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Verdict: 
Stunning performance but with a stunning price tag
Weight: 
7,220g
Alchemy Eros titanium frameset
8 10

The Alchemy Eros is a sublime road bike. It handles with grace and finesse and compares very well to not only the best titanium road bikes but to many of the best carbon fibre frames too.

Alchemy Eros.jpg

Alchemy Eros.jpg

If there's a downside to the Alchemy it's that the £3,300 frameset price is prohibitively expensive and puts it out of touch for many. You are buying a frame that is made in the US, though, and there are a plethora of custom options so you can detail a very bespoke bike.

Ride and performance

What the Eros does extremely well is make the case that titanium still has a valuable place in the bicycle world. What gets some cyclists all misty-eyed when talking about titanium is the magical ride quality it offers, which essentially comes down to the fact that titanium is lighter and stronger than steel and aluminium but offers better vibration damping than both materials, making it possible to build a very comfortable frame.

>>Terrific titanium: 12 of the loveliest titanium road bikes we've ridden

Alchemy Eros - riding 3.jpg

Alchemy Eros - riding 3.jpg

That's not to say all titanium frames ride the same way because the performance still owes a lot to how the frame is constructed, and the shape, diameter and wall thickness of the titanium tubes all influence the ride. Alchemy has used large diameter tubes in the Eros, with a beefy down tube, chunky chainstays, oversized press fit bottom bracket and tapered head tube and the result looks thoroughly modern.

What that all means is there is no shortage of stiffness. Put some power down through the pedals, heave on the handlebars and it's responsive, relaying your commands into direction changes with no noticeable lag. Despite the light build it also felt settled at high speeds and in demanding situations, providing all the confidence you need to commit to a challenging road full of bends, curves and dips. Make no mistake, it's a thrilling ride.

Alchemy Eros - rear dropout.jpg

Alchemy Eros - rear dropout.jpg

But it's not all stiffness and light. It's an effortless long distance bike. Big miles don't faze it or you at all. Cruise along country lanes at a steady speed and it's impressively compliant, the frame doing a good job of dissipating the vibrations from poorly surfaced, cracked and potholed roads. What it's not is plush like a modern endurance bike; it's firm without being soft. It is well controlled on rougher surfaces, precise and direct on smoother and twisting roads.

The way the Eros performs reminds me of the excellent Enigma Evade. The critical geometry details are similar, including a 160mm head tube, 410mm chainstays, 70mm bottom bracket drop, 393mm reach and 563mm stack. Those numbers combine to create a racy balance, that's not too dissimilar to a race bike like the Cannondale SuperSix Evo. The nice thing about the Alchemy is that if the stock geometry is a bit aggressive for you, you can go down the custom geometry route and tailor it precisely to your requirements.

Overall, it's how accomplished it is as an all-rounder that most impresses.

Frame details

Alchemy builds the Eros using US-sourced 3Al/2.5V titanium tubes and the quality of the welding is as good as that I've seen on similarly expensive titanium frames over the years.

Alchemy Eros - head tube.jpg

Alchemy Eros - head tube.jpg

An oversized bottom bracket, large diameter down tube and tapered head tube form the backbone of the frame and lend it the high level of stiffness that is so readily apparent when you sprint up a climb.

Also contributing to the stiffness are the chunky chainstays, flaring out quite drastically to the company's own design dropouts. Any worries about heel clearance proved unfounded with my size 45 shoes. The seatstays are more slender than the chainstays and have subtle s-bend shape throughout their journey from the seat tube to the dropouts.

Alchemy Eros - frame detail.jpg

Alchemy Eros - frame detail.jpg

There's no internal cable routing, instead, all cables are run along the outside of the frame, which is just fine by me. Cables are easy to replace and service and small barrel adjusters on the down tube cable stops permit easy adjustment to fine tune the derailleurs. The frame can be specced with Di2 internal wire routing if preferred.

Alchemy Eros - fork detail.jpg

Alchemy Eros - fork detail.jpg

Alchemy specs the excellent full carbon fibre Enve 2.0 fork. It's a popular fork on many high-end and bespoke builds and it's easy to see why. Not only is it light (350g) but it is stiff and the ride is very nice, though it's perhaps a touch on the firm side.

Alchemy Eros - down tube.jpg

Alchemy Eros - down tube.jpg

Among the factors that make titanium appealing, aside from its performance, are the longevity that comes from its corrosion-resistance and the unique colour. Painting titanium, as Alchemy has done here, definitely divides opinion. Personally, I'm a fan because it means it doesn't look like just another titanium road bike.

