Frame number 12 of the current collection arrived! This is SB1688, a 56cm Reynolds 531 frame made in the middle to latter part of 1977.
This is probably the ‘Classic’ idea of what people will consider an SBDU TI-Raleigh frame to be! It matches perfectly into my SBDU Timeline for this period. Oversize seat stay caps, Prugnat S4 lugs, 4 slot BB shell, semi-sloping fork crown without tangs/stiffeners and Campagnolo 1010/A long fork ends.
A common myth is that all SBDU frames have an SB frame number and a matching serial number stamped on the fork steerer. This is true in most cases; a high percentage of frames and forks will have a matching number and it is normally something that I will look for… but some don’t. As with all things related to the SBDU, things didn’t always follow a known pattern, some things aren’t clear and probably never will be – but most of the fun for me is trying to find out. This new frame clearly has SB1688 and the 56 for the frame size on the frame, but the fork is stamped ‘NED’.
I currently have 12 SBDU frames, but only 9 of those frames have matching numbers on the fork – so that is matching fork number myth busted!
1 of my frames has the ‘H’ ref stamped on the fork, 1 (team frame) has no stamping at all, and this has ‘NED’. Some SBDU forks have had other stampings such as the fork builders initials or ‘POLY’. I’ve seen approx 4 SBDU frames that also have the ‘NED’ stamping – these frames all seem to be in the SB900 to SB1700 range (late 1976 to late 1977). A peculiar thing that the ‘NED’ forks share is that the stamp is normally at the front of the steerer and about 1″ up from the crown.
SB1688 is an original frame from 1977 and shows the remains of the decals that a ’77 frame would have. This frame has ‘Team Raleigh’ on the top tube and ‘Raleigh’ on the down tube. At some point at the end of ’77 and the start of ’78, around SB1800 – SB1900, the SBDU changed the decals on the TI-Raleigh road scheme. ‘Team Raleigh’ was replaced with ‘Team’ and ‘Raleigh’ was replaced with ‘TI-Raleigh’. My own SB4059 is a good example of how someone carrying out a restoration needs to do their homework… whoever renovated my 1980 frame got it wrong and has used the pre 1978 ‘Team Raleigh’ decals on the top tube.
The head badge is in good condition but the frame decals and the Reynolds 531 decal have suffered.
A really nice part of the detail on this frame is the infill on the lug cutouts and BB shell, detailed with matching yellow and black.
A story you hear from time to time with this period of TI-Raleigh frame is the paint fade from Red to Orange – this frame is a ‘classic’ example! The TI-Raleigh red is the subject of so many internet conversations; not just the exact formulation/codes of the red paint, but also the method of application of paint and clear coating with decals. This is something I am slowly trying to research, but the valid 1st hand information needed is very hard to come across, so it is very hard to complete that research. One thing that is well known is that some red can be affected by sunlight. Some colours reflect UV, some absorb UV – colours and perception of colour and how colours absorb other colours and reflect colour is complicated, but one thing is known, the earlier TI-Raleigh frames faded if there was any prolonged exposure to sunlight.
It is really only when you compare frames that you see a difference in paint. The pictures above clearly show the colour change – the left hand side is a rather orange looking SB1688 (1977) against an original red paint SB5794 (1983). SB5794 has either been more protected from sunlight, or, as some suggest, the paint used by SBDU was changed to offer more protection. The right hand picture is SB1688, more specifically the area under the gear lever band – the area under the band has been protected and hasn’t suffered in the same way as the rest of the tube. SBDU TI-Raleigh paint is something I definitely want to blog about but it may not be for some time!
So what is my plan for this one?
I’m very much into preservation rather than renovation. This frame is almost 40 years old and I would rate the paint finish on the frame at 60-65% and probably 80% on the forks. It is solid in most areas with a touch of surface rust around the area where top tube cable clips would have been – this surface rust can be easily treated. I think a good clean and some time spent trying to bring the red back would really benefit this frame.
Because I’m not looking for perfection on this and I’m staying with the original look, I think a nice used Campagnolo Nuovo Record group will probably be easy to track down and fit to this.
Once again, a new frame brings more questions to answer… red paint and the ‘NED’ fork stamping are 2 things I don’t know about but need to. One thing I do know is that I’m rapidly running out of space…!