Denver-based Alchemy bikes just unveiled its first 29-inch full suspension, the Arktos 29. Building off what the brand learned from the 27.5-inch Arktos, the 29-inch now adds Super Boost Plus (157-millimeter, wider flanged rear hubs), increased standover and reach while pairing a decreased offset 160-millimeter Fox 36 to 140 millimeters of rear travel. This adds up to a 66-degree headtube angle, 74.5-degree seat angle, 438.5-millimeter chainstay and 1,211-millimeter wheelbase with 452 millimeters of reach for a size Large. Modern geo.
The Arktos 29 shares the Dave-Earle-developed Sine suspension found on its 27.5-inch sibling and according to Alchemy, is an exceptional-pedaling, long-travel bike still very much boasting ground-hugging tendencies. “It’s best with the shock wide open,” explained Drew Van Kampen of Alchemy when pressed for specifics on climbing prowess.
Sine suspension, named after its kinematic resemblance to a sine curve in shape, uses a regressive curve during the first portion of the shock’s stroke, aiding in suspension sag, or ‘negative travel.’ The majority of the rest of the stroke--up to 85-percent--is progressive, providing a ramping, supportive mid-to-late stroke. The final 15 percent is regressive, in order to somewhat counter the natural progressive tendencies of air suspension and its ramping effect. When achieved, this allows a rider full travel yet hopefully without a harsh bottom out. Definitely lofty goals but a design that, according to Alchemy, has gained acceptance through the popularity of the 27.5-inch Arktos.
The other standout feature found on the Arktos 29 is the Super-Boost-Plus-157 rear hub configuration. Developed and coined by Chris Cocalis of Pivot Cycles, Super Boost Plus widens the spacing between hub flanges on 157-millimeter hubs. It furthers the aims of what was started with 148-millimeter Boost, creating an even wider bracing angle for the rear wheel. According to Alchemy, it made for a very noticeably stiffer wheel, an appropriate attribute for a longer-travel 29. The front hub is 110-millimeter Boost, which begs the question--dear bike industry, when will Super Boost Plus come to forks?
Despite many Alchemy frames being built in the U.S., the Arktos 29 is not. Demand for U.S.-manufactured Arktos frames versus overseas Arktos bikes hasn’t warranted bringing Arktos 29 production into the Denver facility. This decision also keeps the Arktos 29’s frame-only price to $3,000. By no means inexpensive, but certainly less expensive than if locally produced.
Alchemy will offer the Arktos 29 in a variety of builds beginning with the GX Eagle-equipped $5,200 build sporting Fox 36 Performance Elite suspension and an X-Fusion Manic 150 millimeter dropper post and DT Swiss 1700 Super Boost Plus wheels. A $5,800-full-XT build adds a Kashima-coated fork and Fox Transfer Factory dropper. Buyers can throw down $2,000 for an Enve M730 wheelset which arrives standard spec on the range-topping-$9,500-XTR build.
Taking a walk around the Arktos 29 is impressive. The bike has a very clean and smooth look to it, as it should for a high-end bike, but the pieces pleasingly fit into the frame--the seat collar, headset and linkage is tidy. It doesn’t look spaceship-huge overbuilt, it doesn’t look tiny. It looks nice, as it should for $9,800 (with the $300 Enve bar/stem upgrade) and Alchemy points out that the frame-matching fork and wheel decals aren’t just a one-off for the the show, it’s how it arrives for all.
Which brings me to my next point. It isn’t available. Yet. But you can preorder it through Alchemy and they claim they’ve already been taking quite a lot of those preorders so if this tickles your fancy, you might want to jump on securing one. Will it be a winner? Only time will tell.