To kick off our new BlacksmithCycle.com blog, we chose to profile this Alchemy steel road racer, one of our original full-custom designs, from 2012. A good friend of ours - the proprietor of the incredible KNIFE boutique - grabbed this beauty from us a few years back, and is still crushing this beautiful matte black + gold whip around the GTA to this day. Featured on CYCLE EXIF a few years ago, but recently rebuilt with a few modern touches, we figured the time was right to revisit this bike in all her glory.
Designed by Blacksmith Cycle in Toronto, we wanted a modern, stiff and sexy road bike with all the heritage, durability and ride quality that steel tubing provides. And with one of the world's best bike painters ten minutes away, we figured a local paint job was in order. Built by Alchemy Bicycles and then painted by VeloColour, this custom model came in a batch of 2,never to be replicated again, with its one "twin" sibling sold to a local rider [see further below].
Our custom steel blend consisted of Columbus Spirit top tube, and seat tube for lightness and comfort, Columbus Life stays for stiffness, and a special shaped Deda bladed downtube for an added aerodynamic touch. The geometry was designed to be a classic road racer with a 68 mm BB drop, and fairly aggressive 73.5 degree head angle, suitable for city riding but also longer fast rides. The paint design was a collab between Noah at Velo Colour and Mike at Blacksmith Cycle, along with graphic design work from a local Torontonian, Tobin Reid.
Integrated seat-posts are no longer the rage they once were, but for a custom bike, fit exactly to the owner's proportions, an ISP is still a cool option. Added stiffness, lower weight, a unique ride/handling feel, and a sexy look all contribute to the ISP's appeal. Small build details, such as the Chris King headset and bottom bracket in matching gold finish, contribute to the uniformity of the package. Simple modern touches like Arundel Mandible matte carbon cages keep the weight down, while visible cables strike a contrast from most of today's internally-routed frames, but also make for easy cleaning and maintenance.
Dubbed the Hammer Steel, this creation was a true NAFTA collaboration, designed in Canada and built in the USA back when Alchemy was still based in Austin, Texas. We even visited the old facility to see this frameset being fabricated. Shout-out to the current Alchemy crew, now wrecking it in Denver along with Ethic Paint, but also to the old brass, including Dave Ryther and the Austin boys. Alchemt shared our vision to create a kick-ass custom steel road model that would be as punchy and modern as most carbon frames, but with more soul and panache for the discerning rider.
A pretty smart build kit on this one, with Dura Ace 9000, 3T team cockpit, and ENVE SES 2.2 tubulars on a Tune Mig 45 / Mag 150 hub combo. The combination makes for a light, stiff, smooth and durable complete package that turns heads everywhere it goes. We added a few modern touches, such as a PF30 BB and 44 mm headtube, but kept the cable routing external for perfect shifting and maintenance.
Well, we mentioned this was 1 of 2, and here is the quick story on the other one. A non-ISP bike, sold to a local landscape architect and good friend, pictured below:
This twin brother/sister to our matte black bike features the identical geometry and tube selection, albeit with an ENVE 27.2 seatpost in lieu of the ISP, and a slightly more overt paint job, which I recall being dubbed "Neon Bar Code" at the time. Check out the first listing on our SALE BIKES page for this incredible neon explosion, which is in the shop and ready to demo ride. Size 53.5, includes matching ENVE post and stem [not pictured].
If you are curious to see what else Alchemy can do with steel, see our other custom shop design, a fully Di2-integrated Alchemy Skylla steel road racer, below. And it is worth noting that Alchemy also offers incredible carbon and titanium bikes of all types, pushing the envelope of weight, stiffness and design about as far as any brand these days.
Thanks to @OnlyWalt for the killer photos and more on the Skylla coming soon!!