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 Post subject: Bonded AL - Who Is Who?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:34 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:43 am
Posts: 13
Location: Settle N.Yorks
As has already been contributed, quite a few companies and individuals had built aluminium bonded frames by the early 80s, but it took the combination of the Italian company ALAN and the French company VITUS..to promote them, in large series, to a wider public.

The principle difference in construction of these two large scale manufacturers is that ALAN used tubes bonded and screwed into external lugs..that look like lugs, and VITUS used lugs bonded internally into the tubes ie there was no apparent lug..just a joint between the tubes and the cast aluminium joints.

ALAN frames appeared earlier than the VITUS 979 - this one making its public appearance at the Salon de Deux Roues in Paris in September 1979 - hence 979. The later VITUS top level frame the 992, appeared in September 1992, as an attempt to produce a high performace frame to compete with the bonded carbon ones, such as the TVTs and LOOKs that were appearing on the scene.

However other smaller French manufacturers had made bonded alloy frames before Vitus and possibly before Alan, firms such as DURAVIA and CMP..both based in the Lyon area. Certainly the Duravia looked very much like an Alan..or vice-versa ! In the mid-70s Vitus had a project underway to produce a bonded frame, in the first instance using their steel tubes bonded into steel lugs, following a series of frames made by a St Etienne-based builder called MIOSOTIS. Then VITUS teamed up with him to produce a frame using steel external lugs with aluminium tubes bonded into them..this tended to look a little like an ALAN. A variation on this frame made in about 1976/77 had aluminium tubes bonded into large aluminiun lugs..a bit like an ALAN

Finally VITUS went the whole hog and teamed up with MIOSOTIS, another St Etienne builder called Roger Roche and finally with France's largest producer of aluminium tubes, Pechiney, to develop a bonded aluminium-tubed frame. An off-shoot of Vitus, a firm called BADOR joined the group along with Agenieux-CLB, the brake maker, who manufactured all the cast lugs. The end result was the 979.

At first Vitus, a maker of steel tubes, not frames, intended to sell the 979 as a kit of tubes and lugs for other builders to bond together, but such was the response to the first frames exhibited that the firm decided to set up a frame building unit within Vitus to build the frames in-house. TVT, a specialist manufacturer of tubes in carbon and glass-fibre was never ever involved with the Vitus 979 project ; their first frame was not produced until a couple of years later when they had observed the first of the carbon-fibre-tubed Vitus 979s on the market. I imported the first three TVT frames into the UK in 1981

Duralinox - the name of the Pechiney tubing - frames were available in standard colours of silver, red, deep blue, purple, and black. The champagne colour was unique to Peugeot, the pink/rose to Mercier, a deep gold to KAS, an emerald green also to some team, and the light blue to Kelly's SEM-France-Loire team. A white epoxy-coated one was also produced as a special.

To cash in on the success of the bonded frames VITUS then produced the 797 and the Futural models..two lower quality models, but which were also available as cyclo-cross frames. Peugeot wanted exclusivity of the 979 but didn't get it. Later they produced their own Pechiney-tubed frame called the Comete..a mid-priced model.

I used to import Vitus Duralinox direct from Vitus and have never known a frame to fail disastrously ie without warning. In the event of a failure..or decollage - a bonded joint working loose - there would be advance warning as the frame tended to creek. VITUS also bonded carbon-tubed frames and some failures/debondings were noted in these models. However the internal spigots or stubs which entered and were bonded inside the tubes were quite long, preventing any chance of the frame collapsing whilst at the same time providing quite a large bonding area for the epoxy adhesive. One weak point common to many of the aluminium and carbon frames of that era was the lack of a detachable and, therefore, easily replaceable rear gear hanger. The hangers were integral to the rear drop-outs. In the event of a breakage or the thread wearing out, the whole drop-out had to be replaced.

ALTEC were produced by a smaller company in Villeurbanne near Lyon. At first glance they looked much like Duralinox frames but on closer inspection they were more refined in that the ends of the tubes were profiled to give a splined appearance, and the seat-stay tops were more elegant - a type of wrap-over. The Spanish team BH used them both in aluminium-tubed and carbon-tubed versions for a couple of years.