Build and equipment

Alchemy Eros - crank.jpg

Alchemy Eros - crank.jpg

At 7.22kg (15.9lb) the Eros isn't just light for a titanium road bike, it's light full stop. Granted if you want the very lightest, then carbon is still the way to go, but it's not giving all that much away.

Alchemy's UK distributor Saddleback only sell framesets, not complete bikes, but your nearest dealer will only be too happy to build a bike to suit your budget. Saddleback pulled no punches when it came to the equipment on the review bike, only serving to highlight the performance of the frame.

Alchemy Eros - rim and tyre.jpg

Alchemy Eros - rim and tyre.jpg

The highlight of the package and a build contributor to the low overall weight of the bike were the Enve SES 2.2 wheels. They're Enve's lightest wheels and use a shallow and wide rim with the new textured brake track that works impressively not only in the dry but also in the wet. The brakes did take a few rides to bed in but they quickly dished out consistent and powerful braking performance, with the best wet weather braking I've yet experienced with a carbon rim.

I like that the rims are tubeless compatible – I'd definitely go tubeless myself – and the 1,110g weight puts them among the lightest carbon clincher wheels money can buy. You can really feel the lack of weight in the wheels on the climbs, helped by Enve's new all-carbon hubs that are a delight to look at.

Alchemy Eros - rear mech.jpg

Alchemy Eros - rear mech.jpg

To get a measure of the Eros with regular wheels I swapped to another set of wheels weighing about 1,500g and while the weight was noticeable on the scales and the steeper climbs, overall the performance remained broadly similar, evident that the underlying quality of the Eros frame shines through regardless of the extremely light wheels on this build.

You really can't go wrong with Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical groupset, and after a stint on a Di2 test bike recently it's a delight to use Shimano's cable operated gear levers. The shifting is so light and really makes it hard in my view to justify Di2 when mechanical is this nice to use. The Stages power meter integrates cleanly into the left-hand crank arm and delivered consistent power measurement throughout.

Alchemy Eros - saddle and post.jpg

Alchemy Eros - saddle and post.jpg

Enve's own handlebar, stem and seatpost is a fitting finishing kit for such a nice build. The handlebar has a comfortable shape, nicely curved drops that are easily reachable, and noticeably helps to dampen some of the small road chatter. I've said it before, but the Enve seatpost is a bit fiddly to adjust, but it's really only a job you have to do once.

Vredestein Fortezza Senso tyres in a 25mm width add to the comfort and provided reassuring traction in a range of conditions, from rain-soaked roads to pleasantly dry roads.

Alchemy Eros - riding 2.jpg

Alchemy Eros - riding 2.jpg

I'm a fussy bugger when it comes to saddle shapes, but I found the Astute a real delight and it provides immediately comfortable and even on a six-hour ride it was a genuinely nice place to sit.

Conclusion

If your numbers come up this week in the lottery and you want one of most beautiful handling road bikes, make sure to give the Eros a closer look. It puts in a stellar performance and excels at everything, fast on the flat and climbs, comfortable on longer rides and a joy on the descents.

Verdict

Stunning performance but with a stunning price tag

road.cc test report

Make and model: Alchemy Eros titanium frameset

Size tested: 56cm

Frameset

Tell us what the frameset is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Alchemy says:

Strong and graceful define titanium as a frame material. It excels at everything, from climbs and dirt roads, to long-distance randonneuring and sharp mountain descents. We designed the Eros to be vertically compliant while maintaining lateral rigidity, and to be forgiving on the body while propelling you with conviction at every pedal stroke.

S bends on the seat and chain stays distinguish its classy, subtle design while tapered down tube and top tube add to its sleek look. If you're looking to fall in love with your bike again, the Eros will seduce you.

State the frame and fork material and method of construction

Satin finish with polished logos or stock paint design

Alchemy dropouts

Tapered head tube

S-bend seat and chain stays

Custom paint available

Stock or custom geometry*

ENVE 2.0 1 1/4'� tapered fork included

Cane Creek headset included (Chris King $100)

Mechanical or electronic compatible

PF30 or English Threaded Bottom Bracket

Made in the USA

Overall rating for frameset
 
9/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Hugely impressive craftsmanship and stunningly smooth welds.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The stock geometry provides a reasonably racy ride but you can customise the geo if you want.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

It fitted me like a glove. Can I keep it please?

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

It's not the smoothest titanium road bike I've ever tested but I like the balance of stiffness and comfort for spirited riding.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

It displayed a high level of stiffness for fast and demanding riding.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

It's no slouch.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

None.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Responsive

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The handling was a highlight of the bike, lively when riding fast and stable and planted on rough roads and fast descents.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
8/10

How did the build components work with the frame? Was there anything you would have changed?

