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IS THE VINER TITAN KARBON THE NEW ALAN?

October 19, 2010

Looking through all the Viner images from Eurobike, I was drawn to the Titan Karbon (I thought this was a new bike, but a close inspection of previous Viner Catalogues shows a previous incarnation of this frame from 2004. It might even be older than this?). The clean lines, minimal graphics and mating of two distinct tubing materials made it really stand out for me. But something kept niggling me – had I seen this somewhere before?

Once it dawned on me I was suddenly transported back to the 1980s when I first started cycling, to the era of mullets and the birth of smart casual! Amidst all the lurid flourescent lugged steel frames one company shone out with their smart, forward thinking frames. ALAN.
Their Record Carbonio was the first frame to utilise carbon fibre, bonding Toray tubes to the ALAN patented aluminium lugs. With their space age materials, and pared down graphics (just the World Champ bands adding a small touch of colour to a monochrome sea) they seemed of a future age, and despite their subtlety, really stood out. No other manufacturer at the time let the frame material become the aesthetic hero – and being a design student at the time, I loved it. Beloved of the Cyclo-Cross legions (because they were robust and the finish withstood abuse) it was also apt that they became the frame of choice for a pro team that stood out in the 80s. Cafe de Columbia.

The pro team from the cycling outpost in South America, who churned out cyclists that could cause pain in the mountains but also cause pain on flat stages (but that was more to do with their terrible bike handling), rode ALAN’s. Their number 1 – Lucho Herrara, who won the King of the Mountains prize in all 3 Grand Tours – chose the Super Record Carbonio, presumably because of it’s light weight and rigidity. ALAN spawned many imitators including Vitus, the manufacturer that Sean Kelly made famous, but none of them could pull off the same aesthetics of the ALANs.
Until now. OK Viner’s modern day re-incarnation is a ‘reverse’ ALAN, but the monochrome, subtle look really works. I suspect Viner have tried to produce a frame with the advantages of the two materials – titanium main tubes adding comfort and ruggedness, carbon lugs adding rigidity – to produce a frame with sublime ride qualities. But I also suspect Viner produced the Titan Karbon with an aesthetic nod to the old ALANs, as If they’re saying ‘thank you for the innovation, but we’ll take it from here’.

As with most Viner’s, the Titan Karbon is available made to measure and weighs 1350gr (frame only). More info at Viner.

Top image courtesy of bicycles.net.au

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