Menu Close

Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh 40th Anniversary Reynolds 753 Frameset

TI40-192 Blog Header

The Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh 40th anniversary frameset has arrived! A few days after placing my order, the courier knocked on the front door and left a large cardboard box. In just a few minutes I had the camera set to record and I started talking.

Before the Raleigh UK Launch Event

Before moving on to the unboxing and review, here is a recap of the last few weeks.

First Contact

Raleigh UK had made a few announcements, something new and special was coming! And then at midday on the 20th July, they announced the 40th anniversary Reynolds 753 TI Raleigh bike to commemorate Joop’s success in the 1980 Tour de France. I sent Raleigh a Facebook message within minutes of watching the short promotional video. Although I cheekily asked for a frame to review, I did also give them a short bio and some links to some TI-Raleigh specific blog posts I’d written that I thought they would find interesting.

There was no reply from Raleigh…

So I did what many others did and signed up for more info and then also the launch event.

I received a Facebook message for Guy Kesteven who told me he was doing an unboxing video of the anniversary bike on behalf of Raleigh. Guy wanted to know if he could use some of my blog info with a credit on his video. I said ok and we exchanged a few messages and information.

After checking my messages again, I still hadn’t heard from Raleigh…

I sent them a further message on 17th August.

A Reply…

Eventually on the 18th someone replied to my message. An apology was given, and they also provided the email address for Raleigh’s Marketing department. So I emailed them. I got a reply. It included this sentence in response to my concerns over details and my question about what they were wanting to create, especially as they were using the word ‘iconic’.

The project was indeed to create a like for like replica of the original TI that Joop used back in 1980 when he won the tour, and you’re absolutely right – detail is key.

Raleigh UK

A bit of an impersonal email, simply signed off as ‘Raleigh’. But it was very clear – this was a project to create something like for like, and more importantly, “detail was key”. And that was the end of that.

Work meant that I actually missed the launch, although I have since seen the launch, you can watch it here… Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh Launch Event. I also caught up with Guy’s unboxing.

New Arrival

The delivery day came. I heard a knock on the door and it was here. Within the external postage box was the ‘TI-Raleigh’ 1980 frameset box together with my certificate of authenticity and frame number, TI40-192.

TI40-192 New Arrival
TI40-192 New Arrival
TI40-192 Certificate of Authenticity
TI40-192 Certificate of Authenticity

Unboxing Video

I wanted to produce an unboxing video, and I wanted my reaction to be genuine. I didn’t want to do the video after I’d opened the box as I wouldn’t have had that ‘gut reaction’ that is so important. Here is the video…


Advertisements

About My Review

Before I move on, my review is only a look at the detail of the frameset. I’m not reviewing where it was made, or the suitability of those that constructed this frame. I’m not covering the many questions and comments about a UK builder, or even the question over its intended use, indicated by the small top tube transfer “Not For Competition Use“.

My speciality is the detail, that is the area I’ll cover.

Let’s Start with the Fork

TI40-192 Fork
TI40-192 Fork

The Crown

This crown was clear to see in the marketing images so I knew what to expect.

Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh Fork Crown
Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh Fork Crown

One thing I’ll say about this frame is that Raleigh have mixed up lots of details between different design periods and they’ve also mixed up differences between SB numbered and actual Team frames; there isn’t a consistency. The TI replica fork crown is a cross breed of a Cinelli CC, Vagner and Zeus.

The SBDU built with extra detail that often wasn’t seen on Team frames, it simply wasn’t needed. The drilled tang on the inside of the crown against the fork blade was a separate piece. It was or wasn’t used depending on the model of frame. This was an extra addition that the team rarely, if ever, used.

Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh Cees Priem Fork Crown
Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh Cees Priem Fork Crown

The main thing that you notice about the crown on TI40-192 is that it is flat, and that is something you see in several features of this frame. I would describe the features on this frame as blocky or square. You can see the slight slope on Cees Priem’s fork crown above. That small slope takes away that squareness.

