SB8790 1987 SBDU Nottingham 531c Lo Pro Road Frameset

SB8790 1987 Raleigh SBDU Nottingham Reynolds 531c – Model Classification

When I add a traditional horizontal top tube SBDU bike to my collection it can sometimes take a few careful measurements and a little bit of knowledge of the bike’s history to figure out something as subtle as whether it was built for road racing or time trials. The obvious style of SB8790 leaves me with no doubt about it’s intended purpose – I’m still going to measure and document it because that’s my process, but the 24″ front wheel and the top tube that slopes dramatically to meet the fork tells me all I need to know!

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SB8790 1987 SBDU Nottingham 531c Lo Pro Road Frame

SB8790 Raleigh SBDU Nottingham Reynolds 531c 1987 Lo Pro Road – New Arrival

Emails dropping into my Inbox on a lazy Saturday afternoon are quickly becoming the best kind of email! The one I received last Saturday offered a mint condition frame together with it’s original Raleigh box and some documentation! Now that is an offer that needs serious consideration. The images came through a couple of days later and they displayed a frame that was every bit as described… built up but probably never ridden, maybe the closest I’ll ever get to a New SBDU frame.

SB7393 1985 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531 Professional Geometry and Design

SB7393 Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531 Professional 1985 – Geometry and Design

Time Trial frame? Road frame? Or a bit of both? What exactly is it?

SB7393 came with a story that it was built and used for time trials and ridden by a junior. I was also told by Rob, the previous owner, that it was a “lively” ride! It looks like a conventional SBDU road bike, but then again, SB time trial frames can look like conventional road bikes too; and with vertical and horizontal ends as options on both types, it is ultimately down to geometry to unravel the puzzle.

SB7393 1985 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531 Professional Paint Renovation

SB7393 SBDU Ilkeston Raleigh Reynolds 531 Professional 1985 – Paintwork – Part One

When you have a get a good look at the paint on SB7393 you can see that it isn’t the best. Although it is all there and from a distance it looks ok, there are one or two areas of rust, the paint is dirty, flat and covered in previous brushed on rust treatments with other paint drips and garage related debris including several cobwebs. I was sure when I bought this bike that I could breathe some new life into it. This is the first step…

SB7393 1985 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531 Professional

SB7393 SBDU Ilkeston Raleigh Reynolds 531 Professional 1985 – Stripdown

Now that Eroica Britannia is out of the way and work on SB4059 is complete (for now), I can turn my attention to looking at SB7393. This is a complete Reynolds 531 Professional SBDU bike that I bought a couple of weeks ago. Each part of this bike could cause problems, and now was the time to open the toolbox and see what was in store for me.

SB7393 1985 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531 Professional Blog Header

SB7393 SBDU Ilkeston Raleigh Reynolds 531 Professional 1985 – New Arrival

Another email, another road trip, another bike.

I was sitting with my feet up on holiday at the end of May, just relaxing and watching the boats go by on the Norfolk Broads, when I received an email asking for a valuation on a bike. After a few more emails and some shared pictures, I ended up agreeing to buy it. SB7393 is an original paint SBDU bike built with Reynolds 531 Professional tubing and spec’d with a great selection of parts… and best of all, it is my size, 57cm.

SB3327 1979 SBDU Ilkeston Raleigh Reynolds 753 Time Trial Special

SB3327 1979 Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 Time Trial Special – New Arrival

It was just another night in front of the television when an email dropped into my Inbox regarding an SBDU frame, this is a situation I’ve been in a few times now. Another frame with a case of mistaken identity came up on my screen, actually, this time it was more a case of confused identity. A frame that looked like a Panasonic/Weinmann but with the name of Wes Mason emblazoned on the tubes. After a couple of emails a deal was done and the frame was with me two days later.

SB664 1976 TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 Frame Angles

SB664 1976 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 – Geometry and Design

After working out that SB664 was built from an early type of Imperial Reynolds 753 tubing, I wanted to use the calipers and metal rule again to try and figure out what type of use the frame was built for. Was the geometry designed specifically for Road or Time Trial; the outward appearance such as the frame transfers suggest that it is probably an SBDU Time Trial frame. SB664 is an early SB numbered 753 frame and was probably ordered in first part 1976 or even in late 1975. Reynolds 753 was brand new, it had only just been shown to the public in trade shows and it wasn’t widely available outside of the TI-Raleigh team. So what was this frame designed to be?

