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Six gorgeous steel road bikes from Fairlight, Condor, Mason, Kona, Genesis and Donhou

Despite the advance in modern materials, steel is still a ruddy good choice for making a bicycle frame, as the long list of brands still working with steel tubing proves. In this latest Six of the Best video, we've rounded up six steel beauties that we think are good examples of the latest breed of steel road bikes. 

Not to give too much away, but we've got bikes from Fairlight, Condor, Mason, Kona, Genesis and Donhou in this video. 

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

14 comments

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Benjamin Nickolls [59 posts] 2 weeks ago
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Ritchey Road Logic II should probably be here. I UTFS but can't find a review  2 

Then there's always the Colnago Master... 

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perfect1964 [30 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

 Why all disc brakes? Or is this Road CC servicing the bike industry's marketing whims?

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Yorkshire wallet [1629 posts] 1 week ago
3 likes
perfect1964 wrote:

 Why all disc brakes? Or is this Road CC servicing the bike industry's marketing whims?

Time for a Shackleton's high seat chair. Drum brakes on the car?

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BehindTheBikesheds [1132 posts] 1 week ago
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Yorkshire wallet wrote:
perfect1964 wrote:

 Why all disc brakes? Or is this Road CC servicing the bike industry's marketing whims?

Time for a Shackleton's high seat chair. Drum brakes on the car?

So what you're admitting to is that either you prefer bikes that are more ugly and/or that you can't ride properly/be in control unless you have discs instead of caliper brakes, which one is it or is it both? 

Discs on a road bike are an utter nonsense, discs on a steel road bike are simply for plebs.

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hmf [2 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:
perfect1964 wrote:

 Why all disc brakes? Or is this Road CC servicing the bike industry's marketing whims?

Time for a Shackleton's high seat chair. Drum brakes on the car?

 

Haha, brilliant. Or maybe we can all go back to those shite shifters at the stem?

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luiandlui [11 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

 

[/quote]

So what you're admitting to is that either you prefer bikes that are more ugly and/or that you can't ride properly/be in control unless you have discs instead of caliper brakes, which one is it or is it both? 

Discs on a road bike are an utter nonsense, discs on a steel road bike are simply for plebs.

[/quote]

What if you think disc brakes look better than claiper brakes ? Is it OK then ?

 

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kil0ran [645 posts] 1 week ago
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BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
Yorkshire wallet wrote:
perfect1964 wrote:

 Why all disc brakes? Or is this Road CC servicing the bike industry's marketing whims?

Time for a Shackleton's high seat chair. Drum brakes on the car?

So what you're admitting to is that either you prefer bikes that are more ugly and/or that you can't ride properly/be in control unless you have discs instead of caliper brakes, which one is it or is it both? 

Discs on a road bike are an utter nonsense, discs on a steel road bike are simply for plebs.

I've got discs on my steel tourer and rim brakes on my fast/dry bike. Prefer the look and feel of the rims, pretty much set and forget, whereas the discs have long lever throw and need constant fettling. In the wet they undoubtedly haul me up faster, particularly because the bike is hauling 30kgs of child and tagalong. Horses for courses but agree the disc brake marketing juggernaut overstates the need. 

In my bike journey to date I've been seduced in turn by electronic shifting, internal routing, big tyre clearance, and disc brakes and yet my favourite bike is rim-braked and will just about accommodate a 25mm tyre. Favourite mainly because its a simple thing, cost buttons, and is seriously lighter/faster than my tourer.

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Peowpeowpeowlasers [552 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

I have discs on my winter bike and they never "need constant fettling".  Perhaps this is because they're hydraulic and not cable operated.  The only time I go near them is to change the pads.

I'll take discs over rims any day, primarily because the former doesn't wear the latter.  Replacing a rim is much, much more expensive than replacing a disc.

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Sub4 [62 posts] 1 week ago
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Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

I have discs on my winter bike and they never "need constant fettling".  Perhaps this is because they're hydraulic and not cable operated.  The only time I go near them is to change the pads.

