Did you know I have a “Premier League” of frames within my SBDU collection? I call the lucky ones that make it into this league my ‘Featured Frames’. I have a full list here. The competition is real and it’s always a tough call about what I feature in this list. But I need to draw the line somewhere, and only the very best can make it.
It does mean that lots of exceptional frames don’t make it onto the featured frame list. I still love every single one, they are all wonderful SBDU frames, but the featured frames all have amazing significance or a special story.
My Featured Frames List
GH6175 Featured Frame Number One
Günter Haritz 1975 TI-Raleigh Team Reynolds 531 DB Track Frame
Günter won an Olympic Gold medal and the Amateur World title in the Team Pursuit. He was also a National road champion in 1974. He was exceptional on the track in 6 day racing. This is a TI-Raleigh team frame, built for a rider with those credentials; it has to feature in the featured frames list.
(No Frame Number) Featured Frame Number Two
Jan le Grand Motor Paced Stayer built for TI-Raleigh Team rider René Pijnen
I had to do a lot of investigation work to verify this frame. Undoubtedly built by Jan le Grand. The period of the build and the size of the frame all match with the details of TI-Raleigh team rider René Pijnen, another Olympic Gold medallist. But his speciality was the track and 6 day racing. He is one of the most successful 6 day riders ever. This frame must be on the list, not simply based on it’s builder and rider, but because it’s a Stayer!.
SB632 Featured Frame Number Three
1976 Reynolds 753 Track Frame
A standard SB numbered frame. However, there are two reasons why this frame has made the list. Reason one, it is the earliest known Reynolds 753 SB numbered track frame that I am aware of. That should be reason enough to include the frame in the list. But reason number two would also stand alone… SB632 was once owned by Beryl Burton. I don’t need to say anymore about that. This frame is on the list.
That is the first three frames on the list in date order. Just those three frames are special enough for any collector. But the list goes on…
SB1500 Featured Frame Number Four
1977 Reynolds 753 Time Trial Special
Why is this one featured on the list when I have other 753 Time Trial frames? The reason… SB1500 was displayed by Raleigh at the Harrogate International Festival of Cycling. At least two were built and used, captured here by a photograph in a write up about the show in Cycling.
Gerald O’Donovan gave SB1500 to Ken Evans, the editor of Cycling. I bought it from Ken’s family, a great lineage to be part of. It’s an amazingly light frame, in superb original condition with some lovely details and it easily makes it onto the featured frames list.
SH377T Featured Frame Number Five
Steve Heffernan 1977 Reynolds 753 Track Frame
No SB number on this one, the SH is for Steve Heffernan. Steve won Gold in the Commonwealth games and has a list of successes in junior, amateur and elite National championships. He also had a stage win in the Milk Race pushing the familiar names of Jan Raas and Klaus-Peter Thaler into 3rd and 4th.
Built by Mike Mullett, it also has details clearly influenced by Jan le Grand such as the square and drilled bridges. It has original paint with Carlton Capella lugs picked out in gold. It is a one-off and on the list.
JR178T Featured Frame Number Six
Jan Raas 1978 TI-Raleigh Team Reynolds 531 DB 6 Day Track Frame
I’ve described this frame as a ‘tank’. It is substantial. Built to withstand the stresses of banked track racing and the power of Jan Raas. I’m not going to start describing the palmarès of Jan – his performance, results and career speaks for itself. A beautiful feature of this frame is the modified Carlton Capella lugs. He rode this frame along with the reigning World Road Race Champion Gerrie Knetemann in the 1978 6 day event in London – both wearing the shirts of the World Champion. Raas went on to win the World Road Race championship the following year in 1979.
Here is Raas riding this frame in a picture by John Pierce. You can see the same Carlton Capella lugs picked out with the contrasting yellow colour.
JR178T is an automatic entry in the featured list and will never lose it’s place.
Ok, I’m only six frames into this list and these six frames are absolutely amazing – how on earth can this list get any better? could it get any better? These six are surely the best of the best? But the list goes on…
SB1995 Featured Frame Number Seven
1978 Reynolds 753 Road Frame
I describe this frame as a small piece of the SBDU. There are probably finger prints of the SBDU craftsmen still on the surface of the tubes. It is SBDU fresh. This frame is as it was when it left the SBDU following its renovation at the end of 1982. It remained untouched since then, I haven’t even wiped a cloth over it. The oil on the threads is SBDU oil. The grease in the EDCO headset is SBDU grease. This frame takes ‘special’ to the next level and then some!
