I haven’t written many ‘New Arrival’ posts this year after slowing down my collecting habit and being a bit more picky, so it really is nice to get a new frame on the workbench. An astute eBay bid, a couple of messages followed by a few hours drive and SB8200 was in my hands. This new frame is from 1986, making it a late Ilkeston built frame that appears to follow the spec of the SBDU Randonneur.
Now you might look at this frame and then wonder to yourself why I’ve bought this if I’ve said I’m really trying to be picky? Yes, it is tired looking, it has some areas of corrosion and the paint scheme won’t appeal to some, but it really does have its plus points, believe me!
I already have two SBDU Randonneurs, SB7657 and SB7660. They are only three frames apart in production, probably built the same week or even the same day, towards the end of 1985.
SB7657 is built from Reynolds 753R and SB7660 is a 531c model. They are both very similar and come with the long Campagnolo 1010 ends with double eyelets and both are built for caliper brakes and clearance for mudguards. I can easily fit a 25mm tyre in both frames and can even squeeze in a 28mm tyre but the horizontal frame ends make if difficult to get a 28mm tyre in and out.
I always felt that vertical frame ends would have been a much better idea on this type of frame as that type of end takes away the issue of having to slide a large tyre forward to remove it – when you slide the rear wheel forward the larger tyre can foul the mudguard or even the back of the seat tube if guards aren’t fitted.
A plus point of SB8200 is that it is fitted with Shimano SFR vertical frame ends making rear wheel removal so much easier…
The other notable difference on SB8200 is the use of Mafac style brake pivots for cantilever brakes. Both of the other frames are built for calipers and it can get a bit busy and tight for space when you combine brake calipers with mudguards and larger tyres. These pivots may have had a smaller additional hole drilled above the main spring hole which was probably done to add tension to the cantilever spring.
The Randonneur model was well defined in the 1986 brochure…
Here are some of the frame details of SB8200 – these include the Mafac type brake pivots, Prugnat 62D lugs, Cinelli SCA fork crown, Shimano SFR fork ends and sockets for Jim Blackburn type rear carriers.
The frame and fork share matching numbers and the size is 56.5cm – this is just a smidgen under my normal size of 57cm.
So why did I buy this frame if I’m being more picky? There are actually a few reasons that fit my criteria…
- I seek out interesting and different SBDU frames – this one is different to the norm
- Apart from my Cyclo Cross specific frame I don’t have another cantilever model
- It fills the gap I have for a 1986 frame in my collection
- It meets the plan I have in my head for a cantilever brake style touring frame
It’s good to finally get a frame to plug that 1986 gap, and it’s a bonus that it is a usable frame in my size range that is different to the norm and suits a build I want to do in the future…
And added to those reasons, it was only £133 – yes, only £133 for an SBDU 531c frameset, you can’t pass on a frame of this quality and pedigree for that price. Steel is normally really solid and takes a lot to damage and paint is just cosmetic. But that corrosion does need some investigation and clearly the frame needs to be worked on and repainted which means I’m happy to attack it with a wire brush to remove some paint in certain areas to see how those steel tubes are really doing.
It only takes a couple of minutes with some files to see a huge improvement. When you can see a big change after just a little work, it proves the hunch on this frame was right. It was £133 well spent on a solid SBDU 531c frame. Here is the patchy looking head tube.
… and a rusty lower head lug…
…and the top tube…
The fork is in excellent condition, just some chips and scratches…
I do want to carry out a few slight modifications to this frame. The brake cable stops on the top tube are probably past their best, corroded almost to the point that they might snap, so I’m going to replace them with standard slotted cable stops (I might also do the chain stay gear cable stop so that they all match).
I’m also going to replace the seat stay bridge; the bridge on SB8200 has been a bit mashed after a brake caliper was bolted to it. The new bridge won’t have a drilled hole, it will be a straight plain tube but I will fit a small threaded boss underneath for the attachment of mudguards, similar to my own frame build. I’ll either clean up and use the existing chain stay bridge of replace it – I also want to add the same threaded boss to attach the bottom of the guard to that bridge too.
So the plan is for a media blast to remove paint, do my modifications, clean up the tubes and then paint. I like the existing shade of blue so I’ll probably copy that and then fit the block RALEIGH style transfers seen on SB7660.
One of the features that shows across my range of Randonneur frames is the side attached seat stays and threaded bosses fitted into the seat stays for pannier rack attachment. This style of seat stay arrangement allows clearance for mudguards.
SB8200 is an excellent addition to my small SBDU Randonneur collection together with SB7657 and SB7660.
SB8200 is a very good frame and a worthy addition to my collection.