Just In: Condor Bivio-X Frameset £599.99

Like many a North Londoner this Condor hides Italian ancestry under an elegant black coat

by nick_rearden   December 5, 2011  

What the makers Condor describe as their entry-level 'cross frame is still pretty luxurious by the standards of most of the breed; especially if it gets used as a winter training bike or urban commuter which are surely the purposes this Bivio-X will be mostly justified for, even if the owner does get to play cyclo-cross a few times a season.

First impression out of the box is weight: "Blimey, that's light," in an office where we've received a fair few "cyclo-cross" bikes in the last year. 8.91Kg or 19lb 10oz less the pedals wouldn't get a comment for a road race bike but for something shod with 32mm knobbly tyres and a purposefully-beefy carbon fork suggesting heft, anything under 20lbs is promising a nimble ride across a tufty field.

The big story here concerns the frame, fork and neatly integral Condor-branded headset which together cost a penny under £600 although Condor have sent this one built up with a 'recommended' spec featuring an all-SRAM Apex drivetrain, Mavic Aksium wheels and Deda cockpit for an all-up price of £1,099. They're making the point that they can be competitive with the likes of Whyte, Cannondale and Genesis who among plenty of others all have models in this area.

Truth is though that people starting with a Condor frame are partly wanting to create their own unique artwork away from the production mainstream and this Italian-made number formed from heavily-manipulated Dedacciai 7000-series aluminium tubing - its name 'Force Curvo' pretty well describing how it is made - certainly looks like a good start.

Pinging the downtube that can only be described as ginormous reveals how thin the tubing walls are and a quick look at the spec sheet claims a frame weight of 1,640 grams for the middling 55cm size in a range that starts at a very useful 46cm and goes up to a lanky 61cm. There are stops and eyes for everything including mudguards and a rear rack with the rear brake cable routed tidily through the top tube. Getting the cable out of the way on a 'cross bike is a priority where lifting is an issue and the curve of the tube should also help in this respect. Funnily enough while hurdling barriers isn't usually a worry for commuters, carrying bikes up and down steps and into lifts often is so the apparently contradictory requirements of cyclo-cross racing and getting to work really are more complementary than they first seem.

And so is touring, where the slack 71° head angle should result in nice stable steering if you load up the front; there are 'lowrider' rack bosses on that fork as well as disc-brake mounts which surely must be a first. We foresee an entertaining if muddy time for our reviewer.


Condor Bivio-X: ready for disc brakes on the beefy carbon fork and the frame will come with mounts too although our test sample won't need them on account of the trick-looking and light Condor-branded cantis.

4 user comments

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Nice to see low- rider points on the carbon forks, when everyone else shies away from this. Perhaps because they are a 'beefed- up' version...
It's a fine looking bike. Cool

sloop

posted by sloop [22 posts]
6th December 2011 - 9:49

3 Likes

sloop wrote:
Nice to see low- rider points on the carbon forks, when everyone else shies away from this. Perhaps because they are a 'beefed- up' version...
It's a fine looking bike. Cool

Indeed, and I think you're right; the beefiness to withstand cyclo-cross also lends itself to the requirements of touring as long as the geometry is correct. Most of the product managers designing these better bikes have come with a lot of experience in mountain bikes where a 71° head angle is nothing to be ashamed of. Talking to them seems to reveal as much enthusiasm for touring as cyclo-cross depending on the time of year and the idea of one dual-purpose bike IS quite exciting. Triple-purpose if you think of commuting to work. A proper touring bike would probably benefit from a triple chainset - more faff with shifting chainrings but less gaps between ratios - but the benefit of buying a bike from the likes of Condor leaving aside the nice frame is that they can fit whatever drivetrain you want. As ever, though, the review will reveal whether the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

posted by nick_rearden [862 posts]
6th December 2011 - 11:21

2 Likes

Great features. Preaching to the converted with me though. I own 3 Condors and 2 Dolans. No plastic either. Smile

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1118 posts]
8th December 2011 - 0:35

1 Like

Sold!! I've been looking for a modestly priced CX bike - this tops my expectations - might pop over to Condor right now

Alg

posted by alg [147 posts]
8th December 2011 - 14:22

2 Likes