Alpha bikes are a young, up-and-coming French bike brand and I was lucky enough to have one of their bikes to play around on for a little while.
Based in Grenoble they’re ideally placed to design, test and ride their wares on some of the best terrain around.
They make light carbon machines with a racing bias and more than a sniff of style.
The ‘Predator SL’ fatbike we got to play with was their test ride rig and so was built more with comfort and durability in mind (as opposed to being an all out uber lightweight build) and yet it still came in a 10.6kg which is really really light.
Once I’d switched out the tyres (for something more snow capable) as well as the saddle it jumped up to 11.5kg but that’s still a hell of a lot less than most other fatties out there.
It came with a pair of Lauf forks which was a nice comforting surprise, 1×10 XT gearing, Raceface cranks and some lovely Alpha carbon wheels and finishing kit – nice!
In order to give it a thorough and challenging first outing I took it and over the border into Switzerland and then rode back and the first thing that struck me was just how easily it climbed.
I’m no racing whippet (quite the opposite in fact) but it climbed so easily that I almost believed that I was in good form!
The conditions were soft and I did notice the lack of float of the 4″ tyres but as this is predominantly a race bike it’s unlikely to be used as so much of a back-country bike all that often.
All-in-all I was very impressed with how it rode and especially by how well built it is.
Take a look below at a few of the nice little design features of the frame and own-brand components:
During the next few weeks I rode it a lot in the valley (Chamonix) as well as taking it on a few excursions through the tunnel into Italy and so it’s fair to say that it has been rigorously tested in a wide-range of conditions and different terrain (everything from long snowy road slogs to massively tech singletrack descents).
So what’s the verdict on it’s handling?
Well…..it’s a nimble little bugger, I can tell you that much! It climbs magnificently and generally handled everything I threw at it with ease.
If I had to find fault with the bike it would be that I found it a tad dainty for my personal taste but that’s always true of thoroughbred race bikes – I often feel like they’re a little fragile for my style of riding but that says more about me than the bike.
Had a stomach bug not kept me from participating in the races at the Snow Bike Festival in Gstaad I’m sure I’d have experienced the bike in it’s element and performing faultlessly but alas it was not to be…..
Overall I think that the good folks at Alpha have created a stunning little racing fatty.
Not only that but their ‘direct to the customer’ sales model means that it’s not going to break the bank (too much) which is an important factor!
Get yourself over to their website and have a look for yourself: