Back at the beginning of May, I had a weekend of frame repairs! SB4409 had new transfers and a bit of clear coat, while SB6560 had new gear lever bosses brazed into place. Before I tidied up and put the files away, I thought I’d squeeze in one more project; SB632. This is a special little frame that has had a modification at some point in its life to add a gear hanger and increase the thickness of the rear track ends to accommodate road wheels and gearing. This is the first step to restoring SB632 back to how it was originally.

There will be several sections in the restoration of this frame. The brake bridge needs to be dealt with together with the hole drilled in the fork crown. The crimped seat stay ends also need work. Once all the frame work is done, it will need some areas of paint and finally some new transfers… but first, those track ends…

As a reminder, here is what I found when I bought this frame…

I couldn’t tell if the hanger had been welded or brazed into place. Whichever way it was done, there didn’t seem to be much effort put into cleaning up the area before painting as there is lots of splatter and rough areas. The seat stay appears to have been hit with a cold chisel to create the indentation.

SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Frame How It Was
SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Frame How It Was

Four things had to happen to restore these ends.

  • The hanger and the excess brass needed to come off
  • The metal strips used to widen the ends had to be removed
  • The holes that were originally drilled by the SBDU needed to be re-drilled
  • The damage to the drive side seat stay which allowed clearance for a block and chain had to be repaired

Starting with the first item, removing the hanger. There is nothing needed other than a hacksaw and the ability to cut in a straight line. I just needed to make sure I didn’t cut too far into the end and just cut the hanger, while leaving enough metal so I could reform the edge with a file. This is how it looked after the hanger was removed and I did a very quick clean up with the files. It’s not pretty but it’s a start.

SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame Hanger Chopped Off
SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame Hanger Chopped Off

The track ends are very thin so I needed to be careful removing the extra metal that had been brazed to each side. I opted to use a hand file rather than anything electrical as the hand file is easier to control and less likely to grind into the already thin metal. As the extra metal came away, I started to see tell tale signs of the original SBDU drilling.

SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame Starting to Reveal The Drilling
SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame Starting to Reveal The Drilling

These ends needed a lot of filing, and the danger was that I might remove the clean crisp sharp edges, so it was all about taking it easy – it definately gave me plenty of practice with the files.

SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame File By Hand
SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame File By Hand

And that practice was paying dividends…

SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame Trying to Keep Good Clean Flat Edges
SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame Trying to Keep Good Clean Flat Edges

The first bit of work to clean up the drive side end was nearly done. All I had to do was follow the ‘template’ left by the brass and re-drill the holes – it didn’t take much to pop a drill bit through them and let daylight come through for the first time in many years!

SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame Drilled and Ready for Final File and Clean
SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame Drilled and Ready for Final File and Clean

I’ll leave that for now and come back to it when both ends are ready to be finished. So moving onto the non drive side. This end still had a lot of work to do but at least there is no gear hanger to deal with.

SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame Starting Non Drive Side
SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame Starting Non Drive Side

Again, the slow and steady work with the file was revealing the original SBDU drilling – it was even starting to reveal the original marks where the track nuts would have been fastened, leaving a permanent mark in the metal. The small circular brass ‘template’ markings identified where I needed to drill.

SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame Non Drive Side Drilled
SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame Non Drive Side Drilled

The only option to fix the drive side chain and seat stay damage was to fill them and re-shape the round tube profile. I wanted to avoid heat at all costs! This is how they were when I got the frame – I’m sure they had just been hit with a cold chisel to form that crease in the seat stay. The chain stay appears to have been ground down with a power file.

SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Ends Modified Drive Side Stays
SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Ends Modified Drive Side Stays

But after lots of work and sanding, the seat and chain stay ends now looked so much better…

SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Ends Stay Repair
SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Ends Stay Repair

There is still a bit of finishing work to do to the shape of the stay ends but I’ll incorporate all of that when the frame is ready for prepping and paint.

The drive side rear end of SB632 once looked very sad, a poorly brazed gear hanger, damage and splatter to the paint and some horrible steel brazed to the inner and outer surfaces to widen them. This work also covered up the original SBDU track end drilling…

SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Ends Modified
SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Ends Modified

After a lot of work, it is almost done and back to how it should be… the hanger is gone, the extra metal is gone, the damaged paint is gone and the holes are back!

SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Ends Repair
SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Ends Repair

The frame work on SB632 still isn’t complete. I need to decide what I am going to do with the rear brake bridge.

SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Frame Rear Seat Stay Bridge
SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Frame Rear Seat Stay Bridge

Do I leave it as it is or do I remove it and fit a plain round bridge suitable for a Track frame? I think I’ll have a ponder while I work on something else!

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About the Author Neil McGowran

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

3 comments

    1. Hi Shane, thanks for the comments and thanks for reading all my ramblings.

      I’ve worked with silver solder before but would never call myself skilled with 753. If this frame had been built with 531 then I would have used brass on the seat stay as it has a crease that could be filled easily and the ‘flat’ on the chain stay could have been built up with brass and both could have been reshaped without affecting the metal or metal qualities.

      This frame is different as it is 753 and I didn’t want to use any heat – clearly I couldn’t use brass as the heat required is too much. Silver is also very free flowing and you cannot really use it to build up a suitable fill. Silver is great at filling a join between a tube and a lug but difficult to build up a fillet. There are different silvers available which are less free flowing and which can be built up, but repairing this damage with silver would have required a great deal of skill.

      If this damage had been in the centre of a tube then I would have used other physical methods to remove the dent/damage.

      This damage is purely cosmetic – the track end joint at the end of the stays is still good and solid, it just looked poor. I could have left it as it was as it is part of this frame’s story, but I decided simply for cosmetic reasons to sort it. I’ve used a 2 part epoxy compound, which once it is hardened, I’ve shaped to match the round profile of the stays.

      Cheers
      Neil

  1. Hi,

    I am not good with computers, and only recently signed up on face book. This (frame’s) history caught my attention as am currently reading the book “Personal Best” , by Beryl Burton.

    Have a 1977 SBDU #1181 (original gold colour) that is 1 of 2 absolute favorite bikes to ride, (out of a collection of 12 vintage Campy equipped bikes).
    Just a year ago, found/purchased a 1st year SBDU #107 (red colour “Team” with the painted yellow and black seat-tube panel). Interesting that this early SBDU has a full-sloping fork-crown, same as my 1973 mink-blue Raleigh Pro.

    If this email does “work” , I will send another with attached photo’s of the 2 SBDU’s. Will be dismantling the 74 SBDU to ready for Joel Bell to paint.

    Enjoyed, very much, reading about your work on Beryl’s 753 built track bike (and reader’s comments/question regarding your work),

    Thank you,
    Phillip

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