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The Condor Italia RC Disc is nimble, twitchy and exciting to ride fast. Aimed at racers, the frame is stiff and very well balanced, providing direct handling that makes the bike great in tight corners. The Campagnolo Chorus groupset impressed me with its braking and snappy shifting, but if you'd prefer something else, don't worry – you can choose whichever components you want.
The Italia RC Disc is available to buy as a frameset, for £1,199.99, or with a fully customisable spec, allowing you to build up the bike on Condor's website to your budget or component preferences. So if the components that we have on this build aren't for you, you can change things easily.
A few miles of riding left me in no doubt that this is an out-and-out race bike. The frame and fork are stiff, a rather tight wheelbase keeps things fun, while the 8.2kg overall weight is very respectable for an aluminium disc brake bike.
I'm not the biggest rider out there at just 62kg, but I still prefer a stiff frame for attacking climbs. The Italia RC Disc doesn't disappoint, responding quickly when you stamp on the pedals with no hint of flex at either the bottom bracket or the front end. It's a nice reminder that aluminium is far from inferior when it comes to frame construction.
I've been mainly heading towards the hills when I've ridden the Italia RC Disc. It's not that the bike doesn't ride well on the flat – it holds speed around the 30kph mark perfectly easily – it's just that it climbs so beautifully, with a flick that rewards out of the saddle efforts on the steep climbs that we have here in the Mendips.
The semi-compact (52/36-tooth) chainset, paired with a decently wide 11-32T 12-speed cassette, helps here. I had the gears I needed to maintain a good cadence on the steepest slopes, though you could always spec a compact chainset (50/34T) should you want to go lower.
If stability is what you're looking for then the Italia RC Disc might not be for you. It was designed to be lively and that is exactly what it is, suiting those who like tight corners and dynamic climbing.
The frame geometry is anything but slack, though you can still achieve a comfortable riding position thanks to the relatively tall 165mm head tube. It made for a position that was comfortable both in the drops and on the hoods, even though I had removed all the spacers from under the stem.
Condor is using the traditional method for sizing its frames so this 55cm frame comes with a 55cm seat tube. The top tube is marginally longer at 55.5cm. This translates into a stack of 56.6cm and a reach of 38.7cm. Pleasingly, for fans of symmetry at least, the head tube and seat tube angles are identical on this 55cm model at 73 degrees.
Condor keeps the chainstay length at 40.5cm for sizes 46 to 55, before lengthening them to 40.8cm and 41cm for sizes 58 and 61 respectively.
What does that all actually mean? Well it's got quite a comfortable reach and is slightly on the taller side, but keeps things fun with a tight wheelbase. It's best suited to riders who prefer a quick smash in the hills to those who want to tick off long miles.
The frame, as you might already have noticed, is a proper double triangle that will please the haters of the trend for dropped seatstays. 'Handmade in Italy', the double-butted 7000-series high-performance aluminium frame is paired with a bladed carbon fork with a 1 1/8 to 1 1/2in tapered head tube.
Mechanical and electronic systems are both catered for – cable routing for the brakes (and electronic shifting, if you were to choose it) is internal, while mechanical shift cables run externally.
While the exposed shift cables might not look quite as tidy as internal routing, it does make adjustments and maintenance so much easier.
The flat mount discs are set up for 140mm rotors, though 160mm rotors can be used with adapters, and the frame is finished with a lovely imprinted Condor logo down by the rear brake. (For those who aren't fans of disc brakes, Condor still makes a rim-brake frameset.)
The finish on the Italia RC Disc is very pleasing to the eye, with lovely touches that make it look very well made. The way the frame welds are smoothed at the head tube and seat tube give the frame a high-quality look.
The Italia RC Disc uses what is now the unofficial road bike standard of 12x100mm and 12x142mm thru-axles along with a BSA threaded bottom bracket shell for simple maintenance. This might seem like a simple feature, but I'm a big fan of a threaded bottom bracket. I certainly couldn't feel any loss from a pressfit system.
Our Campagnolo Chorus-equipped bike with Campagnolo's WTO 33mm carbon wheels is a very nice build, but as I said up top, if you want something different – and I have to say this wouldn't be my preferred build – you can spec what you want on Condor's 'Build a Bike' site. It's like those 'Build-A-Bear' stores, but you'll spend a lot more and come away with something far more useful.
Campagnolo's Chorus 12-speed disc brake groupset is a beautiful collection of carbon, but I do have a few gripes with what is a £1,275 option on Condor's website.
The first is with the shifter where, although the hood ergonomics are generally very comfortable, there is a large bump where the shifter body meets the bar. I found it uncomfortable, sitting right against the heel of my palm.
The shifting, on the other hand, is great. It's the snappiest shifting that I've used and there are some neat multi-shift functions built in too. These allow you to flick through a huge five sprockets on the downshift and three on the upshift. How often you might wish to use this functionality might be limited, but I found it very useful when cresting a hill. The rapid dumping of the chain down five gears allows you to surge over the top of climbs.
The actual action of shifting using Campagnolo Chorus is pretty easy to get used to too. The finger and thumb paddles are quick to actuate a shift, so only a small press is needed. You also get a reassuring click. This is easily one of the most positive mechanical groupsets that I've used.
It's not all roses. I'm really not a fan of the thumb paddle on the right hand when sprinting – with my hands in the drops, I found it very difficult to reach. This isn't ideal when racing for a (town sign) finish line, as I was often left focusing more on finding the shifter than getting the power down. It's personal preference, but I simply find the finger-operated paddles on Shimano and SRAM shifters easier to access.
While I know Campagnolo holds a dear place in many a rider's heart, this Chorus disc brake mechanical groupset wouldn't tear me away from my Shimano Ultegra R8070 Di2 disc group. Ultegra R8020, the disc brake with mechanical shifting, costs less at £925, a significant saving over the Chorus equivalent.
