Frame Weights of Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) Reynolds 753 and 531 Frames

Frame weight… it’s often talked about, requested and used as a measure to try and determine tubing type. From my own experience I can see several factors that affect final weight and I frequently see through my own documentation process that frame weight can be very random and time and again I see that it can be impossible to correlate frame weight to frame size to frame tubing.

Advertisements
SB4933 1981 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531SL TI-Raleigh Chromed

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

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.

SB5084 1982 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531SL Team Cyclo Cross Cleaned

SB5084 1982 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Cyclo Cross Reynolds 531SL – Clean Up

It’s been a busy week. Two SBDU frames have been received, unpacked, documented and blogged. SB1500 was intriguing, it didn’t need any clean up at all, I’ve left it exactly how it arrived; the story with that frame was amazing. While I was blogging about that frame, SB5084 was sitting in the corner crying out for some TLC, so with a couple of days over the weekend, I got the polishing cloths and rust treatment out in a bid to try and banish a decade or more of neglect and decay.

SB5084 1982 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531SL Team Cyclo Cross Frame and Fork

SB5084 1982 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Cyclo Cross Reynolds 531SL – New Arrival

I’ve been searching and looking to expand my collection into new areas for as long as I’ve been collecting these frames. Up until now I’ve accumulated a good selection of the types of frame that the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) produced. I’ve got beautiful examples of Road, Track, Time Trial and Randonneur. I even have one of the most rare frames produced by the SBDU, one of their ‘Specials’, a 753 Dynaflite. But some types have been elusive! An SBDU Cyclo Cross frame is one type that just doesn’t seem to exist… but I’ve finally managed to find one.

SB4944 531SL SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh 1982

1982 TI-Raleigh Team 531SL Road SB4944 SBDU Ilkeston New Arrival

I have a new arrival in the collection. There have been a few frames available lately but I’ve resisted buying them as they didn’t fit the ‘wanted list‘. But, after seeing the images for this frame, I had a hunch that this one did fit the list. So without asking any questions of the seller, without even knowing the SB frame number, and going off pictures alone, I tested my visual and technical knowledge on SBDU frames and bought it on a hunch. My hunches normally pay off, I’ve acquired some beautiful frames based on hunches so hopefully this one does too! Time to check and measure…

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.