Condor Italia RC road bike

A weight penalty is a small price to pay for a beautiful-looking, responsive ride

Aluminium lived a very short life at the pinnacle of race bike design, with Marco Pantani the last man to win the Tour de France on an aluminium frame back in 1998, but the Condor Italia RC proves it’s not all about carbon or steel.

When shopping for a fast, light race bike, carbon fibre rules the roost while steel remains the custom frame-builder’s material of choice – which all leaves aluminium in a state of limbo.

But, for the amateur racer at least, aluminium has plenty of merits. For one, it’s more durable than carbon and it’s also much cheaper. Steel often is too, of course, but aluminium is lighter than steel.

The Condor Italia RC (RC standing for Race Competition) certainly isn’t the the lightest alloy option out there, with a 1,600g frame weight (the Cannondale CAAD 12, also in the RCUK 100, is closer to 1,000g), but it compensates for that with superb handling, and an impressively stiff and responsive ride. We think it’s a stunner, too.

It’s nearly 70 years since Monty Young first opened Condor Cycles in the capital, and Tom Simpson and Sir Bradley Wiggins are among the riders to have ridden Condor bikes in the intervening period. A headline sponsor of the long-serving British UCI Continental team JLT-Condor, the London-based brand has become a fixture of the UK cycling scene.

The Italia, their aluminium racing bike, was updated for last year and is crafted from triple-butted 7000-series aluminium tubes. The updated tubeset is not all that’s new on the updated Italia RC either, with a tapered headtube and a flattened profile on the downtube to counter the stiffness with enhanced comfort. The Italia RC also borrows its geometry from the carbon Leggero race bike more commonly used by JLT-Condor.

Essentially, what all that means is you’re getting a race-worthy race bike, both in the efficient ride served up by the frame, and the sharp but assured handling. We loved the Italia RC when we had one in for review.

A full Deda Stream carbon fork sits up front and helps deliver the excellent handling, giving the Italia RC a persona perfect for racing. Pair that with the rigid, rewarding tubeset and you have a brilliant race bike.

Don’t just take our word for it either – Irish giant Conor Dunne raced on a Condor Italia RC at last year’s hilly Tour of Taiwan, twice got himself into the break and finished fifth overall. The 6’8” rider had a custom-sized frame for the race, of course, which is an option for an extra £150.

RCUK 100 2017 - Condor Italia RC road bike
RCUK 100 2017 - Condor Italia RC road bike

Condor Italia RC

Alongside being a great aluminium racing bike, you’ll turn heads before any ride has even begun thanks to its beautiful looks. With a blue and navy frame colour, plus polka dots at the bottom of the seattube and downtube, and an Italian flag, the Condor Italia RC is a right looker.

You can buy the Italia RC as a frameset for £799.99 or Condor’s online bike builder allows you to dress the bike however you want. Our RCUK 100 bike features a Shimano 105 groupset.

Sure, you’re giving up a bit of weight compared to other top-end alloy frames, but the Condor Italia RC otherwise ticks the boxes as an affordable aluminium frame which will provide many grin-inducing miles.



Selected for The RCUK 100 2017

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