C-Bear build off with Nie Brothers bike shop and Alchemy Helios custom disc brake road bike

On Monday, we showed you the Parlee Z-Zero x Signature Cycles custom road bike created for the C-Bear Buildoff. Today, we show you their competition: The Alchemy Helios x Nie Brothers build.

A quick refresher: C-Bear makes ceramic bearings and bottom brackets. They wanted a bike that could showcase those items, but it quickly turned into two bikes the opportunity to pit two amazing builders and shops against one another. This Alchemy is for C-Bear owner Bart Schouten, and the Parlee is for Ard Kessels, owner of their US distributor Sprocket Scientist.

The rules were simple: Build a bike around each person’s fit data and the Dura-Ace 9000 mechanical group, with paint and design that reflected the C-Bear brand. Alchemy chose to keep the paint scheme a secret until the bike was finished and brought to Vegas, but I don’t think it disappointed…

C-Bear build off with Nie Brothers bike shop and Alchemy Helios custom disc brake road bike

While C-Bear’s logo is green, they’re a Belgian company, so they used that motif instead. The Helios frame’s tubes are all made in house in Alchemy’s Denver, CO, facility save for the seat tube (for now). Each one’s lay up is custom designed along with the length and angle, then wrapped around their own molds for a true, 100% custom bike.

C-Bear build off with Nie Brothers bike shop and Alchemy Helios custom disc brake road bike

The paint carried over to the ENVE cockpit.

C-Bear build off with Nie Brothers bike shop and Alchemy Helios custom disc brake road bike

With the client spec’ing the Dura-Ace mechanical group (and the fact that their Di2 hydraulic set up won’t be available until late this year), Nie Brothers went with the TRP HyRD hybrid mechanical/hydraulic brake calipers.

C-Bear build off with Nie Brothers bike shop and Alchemy Helios custom disc brake road bike

One of the highlights of Alchemy’s frames is the detailed over wraps around the joints. The layers are placed to do their job, but the ends are angled and stepped to create a beautiful pattern.

C-Bear build off with Nie Brothers bike shop and Alchemy Helios custom disc brake road bike

C-Bear build off with Nie Brothers bike shop and Alchemy Helios custom disc brake road bike

Shift cables pop out of the downtube just in time to wrap around the bottom bracket. Like the Parlee, Alchemy used C-Bear’s ceramic bottom bracket system to adapt the PFBB30 frame to Shimano’s 24mm spindle.

C-Bear build off with Nie Brothers bike shop and Alchemy Helios custom disc brake road bike

More pretty layup.

C-Bear build off with Nie Brothers bike shop and Alchemy Helios custom disc brake road bike

C-Bear build off with Nie Brothers bike shop and Alchemy Helios custom disc brake road bike

White Industries disc brake road hubs finish off the build. Here’s the full list:

frame Helios disc, custom sized
fork Enve road disc
brake/shift levers Shimano Dura Ace 9000
front derailleur Shimano Dura Ace 9000
rear derailleur Shimano Dura Ace 9000
brake calipers TRP HY/RD with 160mm discs
bottom bracket C-Bear PF30 to 24mm bottom bracket with road bearings
crank set Shimano Dura Ace 9000
chain rings Shimano Dura Ace 9000 34/50T
cassette Shimano Dura Ace 9000 11-28
chain Shimano Dura Ace 9000
rims Enve 45 carbon tubular
hubs White industries Mi6/CX11-135 disc
wheel bearings C-Bear ceramic road
spokes sapim CX-RAY 24F/28R
seat post Enve
saddle Prologo Zero
stem Enve
handlebar Enve Road Bar
bar tape Fizik
head set Cane Creek 110
tires Continental Competition tubular, 22mm


The whole package comes in at 16.42lbs (7.45kg), being held on the scale by Alchemy’s designer Matt Maczuzak. Total cost: $12,250.

With Schouten in Belgium, he sent over his fit data electronically with nothing about that process included in this build story. But, here’s there video of the night-of-leaving-for-Interbike assembly:


  1. rico on

    Woah another tall stack. These are two tall dudes, Bart and Art? Enjoy the biges guys, I’m sure they both ride super nice.

  2. MotoPete on

    Fyea Dr. Monkey! And I want through axles front and rear. And a dedicated post mount at the rear. And maybe route the rear brake cable on the other side of the seat cluster, because the D-cabling though fugly should work well. And I also really hate blue. Plus rico is right – reminds me of a XXL 26er hardtail. But this one, for me, is the winner.

  3. Jesse Nie on

    Can’t wait to start seeing all the comments from the readers! Don’t forget to vote! Starting Friday for your chance to win some C-bear prizes! Unleash the flood gates and enjoy!

  4. Boom on

    Man there must be a lot of profit in ceramic bearings! I don’t see how either bike showcases the most hidden part of the modern bicycle. I would have wanted a ridable bike with massive cutouts in the shell and tube junctures like the Synapse that Sagan rode this year. That would really call attention to the BB!

    Anywho, A wise man once said, “It’s all ball bearings.” and who am I to argue?

