REVIEW: NERVE 600sl Recommended

by Mark Tearle

Price £2,999.00
Size 54
Colour Black
It is a price tag to make you wince a bit, but for a bicycle built to your own exacting needs and preferences this represents great value. Hell, I'd sell all of my furniture to own one if necessary.


2014 sees the establishment of new British frame builder, NERVE Bikes with a focus on custom, hand built steel and carbon frames. Since Mark Reilly parted ways at the end of last year with Enigma - the company renowned for their titanium frames that he helped to launch in 2007 - he has been coaxed out of his retreat by popular demand to form NERVE Bikes. 


Mark brings with him a 25 years of design and frame building experience and has formed a talented team around him including carbon fibre expert Neil Fitzgerald, who has been plucked from the high-tech world of Formula 1, and product and graphic designer Damon Fisher, to bring a new and innovative brand to the hand-built, bespoke frame building world. 

Mark began building and preparing frames, mostly from his own kitchen, 3 weeks prior to the Bespoked Show, at the Velodrome in Lee Valley. NERVE has now established a workshop located near the mouth of the River Ouse, at the port of Newhaven in Sussex from where the full operation will develop. 

As the workshop facility grows and the brand develops, the custom carbon frames will be built in-house by Neil whilst Mark concentrates on steel - for now the first 600sl was built in Italy. The NERVE 600sl is custom formed from 1k carbon fibre tubes; the tubes on the front triangle are round, custom cut to fit the tapered head tube with the rear triangle designed with pencil thin wishbone seat stays and square tapered chain stays pinned together at the BB86 bottom bracket.   



Fully custom carbon frame building in the UK is an exciting prospect, with less than a handful currently operating from these Isles. Off the shelf monocoque frames are formed within a mould, whereas custom carbon are fabricated in a similar way to metal, with tubes cut to size, set up in a jig, mitred, glued and then joints wrapped with pre-preg carbon fibre before being laminated and then cured (or baked) in an autoclave oven.   

The demo 600sl is incredibly lightweight at 679g for the medium 54cm frame, and the full build - 3T bars and stem, NERVE branded carbon seatpost, Reynolds Attack carbon wheels shod with 25mm Continental GP 4000 tyres, Columbus Grammy fork, compass headset, Prologo saddle and bar tape and full Campagnolo Super Record grupo - weighed in at just a pip over 6kg. 

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