Fork Ends

The fork end follows on with the ‘blocky’ design. You can also see a small bit of lumpy unevenness just under the paint near the end of the blade. That isn’t connected to the blocky fork end, it is poor finishing.

TI40-192 Fork Ends
TI40-192 Fork Ends

I’ve built a frame before, however, I would never call myself a frame builder. But I’m sure the squareness of the fork end where it meets the blade could have been removed so that the blade flows into the end?

This is my own fork prior to brazing and you can clearly see how the fork end enters the blade in a similar style to the new TI-Raleigh.

My Dave Yates Frame Building Course
My Dave Yates Frame Building Course

The square edge where the fork end enters the blade can be altered with a file so they flow into the blade. The bottom left image shows how my fork ends finally turned out with finishing and paint.

Dave Yates Frame Building Course Complete Bike Dropouts
Dave Yates Frame Building Course Complete Bike Dropouts

Circular TI Fork Blade Transfer

My TI-Raleigh paint scheme blog post has been around since January 2018. Raleigh got their placement wrong, even though they say this is all about the detail. Their placement is far too low.

TI40-192 Fork Blade Transfer
TI40-192 Fork Blade Transfer

I know this is being ‘picky’, but this was such an easy thing to get right, but it is sadly wrong on this replica. SBDU fork blade transfers were much higher. Raleigh’s placement is amateurish.

My TI-Raleigh SBDU Semi Sloping Fork Crown Transfer Position Lettering
My TI-Raleigh SBDU Semi Sloping Fork Crown Transfer Position Lettering
My TI-Raleigh SBDU Fully Sloping Fork Crown Transfer Position Lettering
My TI-Raleigh SBDU Fully Sloping Fork Crown Transfer Position Lettering

Moving onto the Frame

Head Badge

This is the figure head, the brand emblem, the feature known across the world as defining a Raleigh bike.

So why doesn’t it fit?

Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh TI40-192 Head Badge
Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh TI40-192 Head Badge

Neither side of the badge touches the head tube. The badge doesn’t have the same curve as the tube. Was this badge designed for a larger tube, something oversize? Have Raleigh tried to retro-fit a badge to this replica?

Frame Ends

The image I posted on Facebook of the frame ends of TI40-192 has the most comments; those comments aren’t complimentary.

TI40-192 Frame Ends
TI40-192 Frame Ends

I don’t know what is going on here. The only resemblance to the frame ends on a Team frame is that they are not drilled. No definition, blocky, lumpy, poor finishing – a complete mess. I can’t say anything more. I don’t want to say anything more. This is a terrible way to finish this detail. What must the craftsmen who built the original be thinking.

TI40-192 Frame End Comparison
TI40-192 Frame End Comparison

Spot the odd one out above… from left to right, (top SB1995, SB3505, SB3800), (bottom Cees Priem CP.1.79, TI40-192).

It is just a frame end. It just holds the wheel in the frame, but the Campagnolo 1010/B frame end and how the stays are cleanly and simply cut are one of the signature features on an SBDU and a TI-Raleigh. Raleigh have got this so wrong on the replica.

Seat Stay Caps

Just like the Campagnolo 1010/B ends, the oversize seat stay cap is such an identifier of the SBDU/Team TI-Raleigh. It can often be the first frame feature that will help to identify one of these frames. Raleigh UK use the word “Iconic” in their marketing material, and the original caps are Iconic.

SB3505 1980 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 TI-Raleigh Team Pro Studio Frame Seat Stay Cap
SB3505 1980 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 TI-Raleigh Team Pro Studio Frame Seat Stay Cap

The original SBDU/Team seat stay caps are clean and crisp and sharp, well defined, flat, plain but such an outstanding feature. Even when seat stay design changed and Reynolds switched from the larger single taper to the smaller double taper stay, the SBDU still managed to retain all the simple elegance of the seat stay cap in a slightly smaller design.

Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh Seat Stay Cap Comparison
Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh Seat Stay Cap Comparison

The TI replica caps barely seem to exist. There is no clear definition. They are rounded, indistinct and blunt, they have lost that “Iconic” status.

