Alchemy Bikes Offers Au Range Bikes

Alchemy Bikes Offers Au Range Bikes – by Grannygear

Alchemy Bikes Lycos gravel bike in the showroom at Alchemy Bikes, Golden Colorado
The Lycos gravel bike by Alchemy Bikes in the “Au” treatment.

So what do you do when you already hand-make top flight bike frames in carbon and Ti and want to go to the next level? You add gold, of course. Or at least you add Au, the chemical symbol for gold. Alchemy, founded in 2008, has taken several choice models of their line of hand-built-to-order frames and cut weight while adding stiffness, The holy grail of bike marketing, needing only ‘increased compliance’ to round out the perfect ad copy storm. 

To do this, they refined the layup of the carbon used in these models and upped the quality of the carbon materials used. Ti is not forgotten, with refinements there too, but in a trail bike MTB hard-tail.

A close up of coffee and breakfast vittles at Alchemy Bikes headquarters.

We paid a snow covered visit to the Alchemy offices in Golden, Colorado, where they create some very, very nice bikes to see what Au was all about.

The day began with coffee, as all days should, and good conversation, right next to the offices of Alchemy. It was cold too, and this So Cal boy was loving every minute of that mountain winter feel. Colorado, baby!

Walking onto the Alchemy showroom was total eye candy for a bike geek like me. The walls were hung with some fabulous ornaments. I’ll take that one and that one and….

Meanwhile, back to reality. From the Alchemy website:

Alchemy’s Atlas Carbon, Lycos Carbon, and Argos Ti are now available as our brand-new AU line. Ultralight frames and builds for added performance and responsiveness.

While Alchemy’s core line of carbon and Ti bikes are built to go the distance with premium spec and comfort, the AU line delivers a pure performance option that can crush any KOM, big race, or smoke the regulars on your group ride.

Detail on the Lycos seat tube showing the "Au" atomic symbol for Gold.
It’s “Gold” baby, it’s gold!

Of peak interest to our readers is the Lycos carbon gravel bike, although the Atlas carbon road frame is certainly worthy of a quiver spot in someone’s garage. Alchemy also offers carbon rims.

Why Au?

Detail of top tube showing the Lycos decal.

The Lycos Au is every bit as capable, and purpose built for gravel riding as the Lycos itself, but the weight-savings makes this bike a race-ready option as well. The high modulus carbon construction and revised layup make this bike even more responsive, while the dropped seat stays and shaped seat tube give some comfort at the same time. The lightweight finishing options help to protect the carbon frame from the elements, while still letting you see the craftsmanship below. Clearance for 50mm tires and optional rack and fender mounts give this bike unparalleled versatility.

The Lycos Au will take a 50mm tire and sits in that adventure side of gravel, but with light weight and high performance as a goal. In this model, typically geometry would be (or could be) full custom, but Au does not allow that as part of the weight savings process includes a one piece front section of the frame that prevents tweaking of head tube angle, etc.

Custom paint colors are an option, but the Cerakote finish on the carbon Au versions is the lightest option (5g!) and is available in an array of colors as well. The clear finish on this model shown really lets you see the carbon construction, but not everyone is into that look. I prefer some color.

Lycos Au shown with an orange to black fade Cerakote finish
Lycos Au shown with a Cerakote finish

Weight, in what I recall was a 54cm frame, is 800g.

Pricing depends on the build. See below.

Lycos Au

ComponentSram Red XPLRSram Red/XX1Sram Red XPLR Premium*

BarZipp XPLRZipp XPLRTune Geweih
Bar TapeAlchemy Tacky BlackAlchemy Tacky BlackAlchemy Tacky Black
StemZipp Service Course Speed SLZipp Service Course Speed SLTune Geiles Teil 4.0
SeatpostZipp Service Course Speed SLZipp Service Course Speed SLTune Leichtes Stück
HeadsetCane Creek 110Cane Creek 110Enduro XD-15 Hybrid-Ceramic
SaddleFizik Antares R3 Versus EVOFizik Antares R3 Versus EVOTune Komm-Vor
ShiftersSram Red AXSSram Red AXSSram Red AXS
Front DerailleurN/AN/AN/A
Rear DerailleurSram Red AXS XPLRSram XX1 AXSSram Red AXS XPLR
CassetteSram Red AXS 10-44tSram XX1 10-52teThirteen Helix R 12sp 9-45t
CrankseThirteen XCX Race 1x 42teThirteen XCX Race 1x 42teThirteen XCX Race 1x 42t
Bottom BracketSram DUB PF86Sram DUB PF87Enduro XD-15 Hybrid-Ceramic
ChainSram Red 12spSram XX1 12spSram Red 12sp
BrakesSram RedSram RedSram Red
RotorsSram Centerline XR 160/160mmSram Centerline XR 160/160mmSram Centerline XR 160/160mm
WheelsAlchemy Carbon GravelAlchemy Carbon GravelAlchemy Carbon Gravel
TiresMaxxis Rambler 45cMaxxis Rambler 45cMaxxis Rambler 45c

*Premium Build also includes all-titanium hardware, and many other weight-saving small parts.

Prices for frame sets are as follows:

Lycos – $4999 (frame and fork)

Atlas – $5199 (frame and fork)

Argos – $5199 (frame only)

Top tube detail with "Enduro Bearings Inside" decal shown.
Alchemy Bikes is now using Enduro bearings in its builds

Something else that was announced at the launch event was a partnership with Enduro Bearings, where the very impressive XD15 line of ceramic bearings are automatically added into the build of an Au level bike rather than the normal all steel Enduro bearings (no slouch, those). So, headset, bottom bracket, hubs, even pulleys can be XD15 ceramics. Now this is an upgrade option on the normal line of bikes, but for Au versions and builds it is a standard feature.

