Reilly Spirit HSS review

New kid in town

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £2,499.00 RRP

Our review

Reilly’s Spirit HSS adds character, soul and performance to the steel road frame
Buy if, You want a shapely steel frame on steroids with a simply gorgeous finish
Pros: Frame finish, ride quality, new Ultegra
Cons: Zero setback seatpost didn’t suit our position
Skip to view product specifications


Brighton-based Reilly Cycle Works showcases the enormous frame designing and building talents of Mark Reilly, respected as a master of his craft. Experienced with titanium and steel, Mark has been using Columbus Spirit steel tubing for over a decade, more recently progressing to hydroformed Spirit HSS as used here.

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Hydroforming lets frame designers get more creative, and offers the ability to customise a frame’s stiffness, comfort and looks with specific tube profiles. The triple-butted niobium steel forms a flattened top-tube, down-tube with flattened upper surface, extremely flattened seatstays that broaden towards the seat-tube, and ovalised chainstays with no crimping or bridge. The 44mm diameter head-tube is a match for the oversized down-tube and swoopy carbon fork.

What sets this frame apart is its fillet brazed construction, which creates beautifully clean, flowing joints that are complemented by the beautiful paint finish and smart graphics. It’s far more labour intensive than TIG welding, and accounts for much of the cost, but each frame is bespoke, and the price includes paintwork design.

The company has a long association with Columbus for its frame tubing
The company has a long association with Columbus for its frame tubing
David Caudery / Immediate Media

We like the brazed-on front mech mount, removing the need for an unsightly clamp, and customers can opt for internal cable routing, depending on their chosen groupset. Any braze-ons required, such as down-tube cable stops, are in stainless steel, as is the head-tube badge.

Our model is one of the first bikes we’ve had supplied with the new Shimano Ultegra groupset, with hints of Dura-Ace, and refinements across the board. Its compact 50/34 chainset is paired with a climb-friendly 11-32 cassette and long cage rear mech. The brake callipers are a little less angular, the hoods slimmer and the shift levers enlarged.

Apart from the lever feel, the groupset was mostly forgotten once riding, as the frame took centre stage. Whereas a good carbon fibre frame seems to float over the road surface, only feeding back abbreviated passages of surface texture, the Reilly maintains an impressively detailed commentary. It’s a firm ride, but not harsh, smoothing road vibrations and taking the edge off sharp hits.

Reilly maintains its reputation for stunningly crafted, high-performance steel frames
Reilly maintains its reputation for stunningly crafted, high-performance steel frames
Robert Smith

The complete bike carries a little more weight than some here, but from the way it rides, you’d never know. Assertively swift over rolling terrain, the handling is crisp, confident and predictable, and makes good use of the 25mm Continental tyres’ generous 27mm inflated width.

It’s content to cruise, but standing on the pedals unleashes a bit of a hooligan, switching from assertion to controlled aggression. The wheels aren’t super light, but deliver able performance to match the frame’s ability and, at 23mm wide, help stability too.

Both head and seat angles are 73 degrees, which is quite normal, but we found the zero setback seatpost pushed us too far forward of our preferred pedalling position. The narrow 40cm Deda bar is easier to live with, but a customer could specify alternatives to suit.

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The Reilly Spirit HSS has lines and a lustrous finish we could gaze at all day. Such metallic artistry deserves to be enjoyed, and riding it is a treat that improves with every hill crested, and one we wouldn’t tire of.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Spirit HSS
Brand Reilly

Available Sizes S M L XL
Rear Wheel Weight 1670
Wheelbase (cm) 97.5
Top Tube (cm) 54
Standover Height (cm) 78.5
Seat Tube (cm) 48
Chainstays (cm) 41.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27.5
Wheelset DT Swiss R24 Spline
Weight (kg) 8.43
Trail 5.6
Stem Deda Zero 1 alloy
Shifters Shimano Ultegra 8000
Seatpost Reilly Vector carbon
Seat Angle 73
Saddle Reilly Carbon RS
Rear Tyre Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II 25mm
Bottom Bracket BSA
Rear Derailleur Shimano Ultegra 8000
Headset Type Reilly tapered
Head Angle 73
Handlebar Deda RHM02 alloy
Front Wheel Weight 1190
Front Tyre Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II 25mm
Front Derailleur Shimano Ultegra 8000
Frame Material Columbus Spirit HSS steel
Fork Offset 4.25
Fork Reilly carbon
Cranks Shimano Ultegra 8000, 50/34
Chain Shimano Ultegra
Cassette Shimano Ultegra 11-32
Brakes Shimano Ultegra 8000
Frame size tested M