PezCycling News - What's Cool In Road Cycling : Readers’ Rigs: Reilly Diamond

Readers' Rigs
Readers’ Rigs: Reilly Diamond
‘Strugnell’ and ‘Reilly’ those names will look familiar to you if you’re a Readers’ Rigs regular. Last year we featured Karl Strugnell’s 2017 titanium gem by Mark Reilly but for 2018 he’s succumbed to the ‘black stuff’ – yes, shiny ‘Ti’ has been shelved for matt ‘C’.

Carbon which is the sixth element in the periodic table. Located between boron (B) and nitrogen (N), it is a very stable element. Because it is stable, it can be found both by itself and in many naturally occurring compounds. Scientists describe the three states of carbon as diamond, amorphous, and graphite.

Reilly has captured the first of those three states in his latest gem: DIAMOND.

Name: Karl Strugnell
Location: Kent, England
Age: 31
Bike: Reilly (a pure race machine, not for posing!)
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra
Chainset: OMC V-Strong One
Wheels: USE carbon road 2.4 clinchers
Tyres: Mitus Phoenix
Pedals: Speedplay in the photos but for race days, Garmin Vectors
Saddle: Fizik Aliante carbon
Seat pin: Reilly carbon
Bars & stem: USE aluminium
Bottle cages: Reilly
Weight: 6.8 kilos

Karl’s dad, Graham is the man who sets up his son’s race rigs with Karl riding Reilly bikes since he was a speedy schoolboy. Strugnell junior’s 2017 season wasn’t a bad one, he built good fitness and strength but that ‘work stuff’ got in the way a little so perhaps his criterium results weren’t quite what he wanted.

Karl has always been a bit of a ‘test pilot’ for Reilly creations so it was off with the Ti. and on with the C. for season 2018. The frame dimensions have been tweaked a little from the titanium bike with a longer top tube and shorter head tube; Karl wanted to use a shorter stem so as there would be less flex during those big out of the saddle crit efforts.

He’s stuck with USE alloy for bars and stem, as Graham says; "you can still get back up and ride with bent alloy bars but not broken carbon ones, if you come down; and we wouldn't go past USE - great kit."

Karl’s not a tiddler of a lad and we’ve always been a bit dubious about going too light with bikes but this gem is strong, fast and light. The ‘Pippo’ position with lots of seat pillar on show and stem hard down on the headset has evolved over the years and Karl finds it fast and comfortable. "It’s a racing bike, not a posing bike," Graham told us.

On the subject of comfort, he reckons that the carbon bike is comfier than the titanium machine but very stiff and responsive.

Reilly’s carbon manufacturing is located near Silverstone, at the heart of Formula One racing; carbon specialist and co-founder Neil FitzGerald still works in formula one and all of his spare time is spent making carbon for Reilly bikes.

The frames aren’t monocoques, as most are these days, as their website says: "Mitered carbon tubes are tacked together and then on goes the carbon. We then use F1 pre-preg carbon fabric to layup the joints, the rest we won't tell you! The end result is neat and business-like or as the Strugnells would have it; "stunning and state of the art."

Our eye was drawn to the radical CNC machined one piece OMC chainset; the business is run by brothers Ivan and Walter Cavallaro, their product lives up to it’s ‘v strong’ tag but it is also ‘v light.’ A futuristic chainset weighing just 550 grams but the rest of the transmission and brakes are good old Shimano Ultegra. [Update: Walter Cavallaro of OMC Italia is no longer with us. He was killed in an accident in summer 2015. His brother Ivan continues to carry the torch for the company and its development. Ed.]

Reliability and practicality are the keynotes in the Strugnell’s approach to race bikes; just as they’ve eschewed carbon for the bars and stem, you won’t find electric gears on this machine; "anyone can change a gear cable but what happens if an electronic shifter goes wrong?" is Graham’s philosophy.

Karl’s 2018 season will be more of the same, local road races and crits on a bike which he says accelerates beautifully, is stiff but also compliant – reasons why Reilly is making a name for themselves across the full spectrum from good old steel to space age carbon.

This review wouldn’t be complete without mention of the location for the photo shoot, the images were shot by Matt Bristow (, who is himself a keen cyclist at the Copper Rivet Distillery in Kent where Stephen, one of the owners and a keen rider too is; "realising a long held family dream to create a leading craft distillery making the highest quality Gin, Whisky and Vodka in the heart of Kent."

# A lovely carbon bike, gin, whisky and vodka – what more could a man want? #

Thanks to Karl for sharing his ride with us. Got a bike that you're proud of? Well, how about sharing it with fellow PEZ fans and getting it featured in Readers' Rigs so we can all stare at it! Contact us via the Comment box below, or send us a Readers' Rigs submission direct to [email protected] and your bike could be featured in all its glory here on the pages of PEZ.

It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he's covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,500 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself - many years and kilograms ago - and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site where more of his musings on our sport can be found.


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