SB664 1976 TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 Carlton Capella Head Lugs Blog Header

The Mysterious Carlton Capella Lugged Early Ilkeston SBDU Imperial Tube Reynolds 753 Frames

In the beginning there was Metric Reynolds 753 tubing, and then later in 1982, a new Imperial Reynolds 753 tube was introduced. The new tube, called 753R, had different diameters, different gauges and was slightly heavier than the original Metric tube. And that’s how it was always known… Metric 753 before 1982 and Imperial 753 available after 1982. That seems quite straightforward doesn’t it?

SB664 1976 TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753

Something Special Something Unique SB664 1976 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Reynolds 753

There is no long winded waffle from me on this post, at least that is the intention… it’s hopefully just a short introduction about a new addition to the collection. There WILL be many more posts about this frame;  this frame could fill my blog with new content for an entire year. It has some rather special and unique combinations of features that I have not seen on any other Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) frame.

SBDU Ilkeston 753 Dynaflite 1981 SB4409 753 Aero Tubing Header

SBDU Ilkeston SB4409 1981 753 Dynaflite – Frame Transfer Restoration

The Easter weekend has given me some free time so I decided to work on a couple of projects. SB4409 was the first frame to get some attention. It’s been sitting in the workshop for a few weeks while I continue to look at the amazing profile of these unique 753 oval tubes. The colour has grown on me too and it is now time to return the transfer scheme back to original.

SB5794 1983 531c SBDU Ilkeston Mavic GP4 Wheel Rebuild Continental Rim Cement

SB5794 1983 SBDU Ilkeston Metric 531c Fitting New Vittoria Tubular Tyres

I thought I had moved away from using tubs, but I had second thoughts about them after I decided to rebuild the wheels on SB5794 with some MAVIC GP4 rims. So using GP4 rims and having no choice, I’ve been dragged back into the process of prepping rims and tubs, and the smell of rim cement is floating around the workshop while I’m picking dried cement from my finger tips! The memories are flooding back…

SB5794 1983 531c SBDU Ilkeston Mavic GP4 Wheel Rebuild Transfer Stocks

SB5794 1983 SBDU Ilkeston Metric 531c Wheel Rebuild with MAVIC GP4 and Shimano 600EX 6208

It’s been a little while, but SB5794 is finally getting the wheels that it deserves! When I initially built this bike I just used the set of wheels that came with the 6207/6208 600EX group when I bought it; those wheels had Shimano 6400 7 speed hubs (I fitted a 6 speed cassette to be compatible with the gear levers). The wheels also had later period MAVIC MA40 clincher rims, and I always intended to bring the wheels back to period spec by using some old MAVIC GP4 rims I had from a previous bike, with some correct spec 6207/6208 hubs I had picked up. Fitting these hubs will complete the group set, and it will be nice to experience tubular tyres again… Won’t it?

SBDU Ilkeston 753 Dynaflite 1981 SB4409 753 Aero Detail

SBDU Ilkeston SB4409 1981 753 Dynaflite – New Arrival

It’s not often I write a quick blog post, but this is just too exciting to wait for a full and detailed review – so here is a short teaser of what just landed in the workshop! This is a really amazing and rare SBDU frame – there will be more to write on this one in a little while, but for now, I’d like you to meet SB4409, a 1981 753 Dynaflite.

SB7121 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753T 1985 Silver Solder Head Lug

SB7121 Reynolds 753T 1985 SBDU Ilkeston – Seeking Answers Under the Paint

Sometimes my frames come to me without any signs of originality meaning that I can’t accurately identify them. There is seldom a known history to accompany a 2nd hand frame. SB7121 was a classic example of this. I bought it on a whim, based on a basic description which indicated that it was probably a Reynolds 753 frame. The frame number dated it to 1985 and it had a hand painted finish with ‘Wheel Craft’ frame transfers, but underneath the paint, it was 100% an SBDU. I wrote an initial blog post on the frame but always wanted to come back and dig deeper and take a proper look into what it was.

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Time Trial Special 753 1978 SB2692 H591 Frame Numbers

The Significance of the SBDU H Reference Frame Number

Realistically, there may not be many ‘original owners’ of SBDU frames – I.E. those people who still own an SBDU frame that they ordered and bought for themselves from Ilkeston. There may be even fewer original owners who have a frame with an ‘H’ reference.