Condor 2013: Lotus collaboration, new Baracchi and Acciaio Stainless frames

Brand new Acciaio Stainless XCr frame revealed, and Baracchi gets major update for 2013

by David Arthur   October 4, 2012  

London-based Condor Cycles were at the Cycle Show in Birmingham last week and showed their full range of 2013 bikes, including a limited edition Lotus bike, a new stainless steel frame and a major update for the Barrachi, plus a few changes and new colours to other bikes.

Condor for Lotus

There's been a fair amount of collaboration between the cycling and automotive industries (think Specialized/McLaren, Whyte Bikes etc) and the latest is the collaboration between Condor and Lotus.

Lotus are no strangers to cycling. Remember the Lotus Type 108? Chris Boardman won a gold medal aboard it at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic in the 4000m pursuit setting a new world record in the process. The two companies have actually been working together for about a year and first launched the two bikes in the range in London and Monaco back in July. They're ready to launch them properly now and this bike, alongside a matching Lotus Elise, took pride of place at the show.

Aside from the branding on the two Type 1 LC bikes (named after the cars) that mimics the classic colours that Lotus is historically famous for, they two companies will be working closely together on developing the next generation of Condor racing bikes. Lotus, as any motoring enthusiast will tell you, built their reputation on incredibly lightweight cars with a well tuned chassis that many say are the best handling cars in the world.

Richard Hill, the aerodynamics specialist involved with the Type 108, is involved once again and will be heading up the partnership. Condor tell us “their knowledge of aluminium could be used at the bottom bracket shell, maybe inserting a rod or sleeve to create stiffness without affecting weight or perhaps its where the dropouts bond into carbon.” It still early stages for the project however: “We don't know the direction yet but we are looking at it closely.” Sounds exciting to us.

Kristian House and Ed Clancy are involved in the project so if you see them out on the roads training in the next couple of months, it might be worth paying attention to what they're riding.

Condor are keen to state that unlike some other collaborations we've seen recently, the Condor/Lotus bikes will be realistically priced. The bike pictured will cost £5,200 and be limited to just 64, on account of both companies starting in 1948 and they're each celebrating their 64th year.

The bike is well specced with Campagnolo Chorus, Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR wheels and matching Fizik Arione saddle and bar tape to mimic the upholstery of a Lotus car.

Super Acciaio

Who thought steel was dead and buried and not suitable for racing? Condor's Super Acciaio takes steel frames to the next level incorporating the latest developments to make it truly race worthy.

It has been two years in development and was launched at this show last year, and will be available to buy later this year. Condor has a strong heritage of steel frames so it's only right they should be pushing it towards the metaphorical envelope of what is currently possible. The idea behind the frames birth was to make a steel frame that can compare to a carbon fibre frame. Light and stiff enough to race with all the unique traits of steel.

And race worthy it is proving to be. Dan Craven, instrumental in the early testing of the frame, raced a prototype at the Smithfield Nocturne last year. Success has continued with Rapha-Condor-Sharp rider James McCallum winning the Scottish Road Race and Criterium Champs and finishing on the podium at the UCI CiCLE Classic.

Incorporating features that are rapidly becoming standard features in carbon frames, but until now never seen in a steel frame, has allowed Condor to deliver an exceptionally stiff frame. That means a BB30 bottom bracket and a tapered head tube, and an ovalised top tube to increase torsional stiffness. Geometry is borrowed from the team issue Leggero.

Condor explained to us that the development was far from straightforward: “We worked very hard to thin the tubes where material was not required and the stays are quite small this helps keep the weight closer to a carbon frame. It was quite difficult initially to get the frame lighter without compromising stiffness, but we've got to a frameset that is both comfortable to ride but also perfect for accelerating and smashing around a race course.”

The frameset costs £1,999.99 and is available now.

Acciaio Stainless

While the Super Acciaio is pushing at the boundary of what is possible with steel, the new Acciaio Stainless is their first stainless steel frameset. We love stainless steel here at road.cc and they've opted for the beautiful Columbus XCr tubeset.

Condor is making these to order and each will be built by hand in Italy, and finished in any colour you want. They showed this fetching dark blue which we think looks superb. There's some lovely details the closer you look, including the scalloped seat tube, pinch bolt seat clamp design and etched dropouts.

