Steel road bike - Custom or Condor

bmxboy10
bmxboy10 Posts: 1,958
edited May 2014 in Road buying advice
Been looking at a custom steel frame for a while and thought I had considered all the options. Went for a fit at a local and well regarded frame builder and to my surprise the optimum frame geo for me was exactly the same as my current off the shelf CF bike! BTW I mean to the mm!

Got me thinking what was the point of going custom apart from the paint options and desirability factor. I still want a steel bike because since test riding a high end steel frame my CF bike feels numb and muted in comparison - not necessarily in a bad way just different.

Anyway I think I have now fallen for the Condor Super Acciaio and as there are custom paint options this seems like a good option for me and guess what the geo is spot on as per the bike fit dimensions. Trouble is at £1400 it feels like a lot of dosh for an off the peg frame when a one off frameset from Rourke or enigma is similar money.

Any ideas? :roll:

Comments

  • I think if I was in your shoes I would still go custom, I guess there would be a longer wait though compared with an off the shelf from Condor, depends how much of a hurry you are in. Good luck which ever you choose.
  • menthel
    menthel Posts: 2,484
    Go and ride a condor, they are very helpful people that make very nice bikes!
    RIP commute...
    Sometimes seen bimbling around on a purple Fratello Disc or black and red Aprire Vincenza.
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    They certainly do.

    For an extra hundred quid, you can make the frame custom if you want to tweak things.

    I've just ordered another condor frame and had a few bits changed on it - they are quoting up to 20 week lead, but hopefully quicker.
  • mattythemod
    mattythemod Posts: 289
    I had a Condor Super Acciaco frame made over the winter months ...standard geomtry but custom paint finish ...very very happy with the finished result .
  • twgh
    twgh Posts: 102
    I cannot comment on the condor experience but I just had a custom bike built by saffron frameworks and without doubt I would never buy off the shelf again. Using a custom framebuilder is a fantastic experience. My bike is the blue and orange one in this link (first two to three photos) http://road.cc/content/news/116213-get-bespoked-weekend

    It has been repainted since that photo to have the orange "pop" a bit more.
  • jordan_217
    jordan_217 Posts: 2,580
    twgh wrote:
    I cannot comment on the condor experience but I just had a custom bike built by saffron frameworks and without doubt I would never buy off the shelf again. Using a custom framebuilder is a fantastic experience. My bike is the blue and orange one in this link (first two to three photos) http://road.cc/content/news/116213-get-bespoked-weekend

    It has been repainted since that photo to have the orange "pop" a bit more.


    "Darling"?? Any other pics of the bike? I love an orange/blue colour scheme.

    It looks the dogs BTW. How does it ride?
    “Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.”
  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    One of my friends has gone Rourke for his next bike and I've gone with English. However, since the waiting list is well over 2 years, I bought a Ritchey Road Logic to tide me over until then. Can't fault the bike, it's fantastic. I reckon you'll be happy with either, it just depends how pressed you are for a new frame.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • twgh
    twgh Posts: 102
    jordan_217 wrote:
    twgh wrote:
    I cannot comment on the condor experience but I just had a custom bike built by saffron frameworks and without doubt I would never buy off the shelf again. Using a custom framebuilder is a fantastic experience. My bike is the blue and orange one in this link (first two to three photos) http://road.cc/content/news/116213-get-bespoked-weekend

    It has been repainted since that photo to have the orange "pop" a bit more.


    "Darling"?? Any other pics of the bike? I love an orange/blue colour scheme.

    It looks the dogs BTW. How does it ride?

    I have some more of it both pre and post repaint - the orange has been made brighter to match the CK headset. i can email them to you if you DM me on here with your address.

    Darling - that is just a little joke between Matthew and me. He's a top bloke and loved working with him. If you are interested drop him an email.

    The ride is wonderful I have probably done around 800km in 3 weeks including some time in the algarve in Portugal. Ride is stiff and responsive as you would expect but it doesn't jar you (my old frame a dengfu carbon one from china was probably as stiff but after 80km or so I felt like I had done Paris-Roubaix). Handling is great as well, not twitchy at all and very stable going downhill. Overall it is a lovely bike to ride.

