I’m definately dipping my toes into the unknown with this one. This MK. IV Raleigh Professional frame is a break from the norm for me. After seeing it pop up on Hilary’s Facebook feed, the part of my head that normally tells me to hit the button and buy stalled for a few days before I finally convinced myself. Now that I’ve got it, I’ve given myself the same problem I last experienced when I bought SB4059 all those years ago. The problem is that I know very little about either the MK. IV Raleigh Professional, or that era of Raleigh/Carlton, or even the Worksop facility that built it. However, this is a TI Raleigh UK Team frame and I’m really looking forward to learning about the team and the bikes, and especially confirming this one.
Reasons for Buying
There were two things that swayed my decision to buy G4582.
The first reason was to broaden my collection and expand into the periods before and after SBDU Ilkeston. I’ve planned to expand my collection for a long time. I’ve already started that expansion on the higher range of SB numbers after adding a handful of SBDU Nottingham frames. They took me past the SBDU Ilkeston years. I pushed things further with the addition of a Raleigh Special Products Division SB numbered frame. But even then, everything I had started with SBDU Ilkeston; everything I had was from the SB numbering era. This frame fits perfectly into my plans to expand as the ‘G’ serial frame number on the bottom bracket dates this frame to 1972. This was the top model frame built by Raleigh at that time (pre SBDU).
The second reason was the link this frame has to TI Raleigh. Hopefully, if you know me and my blog, you get the fact that I’m all about the bikes and frames rather than the glory of the TI-Raleigh team. My collection is huge and varied and demonstrates as many details about these frames as possible. However, some frames do peak my interest and it is always nice to be able to include something with links to TI-Raleigh. 1972 was the very first year that a team used the TI Raleigh name. This is believed to be one of those TI Raleigh UK Team bikes. I couldn’t really pick a better frame to start this voyage into the unknown.
Why do I say believed so much?
I say ‘believed’ because I like to be sure of my facts. Yes this frame was sold as Dave Rollinson’s 1972 TI Raleigh team frame; it does have ‘DR’ stamped under the bottom bracket; it’s a 1972 frame; it does have remnants of paint that match the 1972 team colours; it does come with a good proportion of team spec components. That is a lot of confirmations, but I still need to check and confirm for myself. However, at the moment, this is just a ‘new arrival’ post and I’ll continue with basic details for now, and cover any further checking and research I do in future posts.
The price included the headset, bottom bracket, front and rear derailleurs, gear levers, chain set, brake calipers and top tube cable clips. That is a good amount of kit and means that I don’t have to pull too much together to complete a build. I already have a good 27.2mm Record seat pin and a nice Brooks Professional saddle, so I only need wheels/tubs, bars/stem and brake levers.
The Huret Jubilee components made their debut in 1972 (based on the best information I have at the moment). The front derailleur is the earlier design with 5 holes in the front plate instead of the later 4 holes. The rear derailleur is also the early type with a short spring. They were known as being much lighter than anything else available at the time. The rear derailleur, especially in its factory drilled form went on to be a favourite with time trialists. The front derailleur however does have a reputation for being a bit fragile, so I’ll be careful with that.
G4582 gives me another opportunity to build a beautiful bike that isn’t based around Campagnolo.
G4582 doesn’t look its best at the moment and has a covering of primer. Some of that primer also extends over the chrome of the rear stays. However, it does have clues of its original colour. There are patches of red on the fork column and the remains of white on the inside the head tube.
The 1972 TI Raleigh UK Team line up image shows how this frame should look. It is a red frame with a contrasting white head tube. There are also white and blue panels on the seat tube. I’ve seen the fork on these team bikes depicted at least three different ways. I’ve seen full chrome, I’ve also seen red crown and upper blades with lower chromed blades, and also chrome crown and chrome lower blades with approx 4″ of red just below the crown. Based on the polished appearance of the crown and dullness of the upper 4″ of blade, this frame should have a chrome crown and chrome lower blades with a section of red at the top. The rear seat and chain stays are also partially chromed.
For the following 1973 season the TI Raleigh team adopted the more well known red/black/yellow team colours for the first time (including the short lived yellow head tube).
The number on this frame is G4582. This system of a single letter followed by a sequence of numbers on the bottom bracket was used at Worksop on some models in the late 60s and ended in 1973 – the more well known ‘W’ reference took over soon after. Most online sources I’ve seen quote the sequence of letters representing the year, for example, ‘E’ = 1970, ‘F’ = 1971 & ‘G’ = 1972.
The stamp along the centre of the BB shell looks to be a postcode and door number – coincidentally, that address is only 20 miles from me! The opposite end of the BB shell has some stamped initials. Their appearance is crisp and sharp and match the size and appearance of the frame number stamp. There is something in between the ‘D’ and the ‘R’ though, but it doesn’t seem to be the same size or as well made/struck, it could be a mis stamp of the ‘R’ or something completely unrelated; but it definately doesn’t appear to be the same size or have the same clarity as the DR initials or the G4582 frame number.
Although an SBDU frame may be best known for the oversize seat stay cap design, it was the SBDU fast back that landed with a bang towards the end of 1982 that almost took the top slot. These are my thoughts, backed up with some data, about the SBDU fast back.