XD15 ceramic bearings by Enduro are likely the last bearings you will ever buy, so they say. And they seem to have the numbers in testing to back that up. Yes, they are costly, but would you like to never have to replace a bearing in a hub or bottom bracket again? I would.

One other thing that should appeal to high flying buyers is what they call the D.A.R.E. Golden Package:

DARE = Discover Alchemy’s Ride Experience

This acronym is also the name of our 30-day no-questions guarantee on ANY NEW Alchemy bike, regardless of whether or not rider opts for Golden Package.

Available on ANY NEW Alchemy bike sold at MSRP.


This brings yet another level to the purchasing process of a boutique bike like this and I can attest to the breakfast and coffee part of the deal. It was excellent! Being able to experience your new bike with such a personal level of attention could go a long ways to making a 5 figure purchase feel better.

You can come to the factory, get your bike fit to you as needs be, and go ride it, having any issues or questions answered before you have it shipped to your home. Slick, that, and I do not know of anything else like it. If you do, let us know.

Image showing a milling machine at Alchemy Bikes in Colorado.
Alchemy Bikes make their frames on-site in Colorado.

The question for the ages: Is Au worth it?

It has to be asked, even though there is no answer other than, “it depends”. Because we are talking about very expensive bikes here. 10 grand and up. And one could argue that no one needs a 10 to 12 grand bike that is not making a living by it. But need has nothing to do with it.

The weight savings are there with Au line, but take for instance the Lycos Au in the images here. It is in that 15 pound range and that was with a normal bar/stem combo and 40+mm tires. But all the components were chosen carefully for weight savings, like the Tune seat post with all the material relief cut into it. 

Because an Au frame alone does not save you pounds of weight, only ounces, the rest being the parts used in the build. Is it worth the extra cost for a 200g (or something like that) weight drop in the frame? That is your call. There is no right answer.

But this is not so much about function vs. cost. It is about having what you see as the tippy-top best of the best. Look at all the folks buying S Works bikes from the Big S. That is hard to actually put on the harsh scale of justice and say that a small gain in stiffness and small drop of weight over a ‘standard’ carbon frame is totally justified for a big jump in cost.

A lot of having that label on the downtube is because you simply want an S Works level bike and you can pay for it. And that is all. No defense needed. If you don’t want it or think it is a waste of money, then don’t buy one.

Detail of an Alchemy made carbon fiber rim.
Alchemy also makes carbon fiber rims at their factory.

The cost is high for an Alchemy Au but so is the price tag on those S Works and Hi Mods and SLR upper-upper level bikes from major players and NONE of those off the shelf bikes are offered in custom geometry. They are cookie cutter bikes out of a factory in Taiwan, although they make for expensive cookies. 

An Alchemy is hand made in the USA, right here in Golden, CO. You can talk to the designer, You can visit them and work through the order process as they get to know you. And you will end up with a (guaranteed) bike that is made for you and is not what you are likely to see on the local coffee shop ride. It is unique in a way that an S Works Tarmac or Super 6 Hi Mod just is not.

Adding in the D.A.R.E. Golden package seems like the consummate boutique bike experience, and for many, that, combined with exceptional performance, is enough. 

Do I want one?

The Au approach is not a bell I personally care about ringing. I have never been all that excited about chasing grams or stiffness or paying big for that privilege. I am not that customer. But I get it. 

That said, would I enjoy having a bike that says Alchemy on it? Well there was a Ti Ronin gravel bike there in the showroom that completely captivated me. It was simple and lovely and graceful and beautiful and purposeful as a fast or even all-round gravel bike. The red accents are there to show where Enduro Bearings reside, but I liked the look.

For that matter, the normal carbon Lycos is a very attractive bike with 50mms of tire clearance and an adventure bent to it. That would be a great choice.

Image showing a titanium gravel bike on a showroom floor.
Alchemy also make some pretty tasty looking titanium bikes as well as carbon fiber ones.

But then there is that Atlas Ti road frame….well, you see how that can go. 

After owning several run of the mill bikes from the ‘big brands’, would I enjoy the process of sitting down with the builder/designer and planning my next bike? Because that planning process…choosing parts and thinking about what I like in a bike and do not like…making that a reality in the construction process…that is a lot of the fun of buying a new bike.

And if you are an experienced rider and you have spent hundreds of hours riding bikes and you know what you DO want, the ability to have that brings a lot of value.

And we are working out the details to do just that. To do a trail run of the D.A.R.E. Golden process for our test bike. Stay tuned  to this gravel channel!

N+1 dreaming, right there in Golden, Colorado.


Author: Grannygear

Grannygear hails from SoCal and spent most of his cycling days as a mountain biker from the formative years of mountain biking all the way up to the present day. His day job is in the tech sector, but he has spent time writing about off road 4X4’s, 29″ mountain bikes, and cycling in general. Grannygear and Guitar Ted have worked off and on together since 2009 after a chance meeting at Interbike. With gravel cycling on the rise, Grannygear has been exploring how this genre’ works in SoCal and now does guest pieces for in his spare time.

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4 thoughts on “Alchemy Bikes Offers Au Range Bikes

  1. I ordered the Ronin Ti. I am excited to be getting it. I did opt for custom paint. I had been looking for a gravel bike for a while when I stumbled upon Alchemy. As nice as carbon bikes look, I prefer look of non-carbon bikes. The fact that I live close to Golden was nice too. I spoke with Bryce at the factory, which was nice. Another selling point is that my son’s name is also Ronin.

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