I bought the frame from Martin, the author of this book. He ordered SB1995 while he was researching the book in 1978. It was then sent back to Ilkeston for renovation at the end of 1982. He collected it, took it home and placed it high up in a dark cupboard until earlier in 2019 when I bought it. His initials even replace the normal SB number on the fork column.
I only wanted to briefly cover each frame in this post but it is proving really difficult!
SB1995 is well worth a place in the featured frames list – it is in time warp condition. You will probably never see an SBDU frame like this, in SBDU paint, as close to perfect SBDU finish as this. It’s a benchmark frame for SBDU detail and quality. One of the best you will see. 100% deserving of its place on the list.
SB2589 Featured Frame Number Eight
1978 Reynolds 753 Road Frame
Now this is something a little different. A standard period SB numbered Reynolds 753 road frame, but three things make it different and special. First up, it is an original paint frame but in what I would describe as a non-standard shade of green. Secondly, are the special little Raleigh seat stay cap badges. Finally is the story associated with it, described here by the seller, Hilary Stone…
This frame has an interesting history – Gerald O’Donovan had a weekend cottage on the Lincolnshire coast and over the years he supplied his friends who lived in the village with bikes – this was one of them. It has slightly larger clearances than for the standard race frames and has miniature Raleigh badges on each seat stay cap…Hilary Stone
I have other 753 frames similar in style, period and originality, but the story and special details of this frame qualifies it for a special listing.
CP.1.79 Featured Frame Number Nine
Cees Priem 1979 TI-Raleigh Reynolds 753 Road Frame
CP1.79 is a brand new arrival and has moved automatically onto the featured frame list. Any TI-Raleigh team frame is the star of any collection. Cees Priem is the rider with those initials. He rode with Jan Raas prior to Jan’s return to TI-Raleigh in 1978, Cees came with him. While with TI-Raleigh, he was a strong support and domestique to Raas, and finally left with Jan when the TI-Raleigh team ended at the end of 1983. Cees was a Dutch National champion and also winner of a couple of Tour de France stages.
Right, this is getting ridiculous. I’m nine frames into my featured frame list and the standard is outstanding. I thought the first six were amazing, but those last three show I’m still able to add more and more quality to the list. But the featured frame list still goes on…
SB4059 Featured Frame Number Ten
1980 Reynolds 753 Road Frame
There is no link to any team rider with this frame. There is actually no known history with this frame. I like to find out who previous owners were and what history my frames had, but there is nothing with this one. So why is this bike on the list?
SB4059 started the collection. It is responsible for every one of the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve written on the blog so far. It is my only bike built to replicate the TI-Raleigh specification. I don’t normally build replica bikes but this frame is one that I consider to be the figure head of my blog – my site is named after this bike. Gerald O’Donovan had at least two published specifications for the TI-Raleigh team, and SB4059 is built to replicate those specifications in perfect detail.
Each component on SB4059 was either NOS when purchased or in absolute mint unmarked condition. SB4059 follows the ‘Team 80’ specification. The spokes, rims, tubulars, chain, freewheel, pedals, clips, straps, Campagnolo components, saddle, bars, bar tape and stem are all correct. If a component shows a visible date code then it corresponds to 1980. The detail is correct even down to the steel TA cage and Contrex bidon. There is no finer example, in my opinion, of a renovated SBDU Reynolds 753 frame in full Team specification. Even the gear and brake cables are authentic original period Campagnolo.
I will never ride SB4059. I will not sell it and I will never remove it from my featured frames list.
SB4409 Featured Frame Number Eleven
1981 Reynolds 753 Dynaflite (Fillet Brazed Ovoid Tubing)
Just when I think my featured frame list was perfect and could not get any better, up pops SB4409. This frame defines the word ‘Rare’. The story claims that only 25 were made. A Dynaflite is a Reynolds 753 frame, not only built with special ovoid shaped tubes, but also fillet brazed, a highly skilled method of joining 753 tubing.
It demonstrates the skill of the very best SBDU frame builders. Once you’ve got your head around the process of building one of these frames, you can then appreciate the wonderful details and shapes of these tubes. The razor like flat seat stays are outstanding.
SB4409 is another automatic choice for the featured frame list.
SB6398 Featured Frame Number Twelve
1984 Reynolds 753R Road Frame with Super Record 50th Anniversary Group
Imagine, one of the most sought after hand built frames, an SBDU Ilkeston frame, built with one of the most sought after tubing types, Reynolds 753R, fitted with one of the most sought after and limited component groups, Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary.
SB6398 is the bike that combines all of that. An Ilkeston SBDU built Reynolds 753R frame with a Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary group.
