Lotus Condor – Update

Super-snapper Andrew Ferraro, reader of this wee blog and fellow Acciaio rider recently snapped a few frames of this special edition Condor Leggero crafted for car-makers Lotus.
The bike marks the beginning of a really interesting collaboration between the firms, with Lotus able to offer some incredibly specific engineering knowledge to produce some exciting new innovations to the world of Condor bicycles. 
Although on first inspection the design looks a little like the infamous rapha ‘imperial works’ colourscheme with the whole black and gold vibe, this is a happy accident…. it was actually designed in homage to the Lotus Formula 1 machine, which is apparently soon to accompany this snazzy bike at the showroom.
Both Condor and Lotus, formed in 1948, share a passion for the production of lightweight racing machines, so this seems like a really cool partnership, with both companies utilising their knowledge of material and design to offer up something a little cooler than the Spesh X McLaren offerings. The focus im told from my Condor ‘Secret Squirrel’ will be “Efficiency on a bicycle, performance gains and a bike that everyone can ride, not just a pro.” With an emphasis on affordability and performance… it seems to be a match made in heaven. There’s every possibility in 2013 you will see some cool specialist fruits of this hook up… I for one await with baited breath! For now enjoy some pics shot by Andy Waterman….

Pista Pursuita

I spent last night changing the steering on my pista, I had been riding some nice light old 3ttt handlebars with a traditional bend, and a little trigger finger front brake (its a fixed commuter so iv actually only ever run a front brake), but fancied a change as i seem to be spending more and more time commuting about the place these days. A chance sale on components over at chain reaction sealed the idea, and I fancied giving a fun little pursuit style a blast.

The clear jelly Cinelli tape is lush, nice and spongy. Would look cool with a type of decolage done underneath on the handlebars, a la James Straffon shoe style.

A Few Good Rolls

And its back in business. Neglecting the bike over the first few months of 2012 in order to complete a charity half marathon, these past few weeks its been ‘All about the bike’ again. And what a welcome return it was! I enjoyed a handful of really good riding, catching up with friends and feeling a world more comfortable pushing it, thanks in no small part to going and getting my feet sorted out at Cyclefit. 

 A nice hilly tarmac chase in Surrey to ease me back in the game with the sartorial guru 
We took an undiscovered turning and found a peach of a climb on a SMCC roll
Which then turned into a sick 2k bridleway/gravel track. Perfect for a Flanders day ride!
At the weekend I rode my 3rd HOTN with Rowlandi. Great fun, read about it here
And i spent some time sucking this guys wheel in RePk apres work – I dont actually know him but he looked pretty damned pro. So thanks for the cheeky draft I was getting 😉

Bespokery

This past weekend I visited the very lovely ‘Bespoked’ handmade bicycle show in Bristol. Making a day of it I set out with a very good chum for a wonderfully sunny daytrip, taking an early morning train out from London. The exhibition showcased some great UK framebuilders complimented by different stands encompassing the many different spheres of the current cycling scene. 
There’s no denying that cycling has become more popular than ever, with many different builders popping up over the last couple of years. One only has to browse the internet for proof of such a burgeoning scene, and on a daily basis im consistently amazed at some of the beautiful and lust-worthy bikes and kit popping up all over the place. Bespoked, making its maiden voyage into the world of bike lust with a roaring success of a show last year, returned bigger and better, with a whole host of exhibitors showcasing some delish bikes & fodder.

First to greet visitors at the top of the entrance staircase was a collection of extremely anticipated builds. This year marks the efforts of Rapha to globalize their unique ‘Continental’ programme, and at Bespoked were 4 of the frames to be used in the UK continental rides. Ricky Feathers bike, that Max Leonard will throw his legs over for the uk rides also won the ‘Best Road Bike’ category for the show, and its really not hard to see why! Lush detailing, and as you’d expect from the Perrn St mob, that timeless black with a dash of pink componentry.

The three other frames garnered much attention, with Donhou building a disc braked steel beauty, complete with wound up forks, Brian Rourke crafting a beautifully proportioned frame for the towering rider Graham, (and curiously unlike most large frame sized it actually looks fabulous) and the Robin Mather displayed, with its funky decal. 

The UK continental project will see six talented riders undertake a series of quintessential rides across the British isles, documenting the landscape and weather fluctuations of our country in the typically rapha-esque aesthetic. Watch their website for more information as the rides are undertaken.

James points out that only one bike used any pink on the framework, in a small and eloquent tribute to a sufferer of breast cancer. Unfortunately I blurred the detailing of this meaningful gesture.

The Brian Rourke stand contained a lot of lovely frames, and their race ready beast built up was one mean machine! My friend James is collecting his custom rourke this weekend, and having kept us in the dark for 6 months about the colour scheme, we couldn’t help but wonder if his frame was sat perched upon the wall, staring back at us.

The show had loads of race bikes built using steel, it seems the material has truly made a resurgence, and some of the builds were light indeed.

It was also great to meet Richard, the man behind the Urban Hunter webstore. Iv always been a fan of their, as they seem to stock some really cute trinkets and lines that are exclusive to them (I think they are the only people to be punting those super euro Salice glasses). 

They had some nice things on display at their stand, with some nice racey Italian bits to some serious courier bags for the fixie dudes.

Rowland and I had our hearts stolen by a custom brand called Legend, creating by the man who was the brains behind the Viner bikes. I lusted after a scarlet matted carbon peach, whereas Si fell for a cheeky Ti number…

Apple Of My Eye

Condor just keep coming up with the goods! Spotted this little number in the basement of Grays Inn rd, and i haven’t stopped thinking about the lovely little carbon-tailed  beaut, the Italia RC. Thinking of a crap weather trainer/super commuter build now that the ratty colnago is lying in bits abandoned in the corner of my room. A simple cost friendly economy 105 5700 build with some handmade open pro’s. Food for thought!

Bespoked Bristol

Iv just booked the tickets to head down and check out the very promising ‘Bespoked Bristol‘ show in March. After a superbly received 2011 edition the exhibition is back with a bang for 2012, with a bumper list of two wheeled ephemera on offer to drool over, from Pegorettis, to Condors, to boutique builders like Feather Cycles, Paulos Quiros and Donhues.

Expect a whole raft of accessories and hardware companies to be displaying their wares as well as the bike makers, ensuring the event is a hit with lovers of all things bicycle. Tickets are currently available over at the Bespoked website, with a cracking 2 passes for £10 on offer at the moment, a deal id advise the early birds to snap up. The venue is located right next to Bristol Temple Meads train station, making it easy for us out-of-towners. Us lucky London residents will be able to recognise the friendly faces of ‘Look Mum No Hands!’, who will be onsite providing all your caffeinated needs in their pop-up cafe. 

This year sees the inclusion of a test track to put some unique bikes through their paces, and also a framebuilders section, aiming to showcase amateur artisanal framebuilding.