Italian wheel brand Alchemist Bicycles debuted their XC/Marathon RR wheels in 2014 as a mostly symmetric but still unique set of carbon-rimmed mountain bike wheels. Now, the new Alchemist RR2 changes everything, adding separate designs for front and rear hubs, carbon and alloy hub options, and an all-new “Eagle optimized” engagement system.
The carbon rims switch to a zig zag spoke placement to increase the cross bracing angle – the left side hub flange sends spokes to the right side of the rim.
Before, both rims had a respectable 26mm internal width. Now, the front grows to 28mm inside with a 24mm rim height and drops to 20 spokes. This helps it shed a few grams while improving lateral stiffness and compliance. So, comfortable and stiff.
The rear hub stays at 26mm internal, is only 22mm tall, and gets 24 spokes. Similar goals, but using a thinner rim to gain compliance with more spokes to make sure your pedaling efforts are driven all the way out to the tire without losing power to torsional flex.
The rim itself is reworked with a new layup process that wraps the carbon around the bead wall to improve impact resistance and decrease the risk of delamination (by up to 30% compared to their prior RR rim). A “High Toughness Epoxy Resin” further improves impact resistance.
At the hub, they’ve increased the diameter of the 36-tooth ratchet ring so that the bearing can fit inside it. Not only does this improve alignment of the moving parts, but the increased diameter helps it hold up to the increased torque created by today’s massive 50-tooth SRAM Eagle cog.
The other improvement comes from angling the teeth. Note how these teeth slant outward…
…and the spring-backed ring inside the hub shell slant inward. This design forces them to align perfectly as they engage.
The new Alchemist RR2 wheels will come with either carbon hubs (1,240g per set, €1,835) or alloy hubs (1,250g per set, €1,739). They’re Boost only and available with XD or Shimano freehub bodies.