A couple years ago, I gave James Flatman at Alchemy Bicycle Co. a call about building a steel road bike frame for me. I’ve always struggled finding the right fit on stock frame geometries, so I figured it was about time I had a frame made to fit my 6’2″ skinny biker build.
Paint by Spectrum Powder Works
After receiving the frame, building up the bike, and then sending James some pics, he asked me if he could borrow it to display at the 2011 North American Handmade Bicycle Show, where a couple different magazines photographed it. The studio shots here were taken for Dirt Rag.
As a chemical engineer working with a lot of inorganic chemistry and metallic catalysts, I’ve always had an interest in alchemy – so I though an alchemy-themed bike would be perfect for James’ new company.
I had the idea of designing what I call a “retro-tech” bike – a bike with a decidedly retro vibe, yet made with state-of-the-art materials and components. Needless to say, Campagnolo components were the only way to go if you want that balance of beauty and performance.
It’s not easy finding high-end polished silver road bike parts nowadays, so it was a bit of a challenge to pull it all together. Ditto with the leather parts. The Selle Italia saddle is real leather, but the matching bar tape is not, which is actually OK with me.
The alchemical symbols were chosen based on their significance in my work. The drive side symbols are metals from my college research and work, as well as important alchemical metals such as gold and mercury. The non-drive side symbols represent chemical processes such as calcination, sublimation and of course distillation.
- fork: Edge Composites Road Fork 2.0
- drivetrain: Campagnolo, Chorus/Centaur 10 speed compact
- wheels: Mavic Ksyrium Elite
- headset: Chris King Sotto Voce NoThreadSet, custom colors (from Aspire VeloTech)
- stem/post/collar: Thompson Elite
- bars: Nitto M194 SSB
- saddle: Selle Italia Man Gel Flow
- tires: Vredestein Fortezza
- cables: Yokozuna Reaction
- tape: RavX LeatherWrap
- pedals: Crank Bros Candy 2
- cages: Velo Orange Moderniste
- chainstay guard: Charge Chipper
- paint: Spectrum Powder Works custom
- misc: Purely Custom engraved bar plugs & headset spacers, anodized valve stem caps; Salsa Flip-Off skewers