ALAN Corsa Super Alu - 1988
In 1972 Italian engineer Falconi Lodovico founded ALAN, the first company in the world to design and mass produce an all-aluminium bicycle frame. And not only were ALAN bikes cutting-edge technology for their time – they came in uber cool anodized colours too!
The name ALAN comes from the first two letters of the Lodovico’s children, Alberto and Annamaria. The company’s frames were constructed with a unique method that involved bonding aerospace grade aluminium tubes and lugs using a special epoxy adhesive.
Lodovico collaborated closely with teams and champions on the amateur and professional levels. Over the years his firm’s frames were ridden to 20 cyclo-cross world championships titles, 5 track world championships, numerous one-day classics wins, as well as Grand Tour stage victories. ALAN also supplied finished frames for makes such as Concorde, Guerciotti and Colnago.
The company’s bicycles were ridden by iconic road cycling teams such as Magniflex, Selle Royal, Café de Colombia, Fanini and many others. And a piece of trivia – Gary Wiggins, the father of Sir Bradley Wiggins, raced on an ALAN bike with Belgian-licensed team Fangio – Marc – Ecoturbo in 1984 and 1985. Better known for his track results, Wiggins senior also raced to a number of pro Kermis wins aboard his aluminium steed (see image of Gary below).
Due to their light weight, ALAN frames were very popular in cyclocross events where riders had to frequently shoulder their bikes. Cyclocross legends like Zweifel, Liboton, Stamnijder, Di Tano, Simunek, Thaler and Kluge all competed on ALAN, and in 2012 a young Mathieu Van der Poel achieved his first World Junior title aboard the Italian brand.
The Flandrien Hotel’s immaculate ALAN Super Corsa LS from the late 1980s utilized a unique patented construction system of threaded tubing and lugs joined with epoxy – not brazed or welded like a traditional steel frame.
With shiny red anodized aluminium tubing, the frame is detailed with bottle cage mounts, shift lever bosses, integrated bottom bracket eyelets, and external brake cable guides. Fitted with a Campagnolo groupset, it also has a pantographed seat post and chainrings.
Early ALAN frames had a reputation for flex but objective comparison of the top models showed that they were equally stiff to a steel frame constructed from Columbus or Reynolds tubes – at least when they left the factory. However the adhesion of the tubes and lugs could degrade over time, so we don’t allow our Super Corsa to be ridden on the harsh cobbles of Flanders.
As with many other iconic European marques, the ALAN lost it’s way somewhat in the 1990s when it failed to keep up with the pace of innovation being set by American & Asian competitors. The firm focused on the niche market of cyclocross, and largely disappeared from the pro road peloton.
This year the company created by Falconi Lodovico celebrates its “golden” anniversary. ALAN is much smaller today than it was in its heyday of the 1970s and 1980s but remains in the hands of the founder’s children– one of the very few iconic Italian brands that has survived as a family-owned firm.
After 50 years in business ALAN is still proudly independent and produces beautifully crafted road, gravel and cyclocross framesets from both aluminium and carbon fibre.