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NAHBS 2017: Alchemy Kratos gravel bike rolls in with prototype Fox AX Adventure Cross suspension fork

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There were a lot of new items in the Alchemy booth for NAHBS, but it was very hard to overlook the Fox in the room. After a number of Instagram leaks, the prototype adventure forks have made their debut at NAHBS. Alchemy took the opportunity to showcase the fork on one of their newest bikes, the Kratos gravel/adventure bike. The Kratos is built around a rigid ENVE CX fork, but that doesn’t mean the AX isn’t right at home…

While the AX Adventure Cross fork is clearly purpose built for gravel and adventure bikes with 40mm of travel, it’s not hard to see its roots in the 32mm Step-Cast fork platform. It even still had the ’32 27.5′ sticker on the back of the leg. With the same 44mm offset as one of the 27.5″ models, it’s not hard to imagine that this is just a cut down version of a mountain bike fork to adapt it to the 40mm of travel.

 

At the bottom of the fork is a typical rebound adjustment and 100x15mm tooled thru axle, while up top you’ll find an air spring and two adjustments for damping which looks to be the same as the FIT 4 damper on the 32 Step-Cast. Shown with 700c wheels and Teravail Cannonball tires, the fork should also fit 650b road plus tire set ups since it looks like a mountain bike casting anyways.

Photos c. Logan Vonbokel/Alchemy

As for the bike itself, the new Kratos is a “stock” bike from Alchemy with set sizing and titanium tubing. Built around the ENVE CX carbon fork, tire clearance is said to be 45mm front and rear and is an evolution of their Chiron cross bike.

That evolution includes features like lower bottle cage mounts to accommodate half frame bags. Those frame bags will be made to fit by Andrew the Maker and will bolt directly to the frame with dedicated braze ons. Made in the USA, the frames are available in 14 colors with a frameset price of $3,999.

KRATOS SPECIFICATIONS

• $3,999 frameset

• MADE IN THE USA (Denver, Colorado)

• Size-specific titanium tubes

• 45mm tire clearance

• Flat mount, thru-axle rear dropouts

• 31.6 seatpost offering a large diameter surface for securing heavy seat bags

• 14 Ethic Paint Works color options

• ENVE CX Flat Mount Fork

• Electronic and mechanical shifting friendly

• Internal brake routing available

• Rack mounts and third bottle cage options

alchemy.bike

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21 Comments
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Susan Bilger
Susan Bilger
5 years ago

Love the look of this bike

ELEVEN_g
5 years ago

And it even has external cables. I heard that they could be the next big thing…

negis
negis
5 years ago

fork a2c?

Wojciech Grela
Wojciech Grela
5 years ago

Looks so wrong

Marin
Marin
5 years ago

How long until people start riding XC 29″ hardtails with 2.0 tires and 80mm forks? This is so wrong…
Basically the same bike as 10 years ago but with drop bars.
(deleted)

Bmx
Bmx
5 years ago
Reply to  Marin

(deleted)

Mattie Davitt
5 years ago
Reply to  Marin

I’m half thinking of digging up a NOS 3 year old Cannondale and doing exactly what you’re saying. The Lexi (women’s hardtail) came with an 80mm fork, 71* hta and geo conducive to just slapping on a set of drops. They can be found for a song too.

Sonneur
5 years ago
Reply to  Marin

Sure but the top tubes are shorter.

BG
BG
5 years ago

Can you say mountain bike

Gabe
Gabe
5 years ago

All bitching aside, when I look at the bike, I see something that would be extremely fun in my area…Ride on the road or powerlines to some of the singletrack and just tear it up! I love riding my ‘cross bike on our fast and flowy xc trails and this would make it a bit safer and more comfortable to push the limits. I’ve considered putting drop bars on my Lynskey Pro 29 and running a similar setup, and hundreds of people running “monstercross” bikes out there have surely had the same idea. Make a ‘cross or xc bike little less cookie cutter, and bump up the fun level.

I understand the “it’s been done before” thoughts, but at this point what IS actually a bike configuration that hasn’t been done before? I’d argue the crazy limit-free designs on the tri-aero bikes are the most innovative and original things you’ll see now.

myke2241
myke2241
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe

Personally I think gravel takes a minimumistic approach. Taking what you have on a road bike and improving it. Part of that is no suspension as most place it’s not required. As a guy who rides a fully rigid mtb I think the point is miss on the bike. Be honest with yourself, road frame with suspension…. does it solve any problems your current bike have?

Erich
Erich
5 years ago

We really are headed right back to redesigning the 29r yet again, which is fine. As said above, not much new under the sun in bikes.

More importantly, it means Fox may be willing to make runs of niche forks. If they can crank out some version of their old v-brake equipped float 32 lowers with modern guts, 63mm of travel, and a straight 1 1/8″ steerer, they will sell the whole run to grumps like me who dream of owning the Schwinn Homegrown of their youth, but do not want to put period-correct forks on them, for reasons of comfort and safety. Honestly, MRP is flexible enough in manufacturing to beat them to this, but I would just love someone to do it sooner rather than later.

Bazz
Bazz
5 years ago
Reply to  Erich

Just a 29er. If you really want to run drop bars then all the 29er needs is a taller head tube. That’s all. No need for the bike industry to invent a new niche is there.

Dolan Halbrook
Dolan Halbrook
5 years ago
Reply to  Erich

Ha… I’d love to find a modern suspension fork for my Bontrager Race Lite (straight 1″!)

Carlos
Carlos
5 years ago

Somewhere, Jaquie Phelan is chuckling quietly to herself. So far ahead of the game it’s hard to believe!

YO!
YO!
5 years ago

um… can we talk more about those tan wall teravails please???

Bazz
Bazz
5 years ago

Someday soon people are going to realize that gravel bikes need 2-2.25″ wide tyres for comfort, rolling ability and puncture resistance, suspension front and rear and wide, flat bars for control in the rough sections of road and the bike industry will invent the “Super Gravel Bike” which actually looks like the 29er MTB you sold to by a gravel bike in the first place…

Bazz
Bazz
5 years ago

Oh, and another thing: Dropped drive side chain stays etc: Not enough clearance for 2″ 29er tyres? Use a 73mm threaded BB from a MTB rather than a 68mm road one.

Dennis
Dennis
5 years ago

No step-cast lowers? Could have been lighter!

conner kuhns
conner kuhns
5 years ago
Reply to  Dennis

They are stepcast

Dont call me Francis (@mtn_rcr)

All this ‘it’s all going to end up back at the 29er’ talk is missing the significant difference in geometry between road and mountain bikes due primarily to the difference in reach between road drop bars and mountain flat bars. It’s pretty often somewhere in the range of 3-4cm. Most folks who convert a 29er to drop bars end up doing funny things with stems and end up with a somewhat funny handling bike in the end. So by designing a drop bar bike around a suspension fork may not be a new idea, but I think the industry is addressing a need. As a nearly 50yr old guy who is a former competitive downhill skier with all the bumps and bruises (4 knee, 1 hip surgery and a broken back to boot) I look forward to a smoother riding bike for gravel. If we can get a reasonably light bike from this concept, I’d ride one for sure. Anything to keep me on the bike riding the best backroads out there, regardless of the surface, makes me happy.

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