A lot has happened since this bike last graced my workstand. I’ve just checked through my posts and I last mentioned it in July 2017. Lots of frames have come since then and life itself has generally been busy, so SB1861 was moved to a spare room to wait patiently for another time.
Because it’s been so long since I did anything to SB1861, this post is a refresher because even I’ve forgotten exactly where I got to with this build.
SB1861 dates to late 1977. The frame was ordered as a custom build but the original customer never fulfilled the order and never collected it, so the shop simply sold the frame on to someone else and that ended up being the person I would eventually buy it from 40 years later. The shop helped him with the spec and built the bike to what you see below. He confirmed it’s history, story and originality.
It is completely original and my main objective is to preserve it, to clean it and to make it work as it should. I want to do that by keeping as much of the original kit as I can. But clearly after assessing it, some of it can’t be saved. The tubulars and spokes are too far gone, the brake lever hoods are disintegrated and the cables have seized. After a first appraisal everything else appeared to be ok.
So far a good clean and polish with my trusty paint products has made the frame shine. You can see a massive difference in the before and after pictures below. Sometimes frames get so dirty it prevents the actual quality and colour of the paint from being seen until the dirt is lifted away.
The bike came apart surprisingly well with only one problem, a seized end adjuster.
I have several spare and original end adjusters so there is always one handy. The original seat lug bolt and bottle boss bolts only needed a clean, chromed bolts like these scrub up with a wire brush..
I was amazed at how well the Shimano 600 group responded to some TLC.
The frame is now clean. I’ve not replaced any transfers or touched up any paint. Most of the original parts are cleaned and have been re-fitted, including the original Campagnolo Record headset, Shimano 600 BB and hubs. The derailleurs, brake calipers (fitted with new blocks), cassette and chain are all original. The bar, stem and brake levers (minus hoods) are also original and fitted in place. The original top tube brake cable clips are clean and ready to be reused.
I then took the saddle off the seat pin to give it a clean… the saddle sadly joined the pile of parts I couldn’t re-use. It has aluminium rails and one rail has simply disappeared – this significant damage had been initially hidden by the seat pin clamp.
I want to do as little as possible to this bike, I want to keep the age and condition, I don’t want to lose the used appearance, so I have to be careful with the replacement parts I use. If I was to use later period parts or parts that are ‘less used’ they will stand out and look wrong.
I have another saddle from a mid 70s bike that has the ‘used’ look but still usable without any splits of scuffs so it is a good replacement. The Milremo will be fitted, it is a good fit for size, width and style.
The hubs have already cleaned up well and the rims only needed a wipe to remove the cobwebs. Some stainless spokes will replace the rusted chrome. Replacing chrome spokes with stainless was such a common wheel job in the workshop in the 80s and 90s. Stainless definately don’t have the gleaming look of chrome but they last and only need an occasional wipe.
The final items are the cables and bar tape. Cables are easy, I just fit new black outer and new inners on builds like this. Once they are fitted they will have the appearance I need. I don’t tend to bother with period cables unless I’ve rebuilt a bike with a full period groupset, then I’ll try and match the cables. I just need this bike to work and as I can’t use the originals, modern cables are ok.
Bar tape does have to match the period though – I could never fit Cork or even the Bike Ribbon I like so much to this bike. The Benotto tape that was originally fitted is beyond any attempt to re-use it. So maybe some replacement Benotto or black cloth?
In the next few weeks I should get the wheels built – that is the only significant task needed to complete this build and get SB1861 added to the set of completed bikes.
Here’s a little refresher about the details of SB1861, a 1977 SBDU Reynolds 531 butted TI-Raleigh frame
SB1861 is probably what many will consider to be a classic looking TI-Raleigh bike. Unlike SB518 which dates to early 1976, this frame is almost two years further down the road of SBDU production. It can be dated to the end of 1977.
Although it is a later frame, some features are similar to the earlier 531 SB frames…
- The frame ends are still the long type Campagnolo 1010/A
- The tubing is still Reynolds 531 butted
- The transfer detail is 99% the same as 75/76 frames – SB1861 differs because it is from a small batch of a few hundred frames that used a transfer to create the yellow seat tube panels. Apart from that small detail, the transfer positioning and style are the same
SB1861 is one of the last TI-Raleigh frames to use ‘TEAM RALEIGH” along the top tube with “RALEIGH” on the down tube. The change of respective transfers to “TEAM” and “TI-RALEIGH” defines part of my current timeline boundary between 1977 and 1978.
If those features are the same, what is different on SB1861 compared to those earlier examples like SB518…
- It has oversize seat stay caps. At this time SB 531 frames shared this feature with SB 753 frames – they no longer used the scalloped style of seat stay plug
- Prugnat S4 lugs. Another feature shared with SB 753 frames in this period – 531 frames no longer used a plain lug
- An external semi sloping fork crown. Another 531/753 shared feature. There are some earlier 1976 SB 531 examples using a semi sloping crown, but by 1977 is was the norm
- The wide oval fork blade. Another 531/753 shared feature
During 77/78 and even 1979, SB numbered 531 and 753 frames were very similar, sharing many features as you can see from that short list above. The main difference at this time between the two types of road frame was the fork ends – they were long 1010/A on 531 and short drilled 1010/B on 753. There were other differences, but as a quick way to differentiate these frames, the frame ends are a very good guide.
Frame designs and differences between 531 and 753 would change again later towards the end of 1979/1980 but all of that is for another post.