Advancements in tubing technology have cut weight without sacrificing comfort. And as this quartet shows, steel retains a timeless beauty…
T he TIG-welded steel tubes used to create the Condor Acciaio are triple-butted and custom drawn by Dedacciai in Italy. The carbon fork is formed around an aluminium crown and aluminium dropouts, although an extra £60 will buy you a full carbon monocoque fork.
Carbon’s seen on the SRAM Force 22 groupset, though, from its brake and shift levers to its cranks and rear mech outer cage. A 50/34 compact chainset is paired with an 11-25 cassette – a rarity when 11-28 is almost standard these days. Coming from Condor, gear choice will be down to the customer’s preference, but if you live anywhere lumpy, go for lower.
Our 55cm Acciaio’s 17.5cm head-tube 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 it’s racy enough, and position can be tweaked further through bar and stem selection.
Fizik’s Cyrano alu bar, stem and seatpost are topped with an Aliante saddle for more Italian flavour. The seatpost clamping collar and front mech band-on 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.
The Acciaio is very smooth, something that can only be down to the frameset since, unlike the Ritchey (p92), 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 tyre width to 24mm. They’re eager and spin nicely, but the taller tyre profile limits hard cornering.
Stomping on the pedals shakes the Acciaio from its preferred fast cruising mode, but it’s reluctant to let rip, though its long wheelbase ensures a planted descent. SRAM’s Force groupset is a classy companion at every speed, rapidly firing through the gears and halting progress with ease, for ultimately a rather smooth and comfortable experience.
BIKE SPECS Frame Dedacciai tripled-butted steel / Fork Condor RC carbon / Wheels Mavic Ksyrium Transmission SRAM Force 22 50/34, 11-25 / Brakes SRAM Force www.condorcycles.com