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Condor Heritage 2011 – Phils Bike

It will be mine… oh yes… it will be mine. That was pretty much my reaction when I walked into Condor cycles and saw the Heritage frame on a pedestal… and that was before I knew it was a touring frame! Not only did the frame call to me, but it also seemed the perfect choice; high quality Dedacciai SAT 14.5 triple-butted steel frame and relaxed geometry; also as this is a custom build I’ve got the components I wanted. So now after over 3 months on the road, how is the build living up to expectations…

Condor Heritage 2011 Frame

Condor Heritage 2011 Frame

Firstly the fitting service at Condor was excellent – after spending a while on the jig and choosing the component sizes that best suited my body shape and riding position, the complete bike needed no adjustment when presented to me… and neither has it after over 7,000 km; no discomfort, no pains, just pleasurable riding! Spot on… I don’t really know what else to say.

Condor Bike Fitting

Me on the Jig at Condor Cycles

The staff at Condor were also knowledgeable and clued up on the needs of touring cyclist, (but quite prepared to listen to what I needed/wanted on my rig), so this is what I ended up with…

Specification

• Condor Hertiage 2011 France, (Olive, Orange, White)

• Brooks B17 saddle

• Condor Alloy Seat Post

• Deda Speciale Oversized Bars

• Deda Quattro Stem

• Condor/Tektro Drop Breaks

• Shimano Dura Ace Bar End Shifters

• Fizik Microtex Bar Tape

• Fizik Gel Under-tape

• Avid Shorty 6 Breaks

Swissstop Green Break Pads, (Amazing!)

• Deore XT front mech

• Deore XT Rear mech

• Deore LX Chainrings (44, 32, 22)

• Deore Cassette, (34, 11)

• Shimano A530 Double Sided Peddles

• SRAM PC 971 Chain

• Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tyres, (and a set of Schwalbe Marahon Extreme tyres in the panniers for dirt roads)

• DT Swiss TK 7.1 700c Rims, (36 hole)

• DT Swiss Plain Gauge Spokes

• Deore XT Hubs

• Tubus Tara Lowrider Front Rack

• Tubus Cargo Rear Rack

So How Does It Handle Loads?

Very well so far; I’ve not overburdened the beast, carrying about 25kg of gear at the most, (I suppose more for short distances a few times when carrying a large quantity of water to our campsite) and I can’t report any problems. Handling seems to be at its best when there is a little more weight in the front panniers than conventional wisdom would dictate.

Fully Loaded Condor Heritage 2011

Fully Loaded Condor Heritage 2011

The thing I love about this bike over other touring rigs I’ve tested is that even with a load it still has more of a road bike feel about it, (and being a man who prefers a road bike this is something I appreciate); and without a load it’s also dream to ride, giving the bike a bit more flexibility when not performing touring duties.

Is It Reliable?

Well, yes, it’s not broken so far… I’ll keep you posted if it experiences any issues but so far so good.

And the Components?

Regarding the components, I’m not going to talk about them I too much detail, but suffice it to say that they, (for the most part) they are pretty standard touring fair and if you’re researching a touring bike you’re probably familiar with most of them. I will however comment on what I think are the “non-standard” elements, (by which I mean components that if you read a ‘Thorn’ brochure, they would have you believe are the devil) or components which I think have performed exceptionally well.

• Brooks B17 Saddle

Broke in quickly, very comfortable, love it… the pretty standard tale from a Brooks owner. Kat on the other hand has a different story!

• Drop Bars

Now some people would have you believe flat, (with ergo grips) is always best for touring… having a side by side comparison, (me on drops, Kat on Flats) I’d beg to differ, (read Kats review on her grips). Now I’m of the school of thought that, like a saddle, bars are a very personal choice and you should go with what’s best for you; here is why the drops worked for me;

o Wider than normal bars give me good control on rough ground

o Oversized bars, Fizik gel underlay and tape make for a very comfortable ride

o Allow the use of very reliable bar end shifters

o I ride road bikes so it’s what I feel most comfortable on

o The drop position is great for getting a bit aero, (as aero as one can expect to get on a touring bike) into headwinds

o From a twatty aesthetic perspective, they make the bike look better ;)

• Avid Shorty 6 Cantilever Breaks

Now, some people don’t like cantilever breaks, sighting the problems setting them up and squeal, preferring the raw stopping power of V-breaks. Now I totally respect that and think V-breaks are great myself, but if you want drop bars then the ‘solutions’ that allow the use of V’s are a bit faffy and not suited to touring in my opinion, therefore cantilevers are the only real option. So far they have performed well; toe them in and no squeal problems; I like the modulation in breaking as opposed to the more ‘on/off’ feel you get from V’s; and they have never failed to stop me. This brings my nicely on to the next item;

• Swissstop Green Break Pads

I’m convinced these are made from Jesus hair and Dragon blood. Damn. Great stopping power, (even in the wet) brilliant for rim wear, and best of all they are still going after 8,000km! Bloody hell. I know they cost a bit more but when you factor that in they are the deal of the century! Full review coming on these.

• 700c Wheels?!

