Dèanta an Alba – Albannach Frames
Albannach? Where did the name originate from and what inspired you to start developing titanium frames in the first place?
Albannach is a Scottish Gaelic word that translates as ‘Scottish’ or ‘Scotsman’, though I like to use the literal translation ‘to belong to Scotland’, that’s were I was going with the use of Albannach as the brand name. The frames are designed in Scotland and thus the brand belongs to Scotland.
I guess, without trying to sound too hipster, I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted from a frame with what was available on the market. Developing our first prototype cyclocross frame (CROIS, just pronounced like cross in English) I was able to create exactly what I wanted without having to for-go details that some frame manufacturers would not include. Details like a tapered head tube, a flattened top tube and curved stay bridges for me are all essential in a cyclocross build.
The CX frame is the current prototype, will there be any likelihood of a road frame in the future?
Yeah, definitely. I’m actually in the final process of arranging our first prototype road frame (RATHAD, pronounced ra-had, like rad with a long a!), for caliper brake arrangements. Soon after I hope to be able to order our disc road frame (d-RATHAD).
The geometry for these frames have been designed specifically for racing and will be available in either a traditional or a compact geometry depending on the riders preference. I’ve been working a lot on the geometry of both the road and cyclocross frames and i’ve developed a series of frames that increase in size through a linear reach progression. It might sound complicated but to be honest it seems to me to be the only way to offer a true spectrum of frame sizes. You’d be shocked at the number of major frame manufacturers that vary frame geometry simply by linearly increasing seat and (effective) top tube lengths. By doing this you can actually end up with a ‘larger’ frame with a smaller reach due to the variance in seat and head tube angles.
The new prototypes will also have internal cable routing. This is an area I’ve often been a bit confused about regarding the ‘standard’. For me, the best way to route cables to ensure smooth actuation is to go by the route of least resistance. With this in mind, why would rear derailleur cables be routed down the down tube? For me, the path for better actuation is to route through the top tube and seat stay, this reduces the movement just before terminating at the rear derailleur. You’ll see what i mean when RATHAD comes out later this year.
In addition to this we will also offer cable routing dependent on your preference for front brake position. Typically in the UK we ride with the FB on the right hand, though I’ve always ridden FB on the left. Personally I feel it should be down to rider preference and typically using their stronger hand for the primary brake (FB). To this end we will offer LHD or RHD cable routing. LHD – left hand drive for rear brake in the right hand will enter the top tube on the non-drive side, RHD – right hand drive for rear brake in the left hand will enter the top tube on the drive side. The goal simply to help improve cable actuation by routing the path of least resistance.
Although the CX prototype has been on the road for a few months there’s still a bit of tweaking to be done right?
Yeah, as I say I’ve developed the geometry for road and cyclocross frames since the prototype, CROIS. In addition to the new geometry, cabling will be routed internally. In routing internally, this allows me to route the front derailleur down the down tube. A surprising number of our competitors have simply routed cables externally down the down tube (as you would traditionally for road frames). This, for me, is totally nonsense when you consider how often you will grab the down tube in a cross race. By internally routing the front derailleur cable it also improves cable actuation, as it removes the need for seat tube pulleys.
Any plans for the future? Team etc? competitively etc?
Frame wise, the plan is to get the first of the CROIS and d-CROIS frames ordered this summer to get up on the website in time for the fast approaching cross season. At the same time we’ll be testing our RATHAD and d-RATHAD prototypes over the summer (and winter) in order to be able to bring out the first versions of these frames for the 2015 road season.
We don’t have a team as such just yet. You might spot some very cool people rocking SR Albannach kit, for which I’ve designed a summer and winter kit (landing soon). I’d love to have a locally based race team in the future but for the time being SRA kit will be available to anyone willing to look sexy on the road.
Keep any eye on Albannach’s Facebook page as the website is still being built, you can also keep up with them on Twitter and Instagram!