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Alchemy Eros Ultegra Di2 Complete Road Bike - 2018 $5,250.00
The gradual ascendance of carbon fiber as the material of choice for racing owes to the low weight and high stiffness that can be so easily teased out of the material. With the Eros, Alchemy proves that metal still has a place with a frame that's lighter and stiffer than what we'd expect from ferrous tubing but still has that springiness we know and love. To complement the Eros' lustful ride quality and the included ENVE fork, we've built the frameset up with Shimano's latest Ultegra Di2 drivetrain and a set of Mavic's comically user-friendly Ksyrium Elite tubeless wheels. The result is a titanium bike that's as happy to race as it is to spend all day towing at the front of a group century.
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.
The Eros is a modern race bike, though, and it's every bit as stiff as we'd expect a modern race bike to be. That lack of flex does mean it's a bit harsher than traditional Ti or steel frames, but the inclusion of Mavic's Ksyrium Elite UST wheels alleviates that issue. Since they're tubeless, the rims let the tires fill out with more air volume, allowing for lower PSI to decrease rolling resistance and increase the tire's ability to soak-up chatter and road noise. Mavic's UST is also unbelievably easy to install. No tools, no compressor, just bare hands and a floor pump.
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 Ti bike built to race in the 21st century
- 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
- Shimano's Ultegra Di2 continues to be the privateer's choice
- Mavic's road tubeless rims don't require tools or a compressor to mount tires
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