An amazing bike with personal significance. This bike is 99% original – I have had to replace the brake lever hoods, bar tape and tyres due to non-recoverable deterioration. Every other aspect of this bike is original, even down to the inner cable ends. SB6398 was built for a member of staff from my former bike shop. His initials, ‘HH’, together with his postcode are stamped alongside the frame number. After only completing approx 1000 miles, it is in perfect condition.
It demands to be on the featured frame list.
I’ve listed twelve frames so far. These have to be some of the very best examples of Raleigh’s Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU). But the list still goes on…
SB6827 Featured Frame Number Thirteen
1984 Reynolds 531c Road Bike
This looks like any other SBDU bike. Some might say that it isn’t even special enough as it is only Reynolds 531c. It isn’t team related, it hasn’t had a racing past. So why does SB6827 feature above so many other frames and get a coveted place on my featured frame list?
Built in 1984, it remains completely unridden.
Two brothers from Denmark had bought this frame, which dates to the latter part of 1984. It took two years to build. Once it was finished they couldn’t bring themselves to ride it. It lived in the lounge before being moved to a guest room. It was bought from them together with another Worksop built Raleigh. Their home and workshop was described as pristine, that is certainly reflected in how they have kept this bike.
All the Campagnolo Super Record parts are later period, dating from mid 1980s onward. The rear derailleur has no PAT stamping and the cranks are marked with an ’11’ in a box, they are fluted and have an engraved logo. The Turbo saddle is dated to 1986. All the cables are original Campagnolo. The rims are clean and the brake blocks and tyres are like new. There is no rub on the inner surfaces of the front derailleur and the saddle looks like it is straight out of the box. The laminated Binda straps are brilliant white and clean and there is also no toe strap rub on the cranks.
If you wanted to buy a brand new SBDU bike today, this is it. That is why it is on the featured list.
SB8790 Featured Frame Number Fourteen
1987 Reynolds 531c Low Profile Time Trial Frame
Moving on to frame number fourteen on the list. Another 531c frame, and remarkably another 531c SBDU frame in unridden condition!
The condition is superb. The only mark is a slight sign of a wheel QR on the frame ends. This bike also has another special little feature. Ordered from the SBDU, it was couriered to it’s owner in Australia, then built but never ridden. It was sent back to the UK in the same Raleigh box when the owner returned to the country. The box is still with this frame.
It is perfect in every single detail and that original Raleigh box is the icing on the cake. It easily makes it onto the list.
SB8868 Featured Frame Number Fifteen
1988 Reynolds 753R Raleigh Banana Road Frame with Dura-Ace 7400/01/02
This bike has lots going for it. It is an original paint SBDU Reynolds 753R Raleigh in Banana colours, I’ve touched up a bit of the paint and replaced some missing transfers. You just don’t see many of these in this type of condition. Next up is the Dura-Ace group. It is used but in superb condition. The components are a perfect match for the age of the frame and combine all the correct parts for 7400, 7401 and 7402 8 Speed Uniglide.
So yes, it is an excellent example of frame and parts, but this bike makes it onto the list for much more of a personal reason.
When I was 17, maybe 18, the Raleigh Banana was the bike I lusted after in my mam’s mail order catalogue. It was the low end 18-23 tubed model with Sachs gearing, but that colour scheme just popped off the page at me. So I bought one with some of my first wages, paying back a couple of quid to my mam every week. Very soon after buying that catalogue bike, I started my bike mechanic career. I started that career at the height of the Dura-Ace revolution, and Dura-Ace 7402 was top of the range.
The banana scheme and the Dura-Ace kit is a perfect combination. It is the bike I always wanted and now I have it. I can’t leave the bike of my dreams off my dream list.
What About The Rest That Didn’t Make the Featured Frames List
Frames such as SB664, an original paint early TT Reynolds 753 with Capella lugs didn’t make the list. SB1861, an original and complete TI-Raleigh bike failed to make it. SB3235 and SB3505, both original paint SB 753 frames in classic blue/black and TI colours did not make it. SB3800 which is a complete Reynolds 753 bike in TI colours, once raced by Joe Waugh and fitted with Suntour Superbe Pro, did not feature. From a total of 40 current frames, only 15 make it onto my featured frames list – that is the strength, depth and quality that exists in my collection.
My featured frame list contains frames built for riders who have previously won Olympic and Commonwealth gold medals. They have won National and World championships. Some riders are considered the best ever. These frames and bikes exhibit not only rare types of tubing, but also the most sought after components. There is even a selection of frames from what many would consider the most successful racing team in history. Some of the featured frames are unridden and remain in perfect SBDU condition. It is incredibly difficult to get onto this list!
Unlike the real Premier League, once a frame or bike makes it into my version, it will never be relegated.