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….

Capo Cipressa Jacket

Now, it might not seem the most appropriate time of year to bring to you ladies attention a super bit of kit i had on test this early springtime. Forgive me for that, in part I have not gotten round to penning my thought on the item for a good month or two due to being busy and well, just out riding, and secondly, admittedly I only wore the garment from March-late April, so its not been at the front of my mind, however I have finally found time to share my thoughts on a top-tech jacket that most wardrobes will have space to accommodate.

Admittedly Capo is a brand I didn’t have a massive amount of awareness of until last year or so. Known widely state-side and down under, their kit is minimally and stylishly designed, you wont find cluttered logos or hideous colour-schemes in their line-up, just a well executed understated style. Capo produce a host of club and team kits in the states, and unbeknownst to me I was actually already in possession of a very comfy pair of armwarmers from their via the excellent Elcyclista.

The jacket is an incredibly svelte number, crafted in a fabric Capo has termed ‘Shark’. Consisting of a thin but closely yarned fleece lining, backed by the exterior layer of a matted wetsuit-like windproofed lycra, the jacket is definitely on the ‘race-fit’ side of the fence, offering a really flattering profile when zipped up. Bonus points already! Think of it as the women-friendly equivalent of Rapha’s Pro-team jacket; a race-cut insulating outer layer designed simultaneously to afford a breathable and windproof front panel.

Reflective piping flocks the rear panel joints, but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a high-vis piece, its stealthy and ninja-like with its completely black colour. Stylish attire indeed for the day, but this wont be ideal for commuting on darkened streets come evening time. Team with a high-vis gilet or such should this be the case would be my advice.

Two large pockets provide ample storage for ride food and phones/camera etc. No internal pump pocket or such, but they do keep their shape under load extremely well, and don’t sag in that unsightly way that other jerseys can be prone to. 
The jersey is an ideal 3 season outer layer, teamed with either 3/4 or tights and a thick baselayer in the winter. Retailing at around £150 (although I have seen these floating about in online sales recently) the jacket is a minimally-stylish staple thats manufacturing quality means it should last quite a few seasons. I teamed it happily with the rapha 3/4 bibs during an extensive test throughout late March/early April and it performed admirably giving ample protection from wind and drizzle. Id say look to employ the jacket ideally at temperatures below 12 degrees or so.
Capo will also be involved the the really cool Rêve grand tour project, which sees a group of 6 US based ladies take part in a punishing 3479KM ride shadowing the 2012 Tour de France route. Hopefully the weather will stay nice enough for the gang they wont be needing the Cipressa jacket 😉
Capo is available in the following places 

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.