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SB Frame Number and Frame Detail Timeline – SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Specialist Bicycle Development Unit

SBDU Frame Details Timeline

Frame details…, it is all about those little frame details… Frame details are hard to change. They are individual elements, fitted to tubes and formed into a frame when the torch melts the filler. Paint and decals are not the same, they can change over time, fooling you and misleading you with a different story… the frame detail should always tell the real story.

The SBDU at Ilkeston used a range of different frame and fork details over the life of the unit. The amount of different details they used means that this post may turn into an epic. I did consider splitting it into 2 smaller posts, pre and post 1980, but as this is ultimately a timeline post, I wanted it to be unbroken, and to start and complete in one go. Hopefully, it will be helpful for anyone doing research into their own SBDU frame. I’ll also try my best to fit dates and years in as I go. If you are a fan of the SBDU or simply need to know these details, then please stick with me. I learnt so much while researching and writing this post, hopefully I can pass this information on to whoever wants to read further!

A little while ago, a member of the TI-Raleigh Yahoo group, Hilary Stone, made the first timeline that listed details by noting what he had observed over a number of years about the SBDU frames he had seen. I’ve spent the last few months looking at images of almost 200 SBDU frames. These frames span the start of the SBDU in late 1974, to post Ilkeston SBDU bikes built under the SB prefix after the SBDU move to Nottingham from 1987. I’ve looked at the TI-Raleigh Yahoo site, my own diverse collection and other Internet sources, examining and logging their frame details… frame after frame after frame…  200 frames is however only a very small percentage of the total amount of frames built by the SBDU – approx 8400 were made at Ilkeston and over 1000 more were made at Nottingham. The highest SB frame number is approximately somewhere in the region of 9500-10000.

My aim is to try and list patterns of  when individual components or features were introduced when they disappeared. The key features of identification of any SBDU frame are the blade and stay ends, seat stay caps, rear dropouts, bottom bracket shells, fork crowns, head lugs and decals. Knowing something as simple as what rear dropout a frame has may tell you the frame material used and possibly the date range it was made. I’m planning to write a separate post on frame decals and decal positioning, as that is an entirely different subject altogether. When frame decals are seen on an original frame they can help to date a frame in the same way as frame details – if you are considering a renovation, then getting not only the correct SBDU decals but also the correct Reynolds decals in the correct position and corresponding to the correct year(s) is something you should know. Renovations are not all about period correct date coded components.

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

The image above shows some of the details used over the life of the unit. Some details were used predominantly with certain tubing types while some crossed over tubing types and across different years. I’ve grouped my timeline into ranges of ‘SB numbers’ rather than ‘Year Built’. However, I have tried to tally these features to an approximate year where I can. I’ve included my ‘best guess’ SB Number – Year Built timeline at the end of the post.

Before I move on, here are some presumptions I’ve made while carrying out this research and some caveats on this blog post.

  1. Every detail listed is as per SBDU usage and may have differed when used with other builders
  2. Some lug designs look very similar, even more so in images. I’ve seen at least 3 lug designs from different makers that look so alike, it is difficult in the images to tell the subtle differences and distinguish between them for a positive ID
  3. I’m not a lug expert, I’m slowly learning.
  4. My sample of frames is a tiny percentage compared to total production. Therefore, there WILL be frames out there that will differ and conflict with my timeline
  5. Definitive dating evidence is hard to find. A receipt for an order may not be a build date or a delivery date – order, build and delivery could be several months apart.
  6. I haven’t noted items such as bottle bosses, brake fittings or lever bosses – these are all items that can change during a renovation and I’ll keep this for my post regarding decals and decal placement.
  7. When I can’t 100% see enough detail, I’ll always ‘err’ on the side of caution and write about what I CAN see. E.G. If looking at a bike with a semi sloping crown, if I cannot see the inner fork blade and verify that it has tangs/stiffeners, I will record it just as a semi sloping crown.

