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1980 Alan build

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1980 Alan build

Old 01-13-13, 04:32 PM
  #1  
triumph.1
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1980 Alan build

This is an Alan frame I bought and plan on building as a winter bike. Today I sat the frame on some wheels and stuck a post and bars on it just to get an idea of where it is going. I plan on doing it with a Miche crankset I have, the black modolo brakes I have, NR front and rear DR, black bar tape and a vintage back suede seat and will probably use the Assos bladed spoke wheels w 24h record hubs that I have. I will post as I go and hope some of you will enjoy. I will also post the pictures in the alan folder in my profile. If you click the thumbs the pics are clearer. The bike is date stamped ALAN980, so Sept, 1980. It has several original decals left and I assume the down tube had decals at one time The frame size is stamped 58x57 which is about 1cm short for me, but I will make it work.






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Old 01-13-13, 04:39 PM
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Gary Fountain
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It sounds like it will be a nice bike built up with those components. I think the ALAN's lend themselves to a build with a lightweight aim in mind. The other things I like about ALAN's are the comfortable ride, the inherent geometry and the way they clean-up all nice and shiny.

I have not seen the Super Record decal before - thanks for showing.
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Old 01-13-13, 05:18 PM
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Looking good! I love everything about my Alan. Yours looks to be in great shape. If I were you, though, I think I'd either get a new set of decals (cyclomondo has them) or remove them altogether, it doesn't look quite balanced with decals just on the seat-tube IMHO. Your build plan sounds great!
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Old 01-13-13, 06:14 PM
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Nice looking start! And I look forward to seeing the completion

My two bits of advice: assuming that the Alan is assembled like the Vitus 979 — a heat-treated, epoxy bond on an interference fit — I'd be cautious about relegating it as your winter ride. Any water — especially if it is mixed with salt — that is wicked into any of the lugs can cause corrosion on the aluminum. Contrary to a lot of assumption, it is not usually the bonding substance itself that sometimes fails in these older style Al bikes, but rather it's the corrosion in the lug that separates the boundary between the epoxy and the aluminum.

So, you might be very well advised to keep this frame heavily waxed, especially around lug joints.

I rarely use my Vitus on wet roads. And when I do, I wipe it down thoroughly at the end of my ride. Yes, it is somewhat the noodle. It's not the rare 'services des courses' variant that was pinned for stiffness. Still, even though the previous owner (and a heavier rider at that) rode it in competition back in the days, the bonds are still good.

I have great faith in these bonded frames, but you have to care for them. Each frame material has its own respective issues.
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Old 01-13-13, 06:29 PM
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I bought this because I wanted something a bit different, plus I liked the screwed and glued design of it. I was planning on leaving the frame as original and build around the aged look of it, but may just add the down tube decals. The rest would stay the same. I would never have thought about winter riding and the lug joints getting corroded thanks for bringing that up. That fact makes me a bit hesitant to ride it in the winter as I had intended.
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Old 01-13-13, 06:49 PM
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An idea I read elsewhere on this forum: apply a very thin bead of clear silicone caulk to all the tube-lug junctions. That should protect them from water well enough, and if you have a steady hand, the caulk line won't show except in a close-up inspection.
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Old 01-13-13, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
An idea I read elsewhere on this forum: apply a very thin bead of clear silicone caulk to all the tube-lug junctions. That should protect them from water well enough, and if you have a steady hand, the caulk line won't show except in a close-up inspection.
That actually sounds like a great idea!
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Old 01-13-13, 07:07 PM
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Though I really liked my early eighties ALAN, I did find it to be very flexible, too flexible for a guy of my weight. The bike was very light, for a vintage steed, but far too fragile for daily rough and tumble. I would never consider subjecting it to the wide temperature variance that the Thunder Bay winters bring, let alone the presence of road salt.

Just an old guy's opinion, of course, and this is what my ALAN looked like before I sent it to the far east...

