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 you can 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 1200Ma and you can see the alloy was incredible strong. Mpa = Mega pascals, a unit of measurement. 753 was used by lots of pro riders such as Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond, who both won the Tour De France on 753 framed bikes. But not only pro’s used 753, it was really sought after by most riders wanting the very best in the World, but 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 the year I was truly bitten by frame building so 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 still always admired that very special tube set.
So its fitting that 20 years after that stage of the Tour De France a new Reynolds 753 frame is available as a limited edition. That frame is the Holdsworth Super Professional! As many people know, I make classic Holdsworth frames as well as our own brand and that is something we are incredibly proud of here at REILLY. I was contacted by the owner of Planet X Dave Loughran and Jamie Burrow the companies talented head designer back in 2014, with a view to making frames for them. Planet X had already bought the Holdsworth brand by then. Dave 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.
Holdsworth Super Professional 001, built with mirror polished Henry James cast stainless steel lugs.
The first two Super Professional 753 frames will be on show at this years Bespoked show in Bristol.