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.
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