May 24, 2021 2 min read
What's your motivation for building up a new bike? While there are plenty of very good reasons I'm not sure that needing a bike to go with a pair of wheels you own is the most common but that's how this one panned out for me (Alex, AVT GM).
You may have seen this pair of fast Astral Veil 6 / Chris King wheelsin a previous blog post, and after I stopped using them on my IBIS Hakka (as it switched it back to a pure gravel 1x build) they were sitting around in my garage gathering dust and not seeing action in their natural habitat of the Thursday night group ride. So I thought it was time to find a reasonably priced, readily available road frame to hang them on.
Given all of the availability challenges in the industry right now this may seem a tough ask, but with some creative thinking I found some really good options. First up I was looking for something metal.. I'm a big fan of steel frames, and alloy road frames have been quietly getting better every year as a great alternative to carbon.
My first choice was a Standert Triebwerk steel road frame, but I just missed the order deadline for these as they sold out within a few days. So I switched to looking at a couple of very well reviewed, competitively priced alloy road frames from 2 brands from my hometown of London; Bowman and Condor.
I've ridden the non disc version of the Bowman before and it rides just as great as the reviews, the non disc version stacks up really well and at GBP700 (around $990) is exceptionally good value for money. With a pretty racy geometry it's fast, and only let down by a non-internal cable routing that personally I think could be a lot tidier.
Next up was the Condor Italia. Condor Cycles is one of London's oldest bike shops and its own brand frames have been raced over the years by many legends of the sport including Brad Wiggins and the Rapha Condor team. This frame is really similar to the Bowman, a tad more expensive but with a couple of notable differences; First up it's made in Italy and not Taiwan. It looks classy and sharp. And for a frame design obsessive like myself the cable routing is super clean with a full internal rear brake hose and removable cable guides for running eTap.
The Condor was available immediately with very competitive shipping rates to the US so it narrowly edged the Bowman in the final sprint. The build was rounded out with a SRAM Force eTap group, ENVE finishing kit and Fizik saddle and bar tape.
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