My name is Neil and I am a self confessed collector of TI-Raleigh bikes built at the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) at Ilkeston, England.
I spent years as a bicycle mechanic in Newcastle upon Tyne in the north east of England. The shop I worked in was called Denton Cycles and it had existed on Westgate Hill in several different locations. Originally called George Barrass Cycles until 1953 before becoming Dentons in 1954. I joined in 1989. Because of its long history, the shop and especially, the back shop and workshop were a treasure trove of vintage components, rims, frames and tools. You couldn’t open a cupboard or drawer without finding an old simplex mech, TA chain ring or wooden sprint rims.
I recall building orders such as 531 & 753 frame sets from the local suppliers such as Dave Yates and Joe Waugh, to vintage Mercians, Flying Scots and Hetchins and the finest steel, aluminium and carbon frames from builders such as Colnago, ALAN, Vitus & TVT. Road, Time Trial, Track, Cyclo Cross and even Tandems! Mountain Bikes were even in there too with 3 of the bikes I built being ridden by the national champion in 3 world downhill championships.
I learnt the skills of wheel building from Colin Davison and “Ron the Wheel” aka Ronnie Robson who sat behind his wheel jig day after day, occasionally coming out for a puff of his pipe.
I’ve recently spent a week with Dave Yates in August 2015, learning the process of frame building, and just completed my first ever frame and fork build.
I started this blog in 2012 to share the work I was doing to rebuild a TI Raleigh Team Pro, my first SBDU bike! Since then I seem to have fallen in love with all things SBDU and now appear to be working through a list of must have Ilkeston bikes, documenting what I find and do in this blog. My knowledge on these bikes from this small unit has grown and hopefully you might find what I write to be of some use to you.