Found: Alchemist 310g Carbon Clincher 29er Rims & Lightweight Magnetic Hubs, More!

Alchemist carbon fiber rim and hub lightweight mountain bike wheels

Thanks to reader Dan W. we found Alchemist, an Italian brand making some really, really light rims and hubs.

Fortunately, they’re more than just lightweight, the details seem to be pretty sharp, too. The rims use a 18K UD IM + 12K NS carbon fiber mix shaped in a high pressure mold with “Impact Proof” plastic polymer infused resin. They say this gives them excellent impact protection, letting them deflect sharp hits without causing cracks or chips as easily. Spoke holes are angled at +/- 5º to prevent bending, which can stress and weaken spokes over time, and they’re offset to keep the rim more centered on the bike.

Complete wheels are available in 26″, 27.5″ and 29er, with wheelset weights as low as 1,088 grams! Keep reading for all the weights and plenty more sweet parts…

Alchemist 29er carbon fiber clincher mountain bike rims weigh just 310g and are also available in tubular

The rims and hubs that make up their complete wheels are all available separately, and they’re all extremely light. The heaviest of the bunch is the 310g 29er clincher. All three common mountain bike sizes are available in both clincher and tubular, claimed weights are:

  • 26″ – 245g (tubular) and 265g (clincher)
  • 27.5″ – 265g (tubular) and 290g (clincher)
  • 29er – 280g (tubular) and 310g (clincher)

All of them are handmade in Italy, and all have a 90kg (~200lb) rider weight limit and are aimed at the XC/Marathon rider. We haven’t heard back yet on width, but this image suggests they’re within modern expectations for wider dimensions. All models are drilled for 28 spokes. Pricing ranges from €530 up to €570.

Alchemist carbon fiber and alloy mountain bike rear hub with magnetic pawl engagement

The hubs have a carbon fiber shell with CNC machined 7075 T6 alloy flanges and ends. The rear hub’s driveside flange is taller, and the front hubs use a taller flange on the disc brake side. All are 6-bolt ISO brake mount standard. Like the wheels and rims, the hubs also have a 90kg rider weight limit.

The rear hub has a fairly unique engagement system. Called Magneto, it uses magnets in place of springs to push/pull the pawls toward the teeth. The force is equivalent to the springs found in most other hubs, but they won’t wear out or lose strength over time. Alchemist says this makes the unit virtually maintenance free, which allows them to better seal the internals against water, mud and muck. Weight for the standard 135×10 QR is just 255g. They also offer a 12×135 (255g) and 12×142(285g) axle option.

(Note: Tune has also played with magnets in their hubs, check out this prototype)

Alchemist carbon fiber and alloy mountain bike rear hub

Note the chiseled freehub body! The carbon fiber shell uses criss-crossed layers of UD fibers to make them laterally and torsionally very stiff. Retail is €450.

Alchemist carbon fiber and alloy mountain bike front hub with 9mm QR or 15mm thru axle

The front hub uses the same basic construction and is available in standard 9mm QR (105g) and 15mm thru-axle (100g). Retail is €230.

Alchemist carbon fiber and alloy mountain bike Lefty front hubs

The Lefty front hub has two versions. The standard (left) is, well, a standard Lefty front hub. Weight is just 98g and it retails for €200. On the right is their award-winning Disc Brake Release Lefty Hub. It uses a slide out 6-bolt rotor mount that lets you remove your wheel for service without having to unclip/unbolt the brakes. The system only adds 12g, putting this hub at 110g total. Retail is €230.

Put the parts together and you get wheel weights that are pretty darn competitive. A couple of likely build examples are:

  • 27.5″ (650B) clincher w/ 15mm thru axle front, QR rear = 1,100g
  • 29er clincher w/ 15mm thru axle front, 12×142 rear = 1,230g

Of course, those don’t come cheap, but you do have the option of customizing the wheels, too. Check out Alchemistbikes.com to see all the possibilities…and their handlebars!

