A brilliantly built steel machine that rides incredibly well and provides endless comfort. Buy this and you won't go wrong.
You can customise the build
The tyres are too narrow
The brakes aren't very strong
This is the brand's best-selling frameset, and the new Condor Fratello 2015 touring bike model is available now. Prices for a full build start at £1,200, but this set-up, with Shimano 105 groupset and Mavic wheels, hits the till at £1,600. You can buy the frameset only, if you’d prefer, which’ll cost you £650. Condor is all about the process; its ordering system enables you to get exactly what it is you need. The firm’s expertise will help get you from excitable browser to satisfied customer.
It’s a steel machine made using Dedacciai tubes. The tubes are drawn to Condor’s own specifications, though, and they’re a thing of beauty. From the slightly ovalised hexagonal top tube to the elegantly curved seatstays, the whole bike looks fantastic. A round tube is by rights the most efficient shape in terms of outright strength, but by shaping the tubes differently around the frame, a balance of stiffness and comfort has been achieved, and it’s just about right.
The 10-speed groupset supplied on our test machine is about to be replaced with the all-new Shimano 105 11-speed version but, even so, shifting was as precise as ever from the reliable groupset. Finishing kit is split between Deda and Condor’s own gear, including the deep drop brakes. They’ll take a mudguard with ease, but their stopping power was limited, especially when compared with the disc brakes on the other test bikes here.
The wheels are Mavic Kysriums; a great choice. The matching Mavic tyres weren’t up to scratch, though. Their wet weather performance is an issue, but the main concern is their width, at just 23mm. When carrying weight, or for grimy winter conditions, you’d really be best
to spec something wider at purchase.
The narrow tyres and weak brakes barely make a scratch on the overall ride performance of the Fratello. It’s absolutely excellent, and thanks to the high front end, the Condor is a bike you can ride all day without complaint. With a pannier rack fitted, the bike handles the weight well, and I’d go as far as saying it’s probably the most comfortable bike I’ve ever ridden — with or without luggage attached. The balance between comfort and ride responsiveness is
spot-on too, so you can expect plenty of response when you feel like increasing the pace.
Review by Chris Catchpole
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