Story: Mark Tearle
Our man in the deep south (that’s South Downs), Mark Tearle has just taken delivery of this rather hot looking Reilly Gradient Titanium adventure bike. Let’s not mess around though, over to Mark for the full lowdown.
- Tested: Reilly Gradient Titanium 3AL-2.5V // Adventure Complete
- From: Reilly Cycleworks
- Price: £2899.00 for our SRAM Rival 1x complete build
Everyone loves a backstory
A few years ago Reilly introduced the Gradient and graciously allowed me to test it out, ensuring in the process that it was a bicycle that I was never likely to forget – I am afraid I fell in love with it there and then. Now, the Gradient version 2 is here, updated with progressive new details and additional versatility to boot – for a bike that was already damned perfect, as far as I am concerned, this is BIG news…
To briefly introduce; the Gradient is billed as a go anywhere, do anything kind of adventure bike designed with comfortable, yet spirited, geometry and plenty of clearance for wide tyres, made from the subtly designed and hydro-formed REILLY AXIS 3AL-2.5V titanium tube set.
The Gradient ticks all the boxes that we would come to expect from a premium gravel bike. It’s a versatile frameset, this. 12mm thru-axle back and front, with plenty of additional clearance for mudguards, racks and now with a 3rd set of bottle cage fittings, Reilly have made note of their intention that this bike should notch up as many adventure points as possible (an instant 1000 points for the first bike manufacturer to introduce a purpose built braze on for dangling your Ti mug from). There’s loads of room for the 700c 43mm Gravel King tyres. We are slowly but surely being wooed by larger volume tyres for #dirtydropbargoodness. There are few downsides – added comfort, grip and little lost in terms of rolling resistance. The SRAM Rival 1x groupset is our current groupset du jour – functional, reasonable value, and we’ll keep banging on about this: 1x makes sense off road.
- Reilly branded Fulcrum Racing Sport Wheelset: Disc specific wheelset
- Reilly Vector carbon seatpost: supplied with 2 6AL-4V titanium retaining bolts – test bike comes with a 27.2mm seatpost with shim to fit the 31.6mm seat tube
- Reilly Carbon RS saddle
- Deda Zero alloy bars
- Reilly Vector alloy stem
- Vector chrono headset: for 44mm head tubes, 1 1/8″ to 1.5″ tapered steerers
- The test bike was supplied with 700c x 38mm Panaracer Gravel King – and because I had them available in the shed I replaced these with the wider 43mm Gravel King just to play with the Gradient Clearance
New for the Gradient this time around:
- 12 x 100mm front thru-axle
- Flat mount brakes
- 3rd set of bottle cage fittings
- 700C with clearance for up to 44mm tyres or
- 650B with clearance for up to 47mm tyres
Chomping at the bit
A frameset with pedigree, then? Indeed. Here’s the challenge though – I enjoyed the previous iteration of the Reilly so much, how will this one do? All mod cons sounds great on paper, but we all know it’s not as simple as that. I’ve put my faith in the years of experience that the Brighton-based Reilly boys have – lets hope it pays off… Will the Gradient maintain its place in my high regard?
I’ve got a few more miles to put into it before I can offer my full thoughts, and I’d really love to get hold of a set of 650b wheels to try out on it too, but I’ll keep you up-to-date, of course and watch out for my full review to be posted to gritcx soon. Watch this space.