Cycle Show 2012: Condor form design partnership with Lotus

Lotus have returned to the bicycle industry after forming a design partnership with Condor Cycles. The Condor Type 1 LC Racing, spotted at the Cycle Show in Birmingham, has been unveiled to announce the relationship between the two British companies.

The bike is based on Condor’s existing “smooth but fast” Baracchi frame but in a limited edition Lotus livery. Both Condor and Lotus were founded 64 years ago in 1948, and 64 of the bikes, equipped with a Campagnolo Chorus groupset and Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR wheelset for £5,200, have been made.

The Condor Type 1 LC Racing was on display at the Cycle Show

Lotus initially struck up a relationship with Condor approximately a year ago, and the Type 1 LC Racing’s paintjob features accents from the Lotus motor racing team, with black, nude carbon contrasted with gold livery and red highlights.

This is just a makeover to announce the link-up between the two companies so there’s no new technology involved at this stage; that comes later in what both Condor and Lotus hope is a long-term partnership.

Lotus first made their name in the bicycle industry after the Norfolk-based company designed the Type 108 bike ridden to individual pursuit gold by Chris Boardman at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. Richard Hill, the aerodynamics expert behind that machine, which was later banned by the UCI, has sparked the company’s return to the trade and will work closely with Condor.

Condor’s Claire Beaumont told RoadCyclingUK they hope to use Lotus’ knowledge of manufacturing lightweight, performance-driven products and apply it to bicycle design. Initial ideas cited include using new bonding techniques in aluminium bottom brackets, or inserting a rod into the seattube to improve stiffness, but without a weight penalty.

Rapha Condor Sharp riders Ed Clancy, who won team pursuit gold on the track at this summer’s Olympics, and former national champion Kristian House have been drafted in as test riders, using Lotus’ test track at their Hethel, Norfolk headquarters.

The partnership will naturally draw comparisons with Specialized’s relationship with McLaren, with the two combining to create the S-Works Venge, although Beaumont was keen to emphasise that Condor want to enhance their frame technology at a more affordable level. Condor hope to have a bicycle project with Lotus off the ground in 2013 so we’ll keep our ears close to the ground.

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