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 1,800g.
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 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.
SRAM Force 22 groupset adds a dash of carbon with its cranks David Caudery / Immediate Media
My 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, I 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 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 has a composed ride quality that you won’t tire of Robert Smith
From the start, the Acciaio feels remarkably smooth, something that can only be down to the frameset, as 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.
I enjoyed my time on the Acciaio. It’s no race bike, but the type of constant presence that’ll likely outlast all your young upstarts.