Drawing on many years of framebuilding experience, including seven at a well-known Sussex-based titanium specialist, Mark Reilly’s new brand Reilly Cycleworks aims to offer custom made bicycle frames with a choice titanium, steel or carbon fibre.
The company, comprised of Mark Reilly, Damon Fisher and Neil FitzGerald, was briefly known as Nerve Bikes - road.cc even tested their first carbon fibre model - but after getting a lot of demand for Reilly branded frames from a growing customer base, they decided to switch names.
“It’s a decision led by our customers,” says framebuilder Mark Reilly, who has been building frames for 30 years and lists Tour de France and Olympic champions among his customers. “We’ve always made the bikes that our customers want so, when they started asking to have Reilly on their frames instead of Nerve, we had to agree that they know best.”
With two workshops, one in Brighton and another in Brackley, Reilly aims to offer customers a choice of materials. From titanium and steel, made in Brighton, and carbon fibre, made in Brackley, drawing on the wealth of Formula 1 expertise in that area. Whatever the choice of material, the company aims to keep the customer closely linked into the entire design process, with online access to the full design documentation of the frame.
“They can watch their bike being designed in real time from anywhere in the world through their computer, laptop or tablet,” says Reilly. “And they can post ideas and suggestions whenever they arise. It makes for a very personal service.”
So this Reilly T325 is the first bike we’ve seen from the rebranded frame building company. The intention of this model is to be equally at home road racing or tackling sportives.
The frame is constructed from 3AL-2.5V double butted seamless titanium tubes and can be compatible with mechanical or electronic drivetrains. As you’d expect, the frame is beautifully finished, with lovely details and clean cable routing, and well-placed Di2 wiring ports. The finish is aesthetically very pleasing, but looks are a very subjective matter of course.
There is space for up to 28mm tyres and details like the Breezer cowled dropouts, along with the oversized tubes, should provide a good level of stiffness. The chainstays are similarly oversized at the bottom bracket and squashed in the middle, before tapering out to the dropouts.
The head tube is similarly oversized, 44mm in diameter, with a Chris King InSet 7 headset plugged into place. There’s an English threaded bottom bracket, 31.6mm seatpost and 35mm band-on front mech clamp. Claimed weight is a respectable 1,275g.
At £1,599, this is the cheapest titanium frame in the Reilly range. While that's not exactly cheap, it does compare well to other titanium frame brands. If disc brakes are on your radar, the T325D has a similar frame but with changes to permit the fitting of disc brakes, and tyre clearance is boosted to a massive 35m. One nice sounding detail is the CNC-machined low mount disc mount, made from a chunk of 6AL-4V titanium. This one also takes mudguards and racks.
Anyway, back to the regular T325 we’ve got here. The test bike has a geometry based around a 55cm top tube with a 155m head tube, 407mm chainstays and a 73 degree head angle, but Reilly says most of the bikes it is producing are custom made, so you can tailor the bike to your exact needs. The custom treatment also stretches to the finish. A bright brushing finish is standard, but painted options are available and mirror and bead logos are optional upgrades.
To allow us to test the frame, Reilly has supplied a fully built bike, equipped with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset and Shimano Ultegra wheels, with Continental Grand Prix 4000S 23mm tyres. It’s all solid, no-nonsense kit and stuff we’ve spent plenty of time on before, so we should be able to concentrate on the ride and performance of the frameset.
Reilly use an own-brand carbon fibre fork. A 3T Ergosum Team handlebar and matching stem, Deda two-bolt carbon seatpost and Fizik Antares saddle complete the details. On the scales the bike comes in at 7.86kg (17.33lb).
Those are the key details, time to take it out into the wild and see how it performs. More at www.reillycycleworks.com
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.