Jim Walker built a cycle components business bearing his name into one of the
biggest in the UK industry. Now he wants to create a bike brand to challenge
the leading guru’s of precious metal.
We paid a visit to Enigma Bikes in Sussex to talk to Jim Walker and Mark Rielly
Jim recently sold Jim Walker LTD and was looking for something new to do, "I
was selling my business and I felt too young to retire"’. When Omega Bikes
failed he saw an opportunity and as he told us "Mark (Reilly) fell into
my lap" and with it "20 years of experience of designing bikes".
For many the failure of Omega Bikes was a bad time, with a number of people
losing money and bike orders. Jim Walker has taken on a degree of moral responsibility
for orders made with Omega and he told us that he had "helped 95% of Omega
Any failure of a business brings with it sadness and ill feeling, Omega’s passing
was painful, but Jim is clear to tell us that Enigma is a new company and Mark
Reilly previously of Omega has been hired to design bikes, whilst Jim, the sole
owner, gets on with running the business in a professional manner.
Welds are all beautifully finished
Although Enigma will be offering ‘off the peg’ frames their forte is custom.
At no extra charge a rider is sized at Enigma’s base on a Bike-Fitting.com
jig and Mark enters the data (measurements etc.) into a CAD
progamme on his computer.
He takes into account rider weight, type of riding (racing, Etapes etc.) before
he chooses the angles, types of tubes to be used (thickness for instance or
shape – oval, round or flat). Mark is keenly aware of the varying cycle fitting
systems now available and long gone are the days of doing it all by eye, although
experience is still key.
Enigma then send this information to their partner in Taiwan and the bike is
created at a Hi-Tech small manufacturer. Jim and Mark told us that they have
a strong relationship with their frame builder and that the quality is superb.
The bikes we saw suggest this to be true. Jim reflected sadly that they simply
can’t get the same quality in the UK for the price.
When you say Enigma, you say Titanium, and all but for the carbon rear stays
(super stiff for racing) of the Eulogy and Effusion, Enigma’s are Ti throughout.
The material offers great strength combined to lightness and is due a comeback
once carbon fever has died down (that’s what we think!).
Mark Reilly and his CAD system (now that’s a clean desk)
Mark works modern techniques and frame technolgy into ‘classic’ bike designs,
and this does give the bikes that look of professionalism that can be lost on
some of the more ‘way out’ designs on the market.
We asked Jim what he wants for the company and he outlined to us that in five
years he wants to challenge the best in the bike market.
Enigma Cycles is owned and run by Jim Walker and there is little reason to
not to believe his new venture will grow to challenge the old order.
The Enigma stable
The Enigma range runs across the cycling discipline and coming on stream will
be own brand forks, headset, stems and seat posts. (See pics of prototypes below)
In the pipelne is a time trial bike and a MTB, so watch out for them.
Enigma Bikes 0870 874 6975 or visit www.enigmabikes.com