Alchemy's Less Expensive Arktos - Interbike 2016

Sep 19, 2016 at 15:21
by Mike Levy  
Interbike 2016


Alchemy Arktos

Alchemy Bicycles' Arktos Custom, previously known simply as the Arktos, is the stuff of many mountain biker's dreams; a carbon fiber front triangle that's manufactured in the United States (the swingarm comes from Asia), and 150mm of travel controlled by their efficient Sine Suspension layout. Owning an Arktos Custom is a bit like having your own Serval house cat while your friend has a tabby that he found in the classifieds for free. And like a Serval, the American-made Arktos Custom isn't inexpensive; $3,799 USD for the frame and Fox Float X shock, which is, of course, pricier than the very large majority of carbon frames born in Asia.

Arktos Details

• Intended use: trail / all-mountain
• Travel: 150mm
• 27.5" wheels
• Carbon frame
• 66.5° head angle
• 438mm chainstay length
• 12 x 148mm rear spacing
• Sizes S, M, L, XL
• Frame price w/ shock: $2,999 USD
• Made in Asia
But now Alchemy Bicycles is offering an Asian-made version of the frame named the Arktos (without the 'Custom' designation) that costs $2,999 USD with a Float X shock, which is a full $800 less than the American-made Arktos Custom that will still continue to be available.

''We’re well aware that price can be a barrier to entry for premium designs and builds,'' Alchemy President Ryan Cannizarro explained in a press release that went out earlier today. ''We received a flood of comments expressing that potential customers cared less about where the bike was produced and more about the price tag,'' Cannizarro went on to say in the PR. ''The Arktos was so well-received last fall that we had to think about how the production of this bike would affect the production of our custom offerings,'' Cannizarro said of his concerns. ''By utilizing Dave Earle’s overseas production expertise and supervision for the new Arktos we can continue the Alchemy tradition of offering top-tier bikes, but at a price point new to us.''

Alchemy going this route shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone; as Pinkbike's Vernon Felton stated in his interview with Matt Maczuzak, Vice President of Alchemy's R&D, from this year's Sea Otter event, 99-percent of the 17.8 million bicycles imported into the United States came from overseas (the vast majority from China and Taiwan) in 2014. That takes into account everything from department store specials to high-end carbon dream machines, but you get the point.

The reason? Labor is much cheaper in Asian countries, and saving money on labor means customers can hopefully save money on the final product.
Alchemy Arktos

''Labor is the big differential,'' admitted Maczuzak back in the April interview. ''Technology is equal here and in Asia, so what you are paying for is labor. We pay our employees very well; we have very highly skilled people working for us, and that makes a difference. If you go to an Asian factory you’ll see that they break down one process into fifty different steps because it is no longer a skilled labor. One person does one little task and the next person in line does another little task. We have very skilled guys who handle it all the way from the mold to paint. To make that work, you have to design a process that lets you do it this way while still being efficient.''


Alchemy Arktos


It would have been easy for Alchemy to get on a high-horse over their made in America ethos, but that has never been the case, which is probably a good thing given today's announcement that they've begun to offer a less expensive, Asian-made option in tandem with the US-made Arktos Custom. ''It’s not a USA versus Asia thing for us,'' Maczuzak told Felton in April. ''It’s just what we know and what we do best. The only advantage for us is that we have our hands on what’s coming out of our factory. We have control over the product that has our name on it. If riders are into that too, we have bikes for them.''

And now they'll also have the standard, $2,999 USD Arktos for riders who can't justify the $3,799 USD Arktos Custom. The two bikes share the exact same geometry and suspension design, but the more expensive Arktos Custom is painted to the customer's spec in Denver by Ethic Paint Works, and one-off custom paint schemes are also offered to Arktos Custom customers for an addition fee. The Asian-made Aktos is available in either yellow or blue ying-yang paint options.


