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….

Condor Race Socks

Condor Cycles have released a new model of sock just in time for summer, this time tipping a nod to the cool euro styling seen on PRO racers within today’s peloton. Their lightweight-tech white sock features a simple striped contrasting rear logo (available in both black and red, perfect to pick the coordinating colour to your S-Works heel cup!). In a longer incarnation of their previous sock, the race model boasts a 7cm long cuff section, perfect for those looking to enhance their bronzed pins for uber-euro points. 

Priced at £8.99, I can confirm from the featured pictures that even after a decent 40 wash cycle, the socks came out like new. A welcome piece of information for those prone to heavy washing of their kit. The midfoot section is crafted from a meshed version of the microfibre yarn, improving ventilation to this part of the foot, along with ease of moisture transfer – bound to a nice bit of respite on those hot summer days in the saddle. The toe and heel area offers a thicker blend of fabric, resulting in a comfortable and secure fit.

The socks are available in-store now, in two sizes, a S/M & M/L. Alternatively, those non-London residents can ping the good folks at Grays Inn Road an email or phonecall and take advantage of friendly mail order option. Another nice sock staple to add to the summer riding wardrobe.

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!

A Few Of Our Favourite Things

 Flouro Overshoes – A nice flash of hi-vis and hi-style
 Turbo all set up for the pain to begin at the end of Jan (easy miles/smiles for now)
 Castelli Pioggia booties & Condor Acciaio, perfect wet weather ride beaters 
 Mild temps means iv cracked this out twice in the past 2 months. On my toes as well!
 Fisher Space Pen – gnarliest writing pen ever!
New year reading material courtesy of Brian! Celeste is the colour…..

A Couple of Reads

I recently picked up a couple of real nice books to enjoy over the festive period. First up is a wicked photo book chronicling the UCI World Cup Cyclocross season of 2009/2010 by a really awesome snapper, Balint Hamvas.

The format of the book is a great introduction to the world cup racing scene, with each round of racing summarised nicely in prose, with a bit of pre race background about the riders and their standings, before launching into a succint edit of great photos from that leg of the competition. 

The photos capture the real essence of the race, with some cool key moments. I also love that Balint shoots the ladies equally too, and he has some truly cracking pics of girls shredding it on the circuit.

This is a great little reference book, useful and enjoyable for both hardened mud fans and newbs like myself. I really hope Balint plans to produce one for this season which has been so far really cool to watch (its probably the first year iv bothered to follow the races and riders that much, being a self-confessed die-hard roadie). The book can be ordered from Balint directly, shoot him an email through his website

Next up is the unique offering from British bike stalwart, Condor Cycles, a beautifully curated collection of stories, history and ideology of the brand and their racing heritage. Entitled “Past, Present and Future”, the book serves up delicious anecdotes from such names as Eric Clapton, Jon Snow, Monty Young and Kristian House. Delving deep into the brands history as well as referencing the current rise in cycling popularity and exposure, the book serves as a perfect anchor point for all things Grays Inn Road.

The range of articles is great, and I was honoured to be asked to submit a short personal story for the book, and there are some other awesome personal customer stories, all unique and interesting, bound with the common thread of riding condors.

I love the inclusion of stories from all sphere of the brand, from racers, staff members, old school heroes , Mr J Herety himself, and a piece on the new-school resurgence of the steel frame (something condor have truly mastered in the acciaio IMO). Its a truly really interesting read, having dipped into it a dozen times since receiving a copy, I find myself going back to it for more stories again and again…

The book is priced at £15 and available instor or via telephone from condor or online at rapha.