NAHBS 2017: Alchemy Bicycle Company
Alchemy Bicycles has been handmaking bicycles from their headquarters in Denver, Colorado for over a decade. They call themselves "handcrafted awesomeness" building custom bicycles from carbon, titanium and stainless steel. Learn more about Alchemy at http://alchemy.bike/
We got a chance to chat with the folks behind the bikes at NAHBS 2017 in Salt Lake City. Check out the interview below.
Matt Maczuzak, the head engineer for Alchemy Bicycle, poses with his carbon fiber masterpeice; the Atlas road frame.
This frame was awarded the "Best Layup" Award at NAHBS 2017.
What do you love about making a bike by hand?
Handcrafting bikes gives us a unique opportunity to have an intimate part in our customers’ daily lives. An Alchemy isn’t disposable and won’t go out of style – for most, it’s something they’ll use for the rest of their lives and we built that just for them.
How many hours go into making a single frame?
Even before paint, which can more than double this time, our team puts 30+ hours into each bike from helping the customer decide on what bike is right for them to have a frame ready to get in to Ethic Paint Works.
What is your material of choice and why?
Carbon has become our go-to. Since moving to Colorado we’ve brought all of our carbon tube production in-house and now we’re even making our full-suspension Arktos here.
What makes your frames unique?
When it comes to our carbon frames — both stock and full-custom — we are truly building those bikes in-house. We’re forming the tubes, building the frames, finishing them, and painting them under one roof. And when it comes to a custom carbon bike, we can get really crazy with custom geometry and fine-tuning the ride qualities to meet any rider’s criteria.
How important are the component choices to the overall build?
Very. It’s something that the customer deliberates as much paint. Helping a customer pick out their first electronic drivetrain, or even more impactful, their first road bike with disc brakes, are not things that just impact the quality of the ride, but that can change the way a person rides altogether.
What is your favorite component that Shimano makes and why?
Di2. No question about it. Shifting is faster than clicking a mouse. Wiring is a cinch. And the wires are easily tucked out of sight, which better shows off our frames.
What is your inspiration coming into this year’s event?
We’re excited to be taking everything we’ve learned from building custom carbon bikes for the better part of a decade and using that feedback to offer stock bikes that wrap the finer points of our Helios and Xanthus into more price-friendly models.
What segment of cycling are you most passionate about?
Is there an “All of the Above” option?
What are you most excited about at NAHBS this year?
For us, NAHBS is special because each year we get to meet with a different group of Alchemy dealers and customers in a different part of the country.
How does your hometown influence the types of bikes you build?
Living on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains certainly has its influences on our bikes, but everyone’s looking for the same things anymore. They want their trail bikes long and low with good pedaling platforms. They want their road bikes stiff, but compliant. It isn’t rocket-science when it comes to determining what a bike should be after you’ve figured out who it’s for.
What bike of yours are you riding most now? What geometry did you choose and why? Did you add anything special to your personal bike?
The Arktos - pedals so well for a 150mm and descends like a monster. We like the Enve wheel upgrade with Di2.
What was the last thing you ate?
Something from a gas station between Denver and SLC. Probably beef jerky.
What is your favorite music to listen too while building your bikes?
Metal. That’s what our welder Jeff plays in his band and, well, have you seen Jeff? He’s not one to argue with.