Eurobike 2014: Alchemy Aithon and Balius

With clearance for 42c tyres, disc brakes, and plenty of road buzz compliance built into their lay-up, the Aithon from – proudly made in the US of A – brand Alchemy ticks all the boxes when it comes to a top line gravel racer.

Alchemy Aithon gravel bike

Constructed, as all Alchemy carbon frames are, using the tube to tube process, the Aithon is available in stock sizes, but for a $750 up charge custom sizing and lay ups can be offered. The team behind the bike are pretty happy with their carbon tubes, but are always happy to accommodate anyones ideas in a custom bike. Tubes themselves can be custom made, but the majority of difference in the ride comes from the additional layers added to the joints. Alchemy’s Cody Baker mentioned, the difference between two and three layers of wrap is instantly detectable in the ride characteristics.’

Alchemy’s tube to tube construction use additional wraps over the frame joints, clearly visible on the Balius cross bike

Based on knowledge gained from producing their Balius cross farm set, Alchemy’s new Aithon gravel frame uses subtle geometry and lay up changes to differentiate between the models. Baker said, the main differentiator between the gravel and cross bikes come in the need to design for high speed turns. Wheelbase makes a bit of difference, but you can have more of an effect when tweaking head and seat angles’. As the entire tube lay-up is done in house they can also have a huge impact on the ride too. Baker again, ‘when you’re hitting gravel at speed, the vibration is far more of an issue than the slower speeds and bigger impacts you associate with cross.’ 

Alchemy monostay is used on both the Aithon and Balius.

Both frames use the same rear triangle, and the seat stays are bowed in two directions. Along their length they bow upwards, and as they near the dropouts (when viewed from the rear), they bow inwards. Both curves are designed to allow the rear axle a degree of upward movement. Not all movement is good though, and to resist the BB flex, Alchemy uses the BB86 press fit system. Neither a BB30 or standard threaded bb offer enough real estate to accommodate the width of the down tube.

We hope to get to throw a leg over one of these two machines in the coming months. With the framestes selling for €3700 / $5500 we have high hopes.

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