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This Week I've been Mostly riding a Holdsworth Strada

Having grown up in a family of National cycling champions, I started my career back in the days where steel was the only choice of material for all racing cycles. Most of my early bikes were hand me downs and second-hand frames with a re-spray for Christmas, so they looked new ahead of the coming season. Once I had stopped growing, or at least, slowed down, I finally got my first ever brand new bike when I was 16. I had recently moved to Kent, from Essex, and I stumbled across, young, up and coming frame builder Mark Reilly.

Mark was building some of the best handmade frames in the country, from a small workshop on a farm, near Brands Hatch.  I had always been fascinated by bike design and started hanging out at Marks workshop, watching and learning. I soon knew how it all worked and what I wanted, so I told mark my specs and he built me my first ever custom bike. I went on to design my own track, cyclocross and road bikes, all built by Mark before I was lucky enough to be given my bikes by team sponsors.

Nearly 20 years later, after my pro career had finished, I found myself back in the design seat, here at Planet x bikes. We had recently acquired Historic UK brand Holdsworth, and I was heading up the new range of classic, British made steel. So who else would I turn to, to help turn designs into handmade masterpieces? Mark Reilly. Mark is now one of the most respected frame builders in the World, building artisan steel and Titanium frames.

Our new Heritage range of lugged, classics, built by Mark are already in stock, but we are also working on a phase two project of modern, oversize, TIG welded road frames.

I’m currently road testing a beautiful example of how advanced steel tubing has become. The new Holdsworth Strada. Made from Reynolds most modern, stainless steel 953 tubing.

If you were riding in the dark, you would be seriously confused with this frames identity. It's super light (Sample bike with Shimano Ultegra 7.2kg), very responsive and stiff. This frame could easily take on most modern day carbon fibre offerings, and I would happily race on it.

On my first test ride, I thought it would be fitting to take the bike out and visit the Tom Simpson memorial, in Harworth, the birthplace and hometown of one of Britain’s greatest ever road cyclists. Tom would have only known steel as a bicycle material. I thought if he was looking down he would like to see how far technology has come; but also know that we have come full circle, and Reynolds steel is still up there with the best, for high-end modern race bikes.

The Holdsworth Strada 953, will be available in summer 2016

26 February 2016

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