I am not quite sure what Condor (British, not Swiss) are doing here, other than that I used to own a nice one and this is an excuse to post pictures of it – not that I have many good pictures left and the bike is gone, so I can’t take any more.

Condor might not like to think of themselves as a factory, but that is clearly what they are on rather a small scale.  They have been significant on the British lightweight scene for a while, but in global terms are a drop in the ocean.

A look in the wonderful Cycling Archives shows that Condor sponsored and/or provided bikes to UK teams in the 1960s, co-sponsored by brewer Mackeson, which can’t be bad.  They were back in the 1980s for a few years and are back again, as we write this in 2013, with Rapha-Condor.

There is a history of Condor on their website if you are interested.  They say they go back to 1948.

Many lightweight enthusiasts like the fact that Bill Hurlow worked there from 1954 to 1958 and he apparently continued to make some frames for them through 1968 (Ref: Classic Lightweights UK).  That doesn’t stop people with later frames optimistically associating them with Bill Hurlow.  Having owned bespoke frames that were rubbish and mass-produced frames that were wonderful, I am suspicious of the cult of the frame builder, but I do not deny that some frame-builders built excellent frames, for the most part, and that it is important to some people to know who built their frames.  In general this site is more about anonymous frames, some of which were, and are, superb.

I owned this 1973 Condor Baracchi for a period of time and it really rode wonderfully well.  Very lively, very true, very elegant with its fillet brazing. It got lost amongst all my other bikes and I hadn’t ridden it for years, then decided that it didn’t fit my criteria for being a ‘factory bike’ and I sold it.  Before packing it up, I dusted it off and took it for one final ride which left me feeling rather silly for selling it, it was just such a perfect ride.  So I have just gone and bought another Condor Baracchi frame, but not with the original paint and chrome of the one I sold.  I just hope it rides as well as that one.