Comments

Simon - 01/04/13 - 1:52pm

Hmm…those magnetic hubs sound interesting! I’m interested to see how they’d perform in real-world testing, but it’s certainly a cool idea! I think I’d miss the “click-click-click-click” of traditional hubs though.

Bum - 01/04/13 - 1:56pm

I like the sound of magnetic pawl action

NotAMachinist - 01/04/13 - 3:11pm

I had never thought about having to remove the front brake caliper to remove a wheel from a lefty fork (obviously I don’t have one), but this seems like a clever solution.

Spencer - 01/04/13 - 3:13pm

Very attractive.

Anders - 01/04/13 - 3:16pm

I get worried when only 3D rendered models are available. Where are the pictures of the real stuff.

vanil - 01/04/13 - 3:18pm

Soul-Kozak have magnetic hubs on the market more then year

Joshua Murdock - 01/04/13 - 4:12pm

These rims and hubs look incredible!

B - 01/04/13 - 4:30pm

Kappius components use magnets as well. Nothing revolutionary. As well as tune as already stated. Sounds just like a standard spring driven pawl system. Click click click is still there.

Dude - 01/04/13 - 5:05pm

Its amazing they can have a complete website with items in stock, and no actual pictures of the product.

Mindless - 01/04/13 - 5:41pm

More euro-weenie carbon of questionable durability and exorbitant cost?

carl - 01/04/13 - 9:00pm

So Grasshopper, if a magnetic wheeled bike is ridden in the woods and there is nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound?

Visser - 01/04/13 - 9:20pm

Simon – they would make the noise of a conventional freehub body. They still use pawls, but instead of using a spring to push them into the mating tooth when being engaged, they use a magnet to push them into the mating tooth. You’ll still have the clicking of pawls on teeth when they’re coasting.
NotAMachinist – the lefty is IS disc mount, and their disc mounts are slotted, so all you have to do is loosen the bolts, and the caliper swings away off the rotor. (The slotted tabs do have a tab (like a fork dropout), so that even if the bolt (or QR, in the case of a fork dropout) works loose, they won’t come free entirely.

JimmyZ - 01/04/13 - 10:48pm

I’m gonna make an all CF / ceramic / dimagnetic bike, and a super electromagnet housed in a hydration pack, then I’m gonna enter a race and win it the way supervillain Magneto would. All other competitors’ bikes will be stuck on my rear wheel whether they want them to be or not.

Tiz-urkey - 01/04/13 - 11:15pm

WOWThose are some great made up pix. Can’t wait for the cartoons of them on some clown bike. Rating of a zero point zero. Buyer beware. Again more boutiquey stuff that no one has ever heard of. At least they have some cool artist rendering pix

Hell Yeah! - 01/05/13 - 12:59am

Those hubs are pretty freakn hot. Now, if l werent so fat and moneyless.

marco - 01/05/13 - 12:08pm

@ Vincent: Are you sure that are similar to WR composites rims? I do not think …

marco - 01/05/13 - 12:19pm

@ vanil: is a different system from soul kozak with frontal engagement. In the Alchemist rear hubs the pawl “work” slotted. The pawl slide in its housing.

nsp234 - 01/05/13 - 12:23pm

What bothers me even more than the absence of any real-world pics ist a complete lack of any rim profile or at least a number for rim width… so if I really had some thousand burning in my pocket I’d rather go with some ax-lightness or so.

But the stuff looks real good and the solution for the discs with lefty is killer!

marco - 01/05/13 - 12:39pm

@ nsp234: The circle is wide (inside) 21mm. For those who want to see the actual photos you connect to the italian site http://www.light-bikes.it and search “Alchemist” with the “search” button.

timmbers - 01/05/13 - 4:54pm

i am fairly sure the pawls would still click, the magnets only replace the flimsy spring which is not the noise you hear, is the pawl hitting the driver

CCR - 01/07/13 - 2:20pm

You are correct “timmbers”… There are still pawls and still a fixed outer gear for the pawls to catch on. The Magnet just replaces the spring. But you can make your hub quieter with Dumond tech freehub oil!

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