SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531

1977 TI-Raleigh Team Pro SB1688 Reynolds 531 SBDU Ilkeston New Arrival

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.

SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame
SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame

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.

SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame Features
SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame Features

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’.

SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame Number
SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame Number

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.

SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame Decals
SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame Decals

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.

SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame Lug Detail
SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame Lug Detail

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.

SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame Paint
SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame Paint

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!

SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame and Forks
SB1688 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 Frame and Forks

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…!

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Written by Neil McGowran

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

8 comments

  1. Once again a great read. I note your comment about preservation rather than renovation. I’d be too sucked in to the renovation theme for such beautiful frames Im afraid so good on you.

    1. Thanks Kenn. It is a tough call on how to deal with a frame, it changes frame by frame. This has more good paint than bad so with this one I would try and stabalise the corrosion and fix decals. There is a phrase that says “…it is only original once…” but that is a hard phrase to stick to when you know it could look so much better with fresh paint!

    1. Hi, thanks for getting in touch. If you mean a 10 speed cassette then yes, it would fit but the frame would need to be cold set to 130mm OLN first. This frame is made from Reynolds 531 and can be cold set to a new rear dimension and then the dropouts re-alinged. It is currently only 126mm (6-7-8 speed).

      Thank you
      Neil

  2. Hi Neil
    Did any other frame makers at the time use the SB prefixes on the bottom bracket or was it only ever the SBDU?
    I have a frame, SB 1328 stamped on the BB
    It is the orange colour you described, although this might be a re spray although I can’t see any evidence of the original colour in either the bb shell or the headset
    It also has chromed Ishiwata steel forks , perhaps these are not original
    Would love to hear your thought
    Kind regards
    Rob
    Australia

    1. Hi Rob, thanks for getting in touch.

      It’s probably difficult to say if any other builders used SB, there were so many builders, but the SBDU are the builders that are known for it. If it is an SBDU frame, then it should be easily identifiable by how it looks. The frame number is typically on the fixed cup side of the bb shell (not always but most of the time). The frame size is normally stamped on the other side of the BB shell. The forks typically have the same number stamped but you’ve said that the forks are probably different.

      The underside of the BB, the seat stay caps at the top of the seat stays and the dropouts and how the stays are cut at the dropouts will say if it is SB or not.

      If you have any good pictures of these parts of the frame, please send them through to neil@ti-raleigh.com and I’ll see if I can tell you more about it.

      Cheers
      Neil

  3. Hi Neil. I have an orange 1977 SBDU 753 bike. I did get to talk to one of Raleigh Ilkestons’s painters and showed him the bike. He said they weren’t happy with the quality of the early red paint and changed it.

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