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1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 – New Arrival – Home From America

1974 SBDU SB9

1974 Raleigh SBDU frames, there aren’t too many, believed to be no more than 50. My thoughts on the use of the word ‘Rare’ are documented in my blog, I think it is used too much to incorrectly describe common SBDU frames. But just like my 753 Dynaflite, I think SB9 rightly deserves it. This is one of the most rare SBDU frames, a single digit SB frame number.

Another Email Dropped into my Inbox

First contact Friday 8 May 2020

I’ve had some amazing contact over the years with offers of bikes and frames. However, sometimes these emails aren’t offering anything, they contain stories about bikes that capture their history perfectly. Bill wasn’t offering me his bike directly, he wanted to pass it to another caretaker but wasn’t sure of how to do that. Bill’s email was 308 words long and the first 229 were a recap of how he came to own it via his old college room mate and that mate’s brother’s bike shop. I love to hear the history and to know as much as I can about these bikes.

Then almost at the end of the email, Bill dropped in the frame number of his bike…

My bike is a Raleigh Team Professional SB9

Yep, that had me hooked. SB9 isn’t a ‘find’, it has been known in the SB world for some time, but neither the bike or it’s owner have been very public, so I’ve only ever seen images. I am always honest with people that get in touch with me and even though Bill’s email came in just before midnight, I replied straight away.

I have to be honest with you Bill, I would really like to take care of SB9 if you were serious about passing it on to it’s next steward.

Second Email – Bill’s reply Saturday 9 May 2020

He agreed and he offered a price but asked if I would take care of packaging and shipping. He also included an image of the bike.

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Image from Bill
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Image from Bill

I could see the changes Bill had described, the saddle, rims and tyres. However, the bike looked in remarkable condition in that image, looking at the chrome, the paint quality and the unbroken transfers.

Then he followed up with another email containing an old thread of correspondence with his old college room mate. I loved it, loads of interesting information, lots of talk about bikes, the bike shop and racing teams.

By the 12th May it was at a local bike shop to Bill in Michigan, ready to be packed. It would be ready by the end of the week.

Sunday 17 May 2020 – Bike was boxed and ready

I picked up the packed bike today.  The young man who packed it said he got an education about the bike as he was about to pack it.  The shop owner saw it and said to him ‘Do you know what that is?’ and proceeded to tell him the story about Raleigh Team Pro’s.  I guess the owner was pretty excited to have one in his shop and enjoyed greatly looking it over.  The young man was fascinated by the history and shared with me that he could feel the precision and quality in the fasteners as he disassembled for packaging. 

I used his box dimensions and box weight to book a shipping company – they would pick it up from him the following day. Bill got paid for the bike and the work done to package the bike. I emailed him the shipping documents to attach to the box and then sat back to nervously wait for SB9.

Bill and I definately enjoyed this little exchange of emails and also the exchange of ownership. It really is a case of passing from one caretaker to the next.

He emailed the following day to let me know the bike had been collected!

SB9 was back in the UK

Wednesday 20th May 2020

I received a phone call from the courier while I was at work, just after 10AM. It was the delivery driver saying that he had dropped of my package. It was here!

SB9 Arrived
SB9 Arrived

From early Monday, to Early Wednesday, SB9 had travelled from the US to the UK. It went through 2 sets of customs and was delivered and waiting for me to finish work. I finished early!

Opening the box

Looking back, I got a couple of facts wrong in the video, but the excitement was too much.

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First Images

Although the light was fading by the time I had created and uploaded my video to my YouTube channel, I couldn’t resist taking some images.

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Frame Number
Frame Number SB9
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Transfers
Raleigh SBDU SB9 Transfers
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Super Record Components
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Super Record Components
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Super Record Rear Derailleur
Super Record Rear Derailleur

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 – A Closer Look

Some Unique Detail

As you can imagine, access to single digit SB frames is limited. So SB9 provides an opportunity to observe and document if and how they might differ to other later SB numbered bikes. There is no definitive pattern on early frames – there simply aren’t enough. We already know that frame number stampings are in different orientations on early frames, and as far as we know, each frame could be different in other ways.

We already know that the transfers and scheme differ between single digit frames and those frames in the ‘teens’. The next original SB frames are SB15 and SB19, and they have a different style of transfer and different wording. SB10 and SB14 are known but are repaints. The transfer style on SB9 has no black outline and has a wider centre line.

