British brand Condor is steeped in cycling history, having made bikes for the Tour de France and for the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Tom Simpson
Condor is a household name within British cycling: the London brand has sponsored a team for years – currently JLT Condor with the Condor Leggero – and supplies track bikes for the Lee Valley and Herne Hill velodromes. Despite this, Condor is a relatively small company compared to the global brands.
However, Condor provides excellent tailored services as well as off-the-peg framesets and complete builds to the masses and manages to cover a lot of ground considering its size.
One of the race bikes supplied to the JLT Condor team is the Condor Leggero, the aero frame in the large range made up of various materials and styles that Condor designs and builds.
Performance is its keynote – it promises to be light, agile and aero – but what it also delivers from the off is great looks. The Condor Leggero has been turning heads wherever I’ve been testing it.
Condor says the Leggero has been specifically crafted not only for performance and to be aerodynamic but also to be enjoyable and comfortable to ride. This has been done by selecting a mix of high-quality carbon to ensure the Leggero is stiff, lightweight and compliant.
A mix of high-modulus, ultra-high-modulus and unidirectional carbon is bonded by nano resins and it’s this, according to Condor, which helps disperse vibrations effectively and gives the Condor Leggero its great ride feel. More on this later.
Aerodynamics and performance are helped by key details on the Condor Leggero frame. A Kamm-tail aero seat tube improves airflow with an optimised flat rear triangle which also increases stiffness, says Condor, aiding power transfer and acceleration.
The best characteristic of the Condor Leggoro frame is the quality of its ride. More than any other bike I’ve ridden, even with deep carbon wheels and skinny tyres, the Leggero rides beautifully over typical British roads.
Vibration from the road is minimal: it’s like riding on freshly laid Spanish tarmac even when you’re on horrid broken roads in Surrey and Kent. This sensation is usually at the detriment of ride feel, precision and handling.
However, the Condor Leggero is poised, it lets you know where you are in terms of grip and it’s racy – you can really chuck it into sharp turns and steep descents. I’ve been immensely impressed.
The only real let-down with the Condor is weight: 7.45kg complete for the small size I use is a little heavy. You don’t feel this weight while riding and it isn’t exactly a heifer, of course, but compare it to Ribble’s new SL which is under 6.8kg for a larger size and the Cannondale SuperSix-Evo again under the UCI weight limit for two sizes bigger.
It is a small chink in the armour of the Condor Leggero and you may want to consider its lighter version for those big days in the mountains, or at the very least, lighter wheels.
This is a test of the frameset, but to ride it I needed it built so Condor kindly specced the Leggero with Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 (mechanical) with a Fizik Cyrano R3 stem, R3 Chameleon handlebars, Selle Italia Flite Ti and finally Mavic Cosmic 40 SL C with Mavic’s own tyres.
This build comes out at £5,850, though of course you would be able to cut this down with lower-spec items across the board. The wheelest, for example, could easily be replaced with a shallower option and I would do this in a heartbeat.
This lavish spec performs well, as you’d expect. The Shimano Dura-Ace, although recently updated, still works effortlessly and provides exceptional performance. The wheels feel fast, roll very well, but do not work for the everyday. I swapped these Mavics out for a pair of Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbons, which helped agility and would be what I’d go for if buying this bike.
At £2,999.99 for the frame and fork you are paying a premium for this Condor Leggero and £5,850 for this complete build again is pushing the boundaries of anyone’s disposable income, even those most dedicated cyclists.
However, you are paying for something that isn’t so common – a nicely crafted frame that can be built to your needs, and Condor even invites you to the store to talk through your ideas to ensure you create something truly special, something of a personalised service that is not readily available within today’s bike industry.
If you want to know what ride quality feels like you need to ride this bike – it is a joy. It may not be as advanced as the latest aero bike on the market and is a little weighty compared to some, but you'll want to come back to it every day.