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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Name||Name, 0, 10, Name, Spirit HSS|
|Brand||Brand, 0, 20, Brand, Reilly|
|Available Sizes||Available Sizes, 2, 0, Available Sizes, S M L XL|
|Bottom Bracket||Bottom Bracket, 2, 0, Bottom Bracket, BSA|
|Brakes||Brakes, 2, 0, Brakes, Shimano Ultegra 8000|
|Cassette||Cassette, 2, 0, Cassette, Shimano Ultegra 11-32|
|Chain||Chain, 2, 0, Chain, Shimano Ultegra|
|Cranks||Cranks, 2, 0, Cranks, Shimano Ultegra 8000, 50/34|
|Fork||Fork, 2, 0, Fork, Reilly carbon|
|Fork Offset||Fork Offset, 2, 0, Fork Offset, 4.25|
|Frame Material||Frame Material, 2, 0, Frame Material, Columbus Spirit HSS steel|
|Front Derailleur||Front Derailleur, 2, 0, Front Derailleur, Shimano Ultegra 8000|
|Front Tyre||Front Tyre, 2, 0, Front Tyre, Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II 25mm|
|Front Wheel Weight||Front Wheel Weight, 2, 0, Front Wheel Weight, 1190|
|Handlebar||Handlebar, 2, 0, Handlebar, Deda RHM02 alloy|
|Head Angle||Head Angle, 2, 0, Head Angle, 73|
|Headset Type||Headset Type, 2, 0, Headset Type, Reilly tapered|
|Rear Derailleur||Rear Derailleur, 2, 0, Rear Derailleur, Shimano Ultegra 8000|
|Rear Tyre||Rear Tyre, 2, 0, Rear Tyre, Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II 25mm|
|Rear Wheel Weight||Rear Wheel Weight, 2, 0, Rear Wheel Weight, 1670|
|Saddle||Saddle, 2, 0, Saddle, Reilly Carbon RS|
|Seat Angle||Seat Angle, 2, 0, Seat Angle, 73|
|Seatpost||Seatpost, 2, 0, Seatpost, Reilly Vector carbon|
|Shifters||Shifters, 2, 0, Shifters, Shimano Ultegra 8000|
|Stem||Stem, 2, 0, Stem, Deda Zero 1 alloy|
|Trail||Trail, 2, 0, Trail, 5.6|
|Weight (kg)||Weight (kg), 2, 0, Weight (kg), 8.43|
|Wheelset||Wheelset, 2, 0, Wheelset, DT Swiss R24 Spline|
|Bottom Bracket Height (cm)||Bottom Bracket Height (cm), 2, 0, Bottom Bracket Height (cm), 27.5|
|Chainstays (cm)||Chainstays (cm), 2, 0, Chainstays (cm), 41.5|
|Seat Tube (cm)||Seat Tube (cm), 2, 0, Seat Tube (cm), 48|
|Standover Height (cm)||Standover Height (cm), 2, 0, Standover Height (cm), 78.5|
|Top Tube (cm)||Top Tube (cm), 2, 0, Top Tube (cm), 54|
|Wheelbase (cm)||Wheelbase (cm), 2, 0, Wheelbase (cm), 97.5|
|Frame size tested||Frame size tested, 2, 0, Frame size tested, M|