A 1980 Raleigh 753 in TI colours, there is no better way to start the year. 1980 was maybe the pinnacle for this bike and colour combination! It was the height of TI-Raleigh’s success following Joop’s victory in that year’s Tour de France. Some would say the 1980 TI-Raleigh was Iconic. SB4039 is clearly a very close relation to my existing SB4059 in every respect, except I’m fortunate enough to have this new bike in excellent original paint and transfers.
I was sat enjoying an extended Christmas and New Year break and had recently published my 2020 blog review. My mind was wondering how 2021 would unfold. I always have zero expectations and don’t put any pressure on myself to search for and try to seek out new bikes or frames. I’m happy to let things happen.
However, I never thought the year would start so quickly! It was lunch time on the Sunday after New Year’s day, so that was only the 3rd, when an email pinged into my inbox from an owner in the Netherlands. He had been browsing, looking for information about his bike and had come across my site. In his emails, he shared a story of the bike with me and a link to some detail images. He wasn’t 100% looking to sell, but after exchanging a couple of emails, I made an offer. It wasn’t immediately accepted.
“I have used it occasionally, but for more than 15 years it has been in storage without any maintenance. I have recently tried it and everything still works fine. It has of course a 753 Reynolds frame and it has all the original Campagnolo gear on it, except for the pedals, they are Shimano Dura Ace, allowing for a longer leg space.”Gerard’s email
I often find that selling a bike is “all about the money”. Some sellers will post bikes on eBay and wait for the bids to come rolling in. Or the bike will be posted into each and every bike related Facebook group. Either of these sales channels sparks a hunt and a chase for the capture of the bike; I avoid those hunts. But thankfully, every now and again, it comes down to the story of the history and previous owners, and finding somewhere to move a bike onto that fits in with that history and ownership.
Gerard had only told me that he had got SB4039 from a friend…
“he had it hanging on his wall. He gave it to me because he was going to die soon.”
It was clear that there was an attachment to this bike and Gerard wanted to think about things, which was ok with me. He wasn’t too sure about selling or keeping, or price or future home for SB4039. He did seem more interested in people rather than the Euro. But after a couple more emails were exchanged, and also following a bit of interest he received from others, he accepted my original offer and I couldn’t have been happier.
Gerard gave me access to dozens of detailed images of SB4039. It was clear that it was original. A few parts had been changed such as the saddle and Dura-Ace AX cranks. It was also clear that Gerard’s story of the bike being in storage for many years was correct as there was a good amount of dust and dirt on the frame and parts. However, apart from a couple of marks on some frame transfers, the frame and paint were in great condition.
These are the images that buyers want to see, clear and with plenty of detail. They show the frame details perfectly. Lugs, frame ends, fork crown and blades, BB shell, frame number, seat stay caps etc… Apart from some dirt and an occasional paint chip, the steel looked to be corrosion free.
New Arrival – SB4039 1980 Raleigh 753
Shipping from the Netherlands to the UK only took a couple of days, collected on Monday and delivered on Thursday. Gerard had bought a good strong box and SB4039 arrived safely. Unfortunately, I had to wait until the weekend for some daylight and the opportunity to take some images.
I’d asked for it to be left exactly as it was, I didn’t want it cleaned or adjusted in anyway. I wanted to receive SB4039 in that ‘stored’ time capsule condition. For me, that condition provides the baseline for any restoration.
The front Campagnolo Record hub is a good example showing the condition of SB4039.
There is a layer of oily dirt that can be rubbed away to show the preservation underneath.
SB4039 is mostly Campagnolo, but as Gerard said, the cranks and pedals had been swapped to Dura-Ace AX. The headset is Zeus.
Paint and Transfers
Original paint TI-Raleigh frames are still out there but becoming fewer and fewer in amongst a growing number of some well painted, but also some terribly painted TI examples. Choose your restorer with care!
SB4039 is 41 years old. It has a few marks and scuffs. But the majority has survived really well. The top tube TEAM transfer is the only one that shows a degree of damage.
Classic 1980 Raleigh 753 Features
1980 was the final year to display some of the classic SBDU Reynolds 753 features. Soon after, fork crowns and bottom brackets changed to Cinelli. From the introduction of SB numbered 753 frames in 1975, they had predominantly used a semi sloping fork crown and RGF BB shell.
RGF wasn’t just reserved for 753 frames, it was used on most Metric tubed SBDU frames between 1975 and 1980, and could still be seen on examples all the way up to 1983 on frames with tubing such as 531 Professional (with Metric tubes).
The image above shows
- RGF bottom bracket shell
- Semi sloping fork crown (nutted brakes)
- Prugnat 62D lugs
- Single taper over size seat stay caps
- Campagnolo 1010/B short ends with Portacatena fittings (Drilled by SBDU)
How to Proceed
I want to be careful with SB4039 and don’t want to change it too much. The only items I want to address are the chainset, to replace it with a suitable Record item, plus fit some new tubs. I’ve not really ridden Concor saddles before but I’m happy for this one to stay.
Gerard had owned SB4039 for over 30 years. He had originally told me that his friend had given him the bike. But then Gerard told me more detail and this is exactly why I want to look after this bike.
“I think I told you how my friend gave this bike to me when he knew he was going to die soon. Actually, he sold it to me, for he wanted to leave some cash behind for his mother when he was gone. He took his own life, for he was very depressed because of psychiatric medication. That was 35 years ago. Now I realise that I wanted the bike to go to you instead of to someone who offered met 1500 euro yesterday, as a way of honouring my friend. He was so fond of his bike, it was hanging on his living room wall. And now it gets an honourable place in your collection where everyone can see it. This feels like a just destination for his treasure.”Gerard
I don’t see these bikes as a commodity, so I don’t trade them, or see them as chunks of money. Instead, I see them as a part of cycling history, a massive part of international and domestic racing, and the bikes that thrust Raleigh to the top of the world in 1980. I appreciate the aesthetics of the bikes and the brilliance of the builders and riders. Gerard’s friend looked upon these bikes in the same way.
The final words of this post go to Gerard…
“In remembrance of Joop Swaen, a great admirer of the art of bicycle design and manufacturing”All words, stories and images used with kind permission of Gerard