Remembering Condor's Founder, Monty Young
Goodbye to Condor's founder. Condor's founder, Monty Young, passed away peacefully on 20 July 2018, having reached the age of 88 only days before. He had suffered with Alzheimer's for a number of years, which sadly worsened in recent months. But in true Monty style, he remained characteristically strong until the very end.
Monty will be remembered as the visionary who started Condor Cycles back in 1948; the man who contributed so much to cycle sport and the industry as a whole; and the man so very famous for his wheel building.
Monty founded Condor Cycles in 1948, just across the road from the current store, at number 90. In the cellar beneath the shop, he would build bicycles and wheels, disturbed by the shop bell perhaps only two or three times a day.
Monty was a talented wheel builder and convinced The Council for Industrial Design to test and examine his wheels in the late 1950s. The Council published an impressive report that a hand-built Condor wheel weighing less than two pounds had sustained an axle load of 1200lbs before distorting.
The report brought cyclists flocking to Condor for a 'Monty Young' race wheel. Condor staff still hear remarks from customers that a pair of wheels built by Monty are, to this day, running straight and true. Monty was conscious that he was doing more than running a shop; he was building a specialist business in a crowded field, which demanded commitment and new ideas in order to spread the Condor name among serious cyclists. He became directly involved in racing and from the mid-fifties onwards he was out most weekends with the Condor van, helping at road races around London. His neutral service support would take him around Britain for the Milk Race and as far as East Germany, supporting the famous Peace Race.
While early competitors in the bike trade — friends, almost without exception — deviated from their original modus operandi, racing and supporting cycle sport remained Monty's lifeblood and so too Condor's. He set up the Condor Mackeson team, which would go on to support Hugh Porter's successful World Championship title in the 1960s. Monty was a passionate enthusiast for the sport, and a key supporter of champions including Dave Bonner, Colin Lewis, John Herety, and, of course, Bradley Wiggins.
Monty's son, Grant, and grandson, Sebastian, continue Condor as a family business, and every member of staff shares the same passion and enthusiasm that Monty had. Monty probably never would have imagined that, 70 years on, Condor would still be building frames by hand and would still have its store on Gray's Inn Road. Today, we uphold the same values as when Monty started Condor in 1948, and we will continue to do so in his honour.