Alchemy Atlas Review: Professional Grade Road Bike

Alchemy Atlas Review
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9.5/10

Since Alchemy started making bicycles in 2008, they have embarked on a simple mission: To build the best bicycles in the world. Alchemy bicycles offer considerably more attention to detail in their road bikes than the average maker, with serious craftsmanship going into their carbon and titanium designs.

Alchemy bicycles does not take shortcuts, and they accept only perfection when creating frames that offer the performance serious riders want while maintaining a beautiful aesthetic. You can see it when looking at their frames and the carbon bands that intersect to create the tubes needed to make a lightweight and strong frame.

Alchem’s road bikes are uniquely made on state-of-the-art CNC machines, with up to 500 pieces of carbon fiber. With the number of pieces Alchemy’s technicians put into individual frames, they can best create the perfect combination of stiffness, ride quality, and weight.

It’s hard to describe what Alchemy bikes look like. They tend to look clean and smooth, in part because the technicians who make the road bikes hand sand and paint them, all while trying to show carbon fiber for the unique structural material it is, instead of blasting the carbon fiber with enough paint to hide any detail. In a word, you might think, “polished.” Also consider that Alchemy does do custom paint jobs, so in reality, your Atlas can look how you want.

Pros & Cons

Pros: The Atlas is, without exaggeration, a very versatile bike. The Atlas is designed to handle the foothills of the mountains where a biker might climb a significant hill, then promptly find themselves on the path back down.

Cons: As you might expect, a lightweight mountain bike that capably handles hills and fast downhills with extra comfort costs a few dollars, but considering the handiwork that goes into individual bikes, it’s worthwhile.

For a fully custom geometry bike, you might also expect to wait a while for delivery. While their process can take weeks to complete, that’s because they are hand-making most parts of your bike and often offer a custom paint job that will make your bike look very sharp.

Things to Consider When Buying a Road Bike

Road Bike

There are a few things to consider when buying a road bike. While keeping in mind that we haven’t been able to ride every single good road bike on the market, nor have we ridden every inch of the mountains, we do have some things to suggest thinking about.

Despite their name as road bikes, roads aren’t really meant for bikes. The roads through the mountains and cities are carved through what sometimes amount to the safest and most convenient ways to get from one place to another with respect to the terrain. That said, especially in Alchemy’s home of Denver, Colorado, that can mean lots of hills. Hills can be quite taxing on bikers and their bikes. Consider a few things:

  • What is the terrain like in the areas you plan to bike the most?
  • How often do you plan to bike? How do you plan to use it?

Features and Benefits

The Atlas comes in a variety of styles depending on your needs and budget. The bike is intended to guide your way through mountain roads with steep climbs and sizable downhills while keeping you safe, comfortable, and balanced.

Frame

Frame

Alchemy makes road bikes with unique carbon fiber frames that are designed to be both highly functional, stiff, and comfortable as well as beautiful. Alchemy builds the Atlas frame with unique elements, including having the down tube flare into the bottom bracket shell. Each tube for an Atlas frame is built individually from custom machined CNC molds. Ultimately, the process Alchemy uses to make the best carbon road bike like the Atlas makes it quite customizable with the ability to choose lengths to create the perfect balance and ride for your riding style. Alchemy offers more consultation than most road bike companies, and their obsession with detail will help make a new bike for your daily ride and will enhance your riding experience.

The Atlas ranges in size from 52-61 depending on what you need. You have the literal ability to build a bike just right for your height, leg length, and arm length.

The Atlas also comes with a few potential upgrades. The Ultegra Di2 line and above come with a different Seatpost, the ENVE Road. The bottom bracket shell can also be upgraded from a Shimano PF86 to an SRAM or a higher grade Shimano. Most every upgrade to the Carbon Atlas bikes has added features all the way up to their Red Etap AXS Road line which features many SRAM upgrades.

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Suspension

Suspension

All Alchemy bikes come with a Sine suspension. The suspension is designed just for Alchemy bikes and for the right amount of sag when going over bumps. Sine helps you keep the Atlas carbon road bike comfortable during braking and makes pedaling over bumps a more efficient use of your energy. Sine is named after the mathematical symbol with a design meant to follow that symbol.

Wheel

The Atlas series uses two primary kinds of wheels: the entry-level Atlas employs a HED Ardennes Disc while all steps above offer the ENVE 3.4 SES Disc. While both types of wheel offer a great sense of control and speed, the ENVE tires offer even more. The rim sizes are different with the ENVE with a 38mm front and a 42mm rear. This makes the bike accelerate quickly and become more aerodynamic, especially when going up and downhill.

The wheels are chosen to make a very stable, controlled, and fast ride, which is excellent for biking in the mountains. The control is necessary to command steep hills while the wheels are lightweight and ready for a fast ride up a hill too.

