By Zap


It’s been a long year of gravel racing with events being held all across the country (not to mention the recently held UCI Gravel World Championships held in Italy).  Among all the events held it’s been the six race  LifeTime Grand Prix series that’s definitely captured the attention of the pro field. Well, after much drama and up & down results, the calendar comes to a close in this weekend’s LifeTime’s Big Sugar Gravel held in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The town of Bentonville has of course exploded in popularity especially with mountain bike and gravel riders due to the expansive trail network that the town has built thanks famously to the backing of the Walton family.  John and I are stoked to have nabbed a room at the cycling-friendly hotel, The Bike Inn.


John Perry is a contributing editor at RBA with a penchant for all things gravel. He’s ridden a wide variety of events, big and small, and now finds himself accompanying me to Bentonville this weekend where he’ll tackle the 104 mile course that evens out with 4,907 ft of total ascent and 4,907 ft of total descent,

Given RBA’s almost decade long history of building special project bikes to compete on, we figured that Big Sugar would be the perfect opportunity to get another bike going since Troy and David last did so for their jump at SBT Gravel.  And for John that bike would be an Alchemy Lycos hand built at the Alchemy’s Golden, Colorado factory.

Alchemy is a small, four-time  NAHBS award winning (for best carbon lay-up) frame shop that doesn’t just join tubes, but actually rolls their own tubes to make each frame. In addition to the carbon fiber line-up, Alchemy is also famous for their homemade titanium frames as well and we tested the Ti Ronin (above) a few years ago.

It didn’t take much to convince John to participate in what Alchemy calls their “Dare Golden” experience which includes a stay in a historical hotel and factory tour with the purchase of a bike.  John’s Lycos was built with a SRAM Red AXS drivetrain rolling on a Lun wheelset.  Ready to ride, the bike hit the scales as just a feather over 15-pounds. We will be following JP and the Alchemy’s progress via the social channels through the weekend with a complete review to come as well.


Saddle: Tune Komm Vor
Seatpost: Zipp SL Speed 27.2 0mm
Stem: Zipp SL Speed 90mm +/-6
Handlebars: Zipp SL-70 Ergo 42cm
Grips/Bar Tape: Alchemy Tacky Black
Headset: Cane Creek 110
Thru-Axles: Robert Axle Project
Wheels: Lun Grapid 700
Tires:  40mm WTB Vulpine

Although we were originally hoping for one of the bright color frame finishes, ff there’s one thing the naked finish accomplishes (beyond weight savings) is a clear look at the faultless tube-to-tube construction process. Very impressive! The Garmin pedals are expensive, but John swears by their functionality and accuracy.

Bottom Bracket: Enduro XD15
Crankset: eThirteen XCX Race
Chainring: eThirteen UL 42t
Pedals: Garmin Rally 200

Derailleur: SRAM Red XPLR
Chain: SRAM Red
Cassette: SRAM Red 10-44t
Shifters: SRAM Red AXS
Brake Calipers: SRAM Red
Rotors: SRAM Centerline XR 160/160mm
Battery: AXS x1
Expansion Plug: Tune Xpanda
Top Cap: Absolute Black
Spacers: Problem Solvers UD Carbon
Bottle Cages: Alchemy Carbon x2
Weight: 15-pounds
Price:  $10, 899

For more: Alchemy Bikes



The Lun wheels are new to us and come from the  decades long carbon frame maker Winspace at a cost of $798 each.  The tubeless ready carbon hoops are 38mm deep with a  25mm internal width. The claimed weight for the pair is 1431 grams (1450 grams for ours) and they use Pillar spokes (24r/20f).

Lun’s gravel wheels are available in either 700c or 650b sizes. The in-house built hubs uses stainless steel bearings with center-mount brakes. Choose between Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo freehubs. We wrapped the carbon hoops with a pair of new 40mm Vulpine tires from WTB.

For more: Lun Wheels

John used the extensive network of fire roads in Durango, CO. to get his first few rides on the Alchemy before heading to Bentonville.


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