ALAN Carbonio

Alan Super Record Carbonio
Sometimes it’s okay to forgo a little function for the sake of form. In the case of Bryan Paxton’s carbon fiber and aluminum Alan frame, we’ll overlook the structural integrity as this is one of the best looking assemblies we’ve seen. In most instances it’s not recommended to mix frame materials in the same bike but due to the similar rigidity of aluminum and carbon fiber they come together in Alan frames quite compatibly.

Alan first started manufacturing carbon fiber and aluminum frames in 1976, after successfully producing a frame set constructed from aerospace grade aluminum in 1972—a world first. Alan’s racing credentials are extensive: 20 cyclocross World Championships, 5 World Track Title Championships, numerous wins in the classics, as well as stage wins in the Tour de France, Giro D’Italia, and Vuelta De Espana.

Bryan’s Alan is an interesting mix of period components. Whilst not exactly correct (the purists may scowl), the overall effect is a triumph of art over technology. The frame is a 1984 Alan Super Record Carbonio and the cockpit consists of a WR Compositi quill and Italmanubri Super-Europa II handlebar.

Power is transmitted via a Sugino composite carbon SS chainring, Shimano Deore cranks and a Mavic SSC derailleur. They drive a Spinergy Rev-X rear wheel—providing a great visual and mechanical contrast with the front. The modern classic lines are continued up top by composite Modolo levers and Shimano 600AX TT calipers. The seatpost is a Corima Blade, a perfect stand for the Tioga Spider saddle. Even the front wheel is a wonderful blend of carbon fiber composite, an Araya Aero rim laced to a low flange Nuke Proof hub.

The whole bike weighs in at a whopping 14 pounds, and as previously mentioned, the structural integrity is something we’ll gloss over in the face of beauty: Bryan claims the cranks and the handlebars can be deflected close to 2 inches and rides, apparently, similar to what he would expect an inflatable bike to…

Let’s set aside carbon fiber’s technical misgivings, who out there has a positive report for Alan frames?

PS: Big thanks to Bryan Paxton and Joshua Hoffman for the impeccable photography.

Alan Super Record Carbonio
Alan Super Record Carbonio
Alan Super Record Carbonio
Alan Super Record Carbonio
Alan Super Record CarbonioAlan Super Record Carbonio
Alan Super Record Carbonio
Alan Super Record Carbonio

  • How flexible is carbon fibre?

  • Not very, usually. Like aluminum, carbon fiber is quite unforgiving.

  • Then I’m assuming this would be a pretty bumpy ride…

  • Bryan Paxton

    Indeed newer carbon is very unforgiving, but older primitive carbon, often wrapped around thin-wall aluminum tubing and bonded to aluminum lugs, is about the least-stiff style of frame you can buy. This same issue plagued early Exxon-Graftek and Specialized Epic frames – Both of which, and the Alan as well, are known for pulling apart under load. At the time these frames were introduced, they were considered seasonal frames, and would be used for a handful of races, and then retired (or in many cases, passed to club riders). If you hold just the frame, you can tweak it with your bare hands – VERY SKETCHY

  • I own a carbon frame. It’s FAR smoother ride than any aluminum bike I’ve ever ridden. It’s very stiff at the rear triangle and softens up in the front triangle. Going uphill, you can feel every bit of push from your legs going straight to the wheel. On bumpy surfaces, it stays soft.

    The only thing I’ve owned that feels nicer on 50k+ rides is a steel frame. The downside is the weight.

    It all depends on the frame design though. A pure racing frame will make you feel like you’re on a paint shaker. A touring frame will sacrifice stiffness for a smoother ride. I usually go for something in between

  • Cajun58

    Did Alan make the “screwed & glued” Vitus frames or was that something all together different?

  • RWT

    What kind of brakes are those? Never seen them before.

  • Zach

    I own a ’91 Specialized Epic that someone mentioned above. Carbon tubes, aluminum lugs. It is the later version of the frame, after Specialized started addressing the issues the first gen had. The bike is gorgeous and rides beautifully. The frame is very stiff under load but handles bumps very well. I think it would be impossible to twist the frame in your hands. It’s definitely stiffer than most steel frame bikes I’ve had, and while not as light as modern carbon fiber, still very light for the era. I wonder if the previous poster has actually ridden a bike constructed this way, let alone a Specialized Epic? From my experience I’m betting the Alan would be a smooth and composed ride.

  • Naw

    i wish i could afford to tell you how this rides!