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Top Tube Transfer
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Top Tube Transfer

The transfer wording is ‘TEAM’. This changed at some point between SB9 and SB15, when the style and wording was changed. The black outline appeared and the wording changed to ‘TEAM RALEIGH’. Here is SB1861 as an example.

SB1861 Reynolds 531 1977 SBDU Ilkeston Road Bike
SB1861 Reynolds 531 1977 SBDU Ilkeston Road Bike

Two other small features that differ between SB9 and SB14 are the finish to the bottom of the seat tube/seat pin slot, and the bottle boss.

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Small Frame Detail
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Small Frame Detail

SB14 has the typical reinforcement washer at the bottom of the slot. These reinforcements do occasionally break away. However, as you can see on SB9, there is no evidence that this frame was reinforced, the paint is intact and no damage is visible; this feature is original.

The bottle boss is also different to SB14. SB9 has a simple circular boss. SB14 has what some describe as a gear lever boss, a circular fitting with a square base similar in style to what you would see with a gear lever fitting.

So within these 5 frames, the design changed. The SBDU were already evolving frames, I’d love to know the reasoning for these subtle changes so early on.

Super Record Components and Dating

Date Markings

There is nothing conclusively known about how or why, or in what state of build these early frames were supplied. Or why they appear so frequently in the US. Everything discussed is an assumption. Why have all the known 1974 frames appeared in the US (SB50 is in South Africa)? Were these supplied as complete bikes? Were they supplied as frames? What components, if any were supplied with them? These questions cannot be answered factually, they can be discussed, and people can have an opinion, but there can never be a conclusive argument that solves the mystery of these early bikes. Individual bikes could have a known history but that cannot be applied to each frame number.

SB9, has as far as I believe, the original intact Campagnolo Super Record components. It was raced by a team called the South Chicago Wheelmen. Then sold to Bill through DIno’s Raleigh shop in Chicago Heights Illinois. During Bill’s ownership, he has not removed or changed any of the Campagnolo components. So there is only that short period before his ownership that remains unknown.

Some Campagnolo components are date stamped. The rear derailleur, crank arms and hub lock nuts are coded.

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Super Record Date Codes
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Super Record Date Codes

The rear derailleur is marked ‘PATENT-73′, the lock nut is stamped ’74’ and the crank arm has a 4 inside a diamond which is ‘1974’.

Early Campagnolo Features

Other components can be identified as ‘early’ by markings or design features.

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Early Campagnolo Features
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Early Campagnolo Features

Fittings and Transfers

Chrome Fastenings

The early frames didn’t have the additional strengthening and threading in the seat lug. SB9 uses a Campagnolo seat bolt. This frame also has no brazed on guides for the gear cables at the bottom bracket or top tube brake cable guides/stops.

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Chrome Fastenings and Clips
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Chrome Fastenings and Clips

Early TI Scheme Transfers

The transfers on SB9 are in amazing condition and highlight everything I documented in my blog post about the 1974 – 1983 TI-Raleigh Paint and Transfer Scheme. The frame correctly displays the ‘Campagnolo’ oval transfer on the down tube and the ‘Race Proved’ transfer at the base of the seat tube.

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Early Transfers
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Early Transfers

The SBDU had no regular pattern with the use of the Reynolds 531 transfer on early frames. They occasionally used this transfer with or without the name box at the bottom of the transfer. SB9 has the name box version correctly showing ‘Reynolds Tube’ rather than ‘TI-Reynolds’. SB9 also has the early style circular TI transfer on the fork blade.

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Early Transfers Frame and Fork
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Early Transfers Frame and Fork

Seat Tube Bands and SBDU Oval

There are no SBDU ovals on the chain stays – this is correct.

SB9 also correctly has no black and white bands separating the black centre section and the upper/lower yellow sections.

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Seat Tube Transfers
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Seat Tube Transfers

Paint and Chrome

There is often some debate about a possible earlier type/shade of Red on the Ti scheme. Some believe that the early frames had a slightly lighter, more orange hue to the colour. SB9 has been stored indoors for a considerable amount of years, and under the dust is a very red frame with no signs of fade or orange hue.