VITUS introduced the avant-garde looking 992 to try to keep some of the burgeoning market for bonded frames. By ovalising the ends of some tubes they both gave the frame a more streamlined appearance while at the same time increasing the bond area in an attempt to eliminate any creeking and debonding. At the height of the 979 sales period Vitus employed 196 staff..but this number reduced dramatically when carbon composites and TIG-welded aluminium frames became popular., At one stage in the company's later life the firm waas bought by TIME. Now the name is owned by that Ireland-based mail-order company ( whose name I cannot remember) - got it - Chain Reaction - hence Sean Kelly's involvement in marketing the brand.

Old Ned referred to the various bonded frames that were being advertised in Cycling Weekly in 1989 ie LOOK, ALTEC, TVT, and TANGE. As far as I remember the last two in the list were being offerd not by Settle Cycles, but by the Bespoke Bicycle Company.

Despite this fairly detailed account of the French bonded cycle frame industry, mainly based in and around St Etienne and Lyon..and although the firms were independent of each other..they did tend to share some of the same suppliers of castings, tubing etc. At one time ALAN's Record Carbonio carbon-tubed frame used tubes made by TCT, a sister company to TVT.


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 Post subject: Bonded Al - Who is Who?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:13 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:43 am
Posts: 13
Location: Settle N.Yorks
I hadn't noticed the Ebay item posted by petitmanseng when I posted my last email.

Although the frame -Item No 160759248983 - looks a little like an ALAN, there is no connection between the two companies. This frame, as the seller points out is a French-made CMP..I mentioned them briefly in my earlier email.

The company based just to the north of Lyon, in a small town called MIRIBEL, on the banks of the River Saone has been a manufacturer of parts for cycles for many years, certainly they were active in the late 1940s making such things as derailleurs, brakes, brackets, mudguards, hubs.

Sometime in the 1950s or 60s they produced an aluminium-tubed frame..possibly as a modern copy of the 1930s Caminargent. All the tubes were clamped into luhs and features such as the drop-outs and the bracket were also clamped into place...quite unusual but ugly.

Over the years the firm withdrew from the cycle market for accessories but in the late 70s it launched a two-model rang of bonded aluminium alloy tubed frames..of which this frame on Ebay is the men's model. There was also a lady's model. The first frames were bonded and the tubes crimped into grooves cast into the lugs. The small tubular covers were just that..covers to cover the crimped joints.

The final model introduced in the early 80s used threading..in ALAN style..but still retained the decorative covers. The frames lacked the visual impact of the Vitus Duralinoxs and the success of the ALANs..and were not a commercial success. although they are not bad to ride..but slightly flexy.

The frames were available in a variety of anodised finishes including gold, red and this one on Ebay is a very delicate very light lilac. I have one a here in Settle that I bought in Tours in France. It is anodised a beautiful 'fountain-pen -ink' dark blue-black.

What is worth noting is that the head-lugs and the bottom bracket shell are identical to those used by TCT/TVT for use in their carbon-fibre tubed frames. These were made in a foundry just to the south of Lyon.

A whole CMP bike has just sold on USA Ebay.. this last few days.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:40 am 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider

Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 3:44 pm
Posts: 1508
Location: Leeds
@ Bespoke - Definitive, thanks very much for taking the time


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 Post subject: Bonded AL - Who is Who?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:14 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:43 am
Posts: 13
Location: Settle N.Yorks
I seem to be hogging this thread, but as it was a complex section of the French lightweight industry and I was involved with several of the companies personally and in a business sense, I thought I should set the record staright on certain aspects..so please be patient. Thanks for your foreberance.

One of the wonderful aspects of the internet is the ability to launch blogs such as this site, to which I am a newcomer, but I have contributed to the Classicrendezvous site for about eight or nine years; it was Leicalad's thread on Hilton Wrigley that led me to this blog...many thanks Owen.

However a problem with such blogs is that information is disseminated world-wide at the touch of a button which is fine when the information is accurate but not so good when it is inaccurate and misleading..so I thought that I ought to take the opportunity to correct a statement made by David B, under the reserve that it might not be factually correct, about TVT - the firm that did much to promote and improve the quality and image of bonded carbon-fibre frames.

