SB9000 SBDU Nottingham Raleigh Banana Reynolds 753R Low Profile Track Pursuit Frame – New Arrival

SB9000 SBDU Nottingham Reynolds 753R Raleigh Banana Low Profile Frame

eBay! Love it or loathe it, every now and then it does serve a purpose.

Personally I loathe it and while I’m definately not a fan, it has actually accounted for a small amount of my new arrivals. I do prefer to collect frames that fly under the radar but sometimes you see a frame that is too nice and too special to ignore. So I watch the bids and try to figure out where an item’s price is going and what, if anything, it could add to my SBDU collection. On balance, SB9000 had more positives than negatives. The benefits I’d gain for my collection outweighed the one big negative which was that it had been viewed by thousands online and I clearly wasn’t the only bidder who wanted it.

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SB9529 [S.DAY.PROTO] Raleigh Special Products Division Dyna-Tech Low Profile – New Arrival

SB9529 Raleigh Special Products Division Dynatech Low Profile

I’ve always kept an eye out for anything interesting and different with an SB frame number, something that might expand my collection and add a new dimension, even if that means moving outside my comfort zone of the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) at Ilkeston. My initial interest, and basis of the collection and blog was always Ilkeston built frames, but this moved on when I got my first SBDU Nottingham frame, I now have 3 Nottingham built SB frames, SB8851, SB8868 and SB8945. Today things have moved on again with the arrival of SB9529.

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

SB3327 1979 SBDU Ilkeston Raleigh Reynolds 753 Time Trial Special

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.

SB4059 1980 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 753 Replacement Frame Transfers

SB4059 1980 TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 753 TEAM RALEIGH Transfer Replacement

Following the change of cables on SB4059 there is now only one thing that I need to do, one more thing to sort out, one more thing that has bugged me the most about this build over the last couple of years. The one thing I’m talking about just happens to be SB4059 itself! Yes, the frame that all the bits hang from.

SB4059 1980 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 753 Replacement Brake Cables

SB4059 1980 TI-Raleigh Reynolds 753 Team Pro Campagnolo Super Record Brakeset

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about this bike. SB4059 is my original bike, number #1 in the collection, the bike that started the blog and the search for SBDU knowledge! One day I hope to say SB4059 is finally finished and today, it takes one step closer.

SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 Raleigh Pursuit Frame SH377T – Cleaned and Documented

SH377T SBDU Reynolds 753 Pursuit Track Frame Head Tube Detail

Every new addition gets a good clean and although it was already looking quite good, SH377T still needed a bit of work. Wet oil and grease on the surface of a tube will attract dirt and dust, and that is all that was covering this frame. When a frame is clean I can measure and document it. SH377T is a curious frame and I’ve looked forward to getting to this stage in my process.

Günter Haritz TI-Raleigh Professional Team Track Frame Reynolds 531 1975 GH6175

Gunter Haritz GH6175 1975 531 TI-Raleigh Team Track Frame

It’s been a busy week! First came SB4933, an SBDU 531SL frame with beautiful chrome and exquisite new paint. Following on quickly came SH377T, Steve Heffernan’s Reynolds 753 pursuit frame. And finally, to end the week, GH6175 has just arrived on the workbench, the second Raleigh frame of the week without an SB number. GH6175 is now my second TI-Raleigh Team track frame and joins the 1978 frame of Jan Raas, JR178T.

SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 Raleigh Pursuit Frame SH377T – New Arrival

SH377T SBDU Reynolds 753 Pursuit Track Frame Paintwork

eBay… it is a place I try to avoid. I like to find bikes and frames that haven’t had much exposure to the internet. eBay links containing interesting vintage bikes are shared across social media, and before you know it, the item has been seen by thousands and hyped up to a point that the auction escalates and bidders get into a frenzy pushing the prices up beyond anything sensible. I enjoy the hunt, searching and discovering SBDU bikes that have been hidden away. But I do keep an avid eye on eBay and every now and again a little gem crops up to pique my curiosity. SH377T was listed with no reserve and a low starting bid so I saved it into my ‘Watch List’ thinking it would go the way of so many others and spiral out of control… but it didn’t!

SB4933 1981 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531SL Road Frame – New Arrival

SB4933 1981 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531SL TI-Raleigh Chromed

I’ve started a few blog posts recently with the words “I received an email…”; and this story is the same. Late on a Sunday evening I received a couple of emails with several images attached and then an email summarising very clearly what the frame was and what seemed like a comprehensive  history. “Would you be interested in buying the frame?” My response was “Yes”, and after arranging to meet up, SB4933 came home with me.

SB3505 1980 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 TI-Raleigh Team Pro – Photographed

SB3505 1980 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 TI-Raleigh Team Pro Studio Frame and Fork

If I ever get the time and opportunity, I’ll take bikes into my wife’s photography studio and pick up the camera to capture the details of these frames. It’s good to get them into an environment where there are no background distractions, the focus is purely on the frame. Because SB3505 is in it’s original livery and in excellent condition, it had to have a turn. After a final polish it was placed on the background, in front of the studio lighting, waiting for its turn in the limelight.