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 TI-Raleigh Red
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 TI-Raleigh Red

I’ll be able to demonstrate this colour better once I have the frame stripped and paintwork cleaned. The fork is also correct with a full chrome finish.

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Chrome Fork
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Chrome Fork

Finally there is that beautiful yellow head tube…

1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Yellow Head Tube
1974 Raleigh SBDU SB9 Yellow Head Tube

SB9 has no size stamping but measures 52cm (centre of BB to top tip of seat lug). The head lugs are almost touching at the back of the head tube. Note that there is no black line outlining the yellow head tube. SB6, SB9, SB19 and SB28 all show this solid yellow tube flowing into the red of the frame with no black lug line. SB15 is ‘partly’ original. It had a black head tube which later revealed yellow paint underneath. SB15 has a black lug line.

The Preservation

I have no difficulty in saying that SB9 is the most complete and original SB. It is original in terms of paint, transfers, chrome and components. It is also the best surviving earliest example with very little deterioration to the paint, transfers and chrome.

The saddle, rims, tyres and bar tape have been changed.

My plan is to clean SB9 but preserve all of the original components and features that still exist on this bike. Sadly I cannot do anything to save the brake lever hoods.

1974 SBDU SB9 Brake Lever Hoods
1974 SBDU SB9 Brake Lever Hoods

I plan to return SB9 to sprint rims and tubs. I’ll also track down a used Cinelli saddle (that is the saddle Bill said he removed). I will also fit some period black cotton bar tape. But I hope to retain all other fittings including all the original cables, clips and fastenings.

And of course, I will document every step of the process with full imagery and descriptions of everything I discover!


Here is another look at this superb surviving SB bike…

1974 SBDU SB9
1974 SBDU SB9

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10 Comments

  1. Phillip Cassady

    Rare indeed, only 50 made 1st year (not even sure if 1974 was considered a “production year” since SBDU was still setting up shop.
    Surprising differences between SBDU #9 and my #107 (early ’75), like yellow head-tube, then black head-tube after less than a 100 frames.
    Your #9 has a ’74 date code SR derailleur, but somehow, #107 came with a ’73 date code SR derailleur (would seem it should be other way around).
    Just painted last year by Joel Bell (he took almost a year, but it’s exactly as I wanted, to smallest detail – worth the wait).

    • Neil McGowran

      Hi Phillip the rear derailleur on SB9 is indeed date coded PATENT-73 – there are lots of differences just between those frames below SB10 and those below SB20

  2. Phillip Cassady

    Went back to photo (after you stated ’73 stamped derailleur), and realized, I stand corrected from my previous post.
    Very surprised to hear you say 1st ones came with a Cinelli saddle (Unicanator / padded ?). Thought they all had Brooks from the beginning (as #107 came with).
    You are very dedicated to SBDU (to purchase a bike not your size by a lot). Enjoy the build, take your time, look forward to further photo’s of this one..
    Have 11 bikes, including 2 SBDU’s, all my size (56 & 57cm) , but yes, I have missed out on many rare ones over many years, because of my stubbornness for specific size.

    • Neil McGowran

      Hi Phillip, I didn’t say that the 1st ones came with Cinelli saddles, I said that this one did.

      Thank you, I’m looking forward to cleaning and preserving this one.

  3. Phillip Cassady

    Just received your note / with my correction … thank you.
    Never realized also, how “different” they were between SB10 and SB 20 as you noted.
    Thanks again … be safe.
    Phillip

  4. Anonymous

    Beautiful bike!!! I have several Raleigh’s and continue to find new ones for my collection. I just acquired a 1985 Team USA.

  5. donald gillies

    I myself would like to have an earli(er) SB frameset (I have SB310 ~ original paint), but upon reflection, the only difference between this model and a Raleigh Pro is the fork tips and stay-tips brazing treatment (no domes). So while it’s cool to have a 1974 model that needs the yellow head tube, in reality there was a stream of bicycles coming from Carlton/Ilkeston, like a river, not a geyser going off for the first time. Bikes with 753 tubing (~SB510), now that was a FIRST. It is VERY cool to see a Carlton “Race Proved” triangle on an Ilkeston frame that’s not something I’ve seen before. I make reproductions of that Reynolds 531 1974 square decal since almost all my Raleighs are 1974 models.

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