Every new addition gets a good clean and although it was already looking quite good, SH377T still needed a bit of work. Wet oil and grease on the surface of a tube will attract dirt and dust, and that is all that was covering this frame. When a frame is clean I can measure and document it. SH377T is a curious frame and I’ve looked forward to getting to this stage in my process.
This is a track frame and has probably never seen the road or the rain. It has survived 40 years and avoided the dreaded rust. Being stored in a garage means that it has been exposed to some dampness so there are some very small areas of surface rust but nothing that is concerning or in need of any treatment. All the marks and scratches are part of it’s history and they are staying as they are, nothing is being ‘touched up’ or replaced on this frame.
The thick dust gets wiped off and the paint renovator goes on. It’s never going to look like new paint again; all I want to do is scrape off the ingrained dirt covering the frame. Muck builds up in the corners and in the recesses and in the scratches and lug lines – the renovator fluid is a very mild cutting compound, it digs out that muck. The dirt can put a dull mask over the paint and with that layer cleaned and out of the way, whatever vibrancy the paint still has is given a chance to come back through to the top.
That blue colour in the cloth is a reminder that this does cut the paint so I never rub over any delicate transfers – the Reynolds 753 transfer on this frame is like so many other SBDU Reynolds transfers and it is flaking and breaking up, so I wipe up to and around it but never over the top of it, I want to preserve what is left of it. This is a two stage process and although the paint is now clean, it is still a little dull, the second stage polish puts the final shine back.
The black panels with the blue frame is a beautiful colour combination and the cut outs and drillings are accented with the use of the colour gold to match the transfers. The Capella lugs, Vagner crown and RGF BB have all been picked out in gold – even the underside of the top tube lugs have been detailed.
Before refitting the Campagnolo Super Record Track headset, I wanted to compare these pursuit forks to SB632. That frame is another Reynolds 753 pursuit frame and has similar narrow oval fork blades but I couldn’t identify the crown when it arrived.
The red fork crown of SB632 is similar to SH377T, but if it is the same Vagner crown then it has been heavily cut and modified. I can see how the front and side of the red crown could be cut and shaped from the form of the blue crown, but the top of the crown is very different. If that is the same crown then the top has been changed significantly.
The track headset that came in SH377T is in excellent condition so all I need to do is treat it to some new high precision 5/32″ ball bearings (25 balls per race).
The frame and fork has been well prepped by whoever assembled it so there is no need for me to do any facing. A little bit of grease on the top and bottom surface of the tube just helps the press to ease the cups into place. Working on this quality of frame and headset deserves the tools that were made for that job and those parts.
The wheels fitted to SH377T are nothing special and nothing like what this frame would have used back in 1977, but they will help me to measure the frame geometry.
Before I fitted the fork I measured the rake. The rake is 33 mm (the same as SB632). The bottom bracket height came out at a measurement of 275 mm, but as these tyres are on the tall side, I’ll say the height with original tubs could have been between 272 – 275 mm. The unusual thing about this frame is a mistake on the frame size stamp. It is stamped 58.5 cm under the BB but the frame only measures 56.5 cm from the centre of the BB to the top of the seat lug. The weight of the frame is 1799 grams, and that weight brings me nicely onto tubing type…
This is another one of those mysterious Imperial diameter Reynolds 753 frames in the era that 753 was Metric. The Capella lugs, frame weight and 27.2 mm seat pin all point to Imperial diameter tubes.
That is a 1″ top tube and 1 1/8″ seat and down tube. I never find the frame tubes are perfectly round so I always take several readings from different sections of a tube and work on a average. Those Imperial tubing diameters explain the frame weight. If this was a Metric tubed 753 frame I would expect a frame weight of approx 1650 grams. The Imperial tubing used in SH377T is similar to what would later be released by Reynolds in 1982 as 753R. 1799 grams is a good weight for a 753R frame.
Here is a summary of the frame geometry…
So why was SH377T built with this particular type of tubing?
Well, this is only my opinion, but it is an excellent example of the SBDU tailoring the tubing to the rider and discipline. Metric 753 is very light and you would think it would be perfect for this type of pursuit frame, and indeed, it is Metric tubing that was used on SB632. But that was a small frame with a different rider. SH377T was built for a large powerful rider, so while you want to keep frame weight to a minimum, you have to balance that weight with frame stiffness – this type of Imperial diameter 753 is perfect!
You might think 1799 grams is heavy for a 753 frame, but if you compare that to a Reynolds 531 double butted track frame of the same era then there is still a huge weight saving. GH6175 and JR178T are both normal track frames built with Reynolds 531 double butted tubing.
GH6175 on the left and JR178T on the right, the two frames give an average weight of 2300 grams. SH377T is much lighter, 500 grams lighter… just over a pound lighter for the frame. The combined frame and fork on SH377T is approx 700 grams lighter than the same 531DB track frame and fork.
The SBDU have succeeded in building a much lighter track frame using Imperial Reynolds 753 to suit the discipline while retaining tube stiffness to suit the rider. They have also chosen and modified the frame components and paint to make this frame stand out.
SH377T has cleaned up beautifully, it is gorgeous, the paint is shining, the gold detailing is amazing and that Super Record Track headset is smooth once again.