At the heart of a bicycle is the frame. It is the soul of the machine. It is one of the most expensive parts and the part that will give your ride its character, its feel and its purpose.
At Condor the frameset is extremely important to us; it has and always will be. That is why after sixty five years we still make all our frames by hand to our specifications in our production facility.
If we go back to when Condor started we used the most famous tubeset in the world; Reynolds 531.
Every frame used to be built using 531 but through the years as people strived to lighten their bikes naturally people turned to the frame. Our Baracchi frame was lugless and had fillet-brazed joints reducing the weight a little bit. We then moved on to butted tubes, having less material where it wasn't needed.
People were using steel frames for road racing at the time and then aluminium appeared in the late eighties. There were some hideously 'blob-welded' frames but when aluminium took off it changed everything. Even if you were proficient in working with steel, it didn't necessarily mean you could work in aluminium. We had proper craftsmen who could make handmade steel frames but working with aluminium required a different set of skills.
We had to start our own production facility using aluminium but we knew we couldn't do it here in the UK. We looked to Italy as we didn't want to go to the Far East. We are a UK company and wanted to keep production in Europe if we could. It was at that time a lot of Italian bike brands moved production to Taiwan, which meant that they were leaving behind many craftsmen who could actually work with aluminium.
What they can see in that frame is craftsmanship. You do need a craftsman to produce a frame like that.
Our ethos to craftsmanship passes onto our carbon framesets. We are proud all our framesets in the Condor range are finished in Italy. The carbon tubes of the Leggero are hand wrapped and hand cut. Layers of carbon are built up to create the frame and the carbon is held together with nano resins. The same manufacturing process is used to create our current carbon Baracchi frames.
We build almost everything out of almost anything. Millimetres translate into performance, and our meticulous attention to detail can be seen in every bike.
We do not compromise, designing our frames so they can be built by the unskilled and a machine, before passing to another worker to carry out another monotonous task. We know our craftsman build with the knowledge of the joy the frame will bring to the rider. That bike could carry someone to a life changing victory or used to ascend the tallest peaks in the most spectacular landscapes.
The fabricators and designers of Condor framesets continue to innovate with unique ideas, use the newest technologies and refine accepted techniques. Production methods become more sophisticated year on year but we continue to make frames and create bicycles that respect the ethos of craftsmanship.
Sections of this article are taken from a book about Condor, Past Present Future