It's a very flash build make no mistake, but all helped to enhance the quality of the frame. A switch to heavier wheels didn't massively impair the performance of the frame which still shone through.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Oh yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
7/10

Use this box to explain your score

It's hard to justify such an expensive frame but if you have the money and have a penchant for titanium, this is a bloody good choice.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

11 comments

Avatar
rjfrussell [342 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

"The Stages power meter integrates cleanly into the left-hand crank arm and delivered consistent power measurement throughout."

 

I'd be interested to know the evidential basis for this, in the context of this test-  did you have alternative pre-tested power meters running in parallel.

Although what is being reviewed is the frameset, there seems to be a lot of puffery based on the other parts of the build.

 

 

Avatar
FMOAB [291 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

Why nitpick about such a minor part of the review?

if you want to nitpick, consistent means repeatedly acting in the same way.  In this case I would suggest that means no questionable spiking or low readings.

The accuracy of stages power meters has been demonstrated in any number of other articles.

I you want to complain, there's the very real issue of approving of painting a titanium frame angel  

Avatar
David Arthur @d... [742 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

rjfrussell wrote:

"The Stages power meter integrates cleanly into the left-hand crank arm and delivered consistent power measurement throughout."

 

I'd be interested to know the evidential basis for this, in the context of this test-  did you have alternative pre-tested power meters running in parallel.

Although what is being reviewed is the frameset, there seems to be a lot of puffery based on the other parts of the build.

 

 

 

Here you go rjfrussell - http://road.cc/content/review/98411-stages-power-meter

Avatar
rjfrussell [342 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
FMOAB wrote:

Why nitpick about such a minor part of the review?

...

I you want to complain, there's the very real issue of approving of painting a titanium frame angel  

 

Fair comment about nitpicking given what I said.   I was in a grouchy mood.

Although I (nit)picked on the comment about the power meter, the broader gripe is that a lot of the reviews sound like a PR job.  Of course, it may be that nowadays (and at these prices) all bikes are just very very good.

I actually like the paint job-  looks good with the ENVE kit.

Avatar
DaSy [732 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
Quote:

Painting titanium, as Alchemy has done here, definitely divides opinion. Personally, I'm a fan because it means it doesn't look like just another titanium road bike.

 

It means it looks like a cheaper painted steel frame.

My experience of painted Ti frames is that the paint doesn't adhere as well as it does to steel, so it chips quickly and looks shabby in no time. The joy of taking some fine steel wool to your frame and making it look like new again after years of use is my main reason for loving Ti.

Avatar
ktache [474 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

DaSy, my experience with painted Ti has been a rather good one.  When Raleigh replaced my glued DynaTech/SPD Ogre with it's 650 frame, that was painted, yes it would have been nice if they had given me the raw polished 750 (the frames were called by their prices, genius) which was the same frame but 3oz lighter.  20 years old now, a few scratches but no detectable chips, not even on the driveside chainstay.  Good paint I suppose.

Avatar
drosco [225 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

Is it any better or worse than a good carbon frameset? It looks nice, granted, but it would have to offer something different to justify throwing over £3k at it.

Avatar
bencolem [52 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

1,110g is the weight for the tubular wheelset, the clincher version you tested is over 1,300g. No wonder your 1,500g wheelset didn't feel much different...

Avatar
Nixster [351 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Well that looks fantastic but value wise I'm not convinced. The same Enve fork was the reason given for marking down the RJack Ti frame set and that's a grand cheaper. The Enigma Evade is cheaper again (although they have put prices up recently). So is it really worth the extra because it's built in the US of? Or is it possessed of some other subtle qualities?

Avatar
matthewn5 [959 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Those rear dropouts are hideous. Look at the way the chain stay is just capped off and welded to the side of a forged frame element. Giuseppe Pelà would be turning in his grave.

Avatar
wycombewheeler [1035 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
DaSy wrote:
Quote:

Painting titanium, as Alchemy has done here, definitely divides opinion. Personally, I'm a fan because it means it doesn't look like just another titanium road bike.

 

It means it looks like a cheaper painted steel frame.

My experience of painted Ti frames is that the paint doesn't adhere as well as it does to steel, so it chips quickly and looks shabby in no time. The joy of taking some fine steel wool to your frame and making it look like new again after years of use is my main reason for loving Ti.

I disagree about it looking like cheaper steel, because of the naked ti section on top and seatube and the name on the downtube where the ti shows through again.

dropouts I am not sure if I like or not they are treading the line between quirky utilitarian and ugly. Just not sure which sode they are on.