TI40-192 Seat Stay Caps
TI40-192 Seat Stay Caps

Frame Transfers

The selection, design and placement of frame transfers are not restricted by modern standards. They are not restricted by modern materials of parts selection. Doing some research and placing these correctly would have made up for some of the other disappointing features of this replica.

Top Tube, Down Tube and Chain Stay

Wrong size, wrong locations. The letters are too small and the placement of the down tube and chain stay transfers are too low on the tube.

When you stand at the side of a bike you look down onto the bike, you look down onto the tops of the tubes – you don’t look directly at the side of a bike. Therefore, when your eye looks down, you should see the transfers. This example demonstrates my point. This is a comparison of SB3505 against SB4059. When you look down on the tube you see the transfers.

SB4059 1980 TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 753 Frame Transfer Positioning Comparison
SB4059 1980 TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 753 Frame Transfer Positioning Comparison

This is TI40-192

TI40-192 Down Tube Transfer Placement
TI-Raleigh Down Tube Transfer Placement

When you look down onto the down tube you see paint, you barely see the ‘TI-Raleigh’ name.

Here is a comparison of the chain stay transfers between TI40-192 and SB6827 (an original paint SB frame).

TI40-192 Chain Stay Oval Comparison
TI40-192 Chain Stay Oval Comparison

It’s a relatively small detail but the wrong placement stands out. Just moving the transfer up round the stay slightly makes a massive difference but Raleigh UK didn’t do this.

Seat Tube

Wrong size letters, no painted panels, wrong Reynolds 753 transfer placement.

TI40-192 Seat Tube Transfer Placement and Design
TI40-192 Seat Tube Transfer Placement and Design

The red circles around the bottle bosses are a sign of a seat tube transfer. Rather than add an additional step, a more simple solution was used on the replica. That was to leave the seat tube ‘red’ and fit a transfer that wraps around the tube, forming the lettering and coloured panels. But could it have been an option to mask and paint the seat tube to create the panels? After all, the frame was masked to create the black head tube. What amount of extra work would it be to create the seat tube panels in the same way. If you look at any cheap repaint, you will see the same red areas around the bottle bosses and the same wrap around transfer.

The RALEIGH block lettering is also several millimetres smaller per letter. This gives the overall impression that the coloured panels are out of proportion with the length of the seat tube.

The Reynolds 753 frame transfer occupies the centre of the space between the lower point of the seat lug and top yellow seat tube band. It is out of place and needs to be much higher. This montage of SBDU painted frames demonstrates THE correct position.

Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh Correct Reynolds Frame Transfer Placement
Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh Correct Reynolds Frame Transfer Placement

Again, it’s a small detail, but the wrong placement of the replica transfer is obvious. Surely it could have been placed further up towards the seat lug?

Frame Weight

TI40-192 is a frame with Imperial diameter Reynolds 753 tubes. That means it has a 28.6mm seat tube diameter with a 27.2mm seat post. This is equivalent to 1982 – 1989 Reynolds 753R and 1989+ 753 tubing. Here is a selection of weight data from my SBDU frame collection…

My TI-Raleigh SBDU Collection Frame Weight Data
My TI-Raleigh SBDU Collection Frame Weight Data

An average weight for this size 753R frame would be approx 1750 grams. TI40-192 tips the scales at 2027 grams. This is with all the included fittings removed. That weight puts it close to the bottom of the table, and into the range of an older 531 butted frame of a similar size.

TI40-192 40th Anniversary Frameset Frame Weight
TI40-192 40th Anniversary Frameset Frame Weight

Where is this additional weight hiding? It is between 250-300 grams heavier than expected.

It can only be in the frame fittings. The frame ends, bottom bracket shell and unrefined, thick frame lugs will almost certainly be responsible.


Summary

This is a brand new Reynolds 753 frame – that’s great, and I’m looking forward to building it. And that is where the goodness and similarity ends.

