15 yr old Condor touring bike comes to aid in mid-life!

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)

15 yr old Condor touring bike comes to aid in mid-life!

Postby emergence » 6 Feb 2007, 2:11pm

I decided to cycle across europe this year, not having cycled much in 10 years and then only to get around town. Serendipitously, a friend gave me her 15 yr old Condor tourer.It has been cared for and not used much, and the frame size is right for me. There are 3 things i'm not sure about: 1. It has drop handlebars. I like to look about me & don't imagine I'll be against the clock,plus I've never used them. Is it worth trying to get used to them? A good alternative would be? 2.The gears-shifts are on the frame, which feels difficult tho i havent ridden it much yet.also,the 'easiest' gear doesn't feel that easy! and 3. the tyres seem quite thin compared to tourers i've seen for sale now. Obviously I'm not knowledgeable about bikes, so any non-techie advice about these, or the whole mid-life crisis bike plgrimmage-thing would make me very :D

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Postby Si » 6 Feb 2007, 2:47pm

Regarding the bars, most tourists with drops tend to use the tops and brake hoods for the vast majority of their riding, thus giving them a more upright position than a racer would using the dropped part of the drops. The tops will tend to give a similar position to that given by a flat bar.

Gear shifters on the frame - you'll get used to these in no time at all. People have used this system for many many years and had no probs. The integrated brake lever/gear shifter (STI or Ergo) found on many new bikes these days does make things ever so slightly easier (but if you are touring then you probably aren't worried about having really fast gear changes), but they do add more expense and complexity to the system. The frame mounted shifters are simpler, less likly to go wrong and easier to fix if they do.

Given the age of the bike I'm guessing that it only has two chain rings? Many tourists these days prefer three chain rings with a "granny gear" that will allow them to climb anything. Your local bike shop should be able to change the crank set (and front mech if needed) quite easily and they may also be able to fit a cassette or freewheel block with a wider range of sprockets at the rear.

Tyres may cause you some trouble. If the bike has 700c rims then you are laughing, if it has the older 27inch romes then you may encounter problems with getting replacements when on the continent. Regarding comfoirt - probably best to try it and see if the existing ones work OK for you.

But, it's hard to give full answers without seeing the bike itself, so I'd suggest that you take it along to a good bike shop that knows a bit about touring bikes (ie not "word corrected to Halfords" :wink: ) and ask them. Once they get replies you might want to post the replies up here so that people can advise as to whether they are taking advantage of you or not.

Furthermore, try a ride with your local CTC DA - they will have a wealth of information and experience that they will gladely share with you.

Anyway - good luck with the tour - I'm sure that you are really going to enjoy it!


Postby phil1855 » 9 Feb 2007, 7:45pm

Hi, I have a 1970's Condor cycle that I bought of a friend in Evesham Wheelers, He had it in garage for a while.(20 years or so) It fits me like a glove, even the 30 year old Brooks professional saddle is like sitting in an arm chair.
I had it refurbished by Argos Cycles Last year who did a fantastic job.
I changed the old Huret and stronglight set up for .modern Campag. That along with new bars and new Mavic wheels has produced a cycle I love.
I club run on it, I audax on it, I use it for work, and last year loaded it up cycled down from Evesham to Portsmouth, over to Bilbao and then went through Spain and France to Caen and back to Evesham ,1059 miles, camping all the way.This year I'm cycling Cotswolds to the Camargue,
My other bikes hang sulking in the garage. Love your Condor XX :D

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Postby thirdcrank » 9 Feb 2007, 8:49pm

also,the 'easiest' gear doesn't feel that easy

I suggest you count the teeth on the smaller chainring (the number may be stamped on) and on the largest sprocket. If you post that information, it may be the basis of advice on two possibilities

1/ Sounds high for your purpose,
2/ That gear is pretty low so if you are struggling, you may need to rethink.

Terry T

Postby Terry T » 9 Feb 2007, 9:07pm

Get the gearing right and you'll have many a "Condor moment" :D


Postby emergence » 15 Feb 2007, 12:06pm

thanx ALL, i'm going to count my teeth... then i'll look at my new bike friend again