Stainless steel frames don't come cheap however and the Acciaio Stainless frameset will be £2,799.99. That includes s carbon fork, headset and custom colour or geometry.

Fratello

It is now the season for mudguard-equipped bikes and the Fratello, a classic of Condor's range, is born from the traditional design brief for such bikes. A Dedacciai triple butted steel tubeset is TIG welded by hand in Italy and features full rack and mudguard mounts, clearance for wide tyres and sorted geometry. Condor use their own long reach caliper brakes in their build kits.

Few changes to the latest model except for the new Duck Egg Blue colourway which looks resplendent in the right light. The frame is supplied with a full carbon fork, including the steerer, for £599.99.

A fixed/singlespeed version of the Fratello, the Tempo, is available if you want a simpler setup.

Leggero

The choice of the Rapha-Condor-Sharp racing squad for the past four years, the Leggero has been updated with full internal cable routing for Shimano Di2 and Campagnolo EPS groupsets.

While not the lightest carbon frame in the world, the team apparently prefer a little extra weight and they like the stability and smooth ride of the Leggero. And let's not forget that it has been ridden to two consecutive King of the Mountains titles at the Tour of Britain.

Next year the frames have had their livery refreshed and orange is introduced onto the frames with the base colours in black or white, with matte detailing. A team edition will be launched in the earlier part of next year with limited numbers available.

Baracchi

The Baracchi has been given a major bottom bracket shell up refresh for 2013. Sitting just below the Leggero in the Condor bike range pecking order, the new frame now has a tapered head tube and it's slightly taller at the front and longer in the wheelbase than the racier Leggero, so it's more suited to those wanting a touch of comfort.

It's also fully compatible with electronic groupsets with internal cable routing. They're added a new rear triangle to the Baracchi which has brought the weight of the frame under the Leggero.

Condor's Neil Manning was keen to tell us about how the fact it is hand made with cut and wrapped tubes, rather than popping out of a mould, allows them to easily offer custom frames to customers. There's no extra cost involved, but you will have to wait a little longer. Oh, and it's lighter than the Leggero as well.

Available in January 2013 it will cost £1699.99 and that includes a fork and headset. They'll offer two colours, matte black with a white seat band and red detailing and a black and blue option.

Bivio-x and Terra-x cyclo-cross bikes

Cyclo-cross season is firmly here, and the Terra-X is pictured here fitted with disc brakes – both frames come with canti and disc mounts giving you the choice. It's also a good way of buying a future-proof frame, buy one and stick cantis on now and upgrade to disc brakes when they start to really emerge in the next couple of years.

The Bivio-x (frameset £649.99) features a triple butted aluminium frame and gets extras like bottle bosses,  mudguard and rack eyelets, so you can use it for other riding aside from cyclo-cross. The Terra-x (frameset £799.99) is aimed squarely at racing so ditches those extras in pursuit of purity of purpose. It's also has a lighter scandium downtube and a beefier carbon fork and new for 2013 is a nod towards the Belgian 'cross racing scene with red, yellow and black paint scheme.

Disc brakes are the Next Big Thing in cyclo-cross (though it's taken a while to mature). On this subject Condor comments: “Discs are becoming more and more popular but it is a commitment [not to mention the expense] for a cyclo-cross racer to switch all their wheels to disc so having both options allows the riders to upgrade in to discs in the future when hydraulic disc options become more available.”

The TRP Parabox offers a solution to using hydraulic disc brakes with regular road brake levers.

Gran Fondo Ti

We love Ti (well, I do) so no surprise that the other Condor to snag my eye was the Gran Fondo Ti… a bike to brighten even the bleariest eye. Made from triple butted Dedacciai K19 3Ai.2.5v Ti tubing laser etched, with raw Ti dropouts and a Condor Pioggia carbon fork - the basic frameset will set you back £2199.99 or as a complete build from £2949.99… my eyes have started to water now.  

Classico

Condor's Classico (£899.99) is rich in cycling heritage as a good reproduction of early 20th century road bikes updated with some of the latest technology. The Dedacciai SAT 14.5 tubeset is used for the frame and a classic 1” Condor threaded steel fork is slotted into the head tube.