Point (1) is that TVT - the cycle frame maker never went bust, nor did its parent company that made the carbon tubes; to the best of my knowledge the latter is still trading although the by now elderly sole proprietor, M Genin, must have retired and sold the business on. Point (2) is that the owner of TVT did not start up the TIME company. Old age is clouding my memory for names but the chap who set up TIME was an industrialist who had made a lot of money in the forestry industries..and he decided to diversify; he did later try to rescue VITUS. The only connection, business-wise between the two companies is that a certain young man called Gueugnaud who was a designer for TVT, responsible for developing the integral seat-stay for the MKII TVT in 1987 and its world-first integral 100% carbon-fibre fork left TVT to work for TIME ie he was head-hunted in about 1988/89 at a time when he wanted to produce ovalised tubes, but Genin, the owner was reluctant. So he left TVT for TIME where his first frame, the Helix model, used ovalised tubes. Point (3) is that TVT NEVER had a reliability or warranty problem, and certainly not one that led them into bankruptcy.

The much abbreviated story goes like this. In the early 80s a very dynamic Lyon-based lightweight dealer, Jacques Paillet (still trading under the Wolhauser banner) saw an opportunity for a carbon-tubed racing frame ( remember that Vitus had by this time perfected the aluminium-tubes species) so he persuaded M Foret,the managing Director of TVT, a specialist manufacturer of high spec carbon tubes based fairly nearby near Chambery, to prototype such a frame. With its highly polished internally bonded aluminium lugs it was revolutionary and stunning. Interest in the frame was overwhelming - it was called the TCT ( Technique Carbone Tissee - meaning the technology of knitted carbon-fibre).

In 1983 the firm promoted its products at the Paris Show along with a lo-pro version using a cunningly curved top-tube (there's a Z-Lemond version for sale currently on French Ebay) At the Show a certain French entrepreneur, Bernard Tapie, owner of the LOOK ski company, the La Vie Claire chain of health-food shops ..and the La Vie Claire cycle team ( think Bernard Hinault), noticed the TCT frames and, wanting a LOOK brand frame to enlarge his LOOK cycle range eg clipless pedals..he negotiated a five-year contract with the firm to be the sole owner of its frame-building technology.

I know this to be FACT because I was at the Show. In 1981 I bought three of the first batch of TCT frames ever made...was stunned by them.. and had ambitions to become the sole distributor for the UK. TVT (Tecnique Verre Tisse )the parent company never had any desire or ambition of becoming a bike-building company..so it welcomed Tapie's offer to buy the tubes and to take on the assembly of the actual frames, leaving TVT to simply make the tubes. My offer was to import and distribute the assembled TCT frames from TVT. This Tapaie contract led to the first LOOK carbon-fibre frames being produced at a factory near Nevers.

Although the frames and Tapie's team met with great success..there were many cases of the frames debonding..and rumours circulated around the industry about the lack of reliability of bonded carbon-tubed frames. The problem about who actually made these frames arose because the LOOK -built frames had carbon chainstays with the 'TVT' logo moulded into the carbon...so folks assumed that TVT built the frames and LOOK simply stuck their own transfers on them...

That's the first chapter of the story..next, later, comes the legal wrangle..but no bankruptcy..

I really should be out riding one of my TVTs..


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:19 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:04 pm
Posts: 3365
Location: Completely in the dark, thanks to me good mate Terry....
Bespoke wrote:
I seem to be hogging this thread, but as it was a complex section of the French lightweight industry and I was involved with several of the companies personally and in a business sense, I thought I should set the record staright on certain aspects..so please be patient. Thanks for your foreberance.

One of the wonderful aspects of the internet is the ability to launch blogs such as this site, to which I am a newcomer, but I have contributed to the Classicrendezvous site for about eight or nine years; it was Leicalad's thread on Hilton Wrigley that led me to this blog...many thanks Owen.

However a problem with such blogs is that information is disseminated world-wide at the touch of a button which is fine when the information is accurate but not so good when it is inaccurate and misleading..so I thought that I ought to take the opportunity to correct a statement made by David B, under the reserve that it might not be factually correct, about TVT - the firm that did much to promote and improve the quality and image of bonded carbon-fibre frames.

