Decisions, decisions…

It’s nice being in this position and having this dilemma. I know lots of SBDU collectors who would like to be in this position too. I finished my last SBDU build last week, a 1985 531 Randonneur. This means that I currently have 3 complete SBDU bikes, my 753 Team Pro, a 531 Pro Super and the 531 Randonneur.

For my next bike I want to build something different again so I’m going to build an SBDU Time Trial Special. Luckily, I have two 56 cm SBDU Ilkeston Time Trial Special frames, one in Reynolds 753 and one in Reynolds 531SL (Special Lightweight); but choosing which one to build is difficult! Even after making a decision about which one to build, I then have to decide how to spec them!

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Time Trial Special 753 1978 SB2692 H591
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Time Trial Special 753 1978 SB2692 H591

The 753 frame I have is from 1978 and is the iconic Time Trial frame produced by the SBDU. On the plus side for choosing this frame, it is built with early metric 753 tubing and it is very light. It has beautiful drilled vertical Campagnolo rear dropouts and the classic oversize seat stay caps. On the down side, although it is original paint, it has suffered with some surface rust, albeit not terminal, it will just take some work to sort out the paintwork. It is also built to a customer specification, having the H591 reference on the bottom bracket, and after measuring the tube lengths and angles, it is slightly different to the standard SBDU Time Trial stock dimensions.

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Time Trial Special Dimension Measurements H Reference
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Time Trial Special Dimension Measurements H Reference

It is slightly more relaxed on the seat and head angles and a touch longer on the top tube and the front centres giving it a slightly longer overall wheelbase.

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Time Trial Special 1982 SB5464 Frame Details
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Time Trial Special 1982 SB5464 Frame Details

The 531SL frame is from 1982. I like this frame because it is different to lots of other SBDU Time Trial Special frames that I have seen. On the plus side for building this frame, it is almost as light as the 753 frame. It also has amazing original paintwork for a 33 year old frame and after measuring the geometry and comparing it to an Ilkeston document, I found that it is stock; meaning it has all the angles and measurements that an Ilkeston Time Trial frame should have.

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Time Trial Special Dimension Measurements Stock
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Time Trial Special Dimension Measurements Stock

It even has a very early use of Ilkeston’s ‘shot in’ or ‘fast back’ seat stays together with Shimano vertical dropouts. On the downside… well it doesn’t really have a downside, I can’t find one!

I think what I will do is build the later, 1982 531SL frame and use that as a complete bike, the excellent condition of the paint has swung it for me. I can build this bike while having a project on the side to do something with the 753 paintwork.

Now I just need to find some time and collect some bits…

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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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