  5. Scott on

    I’m always surprised that custom builders don’t provide color coordinated headset spacers. They go through the trouble to coordinate the stem and bars and then bam-a screeching visual stop with the black spacers between the stem and heard tube.

  6. xgenesis on

    All an audience can do is comment on the styling since it’s a comparable build to its competition. Did a double take thinking the Alchemy was a Ritte colour scheme rip-off. In my opinion, Parlee has a more unified design and true to c-bear, tubing transitions happen in a more elegant manner, and doesn’t look outdated.

  7. Tomi on

    @xgenesis : you do realize that the intended owner is Belgian ? There is no rip-off, Alchemy simply choosed to use the belgian national colors.

  8. carl on

    Great looking but I always wonder about the gap under the BB where the cables exit the downtube. If the whole idea of these huge BB shells and new BB standards is a stiffer BB then why are they cutting a large portion of the junction away for the cables to exit through?

  9. 1Pro on

    why no post mount on the CS/dropout? would be a much cleaner look. paint looks nice but the wraps are lumpy, all jagged and over sanded looking to my eye.

  10. awesome guy on

    Right, because Ritte has all the rights to using the Belgian colors. That makes sense. While we’re at it, you can’t ride up any Belgian hills unless you’re on a Ritte. Otherwise…RIP OFF!

  11. Eric@505 on

    Wow. I agree: winner. Absolute stunner. To the Alchemy team, kudos!

    PS: Does anybody else this that those disc calipers look a little, ahem, grotesque? I mean, proportion-wise, they look like they belong on a Corvette Z06…yikes!

  12. wiley on

    Funny, no one cares about how much this weighs, the burn throughs of the carbon fiber, or the simple paint scheme. Weren’t these bikes supposed to be about C-bear? Parlee included the C-bear bearing logos and their regular logo!

  13. fleche on

    those calipers look gross, never really liked them, they look cheap and just massive.

    has anyone ridden them, these seem odd to me, why not use a stem converter, less cable and more hydro?

  14. tinsloth on

    It’s not just the fact that the colors are the Belgian colors, it’s the way that they’ve been used that makes the bike looks similar to a Ritte. There are other ways to put those colors on a bike that would not resemble Ritte. Either way, it’s really nice looking, it just happens to resemble another company’s bike.

  15. G-man on

    Ritte-esque, but not as cleanly executed. For that price, the cables shouldn’t look like a big floppy mess. In fact, for that price, get a Rob English, it’s lighter & cleaner.

  16. Brian on

    I feel the paint has been executed nicely. That said similar schemes have been executed with the same quality or better by other companies (including Parlee). Due to both bikes having the same build the competition is based solely on frame design and paint. I feel the Parlee tube design and layup is far cleaner and better looking. I have seen other photos of the Parlee paint job (Parlee flickr and elsewhere) and I must say those pics do the detail of the scheme far more justice. Parlee has stayed true to the Cbear colors and logos, making it a true custom build for the rider. My opinion Parlee has blown alchemy out on frame design and paint work.

  17. Ermets on

    @G-man those cables look very pro to me! Skipping the hot tips for soldering is a nice touch! Anyone else notice that? Well done Nie Brothers!

  18. Jacob on

    Very good looking bike and not that expensive for a custom build but a bit heavy for my weight weenie taste (above UCI limit)…

  19. ryan on

    I agree with those above about Alchemy design failed to present c-bear. That IS one of the basic criteria of the competition. A big Alchemy sign and a belgian sign, one wonders if it is more for Alchemy to promote to the belgian market in general than for c-bear in specific. It is a custom bike for c-bear. Don’t forget who your customer is. The fundamental of customization. Wonder what c-bear thinks about it.

  20. Jesse Nie on

    This custom bicycle made by Alchemy is for Bart the Owner of C-Bear in Belgium. I think we built the bike perfectly with the customer in mind. After this fun event is over he still has a beautiful bicycle to call his own! It’s that what custom builds are all about? A one on one connection with the company and its customer. This is a bicycle and a build I am very proud of. Shoot us a email and we would be happy to build your dream bike as well!

  21. parker on

    @Jesse Nie, the readers of BikeRumor wouldn’t doubt that this custom build is something you would be proud of. But this isn’t about a contest of what the builder thinks. What’s revenant is which build really hits the mark with all the criteria in mind from the audience perspective. Subjective criticism shouldn’t be taken personally.

  22. Luke Heath on

    Wow guys, what a great looking bike!!!! All of the components, frame, wheeelset, paint scheme, everything is top notch. Also, since the Nie brothers were apart of the build then everybody knows that one could not ask for better mechanics. They are the best at what they do. I would feel honored to ride a bike like that.

  23. RobM on

    Beautiful rig, but at $12K, I wonder if the folks at C-Bear are actually paying for these bikes. Even at industry cost, you figure that thing is $6-7K. I used to work for one of the bigger custom US frame builders, and it killed me how we GAVE bikes to industry people, yet haggled over the price of a pump peg to an actual paying customer. No wonder these companies never stay in business long.


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