I'll take discs over rims any day, primarily because the former doesn't wear the latter.  Replacing a rim is much, much more expensive than replacing a disc.

My Genesis winter bike has them & I wouldn’t swap now. I was a bit of a sceptic, but got the bike at a good price & justified it on the grounds that I wouldn’t wear through a set of wheels every winter. It’s been superb. So much that I ride it well into the ‘summer bike’ season.

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KendalRed [115 posts] 1 week ago
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Loved it when the camera lingered on the Mason seat tube with 'UK Designed' clearly visible, then a moment later the comentator said the frame is designed in Italy!

Oh, and the Kona...Roadhouse or Roundhouse?

A signature steel headbadge on the Donhue? No there isn't!

Honestly David, you need to actually watch and edit these things before you put them out there!

Having said that, some gorgeous frames on show here - love that Donhue, but not sure I could get it past Mrs Kendalred as another N+1. Not that I could afford it anyway. I'll stick to my Equlibrium for the winter and my Rourke 853 for the summer (both weeks!)

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Tony Farrelly [2919 posts] 1 week ago
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KendalRed wrote:

Loved it when the camera lingered on the Mason seat tube with 'UK Designed' clearly visible, then a moment later the comentator said the frame is designed in Italy!

Oh, and the Kona...Roadhouse or Roundhouse?

A signature steel headbadge on the Donhue? No there isn't!

Honestly David, you need to actually watch and edit these things before you put them out there!

Having said that, some gorgeous frames on show here - love that Donhue, but not sure I could get it past Mrs Kendalred as another N+1. Not that I could afford it anyway. I'll stick to my Equlibrium for the winter and my Rourke 853 for the summer (both weeks!)

Re the Mason what the video actually says is:

"The frame is made in Italy from Columbus tubing, each tube handpicked by designer Dom Mason for a specific purpose. This has allowed him to fine tune the feel and response of the frame."

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alansmurphy [1473 posts] 1 week ago
1 like
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
Yorkshire wallet wrote:
perfect1964 wrote:

 Why all disc brakes? Or is this Road CC servicing the bike industry's marketing whims?

Time for a Shackleton's high seat chair. Drum brakes on the car?

So what you're admitting to is that either you prefer bikes that are more ugly and/or that you can't ride properly/be in control unless you have discs instead of caliper brakes, which one is it or is it both? 

Discs on a road bike are an utter nonsense, discs on a steel road bike are simply for plebs.

 

Not necessarily more ugly, are you Trinny or Susanah?

 

Can Tom Boonen ride a bike properly?

 

Discs on a steel road bike are for an ordinary person or one from the lower social classes? Thus you're admitting to being a snob...

 

 

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KendalRed [115 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
Tony Farrelly wrote:
KendalRed wrote:

Loved it when the camera lingered on the Mason seat tube with 'UK Designed' clearly visible, then a moment later the comentator said the frame is designed in Italy!

Oh, and the Kona...Roadhouse or Roundhouse?

A signature steel headbadge on the Donhue? No there isn't!

Honestly David, you need to actually watch and edit these things before you put them out there!

Having said that, some gorgeous frames on show here - love that Donhue, but not sure I could get it past Mrs Kendalred as another N+1. Not that I could afford it anyway. I'll stick to my Equlibrium for the winter and my Rourke 853 for the summer (both weeks!)

Re the Mason what the video actually says is:

"The frame is made in Italy from Columbus tubing, each tube handpicked by designer Dom Mason for a specific purpose. This has allowed him to fine tune the feel and response of the frame."

Nope - 'the frame is designed in Italy from Columbus tubing...' is what comes out of my speakers, although given you can't 'design' something 'from' Columbus tubing, I suspect he meant 'made'.

Either that or I need new speakers on my PC (or a hearing test!). Anyway, too much written about something so trivial, so lets leave it eh?

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RobD [549 posts] 1 week ago
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I really want one of those Fairlights, maybe end of year bonus time might justify a new bike. I'd go for the 105 version if the levers weren't so ugly, so it'll have to be Ultegra