Yes I know, they will break and we won’t find parts in Asia and we will starve to death on the side of the road. What utter shit. Yes, 26 inch wheels and components are often the only ones available in certain parts of the world and you’ll be able to find ‘spares’, (read, shitty inappropriate components) but really, here’s why you shouldn’t fear the 700c;

o A well-built 700c well can be just as strong as a 26 inch wheel, my wheels haven’t even thought about coming out of true even after throwing them over some mean roads for 8,000km – neither have Kats. We’ve met plenty of 26 inchers with wobbly wheels though

o It’ll be more comfortable and take the bumps better… why do you think 29ers are so popular now for mountain bikers

o You’ll be faster

o If any wheel breaks, (irreparable) you’ll have to get a lift to the next town

o You really think that town… even a city in Asia will have a direct replacement for your fancy touring rims? Most of the time, will it fuck; it may have something to use as a stopgap, but it will be shit and you’ll have to order a replacement to be sent from home anyhow if you’ve got a good distance still to cover and don’t want the inconvenience of having to find a stopgap… again, So 700c, 26 inch… it won’t make a difference.

o Our tyres are pretty dam good and we carry spares anyhow, so then chances of us being left with no rubber are pretty dam slim.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think 26 inch wheels are an excellent choice for touring, but so are the right 700c’s – so go with what you prefer and don’t let doom mongers put you off :)

I’ll be updating the component list above with links to more in-depth reviews on components as and when I can be bothered to write them.

Pros

• Condor Fitting Service

• Reliable

• Stiff Enough to Give Some Speed

• Classy Looks

• Relaxed Enough Geometry

• Triple Butted Heat Treated Steel, (Bloody Strong)

Cons

• Too Pretty for Touring, (Debatable!)

• Not Cheap, (Although I Would Say That It was Good Value)

• Would Require a Chain Tensioner for a Rolhoff Hub

Available From:

Condor Cycles

 

My Bike is Bigger

Someone always has to get a bigger one

All in all, I love my Condor Heritage and am very happy with the choices I’ve made regarding the spec; A Rolhoff hub perhaps would have been nice but I’ll cover why we didn’t go with on in another update. Comments and discussion are more than welcome!

 

12 comments to Condor Heritage 2011 – Phils Bike

  • John Fletcher

    Theres no pictures anywhere on the net with this bike in black as advertised on the condor website. i would be very interested in the bike if it had a rohlof speedhub option instead of those unreliable derailleur gears. Thats why irl be opting for a thorn raven Tour. Nice frame though.

  • Phil

    I agree, Condor would do well to put some more pics out there, their website isn’t great either. If you’ve seen the green version, it’s like that… only black… obviously :)

    You can spec a Rohloff hub if you like, (that’s one of the benefits of getting a bike from the likes of Condor – you can spec whatever you like) but if I really wanted a Rohloff I would go for a bike with the frame designed specifically in mind, (Santos Wold Traveller, Koga, or Hewitt now do a Rohloff specific Cheviot SE which would really be worth looking at). Not a fan of Thorn myself – nothing wrong with the bikes, (although they might be a little over engineered for most peoples trips) we were looking at the Nomads before this trip but I found them to be rude, arrogant and prescriptive in my communications with them so decided to give them a swerve, (we are not the only people i’ve spoken to that feel this way about Thorn). Anyway, that’s another story.

    Not sure I agree with ‘unreliable derailleur gears’ at all; we’ve done over 12,000 km on our and neither of us ha had any problems at all. Same goes for my road bike at home, god knows how far i’ve done on that and no probs. Out of interest what groupset have you had trouble with? Remember ALL technology can break and i’ve met someone personally who had a Rohloff fail on them. But having said that the speed hub is a fantastic bit of kit.

    What does your trip look like?

  • Hugo7

    Nice Condor, but what’s with all the non-drive shots?

    Please remedy.

  • Phil

    Not sure what you mean by ‘non-drive shots’…

  • PK

    Does it have braze-ons on the front fork for a rack?

  • Phil

    Sure does!

  • John

    Hi Phil
    Being a total “newbie” to touring and having found you’re site by total fluke. Being a techno phobey. I was wondering how much you’re bike set you back roughly?

    John

  • kumsa

    looks great, Before i choose my turing frame on condor, your info was so helpful
    thanks a lot D:

  • Phil

    Hey John – I was luck enough to get the Condor on the Cycle to Work scheme, (well… my new job is in Sydney, and I did cycle here) so paid a bit less; but new, not including the racks and bags I think it was about £1,500.

  • john

    Phil
    Thanks
    I am starting off slow, lands end to Orkney. My job finishes after twenty four years. So I thought it would be a good way to get the job out of my system.
    I have looked at kooga, dawes ect but I like the road bike looking touring. great site and thanks Phil good luck in your new job

  • Si

    Hiya, what us the widest tyre you could use on the Heritage with mudguards?

  • Phil

    No idea – never looked into mudguards to be honest. I think I feel a post coming on ass to why I think they are a bad idea for touring :) Each to their own of course but they are not for me.

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