NAHBS 2012 – Alchemy, Ira Ryan & Kent Eriksen

Alchemy’s carbon road bikes have one of the stealthiest matte finishes of any of the bikes we’ve seen. Their paints use zero paint, with only a gloss finish for their logo. The Aero Road bike above isn’t new since last year, but they did disclose that their tubes are made by ENVE Composites (from Alchemy’s molds, last year they only said they were “U.S. made”). Despite the aero shaping, all of their frames are full custom sizes and geometries to suit the rider.

They were showing a few other bikes, along with an unfinished carbon frame that shows the layup complexity, plus one heck of a commuter bike and trail from Ira Ryan and a curvy 650B mountain bike from Kent Eriksen…

Aero Road bike uses tube-to-tube construction. Besides customizing the fit, this method allows them to alter the layup of each frame based on the customer’s size and weight. Each one is completely custom. Price is $4,400 for frame, ENVE 1.0 fork, seatpost and headset.  Frame weight is 900g to 950g for a 56. The aero seatpost is their own design with an ENVE clamp system.

Lots of little bits and pieces go into the layup of the tube junctions, with pieces wrapping far up and down the tubes to increase strength.

KVA MS2 stainless steel tubes are made in the USA. Frame and ENVE fork is $2,900. They offer small and oversize tubing options depending on what sort of ride quality the customer wants. They’re TIG welded, and they’ll have a disc brake version in about six weeks. Didn’t use lugs because they wanted to keep it as light and simple as possible.

Cross bike is built to be lighter than production brands but last season after season. Carbon layup is made to take a direct barrier hit and keep right on chugging. They use a 44mm headtube, which Dave Ryther, their sales manager, says eliminates brake chatter by letting you run a tapered steerer. Also uses ENVE tubes, for now.

Could possibly have a disc model in four months or so. Their design is done and it’s in development, but they’re working through supply issues to make sure they can deliver. The red WickWerks chainrings were some early prototypes, we’re looking into it. Seat tube is made as a seatmast to begin with, but ID is 31.6, so you can cut it and insert a standard seatpost anytime.

IRA RYAN

Ira Ryan’s red commuter bike with matching trailer had more Chris King bling than any other single bike…possibly ever. Hubs and headset on the bike were matched with disc brake hubs on the trailer and a set of Chris King headsets to connect the trailer and allow it to pivot and rotate freely:

A series of cable splitters hooked up to a thumb-shifter activated the dual rear disc brakes on each side of the trailer, which acted as a parking brake. Bike disc brakes are hydraulic. Note the sideways headset to let the trailer remain flat on two wheels while the bicycle leans into a turn.

Very nice wood racks and a full trailer cover completed the package.

Much like Don Walker’s racer did with his Thomson stem, Ira’s ‘cross bike ran the cable directly through an FSA stem rather than install a cable hanger. Clean, yes, but definitely voids any warranty.

A more traditional lugged steel touring road bike.

The stem had a removable computer mount added, and a very clean looking clamp design around the steerer tube.

KENT ERIKSEN

Eriksen’s ti bikes are always gorgeous to look at, and he does a great job of offering color coordinated bits (seatpost collars, seat clamps, decals, etc.). Not much new in the booth other than the curved tube set on this 650B mountain bike.

Their tandem road bike had a nice one-piece bar/stem/post combo on the rear and Di2 shifting controls and hydraulic disc brake lever for the stoker. The captain gets standard direct pull brakes.

Comments

Bene - 03/19/12 - 3:10pm

Where’s the 3rd axis on that cargo trailer? I see yaw and roll but no pitch…

breadandbits - 03/19/12 - 3:11pm

for all of the talk of f1/aerospace design and engineering techniques going into composite bikes, it’s really nice to see a bike with the actual appearance of a deliberate and carefully considered layup around the tube clusters. bravo. i looks like they might have realized that composite modeling and analysis software packages are becoming accessible (gnu/free) – i hope that there’s some engineering analysis behind the beauty, as well. their website says that they use “naca inspired” airfoil shapes… i wonder why they don’t just use the naca profiles (they’re neither a secret, nor cost money to get, as with aerodynamic airfoil analysis software packages)… we’ve got the metallurgical craft, let’s take this and have some fun with the composites and aerodynamics, as craft! who knows, these folks might discover that they could easily make small aircraft…

sorry for the rant

David - 03/19/12 - 3:21pm

@Bene- I know it’s not shown clearly in these pictures, but the attachment to the rear axle of the bike has bearings that provide the pitch axis.

greg - 03/20/12 - 12:38am

the tubes may be “naca inspired”, but imo they didnt try hard enough with the seat tube. a round tube in the front section with flat sides to a pointy back- its faking aero intent. and personally, i doubt theyre using composites analysis software (i could be wrong) as the tubesets are designed and constructed by a third party (who probably did use cad) and they could use already established methods of wrapping joints with some sound experience thrown in. safe, but not optimized IMO.

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