Check out their slick website for more details of these bikes and the rest of the range www.condorcycles.com

Thanks to Mark Phillips for use of some of his photos (http://trackstanding.com/)

23 user comments

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I've always found Condor bikes/frames to be a touch on the £££ side

posted by othello [279 posts]
4th October 2012 - 15:35

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Though you've got to factor in the cost of a bike fitting, which is included in the price, you get to choose crank, stem and bar sizes, so there is more to it than the headline price.

Cannondale CAAD10, Condor Terra-X and an orange Brompton.
Ride for East London Velo

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posted by zzgavin [205 posts]
4th October 2012 - 15:57

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The Super Acciaio is £1199 for the frameset, and currently my object of lust. They are a more expensive brand than others but they are beautiful bikes and the service I've received there has always been fantasic. I also like the fact that I know the money I spend is being used to support a pro-team racing in the UK.

Carpe Diem ab absentis: seize the day off

Coodsta's picture

posted by Coodsta [95 posts]
4th October 2012 - 17:17

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I don't agree about their pricing. I think there is a misconception of the brand.

I looked for 3 months a various frame options. S Works Roubaix costs much more than a Condor Baracchi. I got a bike fit and chose the stem and bar length/widths rather than purchase off the shelf and have to switch it all over?

Their race frame is £1000 less than Cervelo, BMX, Colnago but clearly proven to work just as well as the other brands, no?

Yes I'm sure the framesets are more than Ribble but I had a good look at the Fratello frameset at the Cycle Show this year and the weld points are totally different - the tig work is very neat and not splurged all about.

When I was considering my purchase I started to really considered like for like. Lots of brands stick a budget chainset and downgrade the BB.
I'd rather have a wine swilling Italian hand build my bike than someone mistreated in a Chinese factory who works for 12 hours a day and lives on a factory site.

George Alagiah is your father

posted by Casbon86 [5 posts]
4th October 2012 - 17:52

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Quote:
Condor are keen to state that unlike some other collaborations we've seen recently, the Condor/Lotus bikes will be realistically priced. The bike pictured will cost £5,200

Five grand is "realistically priced" now is it? For a bicycle that is, maybe, 1% better than a £1000 bike, and is rather incongruously painted to resemble a cigarette packet (because that was what the cars were painted to resemble)? I'd say your definition of realistic differs somewhat from mine.

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
4th October 2012 - 18:06

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I own three Condor frames including a 2005 Acciaio and a ti Moda. I would recommend any of Condor's bikes as their quality and style is second to none and with Grant's son Seb firmly in place you are dealing with an ongoing British family firm who appreciate their customers investment.

The Moda is the best bike I have ever owned. It's beautiful, quick and descends as if on rails. And it doesn't matter if it gets scratched!

( Is that enough Grant. Can I have that cheque now....?) Big Grin

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

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posted by MercuryOne [1028 posts]
4th October 2012 - 18:10

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Lotus Condor, a bike styled after a packet of fags and a F1 car, now that's type of bike :-Q

posted by FMOAB [228 posts]
4th October 2012 - 21:40

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I agree.

My condor pista comes into its own over the winter, far better to have a fixed beater bike than one with messy gears.

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1728 posts]
4th October 2012 - 21:56

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handlebarcam wrote:
Quote:
Condor are keen to state that unlike some other collaborations we've seen recently, the Condor/Lotus bikes will be realistically priced. The bike pictured will cost £5,200

Five grand is "realistically priced" now is it? For a bicycle that is, maybe, 1% better than a £1000 bike, and is rather incongruously painted to resemble a cigarette packet (because that was what the cars were painted to resemble)? I'd say your definition of realistic differs somewhat from mine.

