It’s amazing what you can find on your doorstep. SB6398, an SBDU 753 with a Super Record 50th Anniversary group set was hiding less than 20 miles from me; an amazing bike, in my size too. So what do you think were the chances of finding another SBDU 753 in my size, this time in TI-Raleigh colours, within 20 miles of me? Well the chances were good, it has just happened. Say hello to SB3800, a 1980 Team Pro 753.
This bike is in great condition. It isn’t original paint, but the repaint is an excellent one. Probably painted in the mid 1980s based on the previous owners details so it has had this paint for at least 30 years. According to the previous owner, this bike belonged to one of Britain’s best cyclists in the late 70s and early 80s, an Olympic and Commonwealth cyclist. I don’t have any provenance to that at the moment other than his story, but I’ll do a little digging like I do, I’ll ask a few questions, and see what I can uncover ready for a future blog post.
The paintwork is so good, it does look original. But my eye can see a couple of items on the frame and fork that tell me that this is a repaint.
The painter has used original SBDU Ilkeston transfers, and all the Raleigh transfers are 100% correct for the 1980 TI-Raleigh period. Two things are definately wrong; one that I can fix and one that I can’t. A third and final thing is open to debate by some.
The Reynolds 753 frame transfer is an original Reynolds transfer and is spot on correct. The Reynolds 753 fork blade transfers are also original Reynolds transfers but not correct for a TI of this vintage. It should have the circular ‘TI’ fork blade transfers. I have a couple left so that should be an easy task to switch them. SBDU didn’t use Reynolds fork blade transfers on the ‘TI’ scheme until Reynolds changed their tubing range in 1982.
The ‘TEAM’ transfer on the top tube is correct for this TI-Raleigh period but it is in the wrong position, it is too far forward. The right hand side of the ‘M’ should be an inch behind the brake cable stop. The ‘M’ on this transfer has been placed an inch in front of the cable stop, effectively placing the transfer two inches too far forward.
I mentioned one other thing that is up for debate by some, that is the foil head badge used on this frame. In my opinion it isn’t correct. It should have the typical metal head badge, fixed with three rivets. I haven’t seen all 8400 SB frames built at Ilkeston, but the data I have for original frames only list this type of head badge transfer on Time Trial frames. I have seen this foil type used on road frames but they have always been repaints.
On a side note… actual TI-Raleigh team riders bikes for the professional team never seemed to conform to the standard SB numbered bikes and the SB pattern of frame details and transfers. I’ve seen photos of team riders using bikes with this type of foil head badge, I’ve also seen them using the standard rivet type. Those bikes may have been time trial bikes in TI colours or spare bikes. SB numbered time trial bikes were typically not painted in TI-Raleigh colours but team rider bikes were, to fit in with the TI-Raleigh team livery. It is also known that Team riders time trial bikes were often used as back up bikes in road stages if an emergency replacement bike was required. My point here is that I’ve found that Team riders bikes can’t be used to reliably determine SB numbered frame details.
So, as far as I am aware, based on actual surviving SBDU original paint bikes, SB numbered road frames, in this period (pre 1983) would use a standard 3 rivet head badge.
This frame is from 1980. The frame number and frame details are all correct for the period. An RGF BB shell, metric tubes, over size seat stay caps on single taper seat stays and a Campagnolo 1010/B Portacatena rear end, drilled by the SBDU.
It has a lovely mix of Campagnolo Record and Super Record with Suntour Superbe Pro components. Campagnolo is used all the bearings (hubs, headset and BB), while all the parts are Suntour. The Superbe Pro group set was probably one of the most underrated groups of it’s time. Super Record was the group to have (or be seen with) and then Shimano came along a little later. The big mid-1980s battle between the giants of Campagnolo and Shimano soon saw the demise of Suntour.
Clean Superbe brake levers with no scratches are fitted with immaculate and very supple Campagnolo brake lever hoods, matched up to barely used Superbe brake calipers. All the parts are in excellent condition. The only parts that aren’t Suntour or Campagnolo are the Simplex retro-friction gear levers. These gear levers were by far the best gear levers of the period (so long as the springs didn’t give up) – these have excellent springs!
The finishing kit is also the best of the period. A Turbo saddle on top of a 2 bolt Campagnolo seat pin, Cinelli 64-42 handlebars and a Cinelli 1R (Record) stem. The handlebars will be wrapped in original white Benotto tape.
This bike has a feature that I need to add to my SBDU Frame Detail Timeline, it is the first SB numbered road frame I have seen with a Cinelli CC sloping fork crown. Because this is a 753 frame it retains the drilled fork blade stiffening tangs on the inside of each blade. I specifically said ‘Road’ frame, as there are two before this, a Track and Time Trial frame. The Vagner semi sloping crown was normally fitted in this period. My SB4059 has the Vagner crown, but like most things to do with the SBDU, there always seemed to be a period of change before a permanent change in frame design was fully adopted. The Cinelli crown became the ‘norm’ on 753 frames at the beginning of 1981.
The wheels on this bike had Mavic CXP33 rims fitted so I’ve removed those rims from the Campagnolo Record hubs and have some H PLUS SON TB14 rims to replace them. I wanted something that looked period but also wanted the feeling of fresh rims under me when I’m riding this bike. The TB14s are a retro style, hard anodised, box section rim that should look at home on this bike. I’ll use DT Swiss double butted stainless spokes, and some tan wall 23 mm Vittoria Corsa clinchers will finish off the wheels. The Sachs 7-speed freewheel is in good shape and the SRAM chain has next to no wear so will do for now.
The bike came with Cinelli 66-40 bars. They are too deep and long as well as being too narrow for me, so I’ve swapped them for some 64-42. The 64 bend is more compact and shallow, perfect for my reach, and the 42 cm width is a better fit. The bars I’ve used will be finished with some original White Benotto tape.
That just leaves pedals… I don’t know if I should keep period with clips and straps or go clipless… I’ll probably ponder that question while I build the wheels; I seem to ponder lots of bike stuff while building wheels! I’m 80% swayed towards clipless at the moment as I’m not going all out for period correctness on this build.
My project for November is to get SB6398 back together with its 50th Anniversary group so this bike is going to be turned around quickly, I just need a couple of spare days to strip and rebuild it and build the wheels. I seem to have everything I need so that is the plan… it’s always nice to start with a plan…