Picking a new steel frameset road bike

On the 13th June 2012 I will endeavour to ride from London to Paris over 4 days. Why you ask, you are a mountain biker? Well the reason is for a very good cause. I hope to raise over £2000 for the Chase Children’s Hospice . The problem is the only road bike I own is a very old Peugeot that is at least 8cm to big for me. (See older posts) So I set myself the task of buying a new bike. Bike to work has caused a saturation in the £1k bike market. Pretty much every manufacturer makes a £1k bike. I wanted a more sportive geometry. I will train for the ride and complete it and then the bike will be used for winter training and long old trips to the coast. Choices Choices. Specialized have a couple of contenders. The allez is slightly more sporty and for £919 you get a good quality aluminium frame and tiagra groupset. For the full £1k you can have the Secteur. Also Tiagra equiped. Trek do a £800 Trek 1.5 with Tiagra but the frame is not the same quality as the £1k 2.1 with hydroformed tubes and a 105 / Tiagra mix. Felt do a good value bike in the £900 bracket with a 105 / Tiagra mix and Giant show that they have the buying power with a £1k Defy 1 offering with press fit bottom bracket, tapered head tubes and 105 all round. But what about a steel frameset?

The problem I had with all of these bikes is the anonymousness of them. You get the feeling that the bikes are spec’d by accountants. Now I have no problem with this, but it is not really me.

So what to do? Luckily and completely by chance my wife bought me a ticket to the Cycle Show at the NEC this year. And none of the big brands were there. Bianchi (For which I have a soft spot) were there, but other than that it was the turn of the smaller (based on turnover) companies.

Two companies stood out for me. The first was Pearson. Purveyors of some truly beautiful carbon framed bikes. The problem was the price. £1.5k for the frame was a bridge too far.

The second was Condor Cycles. I was immediately taken by their Acciaio Steel frameset in blue.

I had already read It’s All About The Bike by Robert Penn who chose a steel frameset. And I was taken by the process of having a bike made for you.

A visit to Condor in London convinced me. The level of knowledge of their products surpasses even the best “Concept Store” the big manufactures can offer. I test rode a 55 cm Acciaio and fell in love. They say there is something about a good steel frameset that Aluminium or Carbon can not touch. It will never be the lightest or the snappiest of rides, but it feels so natural, and with a carbon seat post and forks I hope I will get that compliant ride which will see me through many miles of road riding for the sake of riding.

Spec wise it was pretty straight forward, they offered me a great price on a Veloce / Centaur mix using some sale components, topped with Mavic wheels and a Fizik finishing kit in brown.

Pictures to follow, a long 4 week wait sits in front of me! but hopefully I have chosen a frameset for lift.

EDIT: See my blog post now the bike has arrived

Andy

Bike rider, coffee lover, beer drinker

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