Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

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Framed
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Joined: 7 Feb 2009, 2:47pm

Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby Framed » 17 Mar 2009, 5:52pm

I've had a brand-new 'Alan' frameset stored 15-20 years, formerly too penniless to build it up. Recently decided to do this, so ordered components from local specialists.
When collecting these, someone asked what frame I had. When I said 'Alan' he expressed horror and declared it "...a DEATHTRAP; the forks being particularly lethal, suddenly breaking and throwing the rider into the road without warning; -even dangerous for rollers or trainer use!"
Chris Juden says 'Alan' did have some problems and were successfully sued by CTC 20-25 years ago on behalf of a member. 'Alan' then recalled that design of fork, but product recalls are rarely fully effective, so that it'll be nigh impossible now to tell whether my forks are the original 'dodgy' ones or not; records not being available, as the company no longer exists.
As I'm small and light, Chris feels that the frame itself would be safe enough, but advises replacement forks, in case mine could be the original 'dodgy' type; -an expensive remedy for a frame probably now considered to be outmoded, and which might not be necessary if I could establish that my forks are of the later improved type.
Please does anyone have info/experiences re this situation, particularly when/how 'Alan' forks were improved? I have no date for my frameset, only the serial no 244569, so data on serial nos up to/after the forks improvement may be the only form of forks identification.
It's a lovely light frameset, so I don't want to scrap it if it could be O.K., -nor do I want to meet a horrible death! What do you think?

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Domestique
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Joined: 22 Jul 2007, 7:31pm

Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby Domestique » 17 Mar 2009, 9:45pm

there is a thread on retrobike about bonded frames which be of interest
http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=51290

rogerzilla
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Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby rogerzilla » 17 Mar 2009, 10:06pm

Asusming it's standard racing geometry, some carbon forks and an A-headset would improve the solidity of the front end and possible the ride, as well as giving you reassurance. You could probably do this for less than £100 - try eBay for new 1" carbon forks.

pigman
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Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby pigman » 18 Mar 2009, 8:20am

this one as well .....

http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=54134

try them - a very knowledgeable lot.

pq
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Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby pq » 18 Mar 2009, 9:29am

I had an Alan frame years ago, although it was around a 1970 vintage. It was garbage. The frame flexed a lot, and the forks were worse. I replaced the forks with some steel ones which improved matters. As I recall the suspect forks had round blades (mine had them) which made them much more prone to flexing under braking and eventually failure.

Hopefully your much newer frame is better than mine was, but if it isn't, I'd suggest you're throwing good money after bad building it up. You'd get much better value buying a complete bike.
One link to your website is enough. G

pq
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Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby pq » 18 Mar 2009, 9:33am

Mine was the road version of the cross bike in the first pic on the first thread linked to above. If yours has similar construction, I'd put it on ebay.
One link to your website is enough. G

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MikewsMITH2
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Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby MikewsMITH2 » 18 Mar 2009, 3:18pm

My son has just bought a new (previously built up but never used) alu frame with carbon forks from Paul Milne via ebay for £60 +P&P. It is really nice for the money and has built up into a nice bike. He has done a good few miles in the last week or so and is very pleased with it. The way technolgy has moved on with robot welding etc. I'd say you would be far better of with something like that.
S.O.S - Save Our Steel!
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Framed
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Joined: 7 Feb 2009, 2:47pm

Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby Framed » 18 Mar 2009, 3:24pm

Thanks pq for your two responses; but I think I'll have to keep on asking for people's info on retro-bikes, as if I put my 'Alan' frame on e-Bay, I'd feel like a murderer, knowing what I've been told about it!

Framed
Posts: 39
Joined: 7 Feb 2009, 2:47pm

Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby Framed » 18 Mar 2009, 3:30pm

Thanks to all of you other members for your very useful replies/info re my possibly dodgy 'Alan' ; particularl thanks for the Retro Bike sites, which seem promising. Will follow these up a.s.a.p. Any more specific info still welcomed!