If you want to highlight a race frameset then a top-end £1,749.50 set of wheels should do the trick. Campagnolo's WTO 33 Disc wheels are sublime, combining a fast ride with trouble-free handling, good support for wider tyres, and low weight that helps when accelerating out of corners and when heading uphill.
The rim features Campagnolo's 2-Way Fit technology. That is to say, the wheels are tubeless-ready and benefit from a 19mm internal width and no spoke holes in the rim bed. That means there's no need for rim tape, making tubeless tyre installation far easier.
These are shod with Vittoria's Corsa Control G2.0 tyres in a 28mm width – the maximum width specified for the Italia RC Disc, and I'd suggest you use every millimetre. You can run them at lower pressures than narrower tyres, which helps to hide some of the harshness that such a stiff frame can produce.
Our test bike is decked out in Fizik finishing kit, with an aluminium Cyrano R1 bar (bull shape) and R3 stem, along with a carbon Cyrano R1 seatpost, topped with Fizik's Antares R3 saddle.
The components at the front end are light and stiff and I especially liked the 'bull' shape of the Cyrano R1 bar. It provides a short reach and easily accessible drops for a comfortable position. The tape that it is wrapped in was a little hard for my preference – it's been chosen for the classic look but I'd prefer something cushier.
I've never been a fan of Fizik's Arione – I just don't get on with it – but it's a very popular saddle. I did like the seatpost, though, with its easily adjustable tilt and good vibration damping on rougher tarmac.
While the price of this build is very high for an aluminium disc brake bike, the only way to really judge the value fairly is by comparing it with other framesets.
At £1,199.99 it's more expensive than the Cannondale CAAD13 Disc, at £999, although the Condor's frame joints look far tidier (and personally I'm not a fan of the colour of the Cannondale).
Trek's Emonda ALR costs even less, at just £800. That's a big chunk of cash to save that could be spent on components, so if you're restricted by a tight budget then the Emonda would be worth considering.
Condor's Italia RC Disc is a very good aluminium frameset that, in this build, has been a joy to ride in the hills. The handling is sharp and it is genuinely fun to ride – and you don't have to spend nearly five grand to enjoy it: with a massive range of components to pick from, you can spec it to your heart's desire.
Stiff aluminium bike with nimble handling and a fun ride – and a fully customisable spec
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Condor Italia RC Disc
Size tested: 55cm
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame Condor double-butted 7000 series high performance aluminium
Fork Condor straight bladed full carbon monocoque
Frame weight 1480g
Fork weight 350g
Sizes 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 61cm
Colours Midnight Blue
Internal cabling on top tube
Clearance for 30mm tyres
Tapered head tube
Mechanical and Di2/EPS compatible
Bottom bracket: BSA
Seat tube (internal): 31.6mm
Seat tube (external): 34.9mm
Front derailleur attachment: band on
Headset: 1-1/8" to 1-1/2" integrated
Thru-axles: 12x100mm (front); 12x142mm (rear)
Disc brake mounts: flat mount
Groupset: Campagnolo Chorus 12-speed mechanical with hydraulic disc brakes
Wheels: Campagnolo Bora WTO 33mm Disc
Tyres: Vittoria Corsa Control G2.0 28mm
Saddle: Fizik Arione
Seatpost: Fizik Cyrano R1 Carbon
Bar: Fizik Cyrano R1 Bull
Stem: Fizik R3
Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Condor says, 'Handmade in Italy'
'Constructed from state-of-the-art 7000 series aluminium, our race-orientated frameset is stiff and superbly light. Remodelled with a tapered head tube and new smoother, lighter tubing, the Italia RC Disc will accelerate up to speed quickly and stop you even quicker. Race it, ride it, or climb with it: the Italia RC offers performance by the bucket load at a price to suit every budget.'
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
This depends entirely on how you spec the bike.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
I love it when aluminium frames are done well. This one is brilliant. It is stiff and beautifully put together.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
7000-series, double-butted aluminium frame with a full-carbon 1-1/8 to 1 1/2in tapered fork.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
The geometry is race-focused, but it's still easy to get comfortable for general riding. A relatively short reach really helps here.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
I found the head tube to be a touch on the tall side, though this didn't stop me from getting low on the flats. It results in a race position that isn't stupidly low.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Yes. But I feel that the comfort is massively helped by some clever component choices, like the supple 28mm tyres.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
All good here. Good power transfer without feeling harsh.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
It really surprised me with how planted the frame felt when putting the power down. It resulted in the bike flying out of the corners and surging forward when I attacked a hill.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
Yes, but I get that on nearly every bike because I run my cleats far back.
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Very lively.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The bike is nimble with very direct handling. It might be a bit unstable for some, but I found it great fun.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The tyres, at 28mm, are a great choice for broken roads. Really comfortable.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
The wheels are incredibly expensive, but they're so good. They hold speed on the flat well and spin up quickly on the climbs.
You can certainly flick it around.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
The spacing between the 12-speed sprockets means you need to keep the rear mech perfectly indexed.
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?
Oh they're lovely, but oh, that price. If you can afford them, they're excellent. They are light, stable, stiff and just lovely to ride.
Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?
I've ridden these tyres before and really liked them. They are supple and grip well in the wet.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
The bar is particularly nice in the 'bull' shape. The short reach and drop mean that the whole bar is easily accessible.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Loved it.
Would you consider buying the bike? In a different spec, yes.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
As a frameset, it's a little more expensive than Cannondale's much-loved CAAD13 (£999), and Trek's Emonda ALR is £800.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Aluminium is still brilliant when done correctly and Condor gets it spot on with the Italia RC Disc.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.