£2348.89 › City spin­ner with coun­try am­bi­tions

Cycling Plus - - ROAD TEST -

Proudly Lon­don born and bred since 1948, Con­dor’s graph­ics even shout about its her­itage. But far from cater­ing to com­muters, the Grays Inn Road shop has al­ways been fo­cused on rac­ing, sup­port­ing rapid rid­ers at home and abroad. Steel has al­ways fea­tured, as have Con­dor’s long stand­ing Ital­ian links. For those not versed in Ital­ian, or rudi­men­tary frame tub­ing iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, Ac­ciaio means steel.

The TIG-welded steel tubes used to cre­ate each Ac­ciaio are triple-butted and cus­tom drawn by Dedac­ciai in Italy, with a painted 55cm frame weigh­ing a claimed 1800g. The car­bon fork is formed around an alu­minium crown and alu­minium dropouts, mak­ing it rel­a­tively heavy at 545g, although an ex­tra £60 will get you a 360g full car­bon mono­coque fork in­stead.

Car­bon lovers need not fret, as this Ac­ciaio build comes with the too rarely seen SRAM Force 22 groupset. From its car­bon brake and shift levers to its car­bon cranks and rear mech outer cage, there’s a re­as­sur­ing quan­tity of the black stuff that sheds some grams and feels classy. A 50/34 com­pact chain­set is paired with an 11-25 cas­sette, an­other rar­ity when 11-28 is al­most stan­dard these days. Com­ing from Con­dor, gear choice will be a cus­tomer op­tion, but if you live any­where lumpy, go for lower.

Our 55cm Ac­ciaio’s 17.5cm head­tube neatly in­te­grates with the larger di­am­e­ter head­set cups, and ex­tends 25mm higher than the semi-slop­ing top-tube to al­low for a less ag­gres­sive po­si­tion with­out a spacer stack. At the stem’s low­est height, we found it racy enough, and po­si­tion can be tweaked fur­ther through bar and stem se­lec­tion.

Fizik’s Cyrano alu­minium bar, stem and seat­post are topped with an Aliante sad­dle for more Ital­ian flavour. The seat­post clamp­ing col­lar, and front mech band-on

The TIG-welded steel tubes are triple­but­ted and cus­tom drawn by Dedac­ciai

clamp are Con­dor branded, and both have large, off­set clamp­ing flanges. At the seat­post it’s ac­cept­ably chunky, but the front mech clamp is only 3mm from the rear tyre. The frame has its max­i­mum tyre size of 25mm fit­ted, but this gap still looks un­usu­ally small.

From the start, the Ac­ciaio feels re­mark­ably smooth, some­thing that can only be down to the frame­set, since un­like the Ritchey, it doesn’t have the ben­e­fit of a car­bon seat­post or han­dle­bar, and rolls on lower vol­ume tyres. Mavic’s base level Ksyri­ums with their Yk­sion Elite 25mm tyres are an old favourite that still give a good ac­count, but their nar­row 20mm ex­ter­nal rim width slims the tyre width to 24mm. They’re ea­ger and spin nicely, but the taller tyre pro­file lim­its hard cor­ner­ing a lit­tle.

Stomp­ing on the ped­als shakes the Ac­ciaio from its pre­ferred fast cruis­ing mode, but it’s re­luc­tant to let rip. It can hus­tle along at a use­ful pace, con­fi­dently crest hills or moun­tains, and its length­ened wheel­base en­sures a planted de­scent, with the 73.5-de­gree head and seat-tube an­gles main­tain­ing suf­fi­cient com­pe­ti­tion han­dling to in­ject some fun into the twisty stuff. SRAM’s Force groupset is a classy com­pan­ion at ev­ery speed, rapidly fir­ing through the gears and halt­ing progress with ease.

We en­joyed our time on the Ac­ciaio. It’s no race bike, but the type of con­stant pres­ence that’ll likely out­last all your young up­starts.

Be­low The seat­post clamp­ing col­lar comes straight from Con­dor Bot­tom SRAM Force 22 groupset adds a dash of car­bon with its cranks

The Ac­ciaio has a very smooth, com­posed ride qual­ity that you won’t tire of

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