Before going further, I want to start with the term “fast back”. Is it a ‘fast back’ or is it ‘shot in stays’ or is it something else? Within the walls of the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit, it was documented as a fast back. So that is how I always reference it when I write about this style of SBDU seat stay. More of that documentation later…
New Reynolds Range
To understand the fast back, there is a little background required about Reynolds tubing. TI-Reynolds updated their range of tubes in 1982. I’m not 100% sure at which point of the year that was but certainly during that year, new tubesets and features appeared. I’ve shared this video before from the Veteran Cycle Club archive, but it is worth another share here. This is a classic period Peter Purves informational video at it’s best.
At approx 6 minutes into that video, he explains the new tubes within the 753T tubeset… “a double taper pattern 24 gauge seat stay”. It is that “double taper” which is important.
Double Taper Seat Stay Design
A double taper seat stay does exactly what it says on the tin… it starts narrow at the seat lug, then it tapers for the first time as it widens at the brake bridge, before starting to taper once again back down to a narrow section at the frame end. It has two tapers, a ‘Double’ taper. The easiest way is to show you is through the power of video.
Seat Lug Design
The S4 lug, that one with the small triangular window cut out in the side, was used by the SBDU on their Reynolds 753 range of frames before becoming the norm across the range for a short while. The seat lug chosen for this range had ears on the back to locate a double ended seat bolt. However, for most frames built by the SBDU, they would modify this and add a reinforcement, brazed into place and then tapped to accept the usual 8mm threaded steel hex head seat bolt.
The 62D lug that was being used when the fast back was introduced. The type of seat lug the SBDU used did not have the seat binder ears. Instead, the lug was simply a seat tube and top tube socket with no seat binder arrangement formed on the rear. A steel seat binder bolt housing could then be attached. (Picture for explanation only – the SBDU seat lug had longer points).
As my video explains, it is my theory (and it is only my theory – I was not there!) that the combination of lug and seat stay brought about this design. The ongoing use by the SBDU of the 62D and the emergence of the double taper seat stay from Reynolds came together beautifully. It wasn’t long before the well established Prugnat S4 lug disappeared from SBDU frames.
First Appearance of the SBDU Fast Back
Built in the appropriate gauge of 753 for the rider and programme of races, normally this will be the new 753R tube. The new double taper 753 seat stays are fitted to the seat bolt housing.
Team Raleigh 753 Road
As far as I know that is the first appearance describing the new tubes and new seat stay fastening. The design was still without a definition, it was just a simple description of how they are attached.
These models are built to road or time trials specification with a wider range of options to suit more general racing. They can be built to suit most components and may have conventional or ‘fast back’ seat stays.
753 Road and Time Trials
There is that phrase for the first time… ‘fast back’ seat stays.
1985 continued with descriptions like this…
Earliest SBDU Fast Back Frame
What Does the Data Show
I have images of over 700 SBDU frames, and from these images, I’ve collated a huge amount of data. The data can clearly show a change in the type of seat stays on SBDU frames. I’ve included a few frame numbers in this small sample of data to provide a reference for dating.
I love data! Sometimes data presented like this just jumps out of the page at you. I still have hundreds of frames waiting to be logged but even this small sample can tell a few stories.
You can clearly see several bits of information…
At the end of 1982/ start of 1983, there was a small period of time when some 753 frames were built with Metric 753 and some were built with Imperial 753R. Imperial took over as the main option but Metric was still offered.
By the end of 1982, most frames (531 and 753) were moving away from the Prugnat window lug, the S4, and the scroll type of the 62D became the norm.*
You can see in the ‘Seat Stay Design’ and ‘Seat Stay Taper’ columns that there is a definite switch over point – up to a point, all frames were the single taper stay with oversize caps, but this switched to the double taper with the fast back design.*
Conventional side attached seat stays with the over size caps could be used on both S4 and 62D lugs, but the fast back only appeared with 62D.*
I’ve marked most of the items in the list with an ‘*’ as these are important in the development of the SBDU fast back and hopefully they are points that I can explain in more detail further through this post.
The Earliest Known SBDU Fast Back?
As the data shows, SB5464 is currently the earliest SBDU fast back that I am aware of. Of all the bikes I have recorded, and all the bikes still waiting to be recorded, SB5464 is the earliest example of an SB stamped frame with a fast back design using the double taper seat stay attached to the seat bolt housing. And it is one of mine!
SB5464 dates to a point towards the end of 1982. It has Metric tubing with an RGF BB shell, Cinelli SC fork crown and Prugnat 62D lugs – it is a beautiful example of an original Raleigh SBDU frame.
The Fast Back Was Nothing New…
Yep, there was nothing new about this design. Lots of frame designs and builders had used something similar, and had used it earlier. In fact, the SBDU did have earlier fast back frames, earlier than SB5464. My Dynaflite is an example, SB4409. But I haven’t included frames like this as the “earliest” – these weren’t what I would call mainstream design frames, they were specials, almost one-offs, built with very different and specialist tubing.
So in respect of a frame design that was part of the standard production process, the Dynaflite cannot be considered.
Did you know I have a “Premier League” of frames within my SBDU collection? I call the lucky ones that make it into this league my ‘Featured Frames’. I have a full list here. The competition is real and it’s always a tough call about what I feature in this list. But I need to draw the line somewhere, and only the very best can make it.