I asked Raleigh UK the direct question…

I’m not sure if the project was to create a close replica or just something that looks red, yellow and black. As the word ‘iconic’ is used then I assume you wanted something that recreates the original – that is a ‘Raleigh 753 Ti-Raleigh’.

My Question

I’ve already quoted the reply, but here it is again…

The project was indeed to create a like for like replica of the original TI that Joop used back in 1980 when he won the tour, and you’re absolutely right – detail is key.

Raleigh UK’s Response

Based on their response, I compared the replica to the original, I think that was a fair comparison. From the reaction my images and video have already had, I can see that the TI-Raleigh fans also expected a like for like frame.

Did I find that the replica was a like for like comparison? Did I find the detail that Raleigh UK said was ‘key’? Sadly I didn’t.

With terrible frame ends, seat caps that don’t do it, a fork crown that doesn’t fit in, poor frame transfers and a frame weight that falls outside of any other 753 frame in my collection, TI40-192 is nothing more than a collection of red, black and yellow heat treated steel tubes.

Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh TI40-192 40th Anniversary Frameset
Raleigh UK TI-Raleigh TI40-192 40th Anniversary Frameset

My feelings are echoed by the comments I am receiving on my YouTube unboxing video.

Raleigh UK could have and should have done better. This isn’t a tribute to the bike or frame that Joop and the team rode to victory in 1980.


6 Comments

  1. Barry Beardsell

    Always interested in your posts and I agree it’s the detail that matters!
    On an unrelated matter can I ask you whether you have come across polished titanium Raleigh frames? I have one where the tubing is oval and have not been able to establish when it was made. Can you help?
    Regards
    Barry Beardsell

  2. Enrique Labarta

    Thanks, Neil, for this profound review. I am really disappointed too and happy that I didn’t finally go for it. If they would have asked you for consultancy (though expectation is that they should know it much better as well) they could have come out with a much better replica.
    This project doesn’t show any passion!

    Keep up your great work.

  3. Bernard Vandevandel

    Wow…. £1,500 for this product … One thing is sure now : If one considers the price of this frame to be correct and justified, then one should no longer claim that an average price of £3,000 for an original SBDU frame in excellent condition (with original paint and decals) is exaggerated … Many thanks to Raleigh for this very expensive new product … as the original SBDU frames have just become extraordinarily valuable …. I am happy with my bike built up with SB 3701 frame (a real 1980 one) that I bought new in 1981 and that is almost unruned because I stoped biking 2 years after I bought it (before buying it, I usually rode my Worksop “RECORD” that gave me full satisfaction – And I kept it as a second bike for wet weather conditions as I rode my SB under dry weather only) …. The price of £1,500 is also the one I paid when I decided to bike again 5 years ago and bought myself two brand new RALEIGH Militis (with aluminium frames – I do not like carbon ones) equipped with the excellent SRAM Apex 2×10. Both bikes are identical (I call them “The Twins”)… And juging by the pictures of this new Raleigh “Anniversary” product, even the frames of my two “cheap” (or inexpensive) Raleigh Militis are obviously of a far better quality … Sorry to be frank but this product is definetly not a tribute to the names of RALEIGH, T.I. or even Joop Zoetemelk… I can fully understand why this bike wears a “Not for competition” sticker : in my opinion it is rather a toy-bike than a “true” bike…

  4. Phillip

    Hi,

    That’s a stunning review of the 40th Anniversary frame set you just received. Unfortunately, “stunning” for all the wrong reason’s, as you noted, (and a couple I noticed before reading your response to inspection).
    I was first surprised to see the “lawyer lips” (as we call them in the states) at the fort tips, now requiring the wheel’s QR to be unthreaded, to clear those. It’s a United States required additional BS safety thing. My newest bike being 1983, I’ve never had to “fix those” ( filing those dam lips off ).

    As another reader just pointily noted … this 40th edition’s level of build-quality will make all our older SBDU’s worth more.

    With you’re passion, experience and knowledge of SBDU’s , I think Raleigh should check with you before building the remaining 58 or so (of the limited 250).

    .Phillip

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: