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Old 05-10-09, 01:29 PM   #1
dmt
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Alien Frames @ the velodrome

I was curious if anyone has any experience riding a Alien frame at the track and/or raced on it. I'm CAT-4 and am not looking to spend a bunch of money on a new frame.

Alien frames...better for the street? or will they hold their own at the track? thanks
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Old 06-16-09, 02:12 PM   #2
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IMO they are better for the street ... they are designed with the concept of minimalism and craft in mind.

If you want something for the track, you don't need either of those qualities.

That being said though, I am sure they will hold their own at the track. I see people riding Kilo TTs frequently enough already and they do fine.

The frame for an Alien is about $400. Plus parts, you're probably spending close to $800, give or take. For that much money you could get a track-specific bike.
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Old 06-16-09, 09:26 PM   #3
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Why on earth would an Alien, a track bike in all respects, be "better for the street"? WTF is this nonsense about "minimalism and craft"? What about this bike isn't "track specific"? Finally, do you have any idea what you're talking about?
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Old 06-17-09, 08:48 AM   #4
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That kid has posted nonsense since the first day he's been on BF. He's the new Tadashi.
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Old 06-17-09, 10:28 AM   #5
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User andre nickatina has one. His is probably my favorite Alien frame... 80% of the others are murdered out and lame.
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Old 06-17-09, 11:52 AM   #6
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User andre nickatina has one. His is probably my favorite Alien frame... 80% of the others are murdered out and lame.
Yep. I haven't ridden mine at the track yet though because Pista Concept gets all the track use. I may go race the Alien tomorrow in a points race though... I'll definitely report back if I do! Like BC said there's really nothing that keeps the Alien from being track worthy - high bottom bracket, steep seat tube / head tube, etc. It's a little flexy compared to modern aluminum but hey, it is traditional diameter steel so what can you expect? Also, it'd be nice if it came with a threadless option, like Kazanes do. You can swap forks but you'll mess with the rake/trail and be hard pressed to find another steel 1" fork in 28mm rake.

edit: definitely going to take the Alien racing tomorrow. I'll let you know how it compares to the Concept...

Last edited by andre nickatina; 06-17-09 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 06-17-09, 06:17 PM   #7
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The Kazane frame is $600 and the guys I know who use them think highly of them...
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Old 06-18-09, 11:32 PM   #8
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edit: definitely going to take the Alien racing tomorrow. I'll let you know how it compares to the Concept...
Okay, raced the Alien tonight / rode it at Alpenrose for the first time. Here's my review for you. I'm using my Pista Concept as comparison because that's what I regularly race on at the drome...

At cruising to "good" paceline speeds, the bike seemed to hold a solid line in the walls a lot easier than the Concept. I didn't have a computer on so I can't give anything exact but let's say low to mid 20's mph as a ballpark estimate. Pushing it in a fast tempo with the front riders, it was a bit twitchier. Sprinting it through the walls, very twitchy - whereas my Concept seems to get more stable the faster it rides but takes a little more effort and focus keeping a clean line through the walls at cruising/decent speeds.

Harshness vs. aluminum... hard to say. Almost the same it seems like. Rode 120psi clincher rear / 150 psi tubbie front tonight, and I usually do 140-150psi tubular duals on the Concept. Tire pressure and choice is pretty critical in terms of how harsh or smooth a bike will ride of course.

Track worthy? Definitely. All of what I said about twitchiness at a certain speed only applies to Alpenrose - that stuff all varies from velodrome to velodrome as per how a given fork rake and trail will ride at a certain speed on a certain track.

One thing - the quill stem. You might want to run a steel quill stem (like Nitto) or get a threadless adapter if you're good at flexing bars / front ends.

Last edited by andre nickatina; 06-18-09 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 06-19-09, 08:21 AM   #9
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Okay, raced the Alien tonight / rode it at Alpenrose for the first time. Here's my review for you. I'm using my Pista Concept as comparison because that's what I regularly race on at the drome...

At cruising to "good" paceline speeds, the bike seemed to hold a solid line in the walls a lot easier than the Concept. I didn't have a computer on so I can't give anything exact but let's say low to mid 20's mph as a ballpark estimate. Pushing it in a fast tempo with the front riders, it was a bit twitchier. Sprinting it through the walls, very twitchy - whereas my Concept seems to get more stable the faster it rides but takes a little more effort and focus keeping a clean line through the walls at cruising/decent speeds.

Harshness vs. aluminum... hard to say. Almost the same it seems like. Rode 120psi clincher rear / 150 psi tubbie front tonight, and I usually do 140-150psi tubular duals on the Concept. Tire pressure and choice is pretty critical in terms of how harsh or smooth a bike will ride of course.

Track worthy? Definitely. All of what I said about twitchiness at a certain speed only applies to Alpenrose - that stuff all varies from velodrome to velodrome as per how a given fork rake and trail will ride at a certain speed on a certain track.

