SB7393 1985 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531 Professional Geometry and Design

SB7393 Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 531 Professional 1985 – Geometry and Design

Time Trial frame? Road frame? Or a bit of both? What exactly is it?

SB7393 came with a story that it was built and used for time trials and ridden by a junior. I was also told by Rob, the previous owner, that it was a “lively” ride! It looks like a conventional SBDU road bike, but then again, SB time trial frames can look like conventional road bikes too; and with vertical and horizontal ends as options on both types, it is ultimately down to geometry to unravel the puzzle.

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SB9000 SBDU Nottingham Reynolds 753R Raleigh Banana Low Profile Frame

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

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.

SH377T SBDU Reynolds 753 Pursuit Track Frame Head Tube Detail

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

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.

Gunter Haritz GH6175 1975 531 TI-Raleigh Team Track Frame

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

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.

SH377T SBDU Reynolds 753 Pursuit Track Frame Paintwork

SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 Raleigh Pursuit Frame SH377T – New Arrival

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!

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.

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; the outward appearance such as the frame transfers suggest that it is probably an SBDU Time Trial frame. SB664 is an early SB numbered 753 frame and was probably ordered in first part 1976 or even in late 1975. Reynolds 753 was brand new, it had only just been shown to the public in trade shows and it wasn’t widely available outside of the TI-Raleigh team. So what was this frame designed to be?

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

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

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?

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 entire year. It has some rather special and unique combinations of features that I have not seen on any other Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) frame.

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 flying under the radar, going unnoticed, and masking their real origins. SB8851 is a prime example. It is fitted with Dave Quinn transfers and came with a story that it was ordered from and built by Dave, but a closer look the at those frame features gave it away.

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?

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 did give me a bit of a issue.

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.

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).

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 very best with new transfers, to working with probably the greatest group set ever made, Shimano Dura-Ace 7402, it has been a joy to work on this bike.

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 the ordeal of going for a period correct team build. Instead, I’m going for all the things that I love in bikes and bike components. This means I will actually come close to team spec, but retain some freedom to tailor the build for the parts that I like and the overall look that I prefer.

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 very similar frame to the SB8945 frame that I picked up a few months ago. Sometimes the decision to buy a new frame doesn’t take long to make, and even though I’d just seen a few non-detailed images, I contacted the owner and bought it. It was in my collection a couple of days later.

SB6398 SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753R Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary

SB6398 Restore Part Five – SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh 1984 Reynolds 753R Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary Group

All of the 50th Anniversary parts that I’ve carefully and patiently cleaned over the last couple of weeks have been re-united with the SBDU Ilkeston 753R frame that they came from. I’ve had a few things on lately so it has taken a little while to get focused on this build again, but all the prep and cleaning has meant a quick and painless build.

sb6398-sbdu-ilkeston-reynolds-753r-campagnolo-super-record-50th-anniversary-qrs-after

SB6398 Restore Part Four – SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh 1984 Reynolds 753R Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary Group

I’m well on the way to getting every part of this build back to their very best. Part three was all about the components of the 50th anniversary group, and putting the shine back onto them. There were two main components that I left out of that post, they were the hubs and the brake levers – the bar tape and brake lever hoods have made me think the most, leaving me in a bit of a quandary.

SB6398 Restore Part 3

SB6398 Restore Part Three – SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh 1984 Reynolds 753R Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary Group

Part three is here..! That means I finally get to work with the Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary group.

Part one was frame prep, the foundation of the build. Part two was fitting the head set and bottom bracket; joining the frame and forks together, the starting point to which all other parts are fitted. 

sb6398-sbdu-ilkeston-reynolds-753r-campagnolo-super-record-50th-anniversary-bb-faced

SB6398 Restore Part One – SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh 1984 Reynolds 753R Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary Group

Here it is, the time has finally come…

It’s time to build SB6398. The end result of this build will be a bike that is 100% original, exactly the same as when it left the work stand of Denton Cycles back in 1984. It will only be the slight patina to the paint and parts that may give its age away.

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.

SB6398 SBDU Ilkeston Raleigh Denton Cycles Reynolds 753R Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary

Denton Cycles SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB6398 1984 Reynolds 753R Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary Group – New Arrival

There are just too many things to describe on this bike. I actually had trouble thinking of a shorter blog title! It is everything I could ever want to find in a bike, it ticks so many boxes; and it all became reality in the space of a few hours on a Saturday evening.

Reynolds 753 TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Post Header

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

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.

Reynolds 531 Double Butted Tube Spec TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Post Header

1974 to 1975 Reynolds 531 Tubing SBDU TI-Raleigh Road Frames

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while, and I’ve tried to start and structure it a few times, but it has been difficult getting to grips with the scale of the subject. There was often either too much conflicting information or sometimes a complete lack of information about Reynolds tubes. Hopefully I’ve got a good grasp now, although it has still taken longer than expected to get all of this out of my head and crammed into a short, informative and hopefully coherent blog post.