Point (1) is that TVT - the cycle frame maker never went bust, nor did its parent company that made the carbon tubes; to the best of my knowledge the latter is still trading although the by now elderly sole proprietor, M Genin, must have retired and sold the business on. Point (2) is that the owner of TVT did not start up the TIME company. Old age is clouding my memory for names but the chap who set up TIME was an industrialist who had made a lot of money in the forestry industries..and he decided to diversify; he did later try to rescue VITUS. The only connection, business-wise between the two companies is that a certain young man called Gueugnaud who was a designer for TVT, responsible for developing the integral seat-stay for the MKII TVT in 1987 and its world-first integral 100% carbon-fibre fork left TVT to work for TIME ie he was head-hunted in about 1988/89 at a time when he wanted to produce ovalised tubes, but Genin, the owner was reluctant. So he left TVT for TIME where his first frame, the Helix model, used ovalised tubes. Point (3) is that TVT NEVER had a reliability or warranty problem, and certainly not one that led them into bankruptcy.

The much abbreviated story goes like this. In the early 80s a very dynamic Lyon-based lightweight dealer, Jacques Paillet (still trading under the Wolhauser banner) saw an opportunity for a carbon-tubed racing frame ( remember that Vitus had by this time perfected the aluminium-tubes species) so he persuaded M Foret,the managing Director of TVT, a specialist manufacturer of high spec carbon tubes based fairly nearby near Chambery, to prototype such a frame. With its highly polished internally bonded aluminium lugs it was revolutionary and stunning. Interest in the frame was overwhelming - it was called the TCT ( Technique Carbone Tissee - meaning the technology of knitted carbon-fibre).

In 1983 the firm promoted its products at the Paris Show along with a lo-pro version using a cunningly curved top-tube (there's a Z-Lemond version for sale currently on French Ebay) At the Show a certain French entrepreneur, Bernard Tapie, owner of the LOOK ski company, the La Vie Claire chain of health-food shops ..and the La Vie Claire cycle team ( think Bernard Hinault), noticed the TCT frames and, wanting a LOOK brand frame to enlarge his LOOK cycle range eg clipless pedals..he negotiated a five-year contract with the firm to be the sole owner of its frame-building technology.

I know this to be FACT because I was at the Show. In 1981 I bought three of the first batch of TCT frames ever made...was stunned by them.. and had ambitions to become the sole distributor for the UK. TVT (Tecnique Verre Tisse )the parent company never had any desire or ambition of becoming a bike-building company..so it welcomed Tapie's offer to buy the tubes and to take on the assembly of the actual frames, leaving TVT to simply make the tubes. My offer was to import and distribute the assembled TCT frames from TVT. This Tapaie contract led to the first LOOK carbon-fibre frames being produced at a factory near Nevers.

Although the frames and Tapie's team met with great success..there were many cases of the frames debonding..and rumours circulated around the industry about the lack of reliability of bonded carbon-tubed frames. The problem about who actually made these frames arose because the LOOK -built frames had carbon chainstays with the 'TVT' logo moulded into the carbon...so folks assumed that TVT built the frames and LOOK simply stuck their own transfers on them...

That's the first chapter of the story..next, later, comes the legal wrangle..but no bankruptcy..

I really should be out riding one of my TVTs..


Many thanks for the very informative posts, and for correcting my error-riddled comments (which I wasn't 100% sure on).

I've also learnt a couple of new bits of French as a result; presumably "verre tisse" = fibreglass?

David


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:15 pm 
rider | rBoTM Winner
rider | rBoTM Winner
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:42 pm
Posts: 5344
Location: West Yorkshire
Excellent posts, really sorts the whole issue out.

You can't beat first hand experience! :wink:

And you're correct - it was Bespoke selling the TVT and Tange frames :oops:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:02 am 
The bloke behind the TVT framebuilding operation went on to found Time



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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:38 pm 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 2:33 am
Posts: 5575
Location: WI, USA
Guerciotti had bonded AL too back in 87-9 era


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:24 pm 
rider | rBoTM Winner
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:42 pm
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Location: West Yorkshire
gm1230126 wrote:
Guerciotti had bonded AL too back in 87-9 era


Are you sure they weren't just re-badged Alan's?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:24 pm 
Concours Judge
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Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:59 pm
Posts: 8292
I have had a Guerciotti cross. It was a lovely bike.

I have had quite a lot bonded frames:

Alan Super Record
Vitus FCK9, 979, CL1 MTB
Raleigh USA Technium Instinct
Raleigh DynaTechs
(Koga) Miyatas in all flavours: road, MTB, hybrid, carbon, al, ti, multiple generations
Colnago Dual
Peugeot TeamLine

My 1st proper bike was a bonded bike, hence I have a bit a weak spot for them.


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