The new Kratos gravel bike may have stolen the show for Alchemy, but their road bikes were also featuring some new technology. After introducing their version of the Speed Release system last fall, NAHBS seems to be the launching point for Mavic when it comes to the system’s use for a number of builders.
Taking full advantage of the Speed-Release system, Alchemy has updated their Helios and Atlas road bikes and combined them with the new ENVE RD Disc fork for the Helios for faster and easier wheel changes…
One of the main advantages of Speed Release is that you no longer have to remove the axle completely from the hub to remove the wheel. That’s because one side of the dropout is slotted to fit the smallest part of the axle, and once it’s unthreaded from the left dropout, the axle will simply drop out of the fork.When it’s fully installed, the larger shoulder of the axle fits into the right dropout making it physically impossible for it to come out of the dropout while the captured threads on the left side and the axle locking system add to the wheel’s security. The brass colored bit on the axle expands into the inside of the axle and is what allows for the “auto torque” feature which makes it impossible to over tighten.
Some companies like Alchemy are making their own dropouts that are Speed Release compatible, but Paragon Machine Works is also offering dropouts for custom frame makers. In order to use the Speed Release axles you do need a dedicated 12mm thru axle hub (not a 15mm hub with step down end caps), but you can also use a standard thru axle on the Speed Release dropouts with any hub.
Both the Helios and Atlas frames gain Speed Release for their thru axle options, in addition to increased tire clearance and flat mount disc brakes. Alchemy says the disc models will fit 30mm tires as will the rim brake models, though tire clearance is limited by the brake calipers chosen.
If all that wasn’t enough, the Helios on display had an incredible paint job which was more tinted clear coat than paint. Getting it out in the sun revealed the carbon underneath with a maroon sheen that was both understated and dazzling all at once.
The $750 paint job was accompanied by custom painted hubs and rims to match the ENVE grey.
Flat mount brakes, Speed Release, the ENVE RD Disc fork, and a brand new Dura Ace drivetrain capped off an incredible build. In spite of all the updates, Helios frames actually get a bit lighter with pricing starting at $4,999 for a base frameset.
The Atlas receives many of the same updates (though is shown above as a QR rim brake model), but serves as their stock frame size offering in two colors – red or grey. Sold in five sizes, the Atlas frames start at $3,999.