101 Comments

  • 124 3
 $2999 for a frame is affordable?,that is still a shitload of cash for a frame.
  • 38 42
flag fercho25 (Sep 19, 2016 at 16:17) (Below Threshold)
 But is made in MERICA hurrr durr! it pisses me off that brands like this selling point is that is being made in the us. Is a globalized market if manufacturing costs are cheaper elsewhere just go there is so inmoral to shove some sort of nationalistic guilt into consumers. Yes im getting neg proped I know but if someone with a brain care to give me a valid economic reason of why this is a good idea ill be grateful.
  • 20 5
 @fercho25: Here in the US we can do things freely. ("No shit" youre thinking.) but if a frame has some bad things happening to it they can immediately work on the problem and resolve it in no time (hopefully). With over seas companies finding out their frame or parts to it are messed up, it takes a while to get things back in order. Also if something is out of stock when you order it, they can say "Oh hey Ill go make up a frame for you and get it shipped out to you in 5 days." Whyte industries does that with their hubs. Very convenient. There is a lot of flexibility and in most cases they have your back and their product.
  • 40 3
 @chillrider199: hmmmm thats actually a very valid point. I withdraw my previous statement. thank you person with a brain.
  • 9 4
 @fercho25: One question. What the hell is that flag next to your name? Haha
  • 1 0
 @chillrider199: click on his name and it says at the top.
  • 3 1
 @chillrider199: That is a very Merica driven response..... Plenty of riders in Europe, Asia, Down Under, NZ etc that will "hear what ypu say".
  • 25 1
 @MTB-Colada: yeah but he indirectly explained why orange has a bit of a cult in the UK and is almost universally hated evrywhere else.

I actually get it now local brands make sense to locals but as for international buyers: give me all that taiwanese goodnes!

@chillrider199: I moved to tuvalu because I have an irrational fear of lap dogs. the conditions are too hostile for blonde bimbos to bring them here so its a pomeranian/chihuahua free zone.
  • 4 0
 @MTB-Colada: for the record, the response does not represent the lot of us
  • 2 1
 @MTB-Colada: I ride Giants. So, Im not completely American like you think. And fercho there is no need to be a dick. Im sorry I have a hard time seeing sarcasm on pinkbike where there are plenty of people who would say exactly what you said but actually mean it.
  • 16 0
 Or you could get an old SB66
  • 5 0
 To be fair, nowhere in the article does anyone claim this frame is meant to be "affordable" or "budget." It just describes it at being less expensive than the custom version.
  • 3 0
 @fercho25: Man your Island is flat ! where do you ride ??
  • 1 0
 @chillrider199: No worries, I guess there are some benefits to have locally manufactured stuff, but overall I agree with fercho. We need competition to lower prices (which creates efficiency and in the long run this is the best for everybody, including American brands). Bring on direct sales, new brands, Asia built, etc etc!
  • 1 0
 Another $800 more and you could get the Fox Float X that comes with the frame.
  • 3 0
 @fercho25: how many trails are in Tuvalu?
  • 2 0
 @XCMark: You read it wrong. You buy a frame for 2999$ and it comes from Asia. Also comes with a Float X. Its 800$ less then the American made frame because well the reasons. A Fox Float doesnt cost more that like 500$ or something when its retail.
  • 2 0
 @thebryson: I looked up Tuvalu it s a Flat Island , I am curious also abour his riding
  • 4 0
 a "less expensive" very niche branded bike that is made overseas makes 0 sense to me. you take out the entire reason why your company became renowned and got leverage in the industry (great, hand built carbon frames from the US that became more widely recognized through events live NAHBS vs Interbike) and entered a category that is very saturated with HUGE players that make great products. with a now taiwanese manufactured frame that costs $3000, you're directly competing with the treks, specializeds, giants, and santa cruzs of the world. can alchemy compare when the glitz of "hand made in the USA" sticker is removed from the frame? will be interesting to see...
  • 2 0
 @diego-b: looks like a giant and a yeti had a baby
  • 1 0
 @ccolagio: Maybe its a good step by them. 800$ is a sum of money when buying just a frame. And when a frame cost 3800$ you sometimes cant get your foot in the door. Maybe this will let people get the bike, then if they love it and just want that extra care they can put 3800$ down for the American frame.
  • 3 0
 @fercho25: you are my new favorite pinkbiker. A short list to be sure, but none the less, kudos to you.
  • 1 0
 @chillrider199: now that they make an "affordable" frame, it will be cool to see some pinkbike reviews or vital mtb test session comparisons for 2017 and pit these guys against the bigger companies. alchemy definitely makes a FINE looking bike...so that part is set for them. maybe they become a more "house hold" name. will be cool to watch.
  • 2 0
 3k$ for "made in Asia" frame??!!
You can get a SC Nomad for this price almost...
No thanks Smile
  • 1 0
 @JonyA: And relatively small too!
  • 1 0
 @JonyA: Man - I bet he could do a pretty interesting PB article
  • 2 0
 @fercho25: I really don't know how people think the manufacturing costs go down so much if not for the fact workers are being under paid and over worked. The Reason so few companies can continue to compete with the big name brands is because they're outsourcing their business to countries where they have much less strict workforce laws and don't have a Fair labor standards Act either. So maybe next time before you say "F#$% It, that's too much money" think about the people behind it who may have to support families or just try to live off of the half ass wage they're being paid. That's why you can use made in the USA as a marketing tool or any country that has realistic work standards.
  • 3 2
 @DavidofTheDirt: I know they are being underpaid and I couldnt care less, if im buying a product thats all I care about not the families of whoever made it and shit like that they are not my problem a market economy works on the basis of production not compassion.

