Joop Zoetemelk 1980 TI-Raleigh bike specification. I get asked about specification so many times. The most popular search terms I see on my blog stats and the most viewed blog posts relate to ‘specifications’. However, the question about specification isn’t an easy question to answer by any means! Professional teams, not just TI-Raleigh, had a range of kit they would use. Each race was different and each stage of each race was different. Different gear ratios were used, different derailleurs, different rims, different tubs, all depending on the road surface, conditions and stage type. Each rider was also different. So how do you answer that question when there are so many variables?
The period that seems to spark most questions is the 1980 era, it was after all, the pinnacle of TI-Raleigh’s achievements with Joop Zoetemelk’s win in the Tour de France that year. It’s rare that any substantiated evidence turns up, most internet chatter is hearsay and consists of vague recollections of people who may have known someone who knew a person that may have known something – so not the best basis for confirming detail!
The TI-Raleigh Creda Team
There was a generic team spec for the TI-Raleigh team, I think they probably changed team cars more than kit.
These 2 pictures are from 1980/81 – the Creda sponsorship together with World Championship shirts and sleeve bands and the Dutch National Road Race shirts pin point the years. Each picture has a top level description of kit.
TI-Raleigh Reynolds 753 Frame Sets Brooks Saddles Campagnolo Ensemble Cars by Citroen / Mercedes Benz
And that is the problem, it’s a high level description of team kit – essentially, it is listing sponsors; there is a ‘big’ lack of ‘small’ detail. What was the frame spec? How about the Campagnolo spec? What Brooks saddles? What finishing kit such as bars, stems, rims, tyres, block & chain, the questions go on…
I have 3 sources of information, all from Gerald O’Donovan himself; there can be no better and more reliable source of information than this man. It is 100% first hand unquestionable information, the kind you rarely find. The first source is from 1982 and details the current team spec, I’ve quoted this source many times. The other sources give frame specs, one of which gives a full description of Joop’s 1980 tour bikes, and I quote from Gerald here, “…being what we call Team 80 specification…“. This description goes into greater detail, even specific frame geometry, crank lengths and gear ratios used by Joop.
I never intended my 1980 Team Pro 753 SB4059 to be a Joop replica, I’m not into building replica bikes. However, as my bike is from 1980, the same year as Joop’s victory, there is no escaping that my bike would match his. So let’s get some pictures into this post. I’m going to compare the 2 sources and see how much my bike matches the descriptions.
Joop Zoetemelk 1980 TI-Raleigh Specification
Gerald O’Donovan and team mechanic Jan le Grand had to have a bike that was serviceable and reliable. This gives the rider complete confidence and allows him to concentrate on the race without worry of mechanical problems. Reliability means that not every part is the most exotic of its day, some are relatively standard such as freewheels and chains because they are strong, and some like the Super Record headset weren’t cheap but were very durable. So it is a balance of kit. The bike must be easy to strip and service, parts must be easy to replace. The TI-Raleigh time trial bikes had bottle cage mounts so that they could be used as reserves for road races.
Between them, the sources list the following Campagnolo parts (I’ll cover hubs under the wheels section further on)
Headset Campagnolo Super Record Brakes Campagnolo Super Record* Seat Pillar Campagnolo Super Record Derailleurs Campagnolo Super Record** Chainset Campagnolo Super Record Rings and Cranks 170/172.5 Bottom Bracket Campagnolo Nuovo Record (Steel Axle)
(*) Various pictures show Joop riding both Record and Super Record brake levers – neither source is specific on this component. Riders may have had a bike built to a spec but each rider was different, and the contact points on bikes were often personal choice rather than team spec determined. Contact points are areas such as Saddle, Handlebars and Brake Levers.
(**) Super Record was the main rear derailleur, however, Record was also used depending on gear ratio.
The more detailed Team 80 source gives Joop’s crank length as 172.5mm.
This is what both sources say about pedals for the 1980 bikes
Pedals "Campagnolo Black with Steel Axle" Toe Clips Sturmey Archer Toe Straps Sturmey Archer
I translate Campagnolo Black with Steel Axle to mean Campagnolo SL pedals which had a black cage and steel axle – not the Super Record Titanium pedal. Various pictures show the black steel and chrome steel SA toe clips. I’m lucky enough to have both options and use the black version on SB4059 together with the correct Steel Axle pedals.