Right, so if you are still with me and have made it to this point then here goes… Each section header will have the range of SB frame numbers viewed, the amount of frames in the sample and the year(s) I think the range covers. So here goes…

** Revision 6 – dated 19 July 2016 (see revision history below) **

SB6 – SB19 ** 5 frames viewed ** (1974)

  • All frames use a flat seat stay cap, flush with the edges of the stay
  • Production is 531
  • Frames have yellow head tube
  • 1010/A (Long) <<Record>> Campagnolo rear ends
  • Plain BB shell (no slots) with top routed gear cables
  • Plain head lugs – possibly Prugnat S (Blank) or HADEN Olympic 2 L7/L8
  • Sloping, internal sleeve, fork crown

Not to be confused with the later oversize (over lapping) caps, the flat seat stay cap on these early frames were finished flush with the edge of the stay. Head lugs were plain, they had no windows or openings cut into the lug. These were probably “Prugnat S” but several manufacturers made something very similar, such as the Haden Olympic range. Bocama also made something similar. The length of point on the Prugnat is the best match as Haden and Bocama lug points were shorter.

Prugnat Lug Range - My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Prugnat Lug Range – My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston

SB20 – SB47 ** No frames viewed ** (1974)

I haven’t seen any frames or images covering this small period of production. The most significant thing to change at some point in this period is the SBDU switch from Yellow to Black head tube. The original choice of the TI-Raleigh team colours was based on the theory that they “photographed well in both colour and black and white” and the black head tube was chosen to make the Raleigh head badge show up clearly “you can always spot them in a bunch picture”.

SB48 – SB461 ** 16 frames viewed ** (1974/1975)

  • Switch to scalloped seat stay caps (except SB58 which are flat)
  • Production is 531
  • Frames have black head tubes
  • 1010/A (Long) <<Record>> Campagnolo rear ends
  • Plain BB shell (no slots)
  • SB146 first 4 slot BB
  • Plain head lugs – possible Prugnat S Blank or HADEN Olympic 2 L7/L8
  • Sloping – Internal sleeve fork crown

At some point between SB20 and SB58, the SBDU made a switch in seat stay cap finishes. SB58 is the only example I’ve seen in this period that retained the flat caps.

TI Raleigh 531 Track Frame SBDU 1975
TI Raleigh 531 Track Frame SBDU 1975

An example of the scalloped seat stay cap design is my own SB447. As the timeline progresses, the scalloped design becomes linked with earlier 531 frames and is one of the first key identification details between 531 and 753.

Fork ends so far have been Campagnolo 1010/A – long horizontal dropouts without eyes. This page from a later Campagnolo Catalogue displays the range.

Campagnolo Fork Ends My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Campagnolo Fork Ends My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston

An example of a 4 slot bottom bracket shell. These were introduced early in production and, as the timeline will show, stayed in use till approx 1980. This is one of mine from 1978, SB2692.

4 Slot Bottom Bracket Shell My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
4 Slot Bottom Bracket Shell My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston

SB498 ** 1 frame viewed ** (1975)

  • SB498 is currently the first ‘SB’ numbered Reynolds 753 frame seen. It is in Bob Jackson Livery
  • It has flat seat stay caps
  • 1010/B (Short) <<Nuovo Record>> Campagnolo rear ends (drilled)
  • Semi sloping crown with extension tang/stiffener – probably Vagner
  • 4 slot BB shell
  • Single window head lugs. Window on top point only with a curved front edge – not 100% sure on make but may be Bocama Super-Professional R3

This frame was built in 1975 and according to anecdotal evidence that I have read, was part of the 1975 New York show? Bike World Magazine did an article in the New York Show in April 1975, there was no mention of Reynolds 753.

What I do know about the introduction of 753 is from an article written in December 1975 referencing the Paris Cycle Show in the October of the same year. That article mentions that Reynolds Tubes announced their new 753 tubing. An article in ‘Bike World Magazine’ of February 1976 also had a write up of the October ’75 Paris show. This article also mentioned 753…”England’s Reynolds firm showed their new ‘753’ tube sets for the first time…”. So it looks like the the general bicycle world first saw Reynolds 753 in October 1975 which fits in with the general opinion that 753 was first sold to the public in early 1976.

Reynolds 753 had been tested and built into the Team frames from 1974 but this is the first frame with an SB number that I’ve seen, believed to be in original condition, that shows a 753 decal. It may be something used at a trade show and not yet a frame built for a member of the public, but the Bob Jackson livery remains a bit of a mystery. It is known however, that bare SBDU frames were supplied to other builders for them to add their own livery.

