Van Dessel Sports went through a rough patch last year after cash flow issues found the company struggling to manufacture product. Now with the help of outside capital, the company is back on its feet and already pegging the needle with an all-new Aloominator alloy 'cross frame that's made with US-sourced 6061 tubing and welded in Portland, Oregon by Zen Bicycle Fabrication.
Key features on the Aloominator include a notably oversized down tube, a wide but fairly flat top tube, a tapered 1 1/8-to-1 1/2in head tube with zero stack headset cups, a flared seat tube, and a PF30 bottom bracket shell. Relatively small-diameter stays should help soften the ride on rough courses and a short machined chain stay section boosts tire and chainring clearance – enough to run a single 44-tooth chainring in the inner position.
"I know everyone wants carbon and everything but I love the feel of aluminum," said company principal and founder Edwin Bull. "It's smooth, it's stiff and it's light."
Claimed weight for a 56cm frame is around 1,300g and the progressive, low-slung geometry is closely adapted from Van Dessel's popular Gin & Trombones model. The sandblasted and anodized finish should hold up well to frequent mud and power washings, and the external cable routing is traditional 'two up, one down' cyclocross style so there's no cable pulley required for the front derailleur.
The new Van Dessel Aloominator is all business with oversized 6061 aluminum tubes
Van Dessel will offer the Aloominator in both disc-specific and canti-specific versions with 135mm and 130mm rear hub spacing, respectively. Disc frames will include an Easton EC90 XD fork and canti frames will come with an Enve Composites fork. Suggested retail price for either frameset is $1,599.
The carbon fiber Full Tilt Boogie and cult classic Gin & Trombones model carries on for this season but Bull says big changes are in store for both.
"What I want to do for next year [on the Gin & Trombones] is bring it down a bit, to around a $999 price point," said Bull. "I don't want it to be an 'entry-level' bike, though, so I'm not yet sure what that'll be. We're also working on a new carbon road frame, a new carbon 'cross frame, and a new carbon mountain bike frame. I'm hoping we can expand our US-made frames, too. I'd like to do all of our aluminum in the US."
Van Dessel hopes to soon bring all of its aluminum frame production stateside
One model that's already been revamped is Van Dessel's versatile WTF, whose relaxed geometry and enormous tire clearances (up to a 29 x 2.1in MTB tread) can produce anything from a heavy duty touring bike to a monstercrosser and anything in between. New for this year is a PF30 bottom bracket shell instead of the previous eccentric (it can still be set up as a single speed with a Beer Components bottom bracket) and a split rear dropout for belt compatibility.
The Van Dessel WTF has been revamped with less weight and even more versatility than before
The chromoly tubing sizes have been refined, too, cleaving nearly a pound of weight.
Suggested retail price for the frameset is $699.