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Old 01-13-13, 08:03 PM
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Randy I have drooled over that Alan many a time on your website. Actually I have drooled many a time over a lot of bikes on your website. Total respect for what you do and thanks for the advice. So this means I have a decision to make. Find another frame to build and keep this one nice or find another frame and keep this one nice.
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Old 01-13-13, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
An idea I read elsewhere on this forum: apply a very thin bead of clear silicone caulk to all the tube-lug junctions. That should protect them from water well enough, and if you have a steady hand, the caulk line won't show except in a close-up inspection.
Good point! Excellent idea!
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Old 01-13-13, 08:06 PM
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Here is a nice weather set for it. It's hard to get the beauty of these wheels in poor light.

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Old 01-13-13, 08:09 PM
  #12  
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Very nice! The only place we differ is in the use of reduced spoke count wheels. For reliability and best strength-to-weight ratio, one cannot beat traditional 32- or 36-spoke wheels with a 3X pattern (optional 4X w/ 36 or 40 spokes).
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Old 01-13-13, 08:22 PM
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The lugs which the tubes are screwed into wll fatigue to cracks in them, so keep an eye on that

Aluminum steerer on the fork is better stiffened with a long quill stem.. like a Nitto technomic ,
pushed in , then the wedge tightened ..

Mine used external nut fixed brakes.. still have the 25.0 <C>1 bolt super record seat post,
but it may be short.. depending on your fit..
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Old 01-13-13, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Though I really liked my early eighties ALAN, I did find it to be very flexible, too flexible for a guy of my weight. The bike was very light, for a vintage steed, but far too fragile for daily rough and tumble. I would never consider subjecting it to the wide temperature variance that the Thunder Bay winters bring, let alone the presence of road salt. Just an old guy's opinion, of course, and this is what my ALAN looked like before I sent it to the far east...
In terms of my experience with my Vitus, I agree with you. I'm only 165 lbs or so, but if I stand in a higher gear I get chain whip. Compared to other frames, this one needs a bit more attention in traffic, and you do not want to find yourself "tram-lining" in grooves on the road with buses next to you. But I love to get on the bike-path in the marsh and feel it respond! Perhaps it is safe to say that the Alan has some of the same character.

The similarity of colour is a factor, but is it not striking how similar these two machines look? Randy I sure like you pic better than mine!

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Old 01-13-13, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Very nice! The only place we differ is in the use of reduced spoke count wheels. For reliability and best strength-to-weight ratio, one cannot beat traditional 32- or 36-spoke wheels with a 3X pattern (optional 4X w/ 36 or 40 spokes).
John, the wheels belonged to Mike Fraysse and according to his story were used once while his womens team was riding exhibition at the 1984 TDF prologue. It was a cool story from a cool guy. These are almost a shame to even put a brake pad to
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Old 01-13-13, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Lenton58 View Post
In terms of my experience with my Vitus, I agree with you. I'm only 165 lbs or so, but if I stand in a higher gear I get chain whip. Compared to other frames, this one needs a bit more attention in traffic, and you do not want to find yourself "tram-lining" in grooves on the road with buses next to you. But I love to get on the bike-path in the marsh and feel it respond! Perhaps it is safe to say that the Alan has some of the same character.

The similarity of colour is a factor, but is it not striking how similar these two machines look? Randy — I sure like you pic better than mine!

Very nice. I will be curious to feel all of the handling characteristics. I weight 155 during the winter months and nearer 150 during the summer when I ride a lot more.
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Old 01-13-13, 08:39 PM
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Well I wasn't going to, but since others have already posted pics, here's mine, soon to be wearing tubulars with OMAS titanium hubs and gum-walls...

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Old 01-13-13, 08:53 PM
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Those are beautiful Alan's, all. I am looking forward to build reports from you, Triumph1, should be really nive when it is fully built. Randy's old Alan always gets me stirred up, these bikes are the beginnings of the technology that gave me my beloved Cannondales. I wish that the bonded tubes/lugs technology has worked better, someone posted about an aerospace concern in France that had a better bond technology that really works well. Anyone remember that thread?