The lugs on this frame have a cut out on the top of the lug together with a curved front edge which resemble the R3 lug below.

Bocama Lugs My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Bocama Lugs My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston

This frame also has the first appearance of Campagnolo 1010/B rear ends, drilled by SBDU – this became a signature feature of SBDU 753 frames for several years to come. After production of several hundred 531 frames with scalloped seat stay caps, SB498 returned to using flat/flush plate caps. This frame also has the first appearance of a flat fork crown with crown tangs/stiffeners.

SB501 – SB1029 ** 17 frames viewed ** (1976 – Beginning of 1977)

  • SB501 has the last early sloping – internal sleeve fork crown
  • SB534 uses cut down and reshaped Carlton Capella lugs
  • 753 frames use flat seat stay caps
  • 753 frames use Prugnat S4 window lugs
  • 531 frames continue to use scalloped seat stay caps
  • SB795 is the last 531 frame with possible Prugnat S Blank or HADEN Olympic 2 L7/L8
  • Continued use of 4 slot BB shells
  • Semi sloping crown (probably Vagner) with/without extension tang/stiffener used with no pattern between 531 and 753
  • 531 frames use 1010/A (Long) <<Record>> Campagnolo rear ends
  • 753 road frames use 1010/B (Short) <<Nuovo Record>> Campagnolo rear ends drilled (1010/B not drilled on very early Time Trial Special 753 – both with ‘H’ ref)
  • SB1029 is the last flat seat stay cap on a standard, stock, none ‘H’ ref, SB numbered frame

That is approx 500 frames covering the main period of 1976, summarised in the 14 frames that I’ve viewed. Everything from SB501 seems to use a semi sloping crown. This is probably a Vagner fork crown, possibly model DL, but I definitely need to research this crown in more detail.

Vagner Fork Crowns My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Vagner Fork Crowns My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston

This portion of the update section of the 1983 SBDU Ilkeston Team Raleigh Frameset information contains the only reference I can find to Vagner crowns and mentions the Semi Sloping crown.

Raleigh Ilkeston SBDU 1983 Frames - Update Section
Raleigh Ilkeston SBDU 1983 Frames – Update Section

Several patterns and identifying features begin to appear. 753 frames in this number range have flat seat stay caps and use Prugnat S4 lugs with 1010/B drilled rear ends. 531 frames continue with scalloped seat stay caps, plain lugs (up to SB795) and 1010/A rear ends. This pattern only appears to change when a frame is built with a ‘H’ reference, denoting a customer specific build. There also appears to be a mix of the use of the flat fork crown and fork blade tangs/stiffeners between 531 & 753 frames. SB1029 is the last standard stock SB numbered frame I viewed with flat/flush seat stay caps.

SB1092 – SB1907 ** 20 frames viewed ** (Beginning of 1977 – Start of 1978)

  • SB1092 first oversize/overlapping seat stay caps
  • 531 and 753 both use Prugnat S4 window lugs (SB1553 has cut down Carlton Capella)
  • 4 slot BB shells
  • Scalloped seat stay caps on 531 frames
  • Oversize seat stay caps on 753 frames
  • SB1305 last scalloped seat stay frame
  • Post SB1305, 531 & 753 both share oversize seat stay caps
  • Semi sloping crown (probably Vagner) with extension tang/stiffener used predominantly on 753
  • Semi sloping crown (probably Vagner) without extension tang/stiffener used predominantly on 531
  • SB1104, 1108 & 1162 (all with H ref) use HADEN Europa 27.5/20 (New Continental or wide oval) or 29/16 (Continental or narrow oval) fork crown
  • SB1907 first Campagnolo Portacatena rear end

This may have been a period of production where things started to settle a bit. 753 and 531 frames at around SB1305, started to look very similar and share similar attributes and it was the fork crown tangs that appeared to be the visual key to identification.

SB1092 is the first frame I’ve seen with the classic over size seat stay caps – this is listed as a 753 frame. 531 frames continued to use scalloped seat stay caps until SB1305, from that point both tube sets used the oversize design. The Vagner fork crown continues to be used, with or without tangs depending on the tubing. The only time during this period that this changed was on SB1104, 1108 and 1162, which all used a HADEN crown and all 3 frames have a stamped ‘H’ reference denoting some kind of special order.

