Alchemy has added another member to the Arktos family, with the 29ST being, you guessed it, a short-travel version of their Arktos 29 platform. The Colorado brand says that the 120mm-travel 29ST is designed to be ''Shorter, quicker and more playful than its elder,
'' and that it's intended to run a 140mm-travel fork.
You can still get a US-made frame from Alchemy (the Arktos Custom and their road frames are manufactured in-house) but it's not going to be the 29ST as it's born in Asia. That's also why a frame and Fox Float DPX2 shock will sell for $2,999 USD when they're available in three weeks time, which is much less than what it'd cost if they were made in Colorado.
Interestingly, they are planning to eventually offer a custom paint program where the Asian-made frames will be done up to the customer's desires at Alchemy's HQ. One past custom job saw them paint to match a well-heeled owner's Singer-fied Porsche 911; as you can imagine, this won't be an inexpensive option.
Arktos 29ST Details
• Intended use: trail / all-mountain
• Rear wheel travel: 120mm
• Fork travel: 140mm
• Wheel size: 29''
• Tire clearance: 2.5''
• 157mm hub spacing
• Frame MSRP: $2,999 USD
• Bike MSRP: starting at $4,899 USD
• More info: www.alchemybicycles.com
By changing the links and running a shorter-stroke shock, the 29ST gets 120mm of travel versus the standard bike's 140mm.
If you're thinking that the Arktos 29ST looks a helluva lot like the Arktos 29, it's because they share the same front and rear triangles. Think of the ST as a variant of the standard Arktos 29 rather than a completely new bike. What is new, though, are the 29ST's aluminum links and its shorter-stroke shock that delete 20mm of suspension travel compared to its older brother.
Alchemy calls it Sine Suspension, and just like on the other Arktos models, the 29ST is said to have a suspension curve that's regressive up to the sag point to combat the inherent seal friction of air shocks and to help with traction. From there, it's progressive until you get to the last 15-percent of the stroke where it turns regressive again to play nice with said air shocks. As you might guess, this makes the bike a no-go for you coil lovers.
Remember how the 29ST has 20mm less rear-wheel travel than the standard version? The normal 29 gets a 160mm-travel fork, but Alchemy puts a 140mm on the front of the 29ST, and the result is geometry that's pretty dang similar.
The 29ST sits closer to the ground (41mm of drop VS 34mm) and is also a touch steeper (66.1 head angle VS 65.5), but the reach and seat tube lengths are essentially identical across the board. At 5' 10''-ish, I'd be on a large with a 454mm front and a long-for-2019 483mm seat tube. The extra-large sees another 31mm up front.
The ARK Ti is a burly hardtail with a $3,499 USD price tag. For the frame.
It's funny how the riders who drool over titanium hardtails the most usually also have a carbon bike or three in their garage.
And now for something completely different. Alchemy has been doing titanium for ages, but the ARK Ti is an all-new model that's meant to be a rough-and-tumble hardtail, and run either 29'' or 27.5-plus wheels. The US-made frame goes for $3,499 USD and completes start
at $7,199 USD.
The bike's geometry is designed around a 120mm or 130mm-travel fork, with the former delivering a 68-degree head angle and 74.5-degree seat angle. It has all the things you'd expect to see on a fancy carbon frame, including 148mm hub spacing, internal dropper routing, and the fact that you'll never get a front derailleur to work on it. The bottom bracket is threaded, too.
Weight? It probably weighs some. Angles? I bet it has those, too... I can't say that I'd spend a ton of time riding it (or any?), but that doesn't change the fact that I want one.