I always expect old bikes to be problematic when I come to take them apart. They are often suffering from years of neglect and lack of maintenance. This one however, was easy! Nothing seized, nothing difficult to get at, just… straight forward, probably no more than 20 minutes and I had a large box of parts. As I do with all SBDU bikes, I am always keen to see the fork column and any identifying marks it may have. In this case there was the matching frame number of 7660. The fork column was also very clean and rust free.

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Randonneur 531 1985 SB7660 SB Frame Numbers
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Randonneur 531 1985 SB7660 SB Frame Numbers

Now that everything was apart, I noted that this frame had beautifully faced and cut bearing surfaces, an indication that it had been prepped to very high standards before being built. If this frame still had the original paint, which I’m confident it did, then this frame prep may well have been carried out at Ilkeston. After a bit of degreasing and cleaning, I weighed the frame and forks.

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Randonneur 531 1985 SB7660 531 Weights
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Randonneur 531 1985 SB7660 531 Weights

The weights were spot on for 531c, and especially good for a medium to large frame, 57.5 cm measured centre to top (just over 22.5″ in old money). The frame set also has a number of braze on fittings; front and rear carrier/mudguard fastenings on the drop outs and a lamp bracket on the fork blade. I’ve got 531 road frames that weigh the same as this Randonneur so the weight weenie inside me is satisfied!

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Randonneur 531 1985 SB7660 Degreased
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Randonneur 531 1985 SB7660 Degreased

Before moving on with the rebuild I wanted to refit the lovely Campagnolo Record headset and take some pictures to show off just how stunning this paint finish was. The headset is in very good condition, the bearing surfaces are spotless and the external chrome is still brilliant and shiny. Because the frame was in such good condition and was already faced, the headset was installed without any further cutting or problems. I would guess that this was the original headset fitted to this frame in 1985. Whatever your allegiances are for component manufacturers, you have to have respect for the quality of this era of Campagnolo.

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Randonneur 531 1985 SB7660 Campagnolo Headset Fitting
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Randonneur 531 1985 SB7660 Campagnolo Headset Fitting

One thing I really love to do is document builds with photography. My wife has a photography studio in Newcastle so I have camera kit, studio lighting and back drops at my disposal.

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB7660 1985 Randonneur Front and Rear View
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB7660 1985 Randonneur Front and Rear View
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB7660 1985 Randonneur Detail
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB7660 1985 Randonneur Detail
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB7660 1985 Randonneur Frameset
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB7660 1985 Randonneur Frameset

One thing I couldn’t resist doing was re-uniting this frame with my other Randonneur, SB7657, a Reynolds 753 version of this frame. These 2 frames are only 4 frames apart in SBDU Ilkeston production so were probably built in the same week. SB7657 was ordered by Denton Cycles in Newcastle and has DENTON decals. SBDU listed 2 models of Randonneur in their catalogue, one made from 753 and one made from 531c.

Raleigh Ilkeston SBDU Catalogue 1986 Randonneur
Raleigh Ilkeston SBDU Catalogue 1986 Randonneur

So after 30 years, here are the 2 Randonneur frames SB7657 (753) & SB7660 (531c)

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB7660 1985 Randonneur
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB7660 1985 Randonneur

I now have a large box of bits but surprisingly, not much needs to be replaced. A couple of sets of 1/4 balls for the rear hub and bottom bracket and a set of 7/32 for the front hub. The brake lever hoods have seen much better days so they will be replaced together with bar tape and cables. Everything else, including cones and BB axle is in very good condition and will definitely be reused after a good steep and scrub in degreaser.

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Randonneur 1985 SB7660 531 Parts
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Randonneur 1985 SB7660 531 Parts

Although the 700 x 28 tyres that came with the bike are ok, they have a black wall which isn’t in keeping with the look of the bike so I’ll take them off and keep them as spares. I’m replacing them with a 28 mm tan wall tyre from Panaracer. All I need to do now is decide what colour cables to fit, Red, White or Black?

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About the Author Neil McGowran

Blogger of all things to do with the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) and TI-Raleigh Ilkeston.

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