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Thread: R45 vs Alchemy

  1. #1
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    R45 vs Alchemy

    Building up a new set of wheels around the ENVE 6.7 rims. Had my 303FC's built around the Alchemy Elf/ORC, and I have liked them. Am new to the road (2 years), but spent 15+ years MTB'ng and have built a number of sets of wheels for my MTB's around the Kings (Classic & ISO). I hear that there is a new version of the Alchemy's coming out relatively soon. Am now trying to decide whether to 1) wait for the Alchemy UL's, 2) just go with the current ORC (I run Campy SR11) or 3) go with the R45 ceramics. I know this is a great 'problem' to have, but love to hear thoughts from those who have ridden both the R45 and the Alchemy. Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
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    I haven't ridden either but this link might help:
    2012 Hub Review: Information overload? - Fair Wheel Bikes

  3. #3
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    Both are great hubsets. They have comparable durability and price. I really don't think you would go wrong either way. The Kings are a bit quieter than the Alchemys which may be a factor for you.

  4. #4
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    Well all I can say is my Alchemy hubs have been trouble free for me over several thousand miles since getting them from Zen last summer. I put a lot of miles on my wheels and these hubs have been great. My weight has been running in the 165-175 range all year and most of my training are on rough chipseal roads. The hubs have held up just fine to the abuse. I keep hearing that the rear hub is noisy but since I don't coast unless the speeds are over 35mph I just don't know, LOL!

  5. #5
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    If I had it to do all over again I would definitely not get an Alchemy ORC again. since about the 10000 mile mark I've been having problems one after the other. maybe problems isn't the right word and it's general wear and tear but either way I wouldn't buy another because I'd want something more easily serviced locally and that I had more confidence about future availability of parts.
    I think King would definitely fit the bill. I most definitely would not get ceramic bearings though. Do some research on that before go dump the money. Most honest knowledgable opinions would be that ceramics are a wast of money.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    If I had it to do all over again I would definitely not get an Alchemy ORC again. since about the 10000 mile mark I've been having problems one after the other. maybe problems isn't the right word and it's general wear and tear but either way I wouldn't buy another because I'd want something more easily serviced locally and that I had more confidence about future availability of parts.
    I think King would definitely fit the bill. I most definitely would not get ceramic bearings though. Do some research on that before go dump the money. Most honest knowledgable opinions would be that ceramics are a wast of money.
    I am curious, what kinds of problems?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
    I am curious, what kinds of problems?
    It started with weird clicking sounds. When looking into that the wheel builder I went to discovered new bearings were needed, it was out of adjustment and needed some lube in there. That was taken care of and all was well for a while.

    Slightly different weird sounds have reappeared twice since then and have been adjusted and lubed out (I couldn't tell you exactly what the mechanic did for a fix here but it didn't involve any new parts). Also noticed some roughness (noticed by hand, not on the bike), as if there was sand in there which I found weird considering the recent service and the fact I hadn't been riding in the rain.

    The free hub is pretty well gouged up. I hadn't been checking that so I'm not sure how many miles I had when it got that way.

    Like I said maybe 'problems' isn't the right word. I ride pretty hard and do heavy miles so I understand things are bound to happen. I'd just rather have something that just about any shop mechanic would be familiar with and had the tools to work on and more certainty about future availability of parts.

  8. #8
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    Hmmm, mine are still going strong and I'm sure I easily have 5000 miles on them. They don't normally see any rain though or winter use. But lot's of climbing and suck. Checked then out yesterday after seeing your post and they still seem super smooth to me. No noise or anything. Maybe QA is a bit hit and miss? They have been through one bike service this spring but I honestly don't know if the shop touched them at all.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
    Hmmm, mine are still going strong and I'm sure I easily have 5000 miles on them. They don't normally see any rain though or winter use. But lot's of climbing and suck. Checked then out yesterday after seeing your post and they still seem super smooth to me. No noise or anything. Maybe QA is a bit hit and miss? They have been through one bike service this spring but I honestly don't know if the shop touched them at all.
    I'm guessing the issues I had would have taken less than 10K miles to manifest if they came out of the factory with an issue but I have no idea.

    No matter what the product there's going to be someone who's had problems so I wouldn't fret it if I was you. I'm that person with Alchemy OCR but there are certainly many more who haven't had them or you'd see it on the internet (although this hub hasn't been out that long so there probably aren't a ton of people with the miles I have on one).

    I should note that all through this the hubs actually worked fine. The weird noises drove me nuts and were unacceptable but the hubs rolled and engaged fine through it all. The front Alchemy hub has been perfect.

  10. #10
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    i have the alchemy orc/elf on stans aluminum

    and the R45 on enve 3.4 carbon

    the elf is wider and i think makes a stiffer wheel - it is pretty primitive in how it tightens but easy to service and find new bearings for

    the R45 front is a work of art and easier to adjust but weighs considerably more

    the rear hubs are about the same in my opinion, but the R45 has a meaner angry bee sound and better finish

    i think this is a win win decision no matter how you look at it

    I met Chris King at one of his gourmet centuries and he was truly a gracious host

  11. #11
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    I hate to say it but I'm with Jay on this one too. I was very optimistic the the Alchemy hubs would be better than my R45s but after heavy miles on both I'm leaning toward the Kings.

    I have over 10k of absolute trouble free hard miles on my R45 ENVE wheels and the bearings are still butter smooth.

    The Alchemy hubs in comparison have already needed servicing albeit minor after around 2-3k. I noticed they developed some rolling resistance and gritty feel recently and I had to regrease them. This was actually easy to do but in comparison of the abuse I gave the Kings over 2 years or so I expected the Alchemys to be as trouble free. I do like that they build up very stiff but the fit and finish of the R45s is superior. I would choose King over Alchemy if I did it again.

  12. #12
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    King sets the bar pretty high. Its hard to compete with their quality.

  13. #13
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    Went with the R45's

    definitely a high class conundrum, but in the end I just found it tough to argue with the track record of CK in terms of longevity, quality and finish. Thank you for all the input!
    Last edited by MTBDad; 09-07-2012 at 03:33 AM.

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