Right out of the box, the Arktos 140 was easy to set up and get rolling. Starting with a rear sag of 25% and my standard shock settings, I felt instantly comfortable in nearly all terrain. Small things like a pre-routed dropper and tubeless tires really go a long way in getting a bike from the box to the trail in minimal time. All you would need to add is a frame protector kit if that is your jam.
Fit and finish is outstanding, as you would expect from a boutique bike brand. The paint finish is tough and hasn’t scratched easily. The carbon layup is perfectly finished, with no burrs or odd sized routing holes. Just enough frame protection has been incorporated to know you are safe charging a shale pile, but not so much you are paying a huge weight penalty.
Almost every ride starts with a decent climb, so it was a relief to find that the Alchemy Arktos 140 does a superb job of putting power down. The unique regressive initial travel is more than just an engineering wonder, it aids in the free movement of the negative travel to push into the trail on the steepest and roughest of climbs. When standing up on the pedals, the bike stiffens up and really shines. I never felt the need to use the climb switch on the shock as pedal bob is nearly zero and the traction is so good as it is, but on long road climbs it may preserve your legs just a bit. It’s nice to have the option.
On the way down, the Arktos 140 is the summary of all the small details. A very laterally stiff frame coupled with the above mentioned geometry allows for laser sharp handling. When that is paired with the progressive mid stroke, every double is just a pop away and every corner is an opportunity to wheelie out of. Even the bigger hits or casing a double don’t phase the Arktos like you would expect on a 140mm bike, feeling like it packs an extra little safety net of travel for the hardest hits. Cornering is an absolute dream – the Arktos will go as low as you dare in any berm with plenty of pop at the end in case you might want to jump into the next one. Long sustained high frequency hits load the suspension to just the right spot to be supportive but not pack out. Cool and composed with the ability to pop over anything are the defining aspects of the Arktos.
While you might be tempted to grab the longer shock and linkage, the Arktos 140 is so capable, it might be worth finding the limit of it before spending your hard earned cash. The Arktos gave back everything we put into it. That being said, the ideal rider may not be someone who wants a soft riding bump eating machine that holds any line. An active rider that is looking to place the bike on specific lines, pop over a root section, or keep up race pace will be rewarded time and time again. We will be getting the longer linkage to test in the near future and look forward to how that will change the bike. But for now, I’m so convinced by its performance, I may just end up selling my current rig to allow for the Arktos 140 to take its place as my personal bike.
The Wolf’s Last Word
It is hard to find a bike that makes you want to be a better rider in every aspect, and that is exactly what the Arktos 140 does. With the added ability to bring the travel up or down to your local terrain, this may be the one bike to rule every trail. Capable, efficient and fun both up and down, the Arktos is a killer ride. The fact I’m considering buying it should tell you how good this thing is.
Price: $6,499 as tested
Weight: 30.42 lbs