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Condor Cycles Shows off One of the First Disc Brake Cross Bikes

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Condor retro cyclocross disc brake bike

Proving that everything old is new again, we stumbled across this retro gem from Condor Cycles. Way back in the 1990’s before cyclocross had really hit the mainstream here in the US, British cyclocross was going off, and in the words of Condor it was, “A fight of man and his bike against terrain; wading through deep streams and clambering up muddy banks, weighed down by woolen shorts and using equipment that was not intended for the cold unforgiving mud. Finishing a race was an achievement itself.”

Partnering with a then-start up Hope Technologies, Condor created a disc brake equipped cyclocross bike using Hope’s cable actuate mechanical discs. It was based on a steel frame with slightly better mud clearance than other frame at the time. Clearly, it was well ahead of its time and while it didn’t catch on back then, things have come full circle with Condor’s modern disc equipped cross bike the Bivio-X .

More after the break.

Condor retro cyclocross disc brake bike details

Certainly, technology has come a long way, but you have to respect Condor and Hope for being so far ahead of the game.

Condor retro cyclocross disc brake bike hope mechanical disc

Even at placement of the caliper, Condor was seemingly peering into the future. Most likely due to the spindly seat stays unable to take the force of the disc brake, but still. Did any of our readers out there ever ride one of these? We’re curious how their performance stacked up against other bikes of the day.

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jaas
jaas
10 years ago

thats a great bike.

also sweet thumb ring Brah

T
T
10 years ago

20 years and they still are running the same bar tape.

icyclebay
icyclebay
10 years ago

Watch for those solid discs to make a comeback next year.

Androo
Androo
10 years ago

@icyclebay

Yeah, it’s an interesting point. Drilled/slotted/etc… rotors may dissipate heat better because they have a larger surface area, but have a lot less thermal mass with which to do it, and so will end up rejecting more of that heat to the fluid and/or warping the rotor.

I’m guessing it’s largely a weight-weeny and aesthetic thing rather than a superior engineering thing.

härbert
härbert
10 years ago

Realy nic(h)e Bike!!!
Thank you for sharing

@Zach
these seat stays arent to spindly…
with the apearance of the first hydraulic Shimano-Brakes (XT in 99) I brazed some disc-tabs on an similar shaped old steel frame without any issues. Even with 180er Rotors and the sustained abuse of this framesetup as an Randonneur with big loads!

Canucklehead
Canucklehead
10 years ago

When did Shimano V brakes come out?

Aaron
Aaron
10 years ago

Wow, that really is a gem… Ye olde skool. Too bad they couldn’t at least clean the bike up for the photo.

DeeEight
DeeEight
10 years ago

Shimano V-brakes were introduced to the marker as a 1996 model year product but racers were using the development units during the spring/summer of 1995. V-brakes aren’t anymore powerful than cantilevers, they were just developed to solve cable routing problems on suspension bikes, and ease brake setup for mechanics, at a price point much lower than the offerings from brands like Paul’s and WTB and others that had such styles of brakes for years already.

härbert
härbert
10 years ago

@Canucklehead
Shimano released the V-Brakes in 1995 with the new XT-Lineup (with new: RapidFire SL, 8-speed, …)
But Shimano didn´t invented V-Brakes! This invention should be very likely awarded to the german Florian Wiesmann.

Perhaps this helps:
http://bike-channel.tv/film/shimano-25-jahre-mountainbike-0

Psi Squared
Psi Squared
10 years ago

That’s a beautiful bike, and I’m digging those cranks.

Steve
10 years ago

@härbert – Thanks for posting that. Really a fun video to watch.

feg
feg
10 years ago

this looks infinitely better than that hideous bivio-x.

Jack
Jack
10 years ago

Shimano cranks with Campag gears … isn’t that illegal in some places? Beautiful bike, when a bike is right , it does not age!

greg
greg
10 years ago

Jack,
it would be if those were shimano cranks. not all campy cranks had a hidden fifth bolt, if that’s what you were going by. back then, only record had that. this could be chorus.

Bill
Bill
10 years ago

I agree greg. Campy rings would not fit on shimano cranks, as Campy has a 135 bcd. The two brands are not compatible.

jeff
jeff
10 years ago

@ DeeEight – V-brakes aren’t any more powerful than cantis ? I call BS on that. It might fly on Pinkbike where you pseudo moderate the kids, but not where people actually rode mountain bikes back in the days of roller cams (which were strong), U-brakes and of course, cantilevers.

DeeEight
DeeEight
10 years ago

Shimano didn’t invent direct-cable long narrow arm cantilever brakes no, if anyone did it first for mountain bikes it was Keith Bontrager for the one-off Kestrel Nitro full suspension show bike in 1988. Keith and Paul Turner made the first Rockshox fork, and because the original fork lacked a brace to tie the lower legs together, there was no place to anchor a brake cable to pull a conventional set of cantilever or U-brakes. So Keith hand-machined a set of long narrow-profile brake arms and directly routed the cable housing to one arm of the brakes.

@Jeff… call it all you want but physics are physics and its well understood by folks who understand levers properly that v-brakes are not anymore powerful, they’re simply easier for idiots to setup quickly. I’ve setup cantilever brakes properly for two decades now.

Howard Shirley
Howard Shirley
10 years ago

Yep.. I had the bike built for me at Condor’s all those years ago… I just wanted a durable bike at the time that I could ride dirt tracks to a cyclo-cross race, race and ride home without the thing breaking….or blocking with mud!!.. the bike was ridden continuously for 18 of them years until I trashed my leg in a road accident….and it was left in the shed until the photo’s were taken… it did have a quick wash, but the dirt is honest and true!!!! It never broke, is solid and stable as you could wish and the extra gap on forks and stays does allow a lot more mud to clear….I believe it is being re-built by Condor and will be raced in March this year…..h

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