The Easter weekend has given me some free time so I decided to work on a couple of projects. SB4409 was the first frame to get some attention. It’s been sitting in the workshop for a few weeks while I continue to look at the amazing profile of these unique 753 oval tubes. The colour has grown on me too and it is now time to return the transfer scheme back to original.
As a reminder, here are some of the rare details of this frame…
The colour had been nagging me for some time, I was sure I had seen it before, and then it appeared in an image on the internet… it is very similar to Carlton’s ‘Lagoon Blue’ and I’m wondering if this colour was chosen because of the SBDU heritage and links to Carlton.
Anyway, whatever the story is behind the paint, it is staying. I like it and it’s a really good finish too!
With the paint colour decided, that just left transfers. I’ve used H Lloyd Cycles before for a few restorations and they have been great. My 753 Raleigh Banana SB8868 is finished in a full set of their transfers. I contacted Steve at H Lloyds on the Thursday afternoon before Good Friday and he had a ‘Special’ top tube transfer made up, on the website and the order in the post that afternoon.
But before I could fit the replacements, I needed to remove the old transfers. My favourite technique is a hair dryer and nail varnish removing wipes (containing Acetone). Normally, before I start working with transfers, I would record and measure all the locations, but I’m not doing that on this frame as the current transfers are all wrong, SB4409 will not be returning to this layout.
The heat from the hair dryer takes care of the Reynolds transfers and the acetone wipes eat away at the others. It does leave a faint trace of transfer behind but the next stage will remove that.
The acetone will slightly dull the paint but the paint restorer is a cutting compound and takes off any type of surface dirt and grease and the remains of the transfers. The cut isn’t too aggressive, you can just about make out some blue on the cloth, but it is enough of a cut to remove any remnants of old transfer. I finish everything with a good polishing cloth and the paint shines! The frame paint is now spotless and free from any grease or dirt – perfect for fitting transfers.
I have a lot of original SBDU frames in my collection and it is great for getting the little details correct. The original forks at the top of the image both place the fork blade transfer in the same location. So that gets transferred to the current fork blade and marked with tape. Once one blade is done, the tape is used to transfer the line over to the other blade.
A lot of what I do to place transfers is done by eye. I work with a frame held in a stand by the bottom bracket, in the centre of the workshop so I can walk around the entire frame and every tube is accessible. Standing directly in front of the frame, the head badge is placed right in the middle of the head tube. Next up was the 753 frame transfer. If this frame had a seat lug then this task would be easy as the SBDU were usually spot on every time with the placement of the Reynolds frame transfer under the point of the lug. But this frame has no lugs, so I took a measurement from SB2692, a 753 Time Trial frame that has the faintest outline of the original transfer.
Again, having original frames to work from for reference is a real bonus. Locating the seat tube badge and down tube transfer locations is easily done and transferred from old to new and then marked with tape.
The 753 Time Trial Special has that wording displayed as ‘script’ across the top tube, but the Dynaflite was an SBDU ‘Special’ – it just had “Special”, so I don’t have a reference point for that, other than the Raleigh catalogue below, which seems to place it about an 1 3/4″ behind the cable stop.
This image also shows the TI logo that is normally on the front of the seat tube, just up from the bottom bracket, should be placed on the side of the seat tube (because of the oval tubing).
An SBDU Ilkeston frame of this era wouldn’t be complete without the famous Raleigh “Specialist Bicycle Developments – Ilkeston” chain stay transfers.
The pristine condition of the paint combined with the fresh set of transfers has transformed SB4409 back to it’s former perfection.
I’ll give the transfers a little while to sit and settle on the frame and then give them a covering of clear coat to seal and protect them. This frame is so special, it definitely deserves a trip to the studio so I can capture all of the unique details while it is in this stunning condition.