My TI-Raleigh SBDU Blog

I have written hundreds of posts about the SBDU, their frames and a few other random topics. Have a browse, scroll through the pages, click the links and have a read.

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My TI-Raleigh Specialist Bicycle Development Unit SBDU Ilkeston Frame Details

SBDU Rarity – Can Adding Some Context Correct Common Perceptions

What would you consider rare about the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU)? I've heard people say that SBDU Reynolds 753 frames are rare... are they, or is that just perception? Defining something as rare really has to be done carefully, and in relation to the context of the subject. The ...
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SB3505 1980 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 TI-Raleigh Team Pro Studio Frame and Fork

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

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 ...
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SB3505 1980 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 753 Geometry Check

SB3505 1980 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 TI-Raleigh Team Pro – Geometry and Design

The SBDU seemed to stop stamping their H reference on frames towards the end of 1979, meaning the frames coming out of Ilkeston at the beginning of the 80s would only have the SB frame number stamp and nothing to identify a frame as somehow different. I guess from this ...
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SB3505 1980 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 753 Frame

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

I've been itching to bring the original paint on this frame back to life ever since it arrived last week. And even though SB3505 is already in great condition, it never fails to amaze me how well these frames respond when I give them a wipe with paint renovator and ...
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SB3505 1980 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 753 Frame Details

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

The process of purchasing SB3505 was super smooth... a late Friday evening email, additional images on the Saturday, deal done on the Sunday morning, packaged on Sunday evening, dispatched and collected on Monday and delivered by lunch time on the Tuesday... A lovely bike at a good price! Packaged together ...
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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 ...
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SB1500 1977 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Time Trial Special Original Paint

SB1500 1977 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 Time Trial Special – New Arrival

I have several frames and bikes in my SBDU collection that constantly vie for top spot. Should top spot go to JR178T, my Jan Raas frame? Should it be SB632, the earliest known Reynolds 753 SB numbered Track frame; the Beryl Burton connection on that frame alone should surely make that ...
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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 ...
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SB1861 1977 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531 TI-Raleigh Team Pro Shimano 600EX Brake Levers

SB1861 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 – Rebuild (Part One)

Sometimes my plans for builds go smoothly and sometimes those plans stall and start to back up. I started the rebuild of SB1861 a little while ago when I brought some gleaming shine back to the original paint. But since then, I've had a few new frames join the collection, and ...
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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; ...
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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 ...
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SB8851 SBDU Nottingham 1988 Reynolds 753R Services des Courses Bike

SB8851 1988 SBDU Nottingham Services des Courses Reynolds 753R – New Arrival

Finding bikes built by the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) that aren't what they appear to be is part of the appeal of bike hunting and collecting for me. These are bikes and frames are hiding in plain sight, often with other builders frame transfers or paint schemes. They are ...
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SBDU Ilkeston Nottingham SB8438 Chain Stay Oval Transfer

One Step Closer to Finding That Elusive SBDU Ilkeston End Date

When did the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) at Ilkeston close and relocate to Nottingham? What frame number were they up to at that time? Those are just two of the many questions that surround this seemingly mysterious unit. I've been searching for the answer to these questions for as ...
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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 ...
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SB1861 1977 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531 TI-Raleigh Team Pro Restored Header

SB1861 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 – Frame Restore

The last time you saw this frame, it was dirty, greasy, dusty and covered in spider's webs. The parts were rusty and some were even beyond help. But after a few days and some hard work and elbow grease, the frame for SB1861 is looking so much better; although it ...
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SB1861 1977 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531 TI-Raleigh Team Pro BB

SB1861 1977 SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Team Pro Reynolds 531 – New Arrival

Bikes do not get more original than this! Original owner, original paint and original components. After a 500 mile round trip, SB1861 is on the workbench. SB1861 dates to late 1977/early 1978 (there will be more on the date in the next post); it is built from Reynolds 531 Double ...
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SB6560 Frame Repair

SB6560 531c Services des Courses 1984 SBDU Ilkeston Panasonic Raleigh Frame Repair

It is Easter and I am loving the amount of time I've had in the workshop this weekend. I'm getting stuck into a couple of projects. Today is the turn of SB6560, a 531c 1984 Services des Courses frame that needs a small frame repair. I prepped the frame for ...
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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 ...
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SB5794 1983 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Metric

Decisions Decisions Do You Preserve Restore or Renovate Your SBDU Frame

Over the last couple of years the amount of people seeking anything painted black red and yellow has spiralled. So many Raleigh frames are getting a fresh coat of paint and transformed into the colours of the TI-Raleigh team. Some are done well while some are... well, some are just really lacking. Looking to ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Frame Angles

SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston Beryl Burton Team 753 Track Pursuit Frame – New Arrival (Part Two)

This is post number two looking at new arrival SB632, and I'm measuring geometry. How will this frame measure up? What size is it? How long (or short) is it? What angles does it use? What is the bottom bracket height? Does the fork clearance affect the frame geometry and size? ...
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SB8868 SBDU Nottingham 753R Raleigh Banana

SB8868 753R Services des Courses 1988 SBDU Nottingham Raleigh Banana Complete

I've not got much to write in this post as the pictures will hopefully say everything. This Raleigh Banana has been an awesome bike to build, a real blast from the past. I took it to the studio today to capture it looking its best ...
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SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Track Fork Details

SB632 1976 SBDU Ilkeston Beryl Burton Team 753 Track Pursuit Frame – New Arrival (Part One)

I've had another new arrival, not long after the 753 Dynaflite came into the workshop, I've found another rather special frame that just deserves to be in the collection. SB632 is much smaller than anything I would normally collect, but the significance of this frame meant I had to have it ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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SB6560 1984 531c Services des Courses Panasonic Raleigh Frame Ready for New Bosses

SB6560 531c Services des Courses 1984 SBDU Ilkeston Panasonic Raleigh Frame Prep

I've been working through my collection of frames, and next on the list is SB6560, a 531c Services des Courses 1984 frame in the '84 team Panasonic Raleigh colours. I've moved this up the list as I really want to get a Panasonic schemed bike built to fit in with the ...
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SB8868 SBDU Nottingham Reynolds 753R Raleigh Banana Vittoria Corsa

SB8868 753R Services des Courses 1988 SBDU Nottingham Raleigh Banana Rebuild

To say that I'm happy with how 2017 has started is an understatement! My first SBDU bike for the year is built and it is stunning. My 753R Raleigh Banana is complete; and it has been such an enjoyable build to do. From getting the 753R SBDU frame looking its ...
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SB8868 SBDU Nottingham Reynolds 753R Raleigh Banana Frame

SB8868 753R Services des Courses 1988 SBDU Nottingham Raleigh Banana Ready to Build

I've been collecting a few items for this build since getting my hands on the frame in December last year. It's been a bit of a stretch as Christmas has drained funds, but I now think I've got all the components needed to get this built. I'm not putting myself through ...
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SB3800 SBDU Ilkeston 1980 TI-Raleigh Team Pro 753 Frame Details

A 2016 Review of My SBDU and TI-Raleigh Ramblings. Thanks for an Amazing Year!

Where do I even start to describe how much of a great year 2016 was? And how on earth am I going to try and beat it in 2017? I remember I had exactly the same feelings at the end of 2015 - that year had seen me double my readership over ...
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My TI-Raleigh SBDU Studio Bike Photography Lightroom Editing Software

Showcasing My TI-Raleigh SBDU Bikes Through Images and Bike Photography

I don't think my blog would be read by as many people if it wasn't for the images that accompany each post. I might be in the studio with a full frame DSLR, back drops and lights, or in the workshop with just an iPhone and window light, but wherever ...
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Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Time Trial Special Dimension Measurements H Reference

An Update on The TI-Raleigh Ilkeston SBDU H Reference Number

It's been a couple of years since I first wrote a little about the 'H' reference number. This is the reference you sometimes see under the bottom bracket of an SBDU frame. Well since then, I've dug into the SBDU data, written a couple of timelines and become a bit more ...
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SB8868 SBDU Nottingham 753R Services des Courses Dura-Ace 7400 Front Derailleur

SB8868 753R Services des Courses 1988 SBDU Nottingham Raleigh Banana Dura-Ace 7402

This build is moving quickly! I found an amazing condition Dura-Ace 7400/7402 series group set from the late 1980s almost immediately after getting my hands on the frame. And when I say amazing condition, I mean absolutely astounding condition. This is an almost perfect Dura-Ace 7402 8 speed group with ...
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SB8868 SBDU Nottingham 753R Services des Courses Raleigh Banana 1988 Header

SB8868 753R Services des Courses 1988 SBDU Nottingham Raleigh Banana New Arrival

Sometimes I don't need to go searching for frames, sometimes frames find me. A few nights ago, a frame popped up on my screen, just a few photographs and a small description. It was a Raleigh Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) frame, built in their Nottingham unit. It is a ...
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