First look: Alchemy Helios

Latest US-built carbon fibre frame from Alchemy makes UK debut at recent London Bike Show

by David Arthur   March 3, 2014  

Denver-based Alchemy showed their brand new Helios in the UK for the first time at the recent London Bike Show. This new model slots between their aero Arion and super light Xanthus, pegged as an all-rounder. It’s also available with disc brakes if you wanted to go down that route.

Alchemy are one of a very small handful of bicycle bicycle manufacturers that produce their carbon fibre frames inhouse at their own custom facility. There’s no outsourcing to the Far East here, it’s all made in the US. While they use Enve Composites tubesets for some frames like the Xanthus (they use Enve forks across the range) the company is able to produce their own moulds.

This ability to create their own moulds means they can be a lot more creative and adventurous with the tube shapes. Typically a very expensive investment for bicycle manufacturers, creating their own moulds gives them far more freedom than they might otherwise enjoy, and means they can create bikes like the stunning aero Arion. While more restrained than the Arion, the new Helios is clearly inspired by that frame with flared and aero-shaped tubes. It's a more elegant, and contemporary, looking frame.

While the Xanthus has round tubes to keep weight as low as possible, the new Helios clearly draws on the aero Arion; the main tubes are all profiled with flared junctions, most notably in the down tube as it merges with the tapered head tube. It’s beautifully made, and the clearcoat really lets the carbon construction shine through. It’s a frame that draws you in for a closer look no matter what angle you’re checking it out from.

It’s smartly finished too, with all cables internally routed, the rear mech cable popping out of a small turret under the down tube at the bottom bracket. If the clear coated and simple decal finish here is a bit understated for your tastes, Alchemy will sort you out a custom paint finish (for an extra £400) and they have some really good looking examples on their website (we've included a couple on this page for you). 

As with all Alchemy frames, there are plenty of custom options available, an advantage of their inhouse manufacturing. You can, for example, have either a 44mm head tube or tapered 1-1/8” to 1-1/4” head tube, a PressFit 86 or threaded bottom bracket, the choice is yours. You can also spec an integrated seat mast and disc brakes. 

By making the frame inhouse Alchemy can offer a customised bike made for the individual, including laying up the the carbon fibre specifically for each rider, to tune the ride and feel. They also offer stock geometry frames with a range of sizes, if you don't want to go down the custom route.

Such a frame doesn’t come without a stupendous price tag though, and at £3,320, it’s properly high end, but it's on a par with the few other manufacturers offering bespoke carbon frames. That price includes an Enve 2.0 carbon tapered fork and headset. Another £400 will get you a custom paint finish if you want to ensure your bike will truly standout.

The build on this bike is suitably high-end, with a Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical groupset and Enve wheels and matching finishing kit. You know it’s not going to be cheap, and at £8,200 it’s certainly one of the more expensive bikes we’ve seen here on road.cc in a while. That build produces a weight bang on 6.8kg.

If you wanted to take a closer look at the bike, you want to get yourself over to UK distributor Mosquito Cycles over in Islington, London, where they have this bike on display. More at Mosquito Bikes www.mosquito-bikes.co.uk and www.alchemybicycles.com too

1 user comments

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A lot of mainstream manufacturers could learn a thing or to about aesthetics from this... no giant/trek/etc, I do not want your name plastered in MASSIVE letters absolutely everwhere, random go-faster stripes and nano-whatevers(TM) and and an overall look of having slightly melted. Simple clean lines worked for apple - they can work for you too!

Though that said, I can't be the only one waiting for just... a carbon bike with a smidgeon of practicality, disc brakes for all-weather use, mudguards and racks, up to 32c tires etc... I don't really care if the pros ride discs. Go on. Make a sensible carbon bike. It's not a contradiction, honest.

posted by nuclear coffee [150 posts]
3rd March 2014 - 18:07

like this
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