    My final build doesn't have the Reynolds wheels (I don't have the 2k to spend on wheels!) instead I have some great Archetype Rims laced to Da9000 hubs by Ugo.....they are brilliant much better than my Campagnolo Shamal Ultras which I sold.
  • jonny_trousers
    jonny_trousers Posts: 3,588
    twgh wrote:
    jordan_217 wrote:
    twgh wrote:
    I cannot comment on the condor experience but I just had a custom bike built by saffron frameworks and without doubt I would never buy off the shelf again. Using a custom framebuilder is a fantastic experience. My bike is the blue and orange one in this link (first two to three photos) http://road.cc/content/news/116213-get-bespoked-weekend

    It has been repainted since that photo to have the orange "pop" a bit more.


    "Darling"?? Any other pics of the bike? I love an orange/blue colour scheme.

    It looks the dogs BTW. How does it ride?

    I have some more of it both pre and post repaint - the orange has been made brighter to match the CK headset. i can email them to you if you DM me on here with your address.

    Darling - that is just a little joke between Matthew and me. He's a top bloke and loved working with him. If you are interested drop him an email.

    The ride is wonderful I have probably done around 800km in 3 weeks including some time in the algarve in Portugal. Ride is stiff and responsive as you would expect but it doesn't jar you (my old frame a dengfu carbon one from china was probably as stiff but after 80km or so I felt like I had done Paris-Roubaix). Handling is great as well, not twitchy at all and very stable going downhill. Overall it is a lovely bike to ride.

    My final build doesn't have the Reynolds wheels (I don't have the 2k to spend on wheels!) instead I have some great Archetype Rims laced to Da9000 hubs by Ugo.....they are brilliant much better than my Campagnolo Shamal Ultras
    which I sold.

    Gorgeous bike! You must be delighted.

    I have a breach of contract court case in the autumn from which I hope to be awarded a decent damages payment. As a treat for the stress I've been through, I've been dreaming about a once-in-a-lifetime, custom steel frame. I've ended up thinking Rourke would be my best option, but your Saffron has exactly the look I love (I've been getting all hot under the colour over the Rapha Continental builds). Would I be right in assuming Saffron are considerably more expensive than a 953 Rourke?

    Sorry to hijack your thread, OP! I've yet to read a single negative review of the latest Super Acciaio.
  • twgh
    twgh Posts: 102
    twgh wrote:
    jordan_217 wrote:
    twgh wrote:
    I cannot comment on the condor experience but I just had a custom bike built by saffron frameworks and without doubt I would never buy off the shelf again. Using a custom framebuilder is a fantastic experience. My bike is the blue and orange one in this link (first two to three photos) http://road.cc/content/news/116213-get-bespoked-weekend

    It has been repainted since that photo to have the orange "pop" a bit more.


    "Darling"?? Any other pics of the bike? I love an orange/blue colour scheme.

    It looks the dogs BTW. How does it ride?

    I have some more of it both pre and post repaint - the orange has been made brighter to match the CK headset. i can email them to you if you DM me on here with your address.

    Darling - that is just a little joke between Matthew and me. He's a top bloke and loved working with him. If you are interested drop him an email.

    The ride is wonderful I have probably done around 800km in 3 weeks including some time in the algarve in Portugal. Ride is stiff and responsive as you would expect but it doesn't jar you (my old frame a dengfu carbon one from china was probably as stiff but after 80km or so I felt like I had done Paris-Roubaix). Handling is great as well, not twitchy at all and very stable going downhill. Overall it is a lovely bike to ride.

    My final build doesn't have the Reynolds wheels (I don't have the 2k to spend on wheels!) instead I have some great Archetype Rims laced to Da9000 hubs by Ugo.....they are brilliant much better than my Campagnolo Shamal Ultras
    which I sold.

    Gorgeous bike! You must be delighted.

    I have a breach of contract court case in the autumn from which I hope to be awarded a decent damages payment. As a treat for the stress I've been through, I've been dreaming about a once-in-a-lifetime, custom steel frame. I've ended up thinking Rourke would be my best option, but your Saffron has exactly the look I love (I've been getting all hot under the colour over the Rapha Continental builds). Would I be right in assuming Saffron are considerably more expensive than a 953 Rourke?

    Sorry to hijack your thread, OP! I've yet to read a single negative review of the latest Super Acciaio.

    My frame is columbus spirit and I would suggest that it ended up maybe 10-15% more expensive than a Rourke. I feel that I got more ability to customise the build with Matthew (seat clamp, negative stem, paint etc.) but that is just my opinion. Drop him an email and he can let you know prices. Essentially the more detail you want, such as lugs different seat clamp etc., the more pricey the build becomes but each project he does is bespoke so hard to say it will cost X or Y without speaking to him.

