Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Alchemy gained some notoriety early in its full-suspension career by making frames in small batches here in the U.S. But then something interesting happened. The bikes got too popular and the batches were suddenly too small. The whole domestic carbon manufacturing angle was cool, but the bike itself transcended that. Alchemy’s innovative Sine Suspension system is, essentially, a dual-link setup not too different from a DW Link, but the lower link is incredibly short. It makes for a clean look as well as some pretty dialed kinematics. The Arktos ticks all the boxes. Supportive under pedaling, sensitive over bumps, and ready to charge when you are.
Or rather, it ticks most of the boxes. The small brand rode the previous generation just a tad beyond its life cycle. The reach numbers were a little short, the seat angles were a little slack and–cover your children’s ears–it did not have a bottle cage in the front triangle!
Finally, that changed. And it changed across the board. Today, we’re seeing three new travel platforms in the Arktos. A 120/130, 135/150 and 150/170mm version. All are 29-inch, but the latter two are also available in mixed wheel sizes. By the way, nowhere in Alchemy’s press release or on their website do they use the word “mullet,” the dominant word for the mixed-wheel size concept. Alchemy is taking this seriously. No joke names, and no slapping too small a wheel into a frame not designed for it. A link in the suspension is changed to raise the bottom bracket an appropriate amount and keep the bottom bracket out of the dirt and the angles up at attention.
The introduction is as straightforward as can be. There’s no deep story about leverage curves or new approaches to carbon manufacturing. No fundamentally new linkages, no motorized versions. Just five new Arktos models that check those last few boxes. That said, the steeper seat tube angle box gets a bit of an asterisk. All of the models share fundamentally the same front triangle, which is a big part of how Alchemy was able to pull off five new bikes all at once, but side effects emerge as the Arktos frames are paired with each consecutively longer-travel fork and linkage to make for the bike’s multiple versions. The head angle gets slacker, which you do want, but the seat tube angle does too, which you do not. The longest-travel Arktos has the slackest seat angle and the shortest-travel has the steepest. Given the increase in sag on longer-travel bikes, it would be ideal if it were the opposite. Same with the fact that the reach is shorter on the long-travel bikes but longer on the short-travel bikes. But that’s more of a preference thing. Given that the shorter-reach long-travel bike maxes out at a rangy 502mm, nobody is getting shorted. Except, maybe short folks. Across the size range, the new Arktos builds start at medium.
There’s a GX, X01 and XT build in each model. Alchemy is taking pre-0rders, and bikes are slated to be available this May. Below are the build kits, and at the bottom you’ll find the geometry breakdowns for each model.
You can find them at alchemybikes.com/arktos2021