Most carbon fibre road frames are manufactured in the Far East, but if you want a British-made carbon frame, well your choices are really limited. There are a few people starting, or trying, to manufacture carbon frames in the UK, and Reilly Cycleworks is one of them.
Pictured is the Reilly 600SL. It boasts a frame weighing a claimed 649g (size small), which certainly puts it in some elite company and will appeal to weight weenies. The company reckons it can go lighter still.
The frame is manufactured using F1 expertise at its own workshop in Brackley, in the Formula 1 heartland, by Neil FitzGerald. He learnt his carbon fibre skills in the motor racing industry and is now applying them to the humble bicycle. Production capacity is between 50 and 100 frames a year, and delivery time is currently four months.
The frame has been made using the tube-to-tube process, a common method used by smaller bespoke frame builders as it doesn’t require the use of expensive moulds. It also allows each frame to be customised so geometry and tube layup can be modified for each customer.
Reilly also reckons it offers an improved ride quality. “This tried and tested technology gives in both our and our customers opinion far better ride characteristics than the mass produced moulded method of frame construction. It delivers a more responsive and positive ride, mimicking that of our steel bicycle frames.”
The company aims to make as many parts of the frame in-house as it can, for a 100% British-made carbon frame. To achieve that goal, it has produced its own tools so it can currently manufacture a BB86 bottom bracket, and it’s working on a 44mm head tube tool as well. The aim is to produce a 100% UK-made carbon fibre frame.
Details for this frame include a BB86 bottom bracket, tapered head tube, 31.6mm seat tube and internal cable routeing. It’s compatible with electronic groupsets. The frameset includes a Columbus Reilly F-300 straight bladed carbon fork.
As you’d expect of a carbon fibre frame made in Britain, it comes with a big price tag. It’s £2,999 for the frame, fork and headset, which does compare well with other similar handmade carbon frames from premium brands like Colnago and Sarto etc.
More details at www.reillycycleworks.com
Reilly also produces steel and titanium bespoke frames. We reviewed the T325 titanium road bike last year.
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.