You might like to know that, like the Alchemy Atlas itself, the upgraded wheels from ENVE are also hand-built in the USA, right in nearly neighboring Utah.

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Gears

 Shimano Ultegra

You get a couple of options for gears with the Alchemy Atlas. The Ultegra models come with Shimano Ultegra cranks and Dura Ace brakes. These shift super smoothly, look very nice, and slow down nicely without jittering or jumping. The next step up comes on the Force eTap AXS Road model with the SRAM Force eTap gearset. As the name eTap indicates this is an electric gearset with some built-in customization with LED lights and buttons on the bars. The eTap is a bit chunky with housing for its cylinders.

Going one step higher is the Red eTap AXS Road offers carbon fiber materials versus plastic for the Force eTap. Red looks chunky too, but still looks good.

The biggest comment we have for gears is that with an electronic gearset, shifting makes almost no sound and is presented without comment. You just know it happens.

When it comes to chains, the Red eTap comes with a paired Red AXS. The Force eTap model comes with a matching Force eTap chain.

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Brakes

As with the gear types, the Alchemy Atlas starts it’s initial models with Shimano Ultegra brakes to go with their Shimano Ultegra cranks. These are often compared to the Shimano Dura Ace di2, which are available on upper levels of Alchemy Atlas, but the Ultegra weigh just a bit more and offer very similar braking performance. For a road bike meant to cruise through mountains, Dura Ace brakes are quite important to slow you down evenly while descending from the foothills.

The eTap AXS models also include SRAM Force eTrap brakes, of course. These are nicely paired hydraulic disc brakes with customization. Just like the Shimano brakesets, these are meant to stop you cleanly and efficiently while going downhill and can be customized to your preferences in regards to responsiveness.

More: Alchemy Chiron Review: One Of The Best Road Bike??

Feature Type Feature Specs Benefits
Frame Carbon fiber, handmade in Denver, Colorado for each bike, including potential customizations. Makes the frame just as rigid as you want while remaining as light as possible for the best uphill and downhill performance
Wheels ENVE 3.4 SES Disc Maintains a stable, safe, and fast road speed. Also, durable to take on pavement and concrete.
Gear Shimano Ultegra, Shimano Dura Ace di2, or SRAM Drive the bike chains as smoothly and efficiently as possible while taking the potential impact or dirt or gravel
Brakes Shimano Ultegra, Shimano Dura Ace di2, or SRAM Force or Red Designed to stop the bike evenly and smoothly, even when going downhill at speed
Suspension Sine Proprietary suspension made by Alchemy to allow for the best takeoff speed and road absorption

Social Proof

Some consider Alchemy bicycles to be a dream bike. They have experienced other road and mountain bikes, even higher-end products, and weren’t satisfied with the level of comfort or customization. Alchemy offers great reviews from more professional riders who offer significant depth in their reviews too. Many reviews go beyond discussing in just a few words the level of customization one can have, and how good it looks.

Alchemy bicycles also offer a couple of guarantees. First, the warranty is for the lifetime of the bike. If you find any defects, let them know. Alchemy also has a Crash Replacement program. While they obviously hope you don’t crash your bike hard enough to damage it, at their discretion, they will offer a replacement at a discount to the original owner. Alchemy does use some discretion to ensure people aren’t abusing and breaking their road bikes to replace them.

Many customers also rave about the ability to customize a bike without compromise. Check this one

Social Proof 2

Alternatives

Alchemy itself offers a couple of alternatives to the Carbon Atlas bikes. We will discuss a couple of additional options.

Alchemy Atlas vs Alchemy Helios

The Atlas is actually a more recent Helios model in many ways. The two share many features and parts, including the same wheels and gear options. A big difference is the ability to make the Atlas even more customized, as the bike model uses Alchemy’s newly purchased carbon plotter to make a bike just the way you want it. They otherwise offer a similar ride with the same wheels.

Alchemy Atlas as Alchemy Eros

The biggest difference between Atlas and Eros is titanium vs carbon fiber. Titanium with the Eros absorbs bumps well and is lightweight as well, providing great acceleration. The key difference between titanium and carbon fiber? Besides a potentially more metallic look, the price of an Atlas carbon road bike is typically higher. Carbon tends to be stiffer and lighter, offering some advantages for up and downhill riders.

Conclusion

We’ve said it before, but Alchemy bikes are what many cyclists dream of. When you want a bike that can efficiently and smoothly take you up and down mountain roads with comfort and less strain. Alchemy offers you many options for creating a road bike to fit your needs and has done so in finding machines that can better help you make a bike for your own reach and length.

Alchemy has been making custom geometry bikes for more than a decade and has only become better. They also offer top-notch customer service with knowledgeable employees and skilled craftsmen making their complete bikes in Denver, Colorado. Their road bikes are worth the price paid and the time and effort spent deciding exactly what you want so that you can traverse the foothills in comfort.

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