Excitement has been mounting here at Merlin as we eagerly awaited a delivery of new Reynolds Steel framesets. We live in a time where we have some brilliant choices when it comes to bike frame materials; ranging from the super-light, stiff and slippery-aero to the almost unbreakable. This is where steel comes in.
So what is it about steel?
For overall, long-term, all-round strength, steel frames are a winner. Steel is significantly stronger and more durable than aluminium, making it an excellent choice for an extremely long lasting road frameset or ‘bomb-proof’ off-road gravel and MTB frameset applications. The durability of steel frames means that they can last a lifetime, if they are looked after.
The downside to all that strength is weight. However, let’s be realistic, how many of us really need a sub 800 gram road frame to ride those perfectly smooth surfaced roads?
The ride feel of steel frames is completely different. Steel can feel more ‘alive’ than some aluminium and carbon fibre frames, and it tends to soak up roughness in road surfaces. Steel generally has more flex and ‘give’ than aluminium, which can feel harsh in comparision.
I know, I know – nostalgia ain’t what it used to be… However, those of a certain age, who remember riding steel frame bikes, will probably remember fondly how times were simpler, phones were kept in red phone boxes, other road users were polite, only farmers drove 4×4’s, but bikes just kept working, unless you did something really daft. My old plain gauge steel winter bike got a fair bit of off-road action in the 80’s before MTB’s became more widely available. The frame never broke. Another glowing testament to old steel frame bikes is the amount of them still being ridden in cities by commuters and the amount of steel vintage bikes still in daily or weekend use. Steel frames were, and still are, engineered to last.
Steel tubing manufacturer, Reynolds are intrinsictly linked to bikes. Their 531 tubing was the last word in reliable solid frame tubes for decades. 753 was the much coveted frame material of choice through to the 1980’s. Reynolds 520 features similar properties to 531 and Reynolds 725 features properties similar to 753.
Merlin Classic Steel
Our Reynolds 520 steel road frames hark back to a golden age. The elegant bygone-era styling combines with all the modern practicalities which make life easier: English threaded bottom bracket, 28mm tyre fit, 27.2 seatpost, threadless steerer, short drop brake calipers. Lugged frame construction adds to the style quota, while comfortable race bike geometry ensures that hours in the saddle will be a pleasure.
All-Road Steel Gravel
A fusion of old and new, the All-Road features Reynolds 725 tubing with geometry which delivers a highly capable ride, both on and off road. Regardless of whether it’s ride to work during the week or heading off bikepacking on the weekend, the All-Road ticks all the boxes. With extra bottle cage fitting options, together with guard and rack mounts, the All-Road has the flexibility to adapt to whatever ride adventures you can dream up.
Merlin Malt 725 MTB
The Merlin Malt 725 MTB frame is back better than ever! Our new Malt has completely been redesigned to suit today’s riding styles, with 29er wheel fitment this do-it-all versatile hardtail is a trail centre destroyer, single track ripper and all-round adventure bike. The geometry is best suited for a 120mm travel fork but will happily take up to a 140mm if you wish to tackle more challenging trails. The Malt has stealth dropper post routing and a boost 148mm axle, it can be built with either 29″ or 27.5 wheels (27.5″ allows up to 3″ tyre clearance).