I take all my new bikes apart! It’s what I do. There will always be a ‘Strip down’ blog post.
I don’t want to be riding someone else’s problems. Every nut and bolt gets separated and checked and greased and re-assembled. It means that when I ride a bike, I already know all about it and any issues it might have, I don’t want any hidden gremlins spoiling the ride.
SB3800 came as a complete bike. I wheeled it away from the previous owner. I could have swung a leg over the saddle and rode it. But do I really want my first experience of a new 753 bike to be about squealing brakes, clattering chains and creaking cranks? No, I would rather that my first ride of a new 753 bike was a smooth and quiet experience, where I could judge the quality of the ride rather than spending the ride compiling a to-do list of repairs in my head.
This front brake bolt is exactly why I do the strip down. The rear bolt came out with a bit of a struggle but there was no way the front was coming out without a fight. Corroded and seized, the head rounded when I put pressure on the allen key. The aim when this happens is to sacrifice the bolt and save the part.
Job done! bolt removed, caliper saved.
Thankfully, the rest of the bike came apart ok. The BB and headset will need a re-grease and so do the hubs. Having the frame and fork apart will allow me to treat a few hard to get at rust spots, treat the inside of the tubes with framesaver, fix a couple of transfers and give the frame a cut and wax before building it back up.
One of the first things I noticed about this frame was the seat pin size, it is 26.8 mm – all the other metric 753 frames I have that are 57 cm or less have a 27.0 mm seat pin. I could write a paragraph here about seat pin size but instead, I wrote a separate blog post about it… have a look here… SBDU Ilkeston Metric Reynolds 753 Seat Pin Size – The Truth.
The 26.8 mm seat pin indicates that this is 803 gauge tubing – this means a slightly heavier frame. SB4059 which is the same size frame but made of the lighter 801 gauge is 1645 grams.
As I thought, just a little heavier at 1739 grams but still well within the Reynolds 753 range.
The all important frame number, SB3800, dating this frame to 1980.
The BB would have had two slots milled into the bottom when it was original. The additional brazed guides are another indication of the repaint this frame had in the mid 1980s.
Here is the corresponding frame number ‘3800’ stamped on the column. The External Cinelli CC Sloping fork crown is the earliest I have seen on an SBDU road frame. There is one earlier Track and one earlier Time Trial Frame with this crown but this is the earliest road fork to date. The typical crown for 753 road frames in this period was the Vagner Semi Sloping External crown. 753 frames with either the Cinelli or Vagner external crowns generally had the stiffening tangs fitted to the inner blade. The SBDU moved to the Cinelli SC or SCA Internal Sloping fork crowns in early 1981 and the tangs were no longer used.
The frame details are beautiful as you would expect on this vintage SBDU. An RGF BB shell, drilled Campagnolo 1010/B Portacatena rear ends, Prugnat 62D head lugs and oversize seat stay caps on the single taper seat stays. Not long after this, maybe mid 1981, the SBDU moved to Cinelli BB shells on the metric tubed 753 frames.
The frame is now stripped and ready to clean. New H Plus Son TB14 rims are ready to build and ball bearings, grease and cables are waiting in the workshop. Once it is built, I’ll ride it down to a local bike shop where the shop owner will hopefully have a few answers to my questions on this bike’s history!