One thing - the quill stem. You might want to run a steel quill stem (like Nitto) or get a threadless adapter if you're good at flexing bars / front ends.
Was it flexy at all? The Aliens look like they have really narrow "old-school" tubing. I'm curious as to how this would compare to a Kazane, which is also lugged 4130, but with oversized tubing.
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Old 06-19-09, 09:27 AM   #10
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Did you just ride it out of curiosity/to prove a point or was there some other reason?
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Old 06-19-09, 10:34 AM   #11
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Did you just ride it out of curiosity/to prove a point or was there some other reason?
I've been wanting to try it out at the track for a while now just to compare. This thread just gave me enough motivation to do it now.

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Was it flexy at all? The Aliens look like they have really narrow "old-school" tubing. I'm curious as to how this would compare to a Kazane, which is also lugged 4130, but with oversized tubing.
Yes, a little flexy while seated accelerating / seated sprinting but not anything crazy. I weigh 170lb for reference btw... honestly though if you're willing to pay the extra dinero, the Kazane seems like a slightly better buy in the long run with the threadless option and oversized 4130...

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Old 06-19-09, 12:39 PM   #12
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Why on earth would an Alien, a track bike in all respects, be "better for the street"? WTF is this nonsense about "minimalism and craft"? What about this bike isn't "track specific"? Finally, do you have any idea what you're talking about?
Read Alien's site. Excerpts:

- "Alien Bikes exists to provide fixed gear purists with the gear they need, but can't get locally." (demographic is not track people)
- "We at Alien Bikes have chosen and spec'ed our products not based on some calculated market research, but rather based on what we want to ride." (not track-designed)
- "Aesthetics play a big part in fixed gear cycling, and if you think flip-flop hubs are an eye-sore (like we do), and that holes (water bottle, brakes, fenders!?!) ruin a frame, you've come to the right place." (minimalism)

Clearly this is a bike that is designed for people who value a certain concept over having a track bike, people the site refers to as "purists". This has nothing to do with track performance. Nothing whatsoever. Lugs don't make a bike go faster. But they satisfy the desire of these "purists" who want a traditionally beautiful frame. Lack of branding doesn't make the bike better for the track, but it satisfies the desire to have a minimal bike without frills.

No hate to Alien ... but this is not a bike designed specifically for the track. This is a conceptual bike designed to appeal to a certain person (a purist, like the maker of Alien bikes). A type of person, imo, that typically will be using this bike on the streets. If you go to the velodrome, people don't talk about Alien frames as the archetypal track bike. Certainly, as I stated in my original post, you could use it there and be just fine.

For the record, I have ridden both the Alien (and the Kazane, which most people compare it to) and the Concept. For a rider of my skill, the difference isn't huge. But I do think of the three, the Concept is superior for the track. The Alien and the Kazane are more comfortable though.

EDIT: BTW, the OP asked "Alien frames...better for the street? or will they hold their own at the track?". I said they would do both. I do think they are better for the street. Much like a Kilo TT. But that they would also hold their own at the track. Much like a Kilo TT. Again, these aren't bikes you would name off as the bikes to look out for ... but you would hear makes like the Concept and the FTP. Again, for $400 (a little steep for a frame), you could get a FTP frame and for a little more probably a Concept frame (The Concept frame might be more like $500 now that they are so popular.). Personally I'd take either of them over the Alien for the track. Again, though, I don't think the Alien is a frame not worth of the track.

Last edited by devilshaircut; 06-19-09 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 06-19-09, 01:39 PM   #13
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Devilshaircut, you're looking at subjective marketing speak instead of the numbers themselves. Joseph at Alien is trying to appeal to a certain market demographic as you stated, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything at all on whether the bike is worthy outside that demographic's use. Objectively, the geometry is definitely what you'd find on a traditional steel track bike and that's what should be taken into account as opposed to who the company is trying to appeal to through marketing.
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Old 06-19-09, 01:43 PM   #14
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Point taken. I am willing to take the statement of vision on the site at face value as true. Perhaps that is naive of me. I just feel that if they were out to design a track-specific bike, they would talk about the advantages of the bike as a track bike. Like the marketing you would see for a Concept.

Also, I don't see how this bike is significantly better than the Kilo TT frame, which costs half as much. But I do see clear advantages of a Concept frame over this frame.

Again, I want to make abundantly clear that I do think this is a track-worthy frame. I just don't hear people recommending them any more than the Kilo, and certainly a lot less than track-specific models.
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Old 06-19-09, 02:33 PM   #15
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Yeah the Kilo TT/KHS worked just fine for me last year racing it. No complaints for a starter frame there. Going with either frame wouldn't make someone an ounce faster or slower any more so than what they have in their legs and lungs.

But yeah I agree, as a long term buy, a Concept (or any aluminum track racer for that matter) would probably be the best decision. Back when Concepts were less than $600 they were a great bang for the buck but now that's not the case and Bianchi has been horrible at producing enough to meet demand / distributing them.

Some people only ride lugged steel out of preference given the choice though. Jeff Hopkins for one... and some older guys at my track as well. In those cases, I guess comfort (or for some, aesthetics) is the top priority.
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Old 06-19-09, 11:51 PM   #16
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I ride my Alien on the track. Its great.

My only complaint is the steering can pretty twitchy. Which is usefull for most events, but some events it can be kinda annoying.
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