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.

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SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Raleigh Team Colours Transfer Mockup

SB6560 531c Services des Courses 1984 SBDU Ilkeston Raleigh – Planning the Team Colours Transfer Layout

SB6560 arrived in terrible condition with missing gear lever bosses and poorly applied transfers. It is a frame that has always been overlooked and put on the back burner while other projects came in and took over. Underneath the skin however, it is a lovely 531c SBDU Services des Courses frame that now deserves to hit the top of the project pile!

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.

Eroica Britannia 2018 My TI-Raleigh SBDU (2)

Eroica Britannia 2018 – My TI-Raleigh SBDU

I’ve planned before and never got there, I’ve bought a ticket before and never got there, but this year I actually did get there. Karen and I booked up, bought tickets, sorted parking, arranged an Airbnb nearby in Buxton, packed the van and headed out on the three hour trip from Newcastle to Eroica Britannia.

SBDU Ilkeston SB6827 1984 Reynolds 531c Transfers

SB6827 SBDU Ilkeston Raleigh Reynolds 531c 1984 Road Bike Unridden Condition – New Arrival

Sometimes when I see a bike that someone else owns I feel a little pang of jealousy, I can’t help it. And that is exactly how I felt nearly two years ago when I was first sent images of SB6827. The images were of a beautiful SB bike, it was original, the red paint was gleaming and all the Super Record parts were in perfect condition – I was then told that it had never been ridden and my jealousy feelings went off the scale.

Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) Frame Design Seat Stay and Seat Lug Attachment

Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU Ilkeston) Seat Stay Design and Seat Lug Attachment

You probably think seat stays are quite boring, why on earth would I devote a blog post to the two narrow tapering tubes on the back of a frame? Well as you hopefully all know by now, I do like my details, especially the small details! The various designs and subtle differences in seat stays can tell me a lot about an SBDU frame, even the frame age and tubing type.

SBDU Ilkeston Panasonic Raleigh Services des Courses Reynolds 531c 1984 SB6560 7400 Brake Levers

SB6560 531c Services des Courses 1984 SBDU Ilkeston Panasonic Raleigh – Planning a Build

I currently have six or seven or maybe even eight or more projects and builds happening at the moment. But lots of projects means lots of money, and that is something that is thin on the ground at the moment. Shhh… I’ve been saving for something rather nice so my funds have been temporarily diverted! As well as a lack of available funds, there has also been a lack of nice warm weather – it seems like it has been such a long winter. It’s been so cold and snowy which has meant the garage where I normally apply a little bit of paint has been out of bounds until now. But spring seems to have sprung, the weather has turned and as there appears to be a touch of heat in the air, it is time to divert some of my attention back to my SB6560 project.

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 this repair a few weeks ago and now have some time to finish the job.

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?

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 Raleigh Banana (SB8868) and TI-Raleigh (SB3800) that I have built in the last few months.

SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982 Reynolds Specifications

Reynolds Tubing Wall Thickness Tube Gauge and Seat Pin Size

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).

SB8945 SBDU Nottingham 753R 58cm Frame Weight

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

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.

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Randonneur 531 1985 SB7660 Gearing

SBDU Ilkeston Raleigh Randonneur Reynolds 531c 1985 SB7660 – Complete

I’m really happy with how this rebuild has turned out! I didn’t want to carry out a full nut and bolt strip down, clean and polish; I just wanted to get this bike back on the road again and make it 100% mechanically perfect!