I really do like to know everything I can about the frames in my collection. I like to be able to answer the “how long?” and the “how big?” and the “what is it?” type of questions for all my bikes.
This task is difficult with the SBDU as there is little or no original documentation available. It is a constant task of wading through the internet noise, considering what is and what isn’t factual and drawing your own conclusions. First of all, before I get some wheels in this frame and measure the lengths and angles, I need to start at the beginning, with a name; is there a model of SBDU frame I can link this particular one with…?
In 1984, as well as listing the new 753 Services des Courses frame, the SBDU also listed a 753 Road model.
That isn’t very specific but my frame does fit into that description – a 753 frame with conventional seat stays, Cinelli SC crown, Cinelli BB and road fork ends. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of the same information from 1985, that year is proving hard to track down. But I do have the 1986 copy. The ’86 version has much more detail and at this point, the SBDU has allocated model numbers to each model based on tubing type and usage – there is also much more detail describing frame fittings such as lugs and BB shells.
These are the Road Champion models that were available in 1986 from the SBDU.
It may be information from 1986, but I think the extra information available in this extract accurately describes this frame. So in the absence of 1985 details, and based on this 1986 information, SB7121 is a “Model 8607 753R Road Champion” – that is Reynolds 753R tubing, Prugnat head lugs, Cinelli SC fork crown & Cinelli BB.
If you have seen my SBDU Timeline post, you will have seen that the SBDU once used a system of ‘H’ references to indicate a customer specific build, but this seemed to end at about SB2997 in 1979. I personally think from that point, the SBDU did more and more ‘custom’ and fewer and fewer ‘stock’ frames. That means that this frame could either have a fairly standard geometry, or it could have something a little different to what I’d expect. The sentence in the last paragraph of the Road Champion description is interesting, “…geometry to suit you and your form of cycle sport…”. The metal rules and gauges will tell all in a future post.
Now, how about that brushed paint finish and ‘Wheelcraft’ decals.
This bike came to me from Glasgow, Scotland.
If you do a search for ‘Wheelcraft’ and add in some bike related search terms, you come up with a few links to a bike shop in Glasgow specialising in wheel building, called “Wheelcraft”! I can’t find any other reference for this name. As the frame came from Glasgow and the wheel building shop is Glasgow based, I have to form some kind of link between them. However, I think that is as far as I’m going to get on the frame’s history for now.
While I had the frame in the vice, I thought I would have a go at removing the decals. The ‘Columbus’ decals on the forks came off with a little bit of Acetone (Nail Polish Remover). Once the decals were removed I could see just how good the paint was – the forks are in excellent condition, with a good, even covering of black paint.
The ‘Wheelcraft’ decals need a little heat – a hair dryer is best as it is hot enough to affect the adhesive but no where near hot enough to do any damage to the paint. A couple of minutes later and the decals were peeling off. Some acetone on the chain stay ‘Mavic’ decal worked to remove it.
The Raleigh head badge was fixed to the head tube with some gruesome pop rivets – these had to come out. The head badge has to come off anyway so that I have a nice flat surface to measure the head angle. Pop rivets are just soft aluminium and it only takes a few seconds to drill the heads off.
Finally, I wanted to check how hard it was going to be to remove this horrible orange paint. The paint is thick and not very hard and a little scrubbing with the acetone started to remove it. However, I’ll leave it like that for now until I have more time to dedicate to the job of removing it fully.
I wonder if the blue/black scheme is original…?
See, that is what happens. You lift the lid, start to answer a few questions and just get deeper and deeper into something, leaving yourself with more questions… and the story and research continues.