Of all the frames in my SBDU collection, this Track frame is by far the most fascinating and prized. An actual frame once ridden by Jan Raas. Raas was one of, if not the most famous rider to be part of TI-Raleigh. There is too much about him and his successes to list in this post, just have a look at his Wikipedia page to see what I mean.
I wrote a blog post about JR178T when I first got my hands on it back in February. In that post I compared it to the one he is pictured riding in the SKOL 6 Day in 1978.
Everything about that frame was a match, from the frame stamp of ’78’ to the event happening in 1978 and even the rarely used modified Carlton Capella lugs; they all match up. Frame tubing, fork crown and seat stay caps also match.
The one thing I couldn’t answer fully or even confidently at that time was frame size. Before I bought it, JR178T had been shown on various internet forums and with forums being what they are, there was lots of speculation. The most common comment about this frame was that it was just too big to have been a Raas bike. I didn’t pay too much attention to this as not one single bit of factual evidence was shown to say that this was too big, the wrong size. I went ahead and bought the frame… but there was always a little niggle in the back of my mind that I still needed some evidence to prove that this was the right size for Raas.
I spend a lot of time on the internet, it is a side affect of my job, I’m tied to a laptop for hours every day, so I always have an internet browser window open with part of my brain focused on picking up any info that comes my way. A few months ago I noticed a picture of Raas pictured with one of his road bikes and it looked as though it could be the same size.
Sadly the clipping doesn’t mention a size or spec but it was a little boost that my frame looked similar to this.
The camera angle and track banking from the SKOL 6 Day pictures indicate to me that the bike is what I would call ‘medium’ sized. I class small as 49-55cm and large at 60-63cm, so in my mind the bike Jan is riding could be in the region of 56-59cm.
Anyway, a little later, another clipping appeared showing the bike size of the riders of the 1977 TI-Raleigh team who were part of that year’s Tour de France. I’ve seen the same clipping on various internet groups and forums.
A quick translation from the French text gave me this “…answer to the question to clarify in mm the total height of the bike frame of each of the riders of the TI-Raleigh team…“. When it says ‘total height’ I take this to mean centre of bottom bracket to top of top tube. This was excellent information but frustratingly, 1977 was the only year that Raas did not ride for TI-Raleigh so his frame size was missing! Unfortunately, still no further forward. However, any SBDU TI-Raleigh information is useful so it gets stored in my head for future reference.
Every piece of information I publish on my blog is either fully accessible on the internet, meaning anyone can find it if they really want to, or it is something that has been sent to me directly by the owners of the documents to use in my blog. They are usually newspaper articles or clippings or magazine articles. Recently though, I’ve seen some SBDU information that listed rider frame geometry and it contained a listing for Jan Raas. This document was in a private group so I won’t share it here, but the information was important, a breakthrough for me and my frame!
The measurements in this document were given in mm and in centre to centre (ctc) format. When you measure ctc, you are approx 1/2 inch (13-15mm) short of the centre to top (ctt) measurement. It’s definitely a confusing aspect of bike measurements. Some people measure ctc while others measure ctt. So two people can easily quote the same bike as a 22.5″ or 23″ depending on how they have measured the seat tube.
The ctc size given for Raas was 565mm – my JR frame is 565mm ctc. Add 15mm to that and you get 580mm, or 58cm! The size of my bike! There it is, 100% actual first hand indisputable SBDU evidence of the size of the bike ridden by Jan Raas. No more internet speculation, just good old facts!
But just to be sure… and I do like to be sure of everything I write… I checked the 1977 TdF measurements shown in the clipping against this other document. Two riders were listed on both, Knetemann and Kuiper, and both sizes matched.
I can’t really add anymore evidence to this; the frame number, the year stamping the SKOL 6 Day pictures, the frame lugs and frame features and now the frame size, they all match.
I no longer have that little niggle in the back of my mind, this is 100% the bike ridden by Jan Raas!
Next year will see it lose the Chesini paint and return back to the famous TI-Raleigh livery.