Alchemy changes tack with carbon full-sus ride

Trail bike an unexpected addition from American custom frame builder

Alchemy Bicycle Company is best known for its boutique custom road bikes crafted from carbon, titanium and steel. The Denver-based frame building company is breaking this tradition by introducing the Arktos, a carbon full suspension mountain bike that is partially constructed in the United States.

Related: BikeRadar’s complete Interbike coverage

Highlights

  • 150mm rear travel
  • Full carbon frame
  • Suspension based on the Switch system first used by Yeti
  • 148x12mm rear thru axle
  • Internal cable routing
  • 73mm threaded bottom bracket
  • Custom paint options available
  • MSRP will be $3,750
  • Available in spring of 2016

Design details

The arktos has 150mm of suspension:
The arktos has 150mm of suspension:

While the new bike doesn’t have customizable geometry, Alchemy used its expertise in carbon construction to bring a portion of the construction of the Arktos in house. The front triangles will me made in the US while the rear ends will be fabricated in Asia.In addition to building the front ends, Alchemy plans to offer a wide range of custom paint options for the new trail bike.

As well as painting the frames, alchemy will construct the front end of the arktos in house: as well as painting the frames, alchemy will construct the front end of the arktos in house
As well as painting the frames, alchemy will construct the front end of the arktos in house: as well as painting the frames, alchemy will construct the front end of the arktos in house

The front of the Arktos will be built in the USA

The arktos has geometry in line with many other 150mm trail bikes, save for the head tube angle that gets steeper across the four-bike range:
The arktos has geometry in line with many other 150mm trail bikes, save for the head tube angle that gets steeper across the four-bike range:

The Arktos has modern frame features such as a 148x12mm thru axle and internal cable routing, but the company has wisely stuck with a tried and true 73mm threaded bottom bracket shell.

The frame is 1x specific and, somewhat curiously for a 150mm trail bike, it lacks ISCG-05 tabs for a chainguide. While we’re on the topic of suspension, the Arktos gets its 150mm of travel from a second-generation of the Switch suspension system first adopted by Yeti.

Switched on

The sine suspension is similar to the swtich system, but it uses a miniature link for the main pivot in place of the eccentric pivot used by yeti's first generation switch bikes:
The sine suspension is similar to the swtich system, but it uses a miniature link for the main pivot in place of the eccentric pivot used by yeti's first generation switch bikes:

Alchemy worked with suspension designer Dave Earle to develop a suspension platform for the Arktos. Earle is the head of the Sotto Group, an engineering and design company best known for developing the Switch system used on Yeti’s highly-praised SB66 and SB95 trail bikes.

Yeti transitioned away from the original Switch system and its eccentric main pivot to its own Switch Infinity design used on the SB6c, SB5c and the new SB4.5c because the design infringed upon the VPP patent held by Santa Cruz Bicycles.

The arktos is 1x specific: the arktos is 1x specific
The arktos is 1x specific: the arktos is 1x specific

The main pivot is tucked behind the massive swingarm

The issue was that at a certain point in its travel, the Switch system’s main pivot changes direction and becomes a counter-rotating link similar to VPP, thus getting itself into murky legal waters. The VPP patent expired earlier this year and so Earle was free and clear to begin working with new partners to advance his design.

Unlike the Switch system system, this new iteration known as Sine Suspension does away with the eccentric main pivot in favor of a more traditional mini linkage tucked behind the swingarm. Functionally, the system is very similar: the initial stroke has a falling rate for improved traction that ramps up through the midstroke for pedaling performance before falling once again through the last 15 percent of the stroke to balance out the natural ramp-up of the air spring.

The suspension curve is similar to yeti's switch system, which it is closely related to: the suspension curve is similar to yeti's switch system, which it is closely related to
The suspension curve is similar to yeti's switch system, which it is closely related to: the suspension curve is similar to yeti's switch system, which it is closely related to

Pricing and availability

The Arktos will retail for $3,750 for the frame (international pricing TBC) with a Fox Float X rear shock when it becomes available in early 2016.

Josh Patterson

Tech Editor, US
Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA

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