Despite the advances of carbon and aero technologies, titanium still has a strong draw for road cyclists, and its popularity as an alternative frame material has increased in popularity over the last ten years, especially as prices, once astronomical, have come down a little bit.
Denver-based Alchemy Bicycles is more known for its US-made carbon fibre frames like the Helios and Arion we’ve tested in recent years. Besides this nice range of carbon road bikes, the company also offer steel and titanium frames also handmade in the US. The pictured bike is the Eros and it’s made from titanium.
Here’s how Alchemy describes the Eros:
“Strong and graceful define titanium as a frame material. It excels at everything, from climbs and dirt roads to long-distance randonneuring and sharp mountain descents. We designed the Eros to be vertically compliant while maintaining lateral rigidity, and to be forgiving on the body while propelling you with conviction at every pedal stroke.”
Alchemy builds the Eros using US-sourced titanium tubes and the quality of the welding is as good as that I’ve seen on similarly expensive titanium frames over the years. It certainly doesn’t disappoint. Painted titanium isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it definitely divided opinion in the road.cc office. Personally, I’m a fan, it makes a change from the plain titanium look and ensures the Eros stands out in such company.
There are some details unique to the Eros and some that are common on high-end performance bikes. The S-Bend rear stays maintain an oversized profile all the way to dropouts that don’t look like they’re going to budge easily. Alchemy has used large diameter tubes and a tapered head tube for the main frame, suggesting it hasn’t wanted to sacrifice stiffness for the pursuit of comfort while clearly trying to provide a direct and stiff frame.
Sliding into the head tube is an Enve 2.0 carbon fibre fork and the frameset costs £3,200. For sure that’s a big price tag and one that places it right at the premium end of the titanium market. It’s not the most expensive we’ve tested; the £5,499 Passoni Top Force W still holds that honour.
One of the nicest titanium road bikes I’ve ridden in the past year or two is the Enigma Evade Ti, a bike that provided an exciting and fast-paced ride. And for £1,655 for the frameset, it’s nearly half the price. I’ll be interested to see how the Alchemy compares.
The beauty of buying a bike like the Eros from a company like Alchemy is that you can customise the frame to a reasonable degree. You can, for example, spec it with disc brakes if you don’t want rim brakes, there is a choice of bottom bracket types, internal brake routeing, an integrated seat mast and even choose your own colour. You can also choose stock of custom geometry, with five sizes available if you go with the former option.
We’ve got a size 56cm bike to test and the critical numbers include a 393mm reach, 563mm stack, 160mm head tube, 410mm chainstays, 70mm bottom bracket drop and a 73.2-degree head angle. Those numbers are reasonably comparable with a Cannondale SuperSix Evo so it’s clear Alchemy has gone for a racy setup, but the custom geometry option does mean you can tune the numbers and angles to your personal taste.
Alchemy’s new UK distributor Saddleback has pulled no punches when it comes to the build kit for the review bike they have supplied for us. You can’t buy this complete bike, they’re only sold as framesets so you need to build it yourself or work with your nearest stockist to turn the frame into a bike, but that does at least give you total freedom to spec the build of your dreams. And this is pretty much a dream build.
A Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical groupset is complemented by a Stages power meter and the bike rolls on Enve SES 2.2 wheels, with the new and improved textured brake track and the company’s own carbon fibre hubs.
The rims are tubeless compatible and measure 25mm deep and 27mm wide externally, with an 18.5mm internal width. With an incredibly 1,110g weight they’re definitely pitched squarely at climbers and weight weenies, and among the lightest carbon clincher wheelset, I’ve ever ridden.
The Enve logo is also found on the all-carbon stem, handlebar and seatpost with an Astute saddle. Tyres are Vredestein Fortezza Senso.
That’s a first look then of a very special bike. I’ve been logging the miles and my full review will be published soon.
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.