Love at first ride.
Carbon fiber is the new de facto material for framesets. We get it. We're not fighting it. It's light, stiff, etc., etc.—you know the story. But every once in a while, we throw a leg over a ferrous top tube and we're reminded why brands like Alchemy make frames like the Eros Mechanical Road Frameset. The Eros is made out of titanium, which has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal but doesn't translate road noise into kidney-jarring punishment. It's stiff, light, and springs to life when the pedals are stroked. We realize that sounds borderline erotic, but the tactile pleasure of a titanium bike is a sexy feeling—and anyway, the damned thing's named "Eros." How could we not have love on our minds?
Titanium recalls the halcyon days of cycling's past (while reminding us why discerning perfectionists still insist on it), but the ENVE carbon fork and tapered head tube are decidedly modern touches. Stiffening the front end is the name of the game here, and it helps preserve a gap while pushing through on fast, sweeping descents and while hammering out of the saddle on a climb in order to get that gap. The Eros is Alchemy's first bike, and even though it has its own carbon wonder bikes, Alchemy stands by the Ti Eros as "a sleek work of art" that will "outperform any bike made from any material." The art part is obvious (Those too-clean welds!), but the Eros is surprisingly sharp under hard efforts.
The frame's other dimensions also speak to racing rather than noodling. Its reach and drop are every bit as aggressive as a typical World Tour GC machine, and Alchemy puts that race-minded mien to good use as a showcase for titanium's eager, springy responsiveness. The combination of geometry and material recommends the Eros as a club racer that isn't (too) afraid of the prospect of clipping a pedal in the final corner.
That's not to say the Eros isn't only a hard-as-nails race slayer. It's got some elegant design features that improve aesthetics (the Alchemy dropouts) and contribute to a stiffer drivetrain and a softer ride (also the dropouts). Obviously, they're sexy, and only contribute to the Eros' insistence on love; however, they also let Alchemy stack the stays in your favor by beefing up the chainstays and lightening up the seatstays. That keeps all the pain going from pedals to road instead of road to saddle.
In a final touch of slick bling, Alchemy finishes the Eros with S-curve seat and chainstays. We've heard people argue that S stays increase comfort, but we're convinced that the design choice is purely aesthetic. The physics just don't support the comfort argument. Having said that, though, the sinuous stays strike a remarkable figure amid a sea of increasingly exaggerated "aero" monocoque frame designs. Don't get us wrong, we're all for drag reduction and boosting efficiency through creative tube profiles, but the Eros' shapely gams are reminiscent of the Old World artistry that defined mid-century frame building—less about engineering software and wind tunnels than pure touch.
- A race bike that speaks to our inner romantic
- Titanium is springy and stiff but not punishingly harsh
- ENVE carbon fork adds damping and responsiveness
- Race geometry begs to be pedaled in anger
- Tapered head tube keeps tracking and hammering on point
- S-curve stays add sinuous sex appeal out back
- US-sourced titanium guarantees material quality
- Alchemy indulges in the art of classic frame construction in its Denver, CO workshop