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The new landscape of cycling.
In the late '90s, we were racing on flexy, featherweight alloy frames that barely cleared 23mm tires. Some 20 years later, versatility, comfort, and stiffness have loosened weight's stranglehold on what makes a good bike—largely because those bend-in-the-wind aluminum tubes and tiny tires (at 120 psi, of course) get murdered by the kind of all-terrain adventure riding and racing that are reshaping the American cycling landscape. With carbon stiffness, race-minded tube shapes, and huge tire clearance, Alchemy's Aithon Road Frameset establishes itself as the brand's most versatile frame, addressing the needs of today's take-all-comers cyclist. It transitions from tarmac to gravel to dirt roads without sacrificing any of the efficiency that makes it a suitable road machine.
We should stress here that by "suitable," we mean competition-ready. Alchemy classifies the Aithon as a gravel race bike. The italics emphasis is ours in copy, but the inclusion of design elements borrowed from Alchemy's road framesets stresses the fact in practice. This includes the head tube from the aerodynamic Arion frame and the down tube from the Helios, Alchemy's all-purpose road race machine. That means it's stiff and aerodynamic enough for sprints and long-distance solo moves, but it also enjoys a bit of pneumatic suspension in the form of 38mm tire clearance. Unlike the Arion and the Helios (and our old flimsy alloy bikes), the Aithon's race doesn't end when the asphalt does.
The bike's multi-surface pedigree is further reinforced by the rear triangle, which features a special carbon layup designed to take the pain out of chattery corduroy and poorly graded gravel. This includes bowed seatstays, which operate like a leaf spring in order to provide a touch of engineered flex without compromising the drive efficiency of the oversized chainstays and built-up Alchemy dropouts. Efficiency and comfort are the priority here, fitting since the bike shares a name with the horses ridden to battle by some of the greatest heroes of Classical mythology.
We mention above that the Aithon may be Alchemy's most versatile bike. It also may be its prettiest. The gravel genre is largely defined by utility. Longer, more stable, bigger tire clearance—after all, gravel bikes are designed to abuse in questionable conditions on questionable surfaces. But the Athion's root beer finish bears some special attention for non-utilitarian reasons. It's a gorgeous shade, and it's transparent, so it still shows off Alchemy's award-winning carbon layup genius.
- A gravel race bike that's just as fast on the road
- Design elements borrowed from Alchemy's road race bikes
- Award-winning carbon layup blends weight loss and stiffness gains
- The carbon parade continues with an ENVE gravel fork
- Disc brakes and 38mm tire clearance suited for all conditions
- Unique root beer clear coat finish showcases layup with style
- Made in Alchemy's Denver, CO workshop
- Item #AOE0004
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
This frame is a very well-engineered piece of equipment. My experience with road bikes is limited, but never-the-less, I could tell that this was a frame that had a lot of work put in to design something that carries well and builds momentum quickly.
Hopping on this bike after spending most of my biking experience on a much heavier, less efficient commuter bike, was intimidating. This machine allows its rider to experience a smooth ride and the ability to cross a good amount of ground without burning out.
I wish that the frame size was just a bit smaller. I am 5' nothing, not a size that is accommodated by many brands. With an Alchemy small frame my ability to get on and off the bike safely was hindered, taking away from the riding experience.
All-in-all, if someone were looking for a quick gravel or road bike, I would definitely give them this bike as a recommendation.
Cell phone quality, but worth pointing out the detail on the carbon. Get this frame in the sun and it's a stunner.