Freewheel and Chain
Freewheel Maillard Compact 7* Chain Sedis (Black)
(*) Standard ratios are given as 13-19 and 42/53 with “wider ratios used for big climbs”.
It is also mentioned that, on occasion for time trials, Joop sometimes preferred a 12-17 6 speed with a single 53T ring.
Handlebars and Stem
Stem Cinelli 1A* Handlebars Cinelli with 63, 65 or 66 bend**
One item I like is the Cinelli 1A stem – these are strong stems. Not just strong but reliable too. Other stems in the Cinelli range may not have had the reliability according to some stories. The last thing you want to happen is for bars to slip in the stem. The 1A was the perfect choice.
(*) (**) It is listed the Joop used an 11cm stem and 66 bend handlebars.
Both sources give detailed descriptions of wheels and tyres
Hubs Campagnolo Record Small Flange 28/32/36 Spokes Berg Union 14/16 Gauge Rims Mavic Service des Courses (SSC) Rims* Mavic Monthlery Legere Tubs** Clement - various
Wheels are a critical part of the bike, only the very best rims were used. Yet often, a standard Clement Criterium, was specified as the mainstay tub because of it’s reliability. To quote Gerald O’Donovan “…tyre troubles are the last thing we want – they lose races…”.
(*) One source lists 28H and 32H hubs and the other source also lists 36H. It also says that with the exception of a time trial when a lighter rim can be used, the normal rim was Mavic Services des Courses 32/36H. The Legere was listed for time trials on 28H hubs.
(**) Tyres are Clement Criterium often 12bis cotton, sometimes No.6 & Paris Roubaix. I have a choice of Paris Roubaix and Criterium for SB4059.
I’ve had a few different saddles on SB4059, starting with a Brooks and then a couple of Iscaselle Tornado. My 1982 source has 2 saddle options, the ISCA Tornado or Cinelli, with a notation that ISCA was preferred.
So what about Joop? What did he ride?
According to Gerald O’Donovan, Joop’s 1980 bike was fitted with, and I quote “…he sits on a prototype Brooks saddle, plastic based, padded and leather covered…”
One source (S1) details frame size measured centre to centre, the other (S2) has it as centre to top. So you will see 56cm and 57cm quoted, both are correct based on the method used to create the measurement.
Source 1 (S1)
This source is a list, a table of specifications, lengths and angles of a Joop frame.
Source 2 (S2)
This is much more of a narrative, a description of Joop’s actual 1980 bike, and as you will see in the table below, it goes into more detail for certain measurements and is the only source to detail Joop’s stem, bars and crank length.
So what about Joop’s frame? Here is the frame specification based on both sources…
Road Frame TI-Raleigh Reynolds 753 - Road and TT use different 753 tube gauge Size S1 56cm (ctc) S2 57cm Top Tube S1 & S2 55.6cm BB Height S1 & S2 28.6cm Fork Rake S1 & S2 45mm : S2 45mm but "55mm for the cobbles" Seat Lug Centre S2 only, gives this extra detail "15.7cm behind BB centre" Seat Angle S1 74.2 S2 provides the Seat Lug Centre of 15.7cm & 73.3 degree Down Tube Angle S2 only 59.5 degree Head Angle S1 73.6 degree S2 72.75 degree Stem S2 only 11cm Bars S2 only 66 Crank Length S2 only 172.5mm
TI-Reynolds and TI-Raleigh developed different gauges of Reynolds 753 tubing. His time trial bike was built with the lighter gauge of 753.
Gerald O’Donovan Describes Team Specification Choice
Joop Zoetemelk 1980 TI-Raleigh
“…The specification is first tailored to fit the man and then to the conditions he must ride under. The dearest is not always the most effective item, this is the business of racing, budgets are not unlimited. The central theme in building a race-winning bicycle, particularly when it comes to the Tour de France, is to ensure that it can be kept serviceable. It is a team which has to be equipped and serviced – not an individual. The race is won in the mind and legs of the rider, but it can be lost in the workshop…”Gerald O’Donovan
My TI-Raleigh SB4059
My SB4059 is probably as close to the Joop Zoetemelk 1980 TI-Raleigh spec as possible, coincidentally, it is even a 57cm – same as Joop. I’ve finished the bike with a TA steel cage and the rare Contrex feed station bottle, which all tour teams had to use. These bottles are hard to find, especially in excellent condition.