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

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

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?

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My TI Raleigh SBDU Blog The Most Comprehensive Resource Available for Frames Built at the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit

My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Head Badge

Now that is a massively bold statement to make… here it is again just to make sure that I did actually say it… “The most comprehensive resource available for frames built at the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU)…” 

The SBDU and Their Use of Reynolds 753 Reynolds 753R and Reynolds 753T

There has always been lots said on the subject of Reynolds 753, and that doesn’t surprise me. This tubing had such an impact on the sport of cycling; the frames and their riders were breaking records before anyone even knew 753 existed! 753 frames are still sought after 40+ years following their introduction. You can’t go a day without the subject of 753 cropping up on the internet and the online debates and discussions mean that there are always stories and different opinions. But are these stories real and are the opinions accurate? What is truth and what is myth? What are these stories? Have I done enough research and accumulated enough data to either prove or debunk them?

SBDU Ilkeston Special 753 Dynaflite SB4409 1981 (Reynolds 753 Fillet Brazed with Ovoid Tubing)

SBDU Ilkeston 753 Dynaflite 1981 SB4409 753 Aero Tubing

Wow, there are some rare frames, and then there is this one. The overwhelming reaction from most people is “Never seen one of those before…”

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

SB7121 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753T 1985 Silver Solder Head Lug

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.

Reynolds Tubing Wall Thickness Tube Gauge and Seat Pin Size

SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982 Reynolds Specifications

This post isn’t necessarily about the SBDU, but I thought I’d write it as I get asked regularly to confirm seat pin sizes, or to try and decipher what an SBDU frame might be made from based on the seat pin and tube size. After collecting several SB frames over the years, I’ve seen lots of different seat pin sizes used in Reynolds frames. I have seat pins ranging from 26.6 to 27.4 – and 753 frames with 4 different size pins. That demonstrates just how varied their tube gauges were. So here is a little post that lists some of the most common seat pin sizes and the associated Reynolds tube gauge (wall thickness).

SBDU Ilkeston Metric Reynolds 753 Seat Pin Size – The Truth

SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh 1980 Metric Reynolds 753 Seatpin Size

There are many stories about the SBDU and even more about Reynolds 753 tubing. Most of these stories travel the internet, changing and evolving each time they are told. Something as simple as which seat pin size should fit a 753 frame is one of those stories. It causes the most confusion and creates some of the longest discussions whenever it is raised. Everyone seems to have an opinion about what is right; few ever seem to agree. My latest addition, SB3800, means that I may now have a couple of frames that could finally settle the seat pin debate.

TI-Reynolds Frame Weight – It’s Not an Exact Science

SB8945 SBDU Nottingham 753R 58cm Frame Weight

The search terms used by people who reach my blog are often connected to searching for information about the weight of a frame, specifically Reynolds 753 and Reynolds 531. So I thought I would write a little post to show the weight information I’ve collected on my own frames. I have frame weight data on several SBDU frames across a range of Reynolds tube sets. What I’ve found is that it isn’t simply a case of saying that every 57cm Reynolds 531 frame will weigh the same. Lots of factors influence frame weight.

1975 to 1976 Reynolds 753 Tubing SBDU TI-Raleigh Road Frames

Reynolds 753 TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Post Header

This is the post I’ve been most looking forward to writing and also fearing with equal measure… Reynolds 753 was a tube set that took the bicycle world by storm. It had unrivaled strength while being ultra light and thin for a steel tube. It is probably the most mis-understood tube set and the one that has the most stories connected to it.

Creating an SBDU Date Timeline for TI-Raleigh Ilkeston Production

SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Date Timeline Blog Header

It is impossible to accurately date reference SBDU frames!

There it is, a simple fact. I should really leave this blog post now with that ‘bold’ statement. But that’s not like me, I like to investigate and I like to waffle…