    I am sure that the Super Acciaio is a wonderful bike but when you go custom you get a one of a kind bike that no one else will have....basically you design it from the ground up and it is yours!
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    I can recommend Rourke :D but their waiting list is about 6 months. There is more to a custom build than geometry:
    - obviously the paint/finish is custom, there are no limits
    - tubes can be changed e.g. 853 with 953 stays which are left bare
    - hidden cables
    - integrated or traditional headset
    - the overall experience is one to be savoured (assuming whoever you choose offer a good experience!)

    My frame is pretty much the same geometry as a 54cm CAAD 8, but with longer head tube. No doubt a standard frame would suit me fine (I rode a 54cm Synapse and it felt fine).

    I was also able to speak message Jason and change both the tubes selected and paint finish at late notice. He provided photos of the build throughout. I am not sure the likes of Condor would provide this level of personalised customer service.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
  • jamie4759
    jamie4759 Posts: 117
    Custom is the best PROVIDING you get the bike fit right (or rather providing the frame maker does!). Custom may be a little harder to sell in the future if you are a unique size and shape. I had a Rourke 853 some years ago which was beautifully made and gorgeous looking, however, with hindsight, the top tube was too long (IMHO) and I ended up selling it. Strangely enough, my off the shelf Condor Leggero is perfect in terms of size and geometry. Some custom frame makers, especially steel, seem to produce frames with long top tubes, but, if you get the fit right, and you can wait, custom would be a good option. One thing about steel though, not many of the traditional steel frame makers (Rourke, Mercian etc.) will do the huge tubing that the Super Acciaio has. And, the Super Acciaio is used by pros as training and racing bikes (see Christian House on Strava where he lists his 'other' bike as the SA) so you know that it works. It may come down to whether you want to wait. If you go custom, I would go for something with Reynolds 853 tubes, but I can't comment on Columbus, although there seems to be no doubt about their quality. Have you considered Enigma, Mercian, etc?
  • bmxboy10
    bmxboy10 Posts: 1,958
    JAMIE4759 wrote:
    Custom is the best PROVIDING you get the bike fit right (or rather providing the frame maker does!). Custom may be a little harder to sell in the future if you are a unique size and shape. I had a Rourke 853 some years ago which was beautifully made and gorgeous looking, however, with hindsight, the top tube was too long (IMHO) and I ended up selling it. Strangely enough, my off the shelf Condor Leggero is perfect in terms of size and geometry. Some custom frame makers, especially steel, seem to produce frames with long top tubes, but, if you get the fit right, and you can wait, custom would be a good option. One thing about steel though, not many of the traditional steel frame makers (Rourke, Mercian etc.) will do the huge tubing that the Super Acciaio has. And, the Super Acciaio is used by pros as training and racing bikes (see Christian House on Strava where he lists his 'other' bike as the SA) so you know that it works. It may come down to whether you want to wait. If you go custom, I would go for something with Reynolds 853 tubes, but I can't comment on Columbus, although there seems to be no doubt about their quality. Have you considered Enigma, Mercian, etc?

    I think this is bang on. What if the custom bike you ordered for £3k is not comfortable - nightmare scenario! Also the steel frame I rode was similar to the Condor with beefed up Spirit tubing and it felt so different to another more traditional steel framed bike I have.
  • mikenetic
    mikenetic Posts: 486
    These days a lot of customer builders work with bike fitters.

    Also, a custom builder will help select tubes matched to your needs as you describe them. The Super Acciaio is a flat out race bike, really a criterium bike. One of the fitters in Condor actually told me that (and I quote) "It's a great all-day bike, if you don't mind putting up with a bit of a sore back after a couple of hours" Errr, what?
  • bmxboy10
    bmxboy10 Posts: 1,958
    I find that surprising as I don't see the geo as being that aggressive and I am no racer!
  • jonny_trousers
    jonny_trousers Posts: 3,588
    mikenetic wrote:
    These days a lot of customer builders work with bike fitters.

    Also, a custom builder will help select tubes matched to your needs as you describe them. The Super Acciaio is a flat out race bike, really a criterium bike. One of the fitters in Condor actually told me that (and I quote) "It's a great all-day bike, if you don't mind putting up with a bit of a sore back after a couple of hours" Errr, what?

    I have a feeling that was supposed to have been solved with the 2014 fork. It's a shame really, as I much preferred the aggressive looks with the original, beefier fork.