It does mean that lots of exceptional frames don’t make it onto the featured frame list. I still love every single one, they are all wonderful SBDU frames, but the featured frames all have amazing significance or a special story.
My Featured Frames List
GH6175 Featured Frame Number One
Günter Haritz 1975 TI-Raleigh Team Reynolds 531 DB Track Frame
Gunter Haritz GH6175 1975 531 TI-Raleigh Team Track Frame
Günter won an Olympic Gold medal and the Amateur World title in the Team Pursuit. He was also a National road champion in 1974. He was exceptional on the track in 6 day racing. This is a TI-Raleigh team frame, built for a rider with those credentials; it has to feature in the featured frames list.
(No Frame Number) Featured Frame Number Two
Jan le Grand Motor Paced Stayer built for TI-Raleigh Team rider René Pijnen
Motor Paced Stayer Frame and Fork
I had to do a lot of investigation work to verify this frame. Undoubtedly built by Jan le Grand. The period of the build and the size of the frame all match with the details of TI-Raleigh team rider René Pijnen, another Olympic Gold medallist. But his speciality was the track and 6 day racing. He is one of the most successful 6 day riders ever. This frame must be on the list, not simply based on it’s builder and rider, but because it’s a Stayer!.
Motor Paced Stayer Frame
SB632 Featured Frame Number Three
1976 Reynolds 753 Track Frame
SB632 1976 SBDU 753 Track Frame
A standard SB numbered frame. However, there are two reasons why this frame has made the list. Reason one, it is the earliest known Reynolds 753 SB numbered track frame that I am aware of. That should be reason enough to include the frame in the list. But reason number two would also stand alone… SB632 was once owned by Beryl Burton. I don’t need to say anymore about that. This frame is on the list.
That is the first three frames on the list in date order. Just those three frames are special enough for any collector. But the list goes on…
SB1500 Featured Frame Number Four
1977 Reynolds 753 Time Trial Special
SB1500 1977 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Time Trial Special
Why is this one featured on the list when I have other 753 Time Trial frames? The reason… SB1500 was displayed by Raleigh at the Harrogate International Festival of Cycling. At least two were built and used, captured here by a photograph in a write up about the show in Cycling.
SB1500 Harrogate Cycle Show 1977
Gerald O’Donovan gave SB1500 to Ken Evans, the editor of Cycling. I bought it from Ken’s family, a great lineage to be part of. It’s an amazingly light frame, in superb original condition with some lovely details and it easily makes it onto the featured frames list.
SB1500 1977 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Time Trial Special Frame Details
SB1500 1977 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Time Trial Special Seat Stay Bridge Detail
SB1500 1977 SBDU Ilkeston 753 Time Trial Special Chain Stay Bridge Detail
SH377T Featured Frame Number Five
Steve Heffernan 1977 Reynolds 753 Track Frame
No SB number on this one, the SH is for Steve Heffernan. Steve won Gold in the Commonwealth games and has a list of successes in junior, amateur and elite National championships. He also had a stage win in the Milk Race pushing the familiar names of Jan Raas and Klaus-Peter Thaler into 3rd and 4th.
Built by Mike Mullett, it also has details clearly influenced by Jan le Grand such as the square and drilled bridges. It has original paint with Carlton Capella lugs picked out in gold. It is a one-off and on the list.
JR178T Featured Frame Number Six
Jan Raas 1978 TI-Raleigh Team Reynolds 531 DB 6 Day Track Frame
It’s amazing what can happen in a matter of minutes. I had my feet up, relaxing on a Sunday morning, doing nothing much at all other than trying to figure out what to watch on television. Then an email containing a link to a frame dropped into my inbox. I clicked the link, had a quick look, noticed a couple of tell-tale details, spotted the buy it now price, checked the bank account and hit the button. Five minutes after receiving that initial email, I had a second email confirming the purchase of what appeared to be a 1979 TI-Raleigh Team riders Reynolds 753 road frame.
You can’t afford to hang around with frames like this. Asking the seller a question is a delay that can cost you. It can be the difference between getting the frame or missing out. Therefore, even with the frame number not 100% visible, the other frame details were enough to tell me that this was at least a Jan le Grand built frame. Any link to a team rider could be checked later. So at the time of hitting the ‘Buy it Now’ button, I didn’t fully know what this was but knew it was worth checking out. And at the price it was being offered, it was too tempting.
Even a Jan le Grand frame built in the Raleigh style, at this type of price, is worth having.
What Have I Bought?
I’ve seen similar frames, built by Jan, and that closely resemble team frames but which aren’t team frames. Some even have frame number stamping that could be mistaken for team numbering. So be careful, not every frame like this is linked to Raleigh. There are several of these Team ‘clones’, and according to those that know him, Jan was a “bit of a wheeler & dealer” in these frames.
It can be difficult to see a difference or to understand exactly what these other, similar frames are. Some of them have no stamping while others do have stamping but it is stamping that doesn’t make sense or correlate to any team rider. Some of these frames can also have features that don’t correctly fit with the era of TI-Raleigh but which are none the less, similar. Without confirmed provenance (not just a story), these similar Jan le Grand frames are nice, but you can’t confidently call them a team frame; you need to build a case in the same way I did with my Motor Paced Stayer.
