 8-hour ride on Saturday.
Some might be wary of a frameset that isn't manufactured by one of the big companies and isn't "UCI certified" but rest assured, the Atlas is tested to tolerances far in excess of CN safety standards. This means the Atlas frame displayed zero failures due to manufacturing defects, and it's so confident that it backs it up with a lifetime warranty. The frame is finished with a PF86 bottom bracket shell and a tapered head tube complete with an ENVE fork.
SRAM's eTap Red group needs no introduction. It always shifts with precision and the lack of shift housing cleans up the look of any ride. The cockpit and wheels further receive the firm's Zipp branch of components with the workhorse Service Course bar, stem, and seatpost. The 302 wheelset offers just enough depth to aid you along in the flats and improve the stiffness for snappy accelerations and handling.