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Old 01-14-13, 02:46 AM
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Very nice build and greetings from a fellow ALAN owner. That super record
decal is interesting, mine didn't came with one.
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Old 01-14-13, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by triumph.1 View Post
Very nice. I will be curious to feel all of the handling characteristics. ...SNIP>>>
Yours may handle a bit nicer if for no other reason than my Vitus was crashed once by the previous owner in competition and once by me because I did something really stupid. The frame may be just a tad out. It's no big deal, plus I'm not about to start bending a bonded frame — if I could ever find the 1/2 degree it's out. I'd really like to try an Alan someday to compare.
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Old 01-14-13, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Italuminium View Post
Very nice build and greetings from a fellow ALAN owner. That super record
decal is interesting, mine didn't came with one.
Thanks for the kind words, I hadn't seen the super record decal before this frame.
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Old 01-14-13, 12:25 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Lenton58 View Post
Yours may handle a bit nicer if for no other reason than my Vitus was crashed once by the previous owner in competition and once by me because I did something really stupid. The frame may be just a tad out. It's no big deal, plus I'm not about to start bending a bonded frame — if I could ever find the 1/2 degree it's out. I'd really like to try an Alan someday to compare.
I have some perspective on the handling difference between the Viti and the Alans.....That is, with their CF bikes, but I suspect the geometries are the same or at least similar, so the difference between the CF and Al bikes might apply to some extent.
After riding my bikes back to back last season these are my riding impressions

Although my Vitus Carbone is sized at something like a 53/54cm (actual measurement, instead of the "52" cast into the head tube, Which is about two number sizes smaller than my other bikes, it actually rides more like an even bigger bike. It feels fast and stable on the long straights, but not as much in tight situations. I feel that I have to consciously steer the bike to some extent to change directions. It's a really good bike for "motoring" on long flat straight courses, but not the tighter stuff. Sweeping fast curves feels good on it, but not maybe for maneuvering fast around crowds of other riders.....in other words, far from an ideal "criterium" bike...


The Alan Carbonio on the other hand feels much more responsive, with very minimal input required to turn/change directions. Not to the point of feeling "nervous", but just very very responsive. Just short of feeling like you only have to think about turning or changing directions to do so.
As much as I love my Vitus Carbone and despite of being a "dyed-in-the-wool" fan of French bikes since I started riding back in college, I have to say, I actually like the ride quality of the Alan better. I think it all comes down to the designed geometry of the frame. The Alan definitely feels like an "all around" race bike with what I feel is a really good mix of ride and handling qualities.

Both bikes have similar "damped ride" characteristics that CF frames seem to usually provide which translates into comfort on the seat and hands and maybe less rider fatigue in the long run. For some reason, the ride feels similar to my Vitus 980 framed Peugeot PSV. I suspect that maybe the very light frame tubes on the PSV is kind of imitating that damped ride characteristic.

What I'm excited about is to finally get to ride my Line Seeker Composite bike soon after its completion. As the bike is a real CF/Al composite as evident in this pic where one can see the very thin gauge internal Al tubing, wrapped in CF and resin.

I suspect that one component material cannot support the bike without the other, so this should give a real combination of an Al framed bike with a CF framed bike.....
I also noticed that once I had the bike on wheels, the angles on the frame look to be more agressive/steeper than what I first thought, so maybe it won't be such an old sluggish handling bike too, which what I wrongly thought at one point most 70's and older bike were......we'll see...

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Old 01-14-13, 12:57 PM
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My ALAN is hands down the best handling bike I've ever been on... the cornering is just so nice and predicable: let's throw out a reviewers' cliche: telepathic handling. Sadly, the bike is a bit too small for me, so it's becoming more and more of a display bike.
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Old 01-14-13, 02:49 PM
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I ran into my first snag today. The Modolo brakes I had laying around to use had, excuse the terminology, an internal nut on the backside of the fork instead of an external nut plus the bolt isn't long enough on the back brake. I looked at another set of modolo on another bike and it was the right nut and bolt set up so I took the brakes apart and swapped parts. It took me three times as long as expected, but I got the black calipers on the frame, but couldn't finish because I don't have black cable housing. I did get the front DR and my friction shifters in the mail today.

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Old 01-14-13, 04:00 PM
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Chombi: interesting review. Some things about the handling reflect what I experience on the Al Vitus — more brilliant on long strides. I need more attention in traffic and so on. At the moment I only have two frames on the road, so when I feel that I'll be dicing with taxis and squirrels on my way to the levee, river and marsh in the dark or on slippery roads, I choose the Simplon. It would have made a good crit bike. If I wanted another Al classic, I might head for the Alan.
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