I think it is realistically priced, considering there are only going to be 64 of them in the world. Its not a riding bike. Its a show bike

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8684 posts]
4th October 2012 - 22:35

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My wife has a Condor Fratello and loves it ... I get to use it occasionally and it is a beauty - comfortable but reassuringly responsive - Condor get a thumbs up from me and I want an XCR or Ti frame next Drooling

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

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posted by timbola [203 posts]
5th October 2012 - 9:26

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Interesting that Lotus has funds to push towards bike development, given that their car development has pretty much stopped due to their eternal money issues.

jezzzer's picture

posted by jezzzer [339 posts]
5th October 2012 - 10:24

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Nerd

Gkam84 wrote:
handlebarcam wrote:
Quote:
Condor are keen to state that unlike some other collaborations we've seen recently, the Condor/Lotus bikes will be realistically priced. The bike pictured will cost £5,200

Five grand is "realistically priced" now is it? For a bicycle that is, maybe, 1% better than a £1000 bike, and is rather incongruously painted to resemble a cigarette packet (because that was what the cars were painted to resemble)? I'd say your definition of realistic differs somewhat from mine.

I think it is realistically priced, considering there are only going to be 64 of them in the world. Its not a riding bike. Its a show bike


!!! its NOT FOR Riding

Alex7

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posted by Baldy1alex [42 posts]
5th October 2012 - 10:54

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I have to agree, they're beautiful bikes ...

For me, they were probably the best looking bikes at the show this year hands down ... I wasted so much time drooling over a Trackbike it was just ridiculous...

Me, Myself and I

posted by phax71 [299 posts]
5th October 2012 - 11:19

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Great shop, great service, excellent bikes.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [307 posts]
5th October 2012 - 11:32

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Condor don't shift stock like the big brands so are never going to compete strictly on price. But I think they look great, I've heard nothing but praise for their customer service. They have been around for a while and it's a name with a bit of British heritage and a little out of the ordinary, not merely a rebadged generic Taiwanese frame (good though they surely are).

A Condor carried Anne Mustoe around the world at least once. A Bike Ride is a fascinating book about far more than cycling and well worth reading.

@jezzzer, I'd have thought that consultation/co-working with Condor costs Lotus a fraction of the R&D cost of developing a new car.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1906 posts]
5th October 2012 - 11:38

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Just put a deposit down on the new 2013 Acciaio. once I take delivery I will post some pics

paul dog

posted by pauldog [3 posts]
5th October 2012 - 11:59

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Was there any mention of whether they are going to continue with the Baracchi RL? Or have they dropped that in favour of the full-custom option?

andyspaceman's picture

posted by andyspaceman [213 posts]
5th October 2012 - 12:52

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Condor are a bit slow over offering columbus XCr frames surely, other brands have been offering them for years ...

posted by Karbon Kev [667 posts]
5th October 2012 - 14:01

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"Kristian House and Ed Clancy are involved in the project so if you see them out on the roads training in the next couple of months, it might be worth paying attention to what they're riding."
I am missing out on something or does David Arthur live next door to ed clancy?

hi

posted by cool guy 999 [54 posts]
5th October 2012 - 16:47

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I love the design, and look of the bikes but I am in two minds with regards Condor. Over the past couple of years I brought a Pista, which is one of my all time favourite bikes and Crosser Bivio X, is definately the worst bike I have ever brought. The service with buying the Pista was brilliant which is why I went for more all terrian bike and went back to Condor. The service this time was very patchy, maybe I was a bit to fussy looking at options for the set up of the bike. Some where down right rude and iffy while others could not have been more helpful. I will not probably buy from them again as you are not sure what you will get.

posted by Ciaran Patrick [117 posts]
5th October 2012 - 19:03

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Personally I think Condor are great. When you compare prices, how is £2k for a top end frame expensive when a Colnago goes for well north of £3k? Specialised/Trek and co. all price their top end carbon frames higher than this. And Condor is a family run business which has backed racing in this country since well before Wiggins won the Tour (and for those that have actually been riding since before Lance globalised the sport, you will remember that Condor backed Wiggins himself as a youngster). From my empirical evidence of wandering around their shop every so often when my boss is out, they also appear to treat their staff ok as it is the same ones that I see every time. And they work in stressful conditions... It gets damn busy in that shop. I guess it depends what you want from a bike/bike shop......

The Claw

posted by The Claw [8 posts]
6th October 2012 - 8:21

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Condor frames are made in Italy, you pay a premium for that, but it's worth it, you get a more refined ride.

posted by Cervelo12 [78 posts]
6th October 2012 - 18:15

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I see that a notable F1 connection is missing here - Colnago/Ferrari - from the prototype C40 it continues today

Alg

posted by alg [126 posts]
8th October 2012 - 13:45

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