Even without fully knowing what I’d bought, I was happy with the frame and I was prepared to wait until it arrived before checking any further facts. But then in a follow up message from the seller confirming the sale, he confirmed the serial number as CP.1.79
1979 TI-Raleigh Team
This was a frame in the Raleigh style. It uses features that confirm Jan le Grand, and has a serial number in the format of the Raleigh team and that matched a known TI-Raleigh rider. This was very much a TI-Raleigh Team frame. Cees Priem is the rider of that year with a match to those initials. This is the 1979 TI-Raleigh McGregor team, according to Cycling Archives.com
Could he be riding CP.1.79 in the image below..?
A little explanation about CP.1.79…
I made reference in that video to features that you see on team frames that make them subtly different to SB numbered frames. I’ll write a blog post on that topic soon. The variations that this frame has which are slightly different to SB road frames are the seat lug, frame ends, frame build process and fork. All of these are subtly different while the overall appearance is almost identical to an SB frame.
Features on CP.1.79 include Prugnat S4 lugs, oversize seat stay caps on top of single taper seat stays, an RGF BB shell, Metric Reynolds 753 tubing, Campagnolo 1010/B ends and an external semi sloping fork crown. These features are everything you would expect to see on a similar period SB numbered 753 frame. There is the obvious exception of drillings on the 1010/B ends. And, if you noticed, there is a lack of fork blade stiffeners on the inner fork blade below the crown.
I’ve mentioned the following small BB feature before. This is a feature I’ve identified on 70s and early 80s frames that can help to identify a possible team frame. The feature is the small hole in the down tube socket of the RGF BB shell; this feature isn’t present on normal SB frames. There is normally an identical hole on the rear of the seat tube socket.
The frame number of CS.1.79 denotes a frame made for Cees Priem for the 1979 season.
It’s previous life, and colour, can still be seen with the remnants of red paint inside the top and bottom head lug.
I’ll do a more complete post about the geometry of this frame later. The two basic measurements I’ve already taken from the seat tube and top tube match what is known about this rider’s geometry.
Cees Priem TI-Raleigh Known Frame Geometry
585 mm (centre to centre) – checked
552 mm (centre to centre) – checked
753/803 (26.8mm seat pin) – checked
I talked in my video about how this geometry is great for me. I normally have to ride a smaller SBDU frame so that I can have a shorter top tube. If I was to ride a conventional geometry frame that fitted my legs, the top tube would typically be too long. To get around this issue, I select smaller frames. I often ride an SBDU 57cm, so that I can adjust the height with the seat pin but ride a frame which gives me the perfect reach. However, the specific geometry of CP.1.79 allows me to have the correct seat tube length and top tube length without a compromise. It is a perfect frame.
Another item in the frame specification list above is the tubing type. The tubing is designated as 753/803. I’ve written about this many times; although there was only ever one type of ‘753’ transfer in 1979, there were different gauge options within the 753 specification. It was generally believed that all large Raleigh 753 frames built from Metric 753 tubing would use the heavier/thicker 803 gauge while smaller 753 frames would use the lighter/thinner 801 gauge. I’ve disproved this story several times – I have lots of frames that go against this belief. However, CP.1.79 does indeed have the heavier/thicker 803 gauge and therefore requires a 26.8 mm seat pin. I’m not the lightest rider, so this is another aspect of this frame build that is more suited to me.
I’ve only just received it so plans are still formulating on how to build this frame. The one..
It’s always nice to sit down and have a think about where my SBDU collection is and to plan where it is heading. That might sound ridiculous as these are only old steel bike frames, but writing about them does keep me on track and helps me to focus, so I only add frames that I really want, rather than simply accumulating quantities. Regularly writing about them has helped me to review what I have, hold back, rationalise and put valid reasons to any potential new addition I see.
My method of regularly reviewing what I have has had a massive impact over the last two years. The amount of new additions has drastically fallen off as the gaps I’ve identified in my collection have become much more specific.
The Reason for My Collection
My TI-Raleigh SBDU Collection
That heading, “The Reason for My Collection“, keeps me on track – having a reason gives the collection a meaning. I never had a reason for my collection when I started. That was because I never intended to have a collection when I started my first renovation, I was buying any random frames that I could afford. It was my blogging and a growing appreciation for these frames that planted the seed of starting a collection. And then receiving an increasing amount of requests for information created my resolve to focus on the detail of the collection. The reason then started to develop. It is much more clearly defined now…
The main reason for my SBDU collection is to showcase the work of the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit. I collect SB numbered frames so I can research, document and demonstrate the range of frame styles, design features and colours they used over time. Additionally, I want to preserve originality and be able to record that originality as a reference for others.
My TI-Raleigh SBDU Collection
It’s clearly a big task that I’ve given myself. To be able to show as many features as possible over the time that SB numbers were in use means that I need to focus and aim to have frames that not only fit the many different frame types, but also have as many of the different features that were in use spanning that range of years.
That is where my random collecting wasn’t working. A few years ago I only wanted to buy, buy, buy. I demonstrated that ‘buy anything’ mentality back in 2017 when I bought a total of 14 frames. They were all very random additions, with lots of duplicates and repainted frames and although they are nice to have, and there were a few amazing frames, the majority of them didn’t add much value to the collection of the work I wanted to do.
