The Reynolds Tube Company was founded in 1889 by John Reynolds in Birmingham, England, but traces its origins back to 1841 when John Reynolds set up a company manufacturing nails. In 1897, the company patented the process for making butted tubes, which are thicker at the ends than in the middle, this allowed frame builders to create frames that were both strong and lightweight. Reynolds introduced the double-butted tube-set 531 in 1934.
The Patent Butted Tube Co., Ltd., the predecessor of the present company, was spun off from John Reynold's original company in 1898. In 1923 the Patent Butted Tube Co., Ltd changed its name to Reynolds Tube Co., Ltd. and retained this name up until 1928 when it was acquired by Tube Investments, Ltd and became TI Reynolds 531 Ltd.
In 1996 Coyote Sports Inc., a privately held company based in Boulder, Colorado acquired TI Reynolds 531 Ltd. resulting in a name change to Reynolds Cycle Technology Ltd. In 2006 the company underwent another name change to Reynolds Technology Ltd., reflecting the increasing revenues from diversification into "new" sectors for tubing outside the cycle industry.
When Coyote Sports entered Chapter 11 reorganization, a management buy-out resulted in the company returning to its base in the UK.
Cycle tubing development
Reynolds has over the years developed a number of steel alloys, most notably Reynolds 531, which has a high strength and can be made into strong, but lightweight tubes for bicycle frames. Before the introduction of more exotic materials such as aluminium, titanium or composites, Reynolds was considered the dominant maker of high end materials for bicycle frames. According to the company, 27 winners of the Tour de France have won riding on Reynolds tubing. The Raleigh Bicycle Company of Nottingham, England was a big customer for Reynolds 531 tubing used in their racing cycle range.
Reynolds 531 has now been largely replaced in new frames by still-better steels. The latest, for race or sports frames, is Reynolds 953. Reynolds worked closely with Carpenter Speciality Alloys to develop 953. It started reaching frame builders in 2005. 953 is based on a specially developed maraging steel stainless steel alloy that can achieve a tensile strength in excess of 2000 MPa (853 is around 1400 MPa), giving a good strength-to-weight ratio. Because of the high strength of the steel, extremely thin tube walls (down to 0.3 mm) can be used, thus reducing the weight.
A U.S. division called Reynolds Composites was created to manufacture composite components.
453 - Manganese/Titanium alloy. Reynolds produced only the 3 main tubes in this alloy and they were single butted.
500 - A chromium-molybdenum (CrMo) steel, seamed, plain gauge tubeset of 3 main triangle tubes
500ATB - Mountain, All terrain, Off road
500 Magnum - Same use as ATB
501 - Reynolds 501 was a chromium-molybdenum (CrMo) steel, seamed, butted 3-tubes tubeset that made its debut about 1983 and was available in two different thicknesses.
501ATB - Mountain, All terrain, Off road
501 Magnum - Same use as ATB
501SB - Single Butted
501SL - Special lightweight (SL) tubeset
520 - Cold worked Chromoly. UTS: 700-900 MPa, density 7.78 g/cm3 8 tube set
525 - Cold worked Chromoly. UTS: 700-900 MPa, density 7.78 g/cm3 8 tube set
525Triathlon - Designed for Triathlon framesets
531 - Manganese/Molybdenum. UTS: 700-900 MPa (48-58 Tsi, 100-130 ksi)
531ATB - Designed for Mountain, All terrain, Off road
531C - Competition Racing tubeset. Road racing, track, time trial and cyclo-cross.
531CS - Club Sport Double butted main tubes
531Magnum - Same use as ATB
531OS - Oversize tubeset
531 Professional - Superseded 531SL, for road racing and time trials.
531SL - Special lightweight (SL) tubeset
531 Speed Stream - 531SL Oval shaped aerodynamic tube
531ST - Special Touring tubeset
531 Super Tourist - Superseded ST.
631 - Seamless air-hardened. UTS: 800-900 MPa, density 7.78 g/cm3
631OS - Oversize tubeset
653 - Was a mixed tubeset which combined tubings of different steels; made up of 753 stays with 653 main tubes and 531 forks.
708 - 708 was a tube set in Reynolds' range in the 1980s. It has main tubes with special section. These were not butted, but had 8 flats running along the length of the tube. The rear stays would be 753.
725 - Heat-Treated Chromoly the same basic alloy as Reynolds 520. UTS: 1080-1280 MPa, density 7.78 g/cm3
725OS - Oversize tubeset
731 - Needs information
731OS - Oversize tubeset
753 - Heat-Treated Manganese-Molybdenum. The most exclusive tube set from Reynolds. Essentially 531 made with reduced wall thickness and heat treated to increase tensile strength. UTS: 1080-1280 MPa (70-83 Tsi, 157-186 ksi) Complete tube set of 11 tubes (Frame 8, Fork 3). 753 can only be lugged and fillet-brazed with an alloy of 56% silver below 700 degrees Celsius and sale is restricted only to approved builders certified by Reynolds
753ATB - Mountain, All terrain, Off road
753R - Road tubeset
753T - Track tubeset, thinner tubes for track use
753OS - Oversize tubeset
853 - Seamless air-hardening heat-treated. UTS: 1250-1400 MPa, density 7.78 g/cm3
853OS - Oversize tubeset
953 - Maraging stainless steel. UTS: 1750-2050 MPa, density 7.8 g/cm3