"What is the best material to use in building a bicycle frame - steel, aluminum, titanium or carbon fibre?" This 'million dollar question' will largely depend first and foremost on budget, and secondly, the bikes useage and prioroties. Those of you who know Genesis, will know that we extensively use steel throughout the range where possible and if the application is correct. Why do we favour steel? First and foremost, the ride quality in addition to it's ease of use (at manufacture level), reliablity, sustainabity (ability to repair economically) and economical cost.

In choosing to work with steel, we are lucky enough to have built up over the years a strong realtionship with the guys @ Reynolds Technology Ltd in Birmingham, which we regard as the best in the business. From humble beginings way back in 1841 a nail manufacturer, to the turning point in 1897 when Alfred M. Reynolds and J.T. Hewitt patent the invention of butted tubing and the ensuing domination of cycle frame manufacture including the legendary 531 not to mention numerous Tour winners along the way (Charly Gaul, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy 'The Cannibal' Merckx, Bernard 'The Badger' Hinault,Greg LeMond and Miguel 'Big Mig' Indurain ). It's safe to say Reynolds has an extensive and colourful history.  

We recently visited the factory to discuss the progress on the upcoming 953 road race frame (more to come on that next month when the V1 prototypes arrive), check out the freshly drawn tubes before they're shipped to manufacturer to be cut, mitred and welded, and generally have a good nose around...

Photography - ©Juan Trujillo Andrades (www.truliphoto.com)   

The man who can - Keith Noronha, Managing Director, Reynolds Technology Limited (what Keith doesn't know about steel isn't worth knowing)

Most of the machinery at Reynolds was produced back int he 60's and still reliably churns out metre upon metre of precise butted tubing every day - "they don't make 'em like they used to."

Long serving, skilled staff operate the machinery and perform the necessary QC checks and sign-off/are responsible for their own work.

Tubing get a polish a buff before being shipped out to frame manufacturers and artisan frame builders (with mandrels on the wall in the background).

Rich in history, there are still many visual links still present to Reynolds' illustrious past, including this 'TI Reynolds 531' crate.

Family and chainstays - our kind of desk!

Your first sneak peak at the new 953 road race machine (well, the chainstay at least).

The magic numbers. This material is very special indeed - more on 953 here.

Want to know a bit more about steel and it's useage in cycling? Take a peak @ Ibis founder, Scot Nichols' excellent series of essays on 'Metallurgy for Cyclists' or visit the Reynolds website.