Turning a Corner
2018 was the year my collection received the focus it needed and grew up. There were only 6 new arrivals but each one added a worthwhile dimension. In order of arrival, they were…
These additions included lots of originality, combined with new frame types such as low profile road and track, together with a frame that filled a gap in my year timeline for 1986. And then at the end of the year came such a rare frame, a Motor Paced Stayer built by Jan le Grand, possibly built for TI-Raleigh rider René Pijnen.
I’ve continued the focused approach in 2019, and the year has had an excellent start. I’ve added three beautiful examples to the collection. Two with original paint but all three with SBDU paint!
SB1995 Reynolds 753 Road frame – an unridden SBDU renovation in perfect ‘straight out of Ilkeston’ condition
SB3235 Reynolds 753 Road frame – original paint in the blue/black SBDU colour scheme
SB2589 Reynolds 753 Road frame – original/unique colour with Raleigh seat stay cap badges, built for a friend of GvO’D
Wow, three excellent frames. And what do I mean with that conundrum of two out of the three frames with original paint but all three with SBDU paint? Well that is SB1995 which is the frame built in 1978 but taken back to Ilkeston at the end of 1982 for renovation before being picked up and hidden away in a cupboard for 36 years. It is an SBDU time capsule! SB3235 and SB2589 are two beautiful and original examples that not only show the beauty of an original frame, they also demonstrate quite rare colours and they also bolster my 1978 timeline.
Frame Types & Tubing
I have in my mind that there is a ‘core’ SBDU frame type and a similar core Reynolds tubing type used by the SBDU. Other SBDU frame types and tubing exist but you will see many more of the core type of SBDU frame such as Road, Track and TT. These will be built from the core tubing such as 753/R and 531/SL/c/P. This cross tab highlights what I consider to be the core SBDU frame types and tubing.
SBDU Ilkeston Frame Timeline
The image below shows how SB1995 and SB3235 have helped to add information to 1978. These are the main years covered by SBDU Ilkeston before the relocation to Nottingham in 1986/87. SB8790 is my first step into the frames made following that move.
The list of frames is getting longer but here is a basic overview of the entire collection…
My TI-Raleigh SBDU Collection
Motor Paced Stayer
Road Low Profile
Track Low Profile
Road Low Profile
"New Team" refers to the new team colours (Panasonic/Weinmann/Pirelli). Some..
An SBDU 531SL Aero frame? SB4944 was an impulse buy from quite some time ago. I saw it listed on Hilary Stone’s site as an SBDU frame built from Reynolds 531 Professional tubing. The serial number and the date that number indicated together with the repaint showed it was actually built from 531SL and a later 531 Professional transfer was added. Since it’s arrival, it has been a bit of a mystery. But last year I was sent an image that finally lifts the lid on SB4944. It tells me exactly what it is.
There are patches of red paint underneath the surface. My initial thought was that it had originally been painted in the TI-Raleigh colours.
SB4944 531SL SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh 1982 Frame
So the plan, if there ever was one, was to return it to the TI colours. Other features of this frame were weird, like the top mount gear lever boss that fed the gear cables across the top of the BB shell – that was different and I did have a thought that it was a later modification. But it gave me one of the first ideas I had with this frame, and that was to fit Shimano AX components.
The shape of the lever boss stopped that though. The frame came with Suntour Symmetric levers which require a different shape boss to the AX levers I had, so rather than think of a way of dealing with the shape of the boss or removing it completely, I shelved the frame for a while to ponder.
The frame has been hanging in the workshop and while it was hanging there, I’d seen more and more 531SL SBDU frames, but the odd thing was that they appeared to be in a cluster! My collection has SB4933, SB4944, SB5084 and SB5464. It was that range spanning only 500’ish SB numbers and nothing earlier that made me look further. 531SL has been around just as long as Reynolds 753, so that goes back to 1975. But my own collection of them starts at late 1981. So I delved into my amazing archive of SB frames to see if there was a trend I could spot.
The archives were interesting. I’ve used these archives before to look at the more ‘rare‘ SBDU frame tubing types. I wrote about putting context to that over used term and it was 531SL that came out top of the list as the most rare type of tubing used by the SBDU. I came to the conclusion that as 531SL came out at the same time as 753, most riders must have preferred either the lightweight and strength offered by 753, or the stiffness and reliability of good old 531. 531SL was as thin and light as 753 but didn’t have the strength from the heat treatment. It was just very thin 531 tubing which really had a limited use. Maybe a light rider on good roads could use it but it probably wasn’t a popular choice.
The archives showed that there was indeed a cluster of 531SL frames. There are one or two that appear earlier on. However, they do seem to peak in a narrow range of SB numbers starting from the SB4800’ish point up to SB5500’ish. About 75% of this small cluster all exhibit the same frame features… a Cinelli BB shell, Cinelli fork crown, top mounted gear lever boss with Suntour levers, 2 sets of bottle bosses and a race number tag.
Some New Information
Then I received an image of a Raleigh 531SL Aero bike. Unfortunately, I can’t credit this person because they sent it via Facebook and now seem to have closed their account. They show in my messages list as “Facebook User”. So sorry whoever it was, I can’t recall who you were, so “Facebook User” receives all the credit.