@powderturns: renaixxxx.deviantart.com/art/Tweek-Tweak-172233244
  • 3 1
 @fercho25: quit dodging our questions about your motherland
  • 2 1
 @ccolagio: The majority of the frame is still manufactured in the US (the front triangle) so, I imagine it can still rep a 'Made in the USA' sticker.
  • 3 0
 @fercho25: I personally do pay more just because goods get made in Canada. Companies that put Canadians to work are more worthy of my money than companies that don't.
  • 1 0
 I'd pay more for stuff made in america or canada if it wasn't obsolete in a year lol with the industry the way it is why bother spending the extra cash?
  • 1 0
 @fercho25: astute comments on economics and a South Park fan? I almost can't take it. So what about your (alleged) homeland. Something tells me you actually live in Pemberton.
  • 1 0
 @fercho25: I would be interested to know if anyone who hated orange had ridden one or whether they just assumed single pivot was outdated. I am not an orange fanboy or owner but I've ridden and few and they are hilarious to ride and pedal pretty well.

I also doubt that Orange would be able to replace failed parts any quicker than the large American brands that hold big warehouses full of stuff.
  • 1 0
 @ermoldaker: I rode one with high expectations and was immensely disappointed. Worst "modern" bike Id ridden.
  • 35 2
 99℅ of bikes imported into the USA come from overseas...

Well if they didn't then they wouldn't be imported would they?
  • 33 0
 Ahem, Canadian brands would be imported
  • 21 57
flag adrennan (Sep 19, 2016 at 15:53) (Below Threshold)
 Let's face it, Canada is just the 51st state.
  • 21 0
 @adrennan: Settle down ^^^ SORRY hahahahah
  • 15 1
 "those darned people from Canadia need to stop coming into our country, stealing our superior health care, driving down our dollar... pretty soon there will be poutine trucks on every corner. it grinds my gears i tell ya!!! that's why we need to build a wall between merica and Canadia!!!"

