Condor Fratello Disc review

A rider favourite now comes with discs

BikeRadar score4/5

Condor’s popular Fratello has been delighting riders for years, and now there’s a disc version. Built from beautifully welded, custom-drawn and shaped, triple-butted Columbus Spirit tubing, it maintains the slim frame tube profile that only steel can, but supplements its traditional looks with modern braking.

The frameset price of £899.99 includes Condor’s Pioggia Disc fork with carbon blades and an aluminium steerer, which at 580g carries more weight than all-carbon, and when added to the 55cm frame’s 2,100g, comprises the difference between this bike and the lighter models on test. As ever, it’s a choice, and bike weight really isn’t the most important thing.

Satisfaction, ride feel and real-world performance count for more in my book, and here the Condor shines. Fitted with Shimano’s reliable 105 groupset, a Deda cockpit, Brooks saddle, Mavicwheelset with 28mm Continental Gatorskins and TRP Spyre disc brakes, the Fratello Disc isn’t lacking. SKS mudguards with useful rubbery flaps complete the spec.

The Pioggia Disc fork is a blend of carbon blades and aluminium steerer
The Pioggia Disc fork is a blend of carbon blades and aluminium steerer

The Fratello Disc is a beautifully cultured, smooth ride. You’re in no way isolated from bumps or road feel, there’s plenty of chatter, but it’s not harsh or aggressive, just constant surface feedback, which I like. Big hits are damped but not completely smoothed, with a little more frame compliance than your average aluminium number.

Tyre volume helps, and the 28mm Gatorskins on Mavic’s 24mm Aksium One Disc wheelset measure what they’re supposed to, and have a great combination of grip and speed. Stand on the pedals and the Fratello feels lively, accelerating on the flat, and feeling purposeful uphill. It does slow on long climbs; I explored the 36x28 lowest gear more than once.

As supplied, my bike’s 52/36 and 11-28 gear range is focused on the road, and not steep roads at that. If you’re not Chris Froome, live somewhere particularly lumpy, or plan on carrying some luggage, Condor will be able to customise the gearing accordingly.

Much seated climbing made me appreciate the superb Brooks Cambium saddle that’s just a great shape and truly comfortable. Deda’s bar and stem are typically good, particularly the RHM compact drops, which were appreciated when going downhill.

Stand on the pedals and the Fratello feels lively enough, eagerly accelerating on the flat
Stand on the pedals and the Fratello feels lively enough, eagerly accelerating on the flat

The Fratello Disc’s mass matters less when descending. Its 73.5-degree angles strike a great balance between stability and agility, allowing maximum attack through the corners.

The riding position I achieved was perfect too, really helping control and handling. Given the choice, I’d always plump for hydraulic discs, but TRP’s Spyre is the best mechanical option out there. It doesn’t have the instant bite of hydraulics, and needs more lever pressure, but gets the job done.

Add a rear rack and you can lug commuting luggage, or head off on a light tour, because the rear disc caliper is mounted inboard of the stays on the beautifully chunky cast dropouts, so as not to clash with a pannier.

Condor says 28mm is the largest recommended tyre width, with mudguards. If you’re looking for a mountain goat, keep looking, but if you want a lifelong all-rounder with inherent class and a rewarding ride, your luck might be in.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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