Everything fell into place with my frame – I was looking at the bike that my frame should be, a 531SL Aero!
My theory with 531SL is that it wasn’t used very much and because its successor was around the corner, the SBDU made a series of specials. They had a set geometry and features and were marketed as an aero bike even though there isn’t a aero tube in sight. The ‘aero’ comes from all the assembled parts.
A quick use of Google Translate gives me the following spec…
The parade horse from the raleigh racing stable
Reynolds 531 Super Lightweight Silver Soldered
Handmade 25mm wire tyres
Super Champion black anodised rims
Sugino Mighty aero series for sprocket and pedals
Aero-Gran-Compe brake set
Suntour Superbe aero derailleurset
Available in team color
Frame heights: 52 to 62 ascending by 2 cm
The specification from that image gives me a ready made build sheet for my bike, and it gives me another build project to plan for. I prefer building bikes that are different to the expected standard of Campagnolo, so I’m looking forward to this one.
A Cautionary Note
It isn’t just this 531SL Aero bike that does it. Any SBDU 531SL frame will be beautifully light and has the potential to confuse people. The SBDU were building their 753 and 531SL frames in Metric diameter tubing. It is that lightness together with a smaller seat pin (smaller than 27.2mm) that can confuse some frame renovators. They incorrectly label some of these 531SL frames as Reynolds 753. The lightness, seat pin size and inclusion of a Cinelli BB can be indicators of a Metric Reynolds 753 SBDU. But in this case, they aren’t!
I’ve bought a few frames from Hilary Stone over the years. He’s been the source for some of my best featured frames such as SB4409, my Dynaflite – an SBDU Special, and SB8790 – my unridden low profile frame. He also supplied SB9529 – a low profile Dyna-Tech and SB4944 – a 1982 531SL road frame. They have all been good, honest frames, so when this one popped up a couple of days ago with Hilary, and including a Gerald O’Donovan connected story, I quickly pressed the button and sent a message.
The description Hilary used was…
This frame has an interesting history – Gerald O’Donovan had a weekend cottage on the Lincolnshire coast and over the years he supplied his friends who lived in the village with bikes – this was one of them. It has slightly larger clearances than for the standard race frames and has miniature Raleigh badges on each seatstay cap…
The colour is quite unique. When Mike Mullett, who was the SBDU workshop manager from the late 70s through to the early 80s, saw this he mentioned that he remembered building it. He quoted the colour as “Helyette Green”. I’m not sure what that is yet as I can’t find much of a reference to it, but several people have commented on it’s similarity to ‘British Racing Green’. Although the frame has a layer of dirt covering it, the green does still shine. I’m looking forward to cleaning this with some paint renovator!
Unlike other SBDU TI-Raleigh alternative colour options which had contrasting head and seat tube panels, this frame is one solid colour. It does however share the same top and down tube style transfers together with the white seat tube bands. SB3235 is an example of the blue/black option…
SB2589 displays lots of marks and scratches, acquired through years of use. But regardless, the originality of this frame shines through. The transfers are worn, and the paint on the chain and seat stays is chipped. But it’s an original example, in a great colour and I’m so happy to have it in the collection.
In his description, Hilary mentioned miniature Raleigh badges attached to the seat stay caps. This is something I’ve only seen maybe half a dozen times on these frames. And when I’ve seen them in the past, they have been on some significant frames (significant owners), and the inclusion of this little feature on SB2589 makes this frame special to me..
That ‘Special’ word is followed through on the fork column with the stamped ‘SPEC’ wording.
The frame details are what you would expect from a 1978 Reynolds 753 SBDU frame…
RGF bottom bracket shell with top routed cables and 4 slots
Prugnat 62D lugs
Single taper stays with oversize seat stay caps
Campagnolo 1010/B ends with the Portacatena fittings and drilled by the SBDU
Semi sloping fork crown
fork blade stiffeners
It has no brazed on brake cable stops or gear lever bosses. They were phased in between SB2200 and SB2900.
SB2589 is going to require some careful cleaning. Although the Reynolds 753 transfer has survived really well, those TI fork blade transfers look delicate. But underneath that top layer of dirt I think there is a lovely colour waiting to come through and show itself.
In a previous blog post I introduced the new TI-Raleigh SBDU forums which are part of a larger ‘Community’ project that I’m building. At the same time I mentioned another task that I was working on. That was to add the functionality for forum members to upload image galleries. Well I’ve been working hard and I’ve been testing with cloud storage and folder structures and permissions and now have something ready. Here are the “My TI-Raleigh Galleries for SBDU Forum Members”.
My TI-Raleigh Galleries work with forum registration. So to make the best of them you must have a registered forum account and be logged into that account.
There are two account types; REGISTERED and GUEST. Access to folders is restricted dependant on account type. If you haven’t registered an account, or if you are not currently logged into your own account, you will be browsing galleries as a GUEST meaning you only have minimum GUEST privileges. Therefore, guest accounts can browse through the public shared galleries but can only view small 1″ size small thumbnail images. This means that there is no access to larger image previews or any further functionality on the Guest account type.
