Lightweight, excellent riding comfort and resilience. Steel and carbon framesets from Condor share many characteristics.
So why our new Super Acciaio and not our signature carbon frameset?
Criterium racing is a style of racing involving a tight narrow circuit.
Riders have to reduce their speed to get themselves safely around tight hairpins, and once out of the corner accelerate back up to speed. Sprinting out of the saddle every few seconds is commonplace as the racers chase breaks, attack the bunch and try to win mid-race prizes.
1. A stiffer material without reducing the feel of the ride
A stiff frame is a high priority for a criterium rider as it provides a good base to sprint from without losing power to frame flex.
The stiffer you make a frame the more shocks and bumps it will feed back to the rider. Steel offers different properties and a unique feel and compliance which means it can be stiffer and stronger yet also feel smooth to ride. Often, very stiff carbon frames can be unbearable to ride. Some cheaper carbon frames have to be over-engineered to make it strong and stiff but that can transform the ride to being overly harsh.
2. Proven carbon technology reproduced in steel
Adding an oversized bottom bracket improves the power transfer as any flex will reduce power transferred from the rider's legs to the rear wheel. Tapering the headtube provides a wider base on which to turn and enables more control under tight cornering.
3. Shaving the weight
All these enhancements add weight; this is why carbon is usually chosen over other materials. The Super Acciaio has a unique mix of elements in the steel. Tig welding is lighter, plus we heat treat the metal for additional tensile strength which allows us to make the tubes thinner. The seat stays are narrowed where they meet the top tube because torsional strength isn't so key in these areas.
At the front we add the tapered fork from the Leggero, a super light 300g full carbon fork.
Crashes are a regular occurrence in circuit racing, it makes for thrilling viewing because the peloton is often 50-100 rider strong. A carbon bike when crashed may not always show the damage. Carbon can fail internally and not show any damage externally. It doesn't creak and carbon inside the tubes can fracture making it very weak.
If a frame gets hit it dents and damage is obvious. Though most riders see this as adding character, like battle scars. A steel frame can be repaired, tube unwelded and replacements added.
It is all about compromise.
The Condor Leggero team bike weighs less but costs more. It is designed for racing or riding all day; perfect for Kristian House's signature race-long breakaways.
The Condor Super Acciaio constructed from steel, is 1-2lbs heavier than the equivalent carbon frame, doesn't carry the price tag of our carbon frame and is stiffer.