This was a quick decision, a moment of thought before pressing the button. It was a lovely Raleigh SBDU track bike. I knew this bike before seeing it for sale online. I saw details and images of it last year, so when it appeared, I recognised it straight away and knew a little about it. Watching the clock tick down to the last 20 seconds, I entered a bid… and I won!
Why did I buy SB8850?
So why did I ultimately decide to go for this bike, and how does it fit into the collection? This is SB8850. I’ve quickly thrown it together out of the box to take some images while I had some daylight.
There are four ‘Reynolds tubing type’ track frames that I’m looking to add to my collection. I already have early Reynolds 531DB frames with GH6175 and JR178T. There are also two early Reynolds 753 frames, SB632 and SH377T. So I’ve been keeping an eye out for a later 531c and 753R/T frame. This is Reynolds 531c so fits my search.
SB8850 expands my collection of track frames into the realms of SBDU Nottingham. From my own research, this is several hundred frames after the relocation from Ilkeston to Nottingham. I’ve been moving my collection into areas outside of Ilkeston and have already made that leap with Road and Lo Pro frames.
As silly as this sounds, I like that I also have SB8851 – yep, one frame number away. I like little things like that. I already have two Randonneur frames only three numbers apart, SB7657 and SB7660. But to have two frames one number apart is a nice touch, a small thing, but nice to have.
It’s claimed to be original paint. So far, I 90% believe that claim but need to check a few things – I never simply assume what I’m told is correct and like to see for myself. However, there is a good chance that the paint is original and that originality is a key focus for my collection. An original paint bike tops everything for me.
It’s not too bad. You expect this type of bike to have scars and knocks, and this bike doesn’t disappoint. Many of the transfers are ok, some are faded and some are scuffed. But there is no mistaking what this is, the 1985+ team colour scheme is clear to see.
A few rust spots here and there, a good amount of scratches, but absolutely nothing I’d touch up or consider repainting. The Prugnat 62D lugs and Fischer fork crown are so clearly well defined under that beautiful blue paint.
It’s a Raleigh SBDU track bike, but like many other later Ilkeston and Nottingham track frames, SB8850 is fitted with Shimano track ends instead of the more well known Campagnolo 1053 track ends. This frame is also built with single taper seat stays rather than the double taper design seen on others. That larger 16mm single taper section at the top of the stay really enhances and increases the size of the seat stay cap.
Although it is showing the signs of use, it isn’t damaged, there are no dents or cracks – it is solid. It also has an intact seat stay bridge and fork crown, neither have been drilled for a brake.
Overall First Impressions
One thing the seller got wrong in their description was the frame size. They listed it as a 22.5″ centre to centre – it is actually an SBDU size 56.5cm (21.5″ centre to centre). It’s not too bad though, it’s on the lower limit of what I can ride so it’s all good. The paint and transfers are staying as they are – there is no need to change anything. This is a usable and ride-able bike.
I’ll cover the parts fitted to SB8850 in another blog post when I take this bike apart. I want to change several items but the overall ‘used’ condition of the frame means that I don’t have to break the bank looking for replacement items in great or mint condition – good ‘used’ condition parts will be perfect for this bike.
I love the simplicity of the Raleigh SBDU track bike. Like all other SBDU frame types, these are simple yet beautiful. There is no flair or flourish, there is no need for any of that. Everything on this bike is considered and meets the demands of the job it has to do.
Well, if you read my posts regularly, you’ll expect to see a stripdown post coming up. I’ll be check the condition of the parts and forks as they come off the frame. That will be followed by a post measuring and documenting the geometry of this frame, I do like to get the geometry of these frames recorded and shared.
As an impulse buy, I couldn’t be happier!