#icantwaitfor2016tobeover
  • 3 1
 @cuban-b: Oooh, poutine. YUM. Had me some of that in Whistler. I'd be so happy to see poutine available in the states.
  • 2 1
 @rallyimprezive: i recently made some at home with curly fries and it was SO good. gotta get the good gravy and cheese curds too, which are hard to find in the states.
  • 2 4
 @adrennan: said an American.
  • 1 0
 @rallyimprezive: Been available in every diner in NJ/NY for the last 50 years, but called something else. Also available in just about every state that borders Canada.
  • 5 0
 @SlodownU: Great. You didn't tell me what they call it, and I'm not on the NY/NJ area. My poutine dreams are still but a glimmer.
  • 3 1
 @cuban-b: if we had guns, you'd get shot for making poutine with curly fries up here - a serious no-no
  • 1 0
 @powderturns: but they're seasoned.
  • 1 0
 @cuban-b: even worse Wink
  • 23 0
 Cheap looking colors on not so cheap priced bikes.
  • 32 0
 That bottom colorway is called "Yeti Inverse"....in nod to the Yeti inspired frame design?
  • 4 0
 @ckcost: I may not be remembering correctly, but I think the guy who designed that suspension system also designed the original switch link suspension on the Yeti SB-66.
  • 4 0
 We all joke about "looks like a session" but that seriously looks just like the SB-66, right down to the paint.. www.tweedvalleybikehire.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/sb-66-enduro-med-img6.jpg
  • 3 0
 I wish Alchemy had put as much time into their "frame branding" (decals? livery? paint job? etc) as the clearly did on other aspects of the design.

The original paint job, with the pink areas highlighting the shape of the frame, was pretty good. But I find these production versions to be all over the place - the splatter logo, the alchemy wordmark in its pseudo-script confusion, the way the bottom part of the Y dangles lazily around to the underside of the downtube, and the ARKTOS name with a break in the middle so it appears as ARK TOS... why? Is it ARKTOS or ARK TOS?

Design 101- print out a picture of every competitive frame from the past 3 years and pin it up on the wall. Be inspired by them, but don't copy. Know that landscape you are competing in.

And definitely don't block out the bike name in the upper part of the swing arm - just like Yeti did - and then offer a pseudo-Yeti colorway. There are so many interesting colors out there - why those two?
  • 18 2
 I came for the cheap prices... Where are they again?


Also it looks like a Heckler to me
  • 18 0
 Looks even more like a SB66c. Maybe someone should buy one and sand the paint a little, I bet they're turquoise underneath.
  • 2 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: same designer dur
  • 3 1
 Said less expensive, not cheap.
  • 1 0
 @Jokesterwild: What's a designer dur? Can I wear it?
  • 1 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: you can try. But he might complain.
  • 1 0
 @Jokesterwild: What if I buy him a drink first?
  • 16 1
 Now it's just a Yeti
  • 9 0
 Suspension designed by the same guy, companies just down the road, similar sexy, clean lines.
  • 16 9
 To me I hate the idea that we have to move production from the USA away to Asia even if it means lower prices. Everyone is always complaining about how nothing is made in America anymore... I love Mountain Biking and I am definitely a bargain buyer but lets keep things made in America if we can.
  • 5 2
 Why are you getting down propped for this?
  • 7 0
 its all the former alloy Intense owners!
  • 1 0
 @ilovedust: that's funny Smile ! Because it's true Frown
  • 7 0
 I think it's a beautiful shape frame l, somewhere between an sb66 and a Nomad. I hope the 'American made' tag doesn't disappear altogether in years to come though. They need someone less colour blind to decide the paint though!
  • 1 0
 You get to pick your paint scheme...
  • 12 1
 Looks like a YETI
  • 1 4
 Looks like an Ibis.
  • 42 1
 Looks like I still can't afford one.
  • 5 0
 I fail to see how this will appeal to anyone, except for those who want to be "different" for the sake of being different.

For that price why not just get a Yeti, or Santa Cruz, or something else equally top-shelf?

And if they were "never" about U.S. vs Asia, why the hell even offer a version that's $800 more, if not for the simple ability to say it was made in the U.S.? It says nowhere on this page that it's lighter, or higher modulus carbon.