Here’s a screen captured video of my test account using the galleries…
Galleries are hosted using a cloud based storage solution provided by Microsoft OneDrive. My blog is managed by me and is self financed. Simply put, that means I must keep costs to a minimum. Hosting galleries and adding functionality does not come for free. However, the package I’ve put together gives me the minimum functionality I need to get this project up and running and create the community access I want.
As a registered forum member you will have access to the My TI-Raleigh Galleries shared folders. This registered access provides…
Browse – The ability to browse through all shared galleries
Previews – Image previews in a large image window
Downloads – Image downloads
Sharing – Access to share images or folders
Search – Gallery search – find images from the entire gallery based on search keywords such as ‘Track’, ‘753’, ‘1979’ etc
As a registered forum member, you will also have access to your own private folder area. This area has a specific purpose…
It is a storage area to hold images before they are checked and optimised and moved to the shared galleries
It can be used as a temporary folder if you want to show or get private advise on a bike or frame
Adding Files to the Shared Galleries
Adding folders to the shared galleries starts by adding images to your private folder…
Upload a new folder or images to your private folder – probably better to create a folder and add images to the new folder
Anything in your private folder can only be viewed by either yourself or admin (me). No other registered forum members or guests have access
Add a note – let me know what you’ve uploaded
Add/upload a text file along with your images, or a note with a short description. You can also message/email me separately. I just need to know a little about your images
If the images are for the shared galleries…
I receive notifications of any uploads. The image file size will be optimised for storage and previews before being added to the galleries. I will also tag image names with keywords to allow search indexing
Once images are shared, or following any advice, the images in the private folder will be removed
The private folder isn’t a permanent cloud storage area. I need to prioritise space for the shared galleries. With that in mind, I’ll keep the private folders monitored and periodically look to remove any processed files.
Within your own private folder you have comprehensive permissions…
Add/Remove – Add or delete files and folders
Move – Rearrange files and folders
Edit – Edit descriptions and file names
Preview – See large image previews
Download – Image downloads
Share – Access to share images or folders
Search – Image search
The Galleries are ready to go…
The main focus behind my community approach and incorporating features into my blog rather than elsewhere is to remove any requirement to host a user community through social media platforms such as Facebook. Although Facebook groups are good, not everyone uses it or wants to use it. Other features of Facebook such as posts are hard to keep track of or find and search through. Albums on Facebook can’t be searched which is also a drawback to users searching for information.
So please have a look and please contribute your images to the wider community. A single image shared can help someone else learn something.
My site has taken over all of my spare time recently. I’ve been expanding it so I can let people in, creating an area that others can take part in. While I’ve been beavering away behind the scenes, I’ve also kept one eye on what’s available. SB3235 popped up at just the right time, but on the wrong forum. I’ve made no secret of the fact that eBay isn’t favourite place to search for frames. I really do dislike the mad scramble that pushes up prices way past their actual worth. However, this seller was open to offers, I made an offer and my offer was accepted. Within 4 days this new SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 frame had made it’s way all the way from Germany to my workbench.
Now that my collection has grown so big, I really do have to “double think” every frame I look at and try to find a valid reason to why I might want it.
SB3235 is in original paint and the images I had seen showed a used frame, but one that was in good condition. That was one consideration ticked – it was original! In terms of filling gaps, it did just that, it is a 1979 Road frame, something I don’t already have, another consideration ticked – it filled a gap! It is in the really lovely blue/black Raleigh SBDU colour scheme. This is a scheme I’ve always liked and something you don’t see too often. Another consideration ticked – it is an unusual colour! And finally, my collection is also about putting things together and creating smaller sub-collections, and SB3235 is the perfect Road frame partner to SH377T, my 1977 Reynolds 753 Track frame. Another consideration ticked – it creates a smaller sub-collection!
For a change, and maybe as a new feature, I did a short video of it’s arrival. There’s no better feeling than opening a box, peeling back the packing and seeing what you have been sent for the very first time. I love seeing brand new arrivals, my eyes seem to scan so much of the details.
My TI Raleigh SBDU SB3235 New Arrival and Unpacking - YouTube
SB3235 dates to the later part of 1979 based on my own SBDU date timeline. It displays all the period features of an SBDU Reynolds 753 frame. This includes an RGF bottom bracket shell, Prugnat 62D lugs, single taper seat stays, large oversize seat stay caps and drilled Campagnolo 1010/B frame ends with the Portacatena fittings.
My TI-Raleigh SBDU SB3235 Reynolds 753 1979 Frameset
My TI-Raleigh SBDU SB3235 Reynolds 753 1979 Frame Features
Paint condition is ok. It is a solid frame with no dents but you can tell that this frame has had a good life. However, all the tubes look great and all the transfers are there. The Reynolds 753 transfer has done what so many others do, it shrinks and deteriorates, but it is still identifiable. The SBDU chainstay ovals have also faded, they have been wiped thousands of times over the last 40 years.
My TI-Raleigh SBDU SB3235 Reynolds 753 1979 Frame Transfers
So overall, I’m very happy with this new addition. It is original, it shows its age but still stands out as a great frame.
My TI-Raleigh SBDU SB3235 Reynolds 753 1979
The frame size is 55cm (SBDU BB Stamped size) – measured from centre of the BB to the tip of the seat lug.
