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Handbuilt Holdsworth 753 will be launched at Bespoked

This weekend, at the Bespoked Handmade Bicycle Show in Bristol, the fruits of a very special and unique British bike project will be unveiled - the Holdsworth Super Professional handbuilt in Reynolds 753 tubing by master frame builder Mark Reilly. 

This handbuilt British product, in a strictly limited and numbered production of just 100, is set to become a unique piece of history built in Reynolds’ most exclusive tubeset.

Here's a short film clip of Mark Reilly brazing the first 753 frame of this limited edition.


Mark takes up the story of this famous tubing and how the opportunity to create such special framesets came about...

"Reynolds 753 tubing was launched 40 years ago in 1976 and it was an immediate success. The tubes were based on a steel-manganese-molybdenum alloy but with an important addition, it was heat treated giving it immense stiffness and strength. In fact, Reynolds 753 was the first heat treated bicycle tube set, according to Reynolds. To see how advanced 753 was back in the day  just take a look at its ultimate tensile strength of 1230Mpa, compare that to a current alloy of Reynolds 853 which has an ultimate tensile strength of 1200Mpa and you can see the alloy was incredibly strong (1Mpa= 1 N/mm² ).

753 was used by lots of pro riders such as Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond, who both won the Tour de France on bikes built with Reynolds 753. But it was not only the pro’s who used 753, it was really sought after by most riders wanting the very best in the world, but at the time it was expensive.

Reynolds wouldn’t just let any frame builder build with 753, builders that wanted to use it had to do a test and if they passed they gained certification from Reynolds, which allowed them to buy the tubes. 753 had to be low-temperature silver brazed with filler rods of 56% silver content. Of course, these days almost all frame builders can and do silver braze, so the test wouldn’t mean a great deal but back in the 1970’s and 1980’s frame builders would mostly braze with brass, which would ruin the properties of 753.

My favourite stage of the Tour de France was back in 1986, the famous Alpe d’Huez stage and this was also the year I was truly bitten by frame building so I took my 753 test and passed. I was told that I was the youngest ever to pass the test.

The advent of TIG welded frames finally killed off 753, because of course you couldn’t TIG weld it, but I remained an admirer of that very special tube set.

It is fitting then that 20 years after that inspiring stage of the Tour de France a new Reynolds 753 frame is available as a limited edition. That frame is the Holdsworth Super Professional!

I was contacted by  Dave Loughran,  the owner of Planet X, and Jamie Burrow the company's talented head designer back in 2014, with a view to making frames for them. Dave had acquired Holdsworth after having loved the brand for so many years, just like many others did and still do. It was great to see Holdsworth back. Getting Reynolds to make 753 again was made possible by my constant nagging and the drive that a great company like Planet X have and the investment they made in ordering the tubes. The only requirement from Reynolds was that only I could use the tubes and only for Holdsworth frames.

The result is therefore, a strictly limited edition with a custom fit geometry option available as well."

See the Super Professional at Bespoked

Bespoked - the UK Handmade Bicycle Show takes place in Bristol from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th April. The show Brunel’s Old Station in Bristol city centre will feature over 100 exhibitors the majority of which are frame builders. Now in its sixth year, Bespoked has become Europe's premier handmade bicycle show, attracting exhibitors, visitors, and press from around the world.

5 April 2016

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