While I was away last week, the post man delivered another Ilkeston frameset and it was waiting for me when I eventually got home. I’ve not done much with it so far except lift it out of the box and take a few quick pictures; but it has already got my attention as it has some strange features that need some researching – which is very much a part of the frame buying process that I love!

SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982
SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982

This is SB5794 which dates to 1982, probably late ’82, with what appears to be original Raleigh ‘Team’ red paint and decals. So how can you tell if paint is original? With SBDU frames one of the very good indicators is a lack of clear lacquer over the decals. Most restorations/resprays will paint a frame, fit decals and then seal everything with a final coat of lacquer making it look too shiny. Modern vinyl decals need to be lacquered to help preserve them from chemicals and oils. This frame has no lacquer with a very clear edge to all the decals. It has a Reynolds 531c frame tubing decal which ties in with the first year that Reynolds introduced this style of decal.

The first thing I normally check with these frames is to see if the frame and forks share the same number, which they happily do. SB5794 on the BB shell and 5794 on the steerer column with ’56’ stamped indicating the frame size in centimetres from centre of BB shell to top of seat lug.

SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982 Frame Numbers
SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982 Frame Numbers

So this is where it starts to need a little bit of investigating…

It has characteristics of an SBDU Time Trial Special. For example, it has the foil head badge and seat tube badge together with vertical rear dropouts.

SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982 Rear Dropouts
SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982 Rear Dropouts
SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982 Head Badge
SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982 Head Badge

I’ve got a couple of Time Trial Special frames and they are both built in what was considered to be lighter tubesets, 753 and 531SL. 531c was typically used for Road or Track Frames. So here is a conflict between frame tubing and frame styling. I’ll fit some wheels and check it’s geometry against known SBDU Road and Time Trial Special geometry sheets which will hopefully give an answer.

This frame is also very light; much lighter than I was expecting. The forks are particularly light! A typical 531c frame would be in the region of 1800-2000 grams with forks close to 700 grams.

SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982 Weights
SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982 Weights

My scales are accurate but they are displaying weights that seem wrong! I have Reynolds 753 forks (Reynolds lightest tube set) that weigh more than these by 40 grams. So has it at some point had a replacement frame tubing decal fitted?

531c should also accept a 27.2 mm seat pin – I’ve tried a Campagnolo 27.2 pin in this frame from another 531c frame and it won’t come close. I’ve tried a 27.0 mm seat pin and it may fit if I put more effort into checking the roundness of the seat tube; it may even be 26.8 which takes it even further away from being Reynolds 531c.

One final thing to look into is a mis-match of dropouts. Most frames will have matching front and rear manufacturer dropouts; SBDU used Campagnolo or Shimano. This is my 8th SBDU frame but the first with Shimano Rear and Campagnolo Front dropouts. You automatically think that the forks have been replaced at some point, but this doesn’t appear to be the case as the fork serial number matches the frame.

So lots of checking to do on this frame to answer a few unresolved questions. Just another thing to add to the long list of bike related ‘things to do’ that I have at the moment!

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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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