My TI-Raleigh SBDU SB3235 Reynolds 753 1979 Frame Number and Size
The fork doesn’t have a stamped number but it does have a black felt marker number which is similar to other bikes I have in the collection. I can just about make out the ‘3’ and the ‘5’ but the two numbers in the middle have faded.
My TI-Raleigh SBDU SB3235 Reynolds 753 1979 Fork Number
The fork displays the period external semi sloping type crown and blade stiffeners. The front Campagnolo ends are drilled, matching the rear 1010/B. The fork crown is the area of this frame that has had the most touch up paint applied (and not very well), but I’m happy to leave it as it is.
My TI-Raleigh SBDU SB3235 Reynolds 753 1979 Fork
A Matching Pair
The big appeal about this frame was that colour scheme – they just don’t exist in any numbers. Just seeing frames in this colour doesn’t happen every day, so owning one is amazing. However, being able to place it side by side to SH377T is even better. SB3235 is its road going cousin.
My TI-Raleigh SBDU SB3235 Reynolds 753 1979 and SH377T Side by Side
I must be slightly mad for creating a TI-Raleigh SBDU Forum, this has the potential to really increase my blog workload! But I do think this needs to happen and now is as good a time as any to do it. The forums are part of a Community area I’m working on. There are many reasons why I’m creating the community area, too many to go into now, but hopefully it will be a great new dimension to my site.
A “user forum section”… it’s something that lots of other sites have. Facebook is one, WordPress, the platform this blog runs on is another. And many of the plugins and addons this site uses have them too. They enable users to interact and put questions to the site owners, developers and more importantly, other members.
This symbol made an appearance a few weeks ago when I gave my site a small face lift. Since then I’ve been hard at work behind the scenes trying to get the functionality working. I really want my blog to be more than just somewhere someone can come to read my posts about the SBDU. I’m hoping it’s going to become a space for like minded SBDU people to dip into and ask questions, look for information, share their own knowledge, post and talk about their own bikes, look for new projects or even sell an SBDU.
The forums and other new functionality that I’m adding can be accessed from the [Community] menu…
Creating the Forums: Reason One
More sharing to a wider community
I receive lots of Facebook messages and emails. And that’s great, I answer them all and I love receiving them. The responses I give are packed with information that others could benefit from. So isn’t a forum the best solution for people to ask questions and allow others to share in that information and therefore hopefully increase the amount of people who can benefit? Of course I’m not switching off the direct contact and I will always welcome any and all private messages, but there has to be a benefit to opening up some of the questions and responses to a wider community.
If you still want to keep things private, please continue to get in touch through my Facebook page, contact page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There will also be an additional method of Private Messaging through the forum very soon.
However, if you want to join the community and ask a public question then get registered! It’s really easy…
Create a forum username and enter your email address, tick all the boxes and hit [REGISTER]
Check your email inbox
Go to your inbox, open the email and click the link…
Set your new forum password
Enter and repeat then click [RESET PASSWORD]
Logout then log back in and you are sorted
After hitting the [RESET PASSWORD] button you should logout but immediately log back in – and that should be all that is required to give you access to post replies and add new topics.
NOTE: There is no need to register if you are only interested in viewing posts.
SBDU General Forums
Adding the forums to the site now means that there is a private and public method of getting in touch! There is no escape for me!
Please keep in mind though that this is a new project. Bugs are inevitably, and other things I haven’t captured while I’ve done my own testing might crop up. But fingers crossed it should all be ok.
I’ve created a couple of forums within the ‘General’ section. The first is just a general chat forum and the second is more of a question and answer forum. I’ve no idea at the moment what the uptake on these forums will be. There may be no actual need to separate these two, they could eventually merge but I’ve created them both to see how things work out.
Creating the Forums: Reason Two
I’ve avoided turning my TI-Raleigh SBDU Facebook page into a selling marketplace. I receive requests to sell on my page and have always turned them down. I do this because I see other pages and groups overrun with ads. These ads end up forming the majority of the page content, which I think is a bad thing.
I’m creating a forum to provide an outlet for registered users to advertise their SB bikes. This will be SBDU bikes and frames only at the moment (at least to start with, but maybe ‘W’ reference Raleigh and Carlton will be added soon). There will also be a ‘wanted’ posts section. Hopefully people can get together, those looking to buy or sell. These are private classifieds, the buyer and seller will communicate together and any questions and/or issues will remain their responsibility. These forums are simply a mechanism to bring people together. These forums won’t require any payment. There won’t be any listing fees or auction fees and any sale or purchase is a private agreement between buyer and seller.
If the classifieds are popular then I may also introduce a premium listing feature. This will be a listing that I highlight in more detail though a separate and dedicated section on the blog, side by side with the forums, I might also highlight the premium listings on my TI-Raleigh Facebook page too. At least that way, I can control the frequency and content of bike ads on my page while giving the ad the best exposure to the traffic my TI-Raleigh blog receives.
What Else is Planned?
Lots, there are lots of things planned.
But to start with I’ll be adding another feature to the ‘Community’ section of the site. I’ll be adding functionality to add (upload) your own galleries. This is something I’ve only just started to develop but I hope to have it ready soon. I just have a few niggles to sort out first.