Condor Super Acciaio Disc
Grays Inn Bling
It’s safe to say that I’ve always been more than a little sceptical when it comes to disc brakes on road bikes and in particular steel bikes. I’ve always felt that when you beef the bike up and put through axles and chunky stays on it detracts from the “steel” feel of the ride. What I look for in a bike isn’t dictated to by power data, aerodynamics, weight or stiffness. I want feedback, a whip when I accelerate, a bike built by a skilled craftsman with input from me who cares about what I’m looking for out of the ride. So has the Condor changed my mind about discs?
To set the scene, it’s had a pretty thorough test. We’ve ridden in the Pyrenees, Alps, Dolomites, Girona, Catalonia, Ventoux and more. I’ve used it on Surrey smash fests, Regent’s laps, overnight “adventures” and gravel (sorry Neil). Over 5000 km since May and in excess of 30,000 metres of elevation.
The frame is hand made in Italy using custom Colombus HSS triple-butted steel. The finish is immaculate, I went for a custom paint job reminiscent of an older Rapha Condor scheme. There are full custom build options and paint on offer from Condor. The bike I’m riding is a prototype and varies a little from the production model which has different drop outs and some very clever cable guide additions so you can run it electronic or mechanical gears.
So how does it ride? I guess with over 70 years of building steel bikes it should come as no surprise that straight off, the bike is silky smooth and handles beautifully. The geometry, suits me perfectly with a single 10mm spacer under the stem, you could lower it further it needed with a different spacer and headset set up for that “slammed” look. It’s one of the most stable bikes I’ve ever ridden and descends like a rocket. I have found myself braking later than on my rim brake bike but do I feel any safer or faster, in a word no. The disc brakes have been a god send in the wet in the mountains, but that’s the only time I’ve really noticed a benefit and been glad to have them. The quality of the ride is sublime. Is this a steel winter steed, no. Is it a well thought out race ready thoroughbred, yes. Should you get yourself down to Condor Cycles, Grays Inn Road and check one out, be rude not to. Has it changed my mind about disc brakes, maybe… a little, does it matter, no not really. This bike is awesome, that’s what matters.