The ORC-UL is the product of a couple years of engineering by Alchemy Bicycle Works and is a significant upgrade to the already impressive ORC. As with all Alchemy hubs the goal of the ORC-UL was to optimize flange spacing for drivetrains with up to 11 cogs. Furthermore the ORC-UL sheds a significant amount of weight coming in at a very respectable 193 grams -- almost 30 grams lighter than the original ORC. However, the most notable upgrade to the ORC-UL is what Alchemy describes as an innovative way to eliminate the unsupported portion of the axle. This is accomplished by extending the hub shell under the cassette body, thus moving the drive side hub shell bearing out to 11.7mm from the dropout. Standard hubs place this bearing about 42mm from the dropout at best, leaving a large portion of the axle unsupported. According to Alchemy this is what allows the hub to lose thirty grams while increasing rigidity. In addition, the new freehub bodies are hard anodized which will reduce the gouging caused by cassette cogs.
Alchemy's hub design is centered around stiffness and efficient torque transfer. All the details that make this hub special contribute in some way to these paired traits. For instance, it’s not hard to imagine that the hub shell extending completely from dropout to drop out would stiffen the entire hub and wheel build. Additionally, the hub shell is relatively large in diameter, which also contributes to overall hub stiffness. The freehub's ratcheting mechanism is equipped with three simultaneously engaging steel pawls on a drive ring with an impressive 36 engagement points, allowing for quicker and firmer engagements under pedaling force.
The ORC's flange design and spacing is optimized to allow for the best possible balance of spoke tension between the drive and non-drive sides. The flanges are angled as well to ensure that the spokes take a smooth line between hub and rim, which helps to ensure long spoke fatigue life.
We recommend that Alchemy hubs be built by an experienced wheel builder. We are happy to provide this service, and can provide helpful suggestions in rim and spoke selections. Please contact us directly or submit a form for a custom wheelbuild here.