Enigma Bikes Mark Reilly 25th Anniversary frame
25th Anniversary frame from Mark Reilly of Enigma Bikes
Limited edition Enigma frameset with all the trimmings
Posted 23 July 2012
Words by Richard Hallett
Go back a quarter of a century and Stephen Roche was halfway through the defining season of his career, titanium had been tried but was yet to make a real breakthrough as a frame material and aluminium cycle frames were mostly held together by glue.
Steel was still the first choice material for top-flight racing frames and Mark Reilly, designer at Enigma Bikes, was about to embark on a career in framebuilding. And at the time, according to Mark, one steel tubeset had more of a cachet than the others. “When I was getting into cycling”, he said, “Reynolds 531 and Columbus SL or SLX were the most popular tubesets. They were good, too, but the best, the one that was out of reach, was Reynolds 753.”
Essentially a heat-treated version of the famous 531 manganese-molybdenum steel, 753 was lighter and some 50 percent stronger. For a time, it supplanted 531 as cycling’s most coveted frame material and was ridden by Bernard Hinault to victory in the Tour de France. However, despite its strength, it needed great care during building to ensure the metal was not overheated and annealed. Only builders certified by Reynolds were permitted to buy the tubesets and Mark was, when he gained certification, the youngest 753-approved framebuilder in the world.
To mark his 25th anniversary as a framebuilder, Enigma Bikes is launching a Mark Reilly limited edition frame and fork in the legendary 753 tubeset. 753 is no longer available for purchase, as production ceased years ago. To get hold of the required number of tubesets, Reilly approached Reynolds’ managing director Keith Noronha, who agreed to a one-off production run of tubes for the project.
Customers for the 25th Anniversary Enigma frameset will get a full custom build that includes choice of lugs, BB shell, fork crown and dropouts, all of which will be in stainless steel and mirror-polished if preferred. The top tube will bear Mark’s signature in 3D mirror-polished stainless steel; custom paintwork is all part of the package.
To add to the experience, Mark will spend one day with each customer, building the frame while they watch. Each Enigma frame will be delivered complete with its own exclusive commemorative book featuring photographs taken during the day.
Mark Reilly 25th anniversary Enigma frame and fork, limited edition of only 25 frames – specification:
- Reynolds 753 frame and fork tubes (953 if preferred)
- Polished stainless steel lugs and fittings, fork crown and BB
- Bottom bracket shell engraved
- Lugs and fittings to choice
- “Mark Reilly” stainless steel signature on top tube
- Custom build and geometry
- Custom paintwork
- Watching the build included (over one working day)
- Signed book featuring photography from the build
- Delivery 6-12 months
- Price for frame, fork and Chris King headset £2499.00
- Reynolds 753 heat-treated manganese-molybdenum steel: The first heat-treated tubeset in the racing cycle industry, 753 was based on the same alloy steel as 531 and was intended to be used in lugged and fillet-brazed framesets. Reynolds implemented a certification procedure for builders who wished to use the tubing to ensure they understood and complied with the requirement to avoid overheating the thin-wall tubes. Low temperature silver-brazing is used for the fabrication of frames in 753.