Table Of Contents

  • Climbing Ability 70% 70%
  • Downhill Ability 80% 80%
  • Overall Fun 80% 80%

Travel: 120mm rear/140mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 66.1

Seat Tube Angle: 75.5

Reach: 454 (large frame)

Weight: 30.75 lbs

Price: $6,099

What We Like: High quality build components

What We Don’t: Low bottom bracket, under bottom bracket water bottle attachment.

You won’t need to worry about what line you’re choosing while riding the Arktos because this bike has an uncanny ability to find it for you and just cruise through it. Some feel it is a better climber than the Ibis Ripley, and that is a high review. The Arktos ST is a bit of a surprise in how good it rides, and this bike is ready for any trail you can throw at it. The suspension was developed by David Earl, a suspension wizard, and it is so well dialed that the bike seems to hover. A negative of the suspension is that it takes up a lot of room in the triangle, so your water bottle will be riding beneath the bottom bracket. While this is another slight negative, fanny packs are only $40, so there’s an easy fix.
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The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Alchemy Arktos ST - Gear Hacker
  • Climbing Ability 70% 70%
  • Downhill Ability 80% 80%
  • Overall Fun 80% 80%

Pros

High Quality Build Components

Cons

Low Bottom Bracket, Under Bottom Bracket Water Bottle Attachment.

Travel: 120mm rear/140mm fork

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Seat Tube Angle: 75.5

Reach: 454 (large frame)

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Now don’t get confused with Alchemy’s Arktos, a long-travel 29er. The Arktos ST is the same in name but so different in purpose. With 120mm of rear travel and a 140mm fork, this bike is ready to climb the local hill and then tear it up on the way down. Now, in Asia, handmade carbon-framed Alchemy Arktos ST is a one quiver bike. Manufacturing was sent offshore because of the high demand for the bikes that outpaced the company’s in-house Colorado manufacturing capabilities, but that’s a good thing, isn’t it? The quality has not faltered, so we think it’s just fine.

The Arktos ST is a shorter travel version of their Arktos, a 140mm travel shredder. Occasionally bike companies will take a proven mid to long travel bike and shorten the travel to keep up with industry changes. This sometimes produces a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster of geometry and suspension, but not in the case of the Arktos ST. Alchemy has created a completely new and massively competent trail bike that will keep you smiling to the bike wash station.

The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Alchemy Arktos ST - Gear Hacker

The Bike

With 120mm of rear travel and a 140mm fork, the suspension is poppy enough to give a rider some serious confidence, so you need some good geo to back that up and Alchemy provides. With a 66.1-degree head tube angle, a 75.5-degree seat tube angle, and 454mm of reach on a large, this bike will have you planted in all of the right positions. The seat is a modest modern angle. It could be steeper, in our opinion, but the 66.1-degree head tube angle is a good counter and still lends itself to some aggressive downhill lines.

The rear suspension is built around David Earl, a suspension wizard who created the Sine Suspension to use every single mm of shock most efficiently. An unfortunate side effect of this rad suspension platform is that it takes up a lot of room in the front triangle… so your water bottle needs to hang underneath the bike. Or you can buy a hydration backpack and be the hippest rider on the track—your call, we won’t judge.

The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Alchemy Arktos ST - Gear Hacker

Climbing

The Sine suspension platform is quite legit. It has a great ability to absorb the small bumps and keep the bike moving over all sorts of terrain. Once you get the momentum built up, it doesn’t seem to want to stop. No, it may not be the fastest or stiffest feeling suspension, but it won’t let some small rocks bog you down. The shorter offset fork keeps the handling quick and responsive on technical climbs and the moderate reach helps to keep weight and traction on both wheels, so the front does catch too much air time while you are pumping hard up a forestry road. The shorter chainstays, 436mm, also allow for good rear wheel management in tighter sections if it is needed.

Some reviews of the bike have stated it may climb better than the Ibis Ripley, which seems like a bit of a stretch, it is a great climber and has an easy to access lockout switch on the rear suspension to help with climbs and acceleration.
The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Alchemy Arktos ST - Gear Hacker

Downhill

Point this thing into the danger zone and enjoy it. You may run out of travel, but the geo and the Fox 36 fork on the front will help to keep you out of any real messes. The rear suspension will help to keep traction in the rear tire. So as long as you are aware of your line, it should not get too squirrely. That is also where some of the fun is—finding that fine line and seeing how close you can ride to it.

The Arktos ST does stay well composed over a variety of speeds and terrain and is a very good one quiver bike in the shorter travel world. The Arktos ST has an uncanny ability to help you find the best line, pop you over troubled waters, and keep you cruising with a smile. Super fun and playful, built to be ridden all day, and full of confidence-inspiring features—this bike is a treat.

The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Alchemy Arktos ST - Gear Hacker

Build Options

The frame only option will set you back $2,000.
From there, there are six built options ranging from $9,500 down to $4,899. At the time of writing, every build option was a full $1000 cheaper than the listed price. So hopefully you don’t read this too late!
The lowest build option we recommend is the SRAM GX Eagle build option, listed at $5,399. It is the cheapest model that comes with the Fox 36 fork, and that fork is part of the puzzle that brings the whole bike together. That build-out also is the cheapest to come with the Shimano XT brakes, which will help when things get a bit exciting on the trail.

The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Alchemy Arktos ST - Gear Hacker
The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Alchemy Arktos ST - Gear Hacker
The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Alchemy Arktos ST - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

Seemingly a black sheep in the list of excellent short-travel bikes, the Alchemy Arktos ST is shortlist worthy of best short travel bike. It has an extremely well designed rear travel suspension platform that feels almost bottomless while riding. Sure, you don’t get an inner triangle water bottle cage, but what you do get is an optimized travel set up. It is built for fun not hydration, and those backpacks are all the rage anyways so no real loss.

The build options also come with really high-quality parts for a reasonable price. There is no wireless build yet for those hardo’s out there, but it is probably on the way. This bike made it onto the shortlist, no pun intended, of our favorite short-travel bikes, and for a small company, Alchemy has done it right. You’ll be able to ride forever and enjoy every pedal as you start back up the hill for another lap of high traction, single track shredding. Fanny packs not included.
The Best Short Travel Mountain Bikes: Alchemy Arktos ST - Gear Hacker

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!