Fat Boy Riding
Posts: 11
Joined: 20 Mar 2009, 12:41pm

Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby Fat Boy Riding » 20 Mar 2009, 12:59pm

Hi There, ALAN bike are still in manufacture, in fact I was emailing Alberto Falconi yesterday (he is the AL in Alan the AN is his sister Anna) I own three Alan frames and have ridden thousands of miles on the earliest which was made in '82, with not a single problem (and I weigh 105 kilos) I have recently built up a new old stock '93 silver Record frame and it rides like a dream, interestly when I was buying components for the frame a dealer (who shall remain nameless) told me also that he wouldn't touch Alan as the joints come unglued (which they will if you put a heat gun on them!) and proceeded to try and sell me one of his own brand, which a mate reliably tells me have a reputation for breaking but the cycling press love them, ah those marketing men make all the difference !!
It is worth noting that in the nineties there were 6 pro teams all riding Alan carbon/aluminium frames. The new frames are all built handbuilt in Italy and are still regarded as cutting edge for cyclocross. CTC may have sued Alan on behalf of a rider, and thousands of Ford Maverick owners sued Ford but that doesn't stop people driving Fords, so why not keep an open mind and if you know that the frame has never been built up then try it, if you don't like it sell it on ebay, they still go for a couple of hundred quid. And if it is a polished ali one then chances are it looks stunning !

Framed
Posts: 39
Joined: 7 Feb 2009, 2:47pm

Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby Framed » 20 Mar 2009, 3:00pm

Thanks very much, Fat Boy Riding, for your valuable opinion which cheered me up no end! Perhaps there may be hope for my 'Alan' yet,as I'm a Slim Woman Riding so shouldn't over-burden the frame too much. But, still being somewhat anxious re the forks, how would you suggest I could make contact with 'Alan' for info; -I don't speak Italian and don't have their e-mail address?
One 'Retro-Bike' member tells me that the forks with round blades are the dodgy ones, (mine DO have round blades!). Also that the last two digits of the serial number denote the year of manufacture; -my last two digits are 69, suggesting that, although brand new,the frame is now 40 years old, really ancient, so it could still be highly suspect, I suppose.
(As a footnote: my ex-husband bought me the frame, from somewhere unknown to me, just before he traded me in for a flashier model; -do you suppose he was trying to tell me something?!)

pigman
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Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby pigman » 20 Mar 2009, 3:27pm

Fat Boy Riding wrote: And if it is a polished ali one then chances are it looks stunning !


nah, the best lookers were the sky blue anodised ones

Fat Boy Riding
Posts: 11
Joined: 20 Mar 2009, 12:41pm

Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby Fat Boy Riding » 21 Mar 2009, 10:31am

Hi There,

The anodised blue is superb, I know as my '82 is just that. Framed, Alan bikes were created in 1972, the date stamp is on the seat tube usually just below the seat bolt on early ones it had, as an example 'ALAN782' which indicates it was built in July '82, which my blue one has, the details on the bottom racket will show seat tube and top tube length in centimetres plus the angle of seat tube, my '82 has 59x58 74. The email address for Alan is as follows: alfa@alanbike.net. Send Alberto a photo and he will tell you the frame history.

Fat Boy Riding
Posts: 11
Joined: 20 Mar 2009, 12:41pm

Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby Fat Boy Riding » 21 Mar 2009, 11:27am

Hi Framed, sorry that should read 'bracket', there is also a serial number on the bottom bracket but these numbers have nothing to do with the year of manufacture. The earliest your frame could be is 1972, in which case if it is new old stock, it is probably collectable. I would be interested to know if your frame does have the date on the seat tube, as my '93 Record didn't have a stamp and Alberto told me when it was built, yet my '97 Corsa AL7020 does.

Framed
Posts: 39
Joined: 7 Feb 2009, 2:47pm

Re: Info please, re Italian 'Alan' aluminium road-bike framesets

Postby Framed » 21 Mar 2009, 1:10pm

Thanks again, Fat Boy Riding, -you are a mine of info! Will look for the serial no where you suggest, when I get home. Am glad my frame isn't quite out of the Ark! Thanks also for Alan e-mail address.
Do all your Alan frames have round-bladed forks? (As another member says these are the dodgy ones. Were they eventually changed to oval, or 'D', or whatever?)
I have a curly Hetchins with Alf hetchins' superb hand-filed lugwork, which, although beautiful in itselr as a work of art, has a very practical purpose in extra-long strengthening for the frame joints. The forks are a particular case in point, as the long pointed Fleur-de Lys extends down quite a distance from the fork crown, so reinforcing the part where the blades fir into the crown, so they're not likely to snap at the crown itself. Alan doesn't have this, of course, so that may be a weak spot in Alan fork construction..