This reeks of sales department spin and B.S., it's obvious they built the first frame here in the U.S. as a "proof of concept", and will now most likely discontinue the "custom" version in lieu of the more profitable Asian version. Yet, not smart enough to at least make the Asian one heavier to at least offer one objective reason to buy the U.S. made frame.
  • 2 0
 Different rear suspension design, semicustom paint, different sizing scheme. Now if they offered custom geo like on some of their road models for an extra five hundred, all us commenters could have our powers of discrimination put to the test.
  • 4 1
 how do these guys even feel comfortable selling a bike that looks exactly like your competitors bike......(Yeti SB66 Carbon)????


fcdn.mtbr.com/attachments/yeti/773269d1361231143-sb66-carbon-build-thread-yeti-smaller-photo.jpg
  • 5 0
 They should spend some money on branding / graphics...the font and color combos dont exactly scream 'high end".
  • 2 2
 Ha, they're crazy if they think people will fall for this. Clearly it's identical frames from the identical location. Business 101. still, I love the company and frame and might be a buyer soon. But let's call a spade a spade...
  • 2 0
 Had a look at that before I ditched $$$ on an Evil. Their sizing has some issues. And updated design that Yeti made popular.
  • 3 1
 "Arktos Custom is a bit like having your own Serval house cat while your friend has a tabby that he found in the classifieds for free."

Free pussy FTW! #adoptdontshop
  • 1 0
 $3800 US is inexpensive for an Asin branded bike. Mike L, who are you writing too?
When I see Asian (Alchemy). I place them in the same Category as Yoeleo or Light Bicycles.
  • 1 1
 That yellow is hideous. Looks like the bile I used to hurl after a long night of drinking way to much. I see why they charge more for a custom paint scheme. Nice work there. ????
  • 1 0
 It ain't no Taniwha, that's for sure. But it also isn't $7k nzd for frame & drivetrain. You could build that up pretty decent for $7k I reckon.
  • 2 0
 At least it doesn't look like a session..
  • 2 0
 another yeti, sad to see this change
  • 2 0
 Ctrl-F "Yeti" in comments

Bingo!
  • 1 0
 good news for sb66 owners. Just put the alchemy sticker on the frame and tada you just got a new bike.
  • 1 0
 Saw some guys on the Cherry Creek trail testing out the tandem version of this. It looks sick!
  • 2 2
 "Made in Asia" What a nice phrasing for "made in china".
Good bike though, don't get me wrong.
  • 1 0
 At $3799 for the original frame it's a whooping $200 more than a Yeti...
  • 4 0
 And yet Yeti is made in Asia- goes to show how over priced a Yeti is.
  • 1 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: I didn't expect to see many frames priced higher than SC, Specialied, Trek, Knolly etc until I saw Yetis. One could argue that the additional costs are for the Switch Infinity linkage rails. I like the idea of the bikes but they're priced for the Law practising Dentists of the world it seems.

It must be impossible to ride a Yeti without wearing as much Yeti or turquoise riding apparel as on can find. Punishment for not obeying is likely having ones über-enduro frame Hulk-smashed by a forest Yeti.
  • 2 1
 My whole bike costs 800 Razz
  • 1 0
 ... so can we get a detailed review of this damn bike yet?
  • 1 0
 www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-reviews/alchemy-arktos-trail-bike-test-ride-review

Not that great a review but something. Maybe Arktos isn't ready for Pinkbike.
  • 2 1
 looks like a yeti
  • 4 0
 Minus the bulge in midsection and the buff headtube. Arktos is turquoise spelled sideways. For an extra eight hundred you get a semicustom paint scheme and American labor, if that appeals and you can afford it. Either way, you get a different sizing scheme: their Large is not so long and might be a better fit for someone in six foot range. But isn't the most pressing question the rear suspension configuration? Get Mike Levy to do a 5x comparison of Sine, SI, DW, VPP, and Horst, pros and cons. By the time he's done maybe one of my hardtails will have bitten the dust!
  • 1 0
 It is a Yeti!! :-)
  • 1 4
 lol made in Asia....you mean "Made in China," where just about every carbon bike is coming from now.

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