This is also a period that Reynolds introduced the New Continental, or ‘Wide Oval’ fork blade for 531 tubing. Reynolds introduced the new shape and size at some point in 1977. This was to match the popular fork blade size offered by Columbus tubing.

Finally, SB1907 is the first frame I’ve seen with a Campagnolo Portacatena rear end. This is a 753 frame and has drilled rear ends showing the two Portacatena holes, oversize caps, Prugnat S4 lugs and a semi sloping crown with tangs.

Campagnolo Portacatena 1010B Drilled My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Campagnolo Portacatena 1010B Drilled My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Fork Crown with Stiffener Tang My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Fork Crown with Stiffener Tang My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Oversize seat stay caps My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Oversize seat stay caps My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston

SB1942 – SB3462 ** 41 frames viewed ** (1978 – Beginning of 1980)

  • SB1942 first Campagnolo vertical rear ends. Campagnolo 1060 “Racing Set” / “Corsa” / “Sport”. Drilled by SBDU and washers brazed to inside face
  • SB2258 first Prugnat 62D head lugs
  • Continued use of Prugnat S4 window lugs on 531 frames
  • Prugnat 62D and S4 used with no consistent pattern between 753 & 531
  • Semi sloping crown (probably Vagner) with extension tang/stiffener used predominantly on 753
  • Semi sloping crown (probably Vagner) without extension tang/stiffener used predominantly on 531
  • SB2613 first 2 slot BB shell – under bottom bracket gear cables
  • All frames apart from SB2290 use oversize seat stay caps except one which also has a ‘H’ ref
  • SB2997 last H ref frame viewed H844
  • SB3456 first Cinelli CC fork crown (External Sloping). No extension tang/stiffener used

A large period of production (almost 2 complete calendar years), covered by only 41 viewed frames. Some significant SBDU features were introduced in this period including Prugnat 62D lugs, 2 slot BB shells, Campagnolo vertical rear ends and Cinelli fork crowns.

Campagnolo 1060 Vertical Drilled Rear End My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Campagnolo 1060 Vertical Drilled Rear End My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston

A signature feature of early Reynolds 753 Time Trial Special frames are the Campagnolo Vertical rear ends, drilled by SBDU and fitted with a washer, brazed to the inside face of the dropout… “…1060 Sport vertical drop outs were used at Ilkeston. These were stamped drop outs and had a washer brazed on the inside to increase their thickness to the standard 6mm of 1010 forged drop outs…” – Mike Mullett Workshop Manager SBDU 1978-1982

Prugnat S4 and 62D Head Lugs My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Prugnat S4 and 62D Head Lugs My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston

SB2613 was the first frame I’ve viewed with a 2 slot BB shell. 2 slots are cut/milled into the BB shell following the route the cables will take to the front and rear derailleurs.

SB3456 is the first frame I’ve viewed with a change in fork crown. The introduction of the Cinelli CC cast crown – this was an external sloping fork crown. The crown on this frame does not appear to use any tangs/stiffeners.

Cinelli Fork Crowns Cinelli CC My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Cinelli Fork Crowns Cinelli CC My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston

The ‘H’ ref is a strange SBDU reference. Unlike the SB frame number that worked in sequence, the H ref didn’t seem to follow suit. Here is a small snippet of SB frame numbers against their corresponding H reference. As you can see, there is no pattern or link between the 2 references.

SBDU SB Frame Number and H Reference Chart My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
SBDU SB Frame Number and H Reference Chart My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston

The ‘H’ ref indicates a frame with some kind of change that took it away from ‘stock’. It may have been a visual change; a change of lug or seat stay finish, or additional clearance for mudguards, or a change to stock geometry such as a shorter or longer top tube. Whatever it signified, the last frame I’ve seen with an ‘H’ ref is SB2997.

SB2997 is in the early period of 1979. So from this point onward, there is no visual identification on any SBDU frame which shows that a frame is a ‘special’ build. Maybe following this date, the ‘H’ ref was simply kept as a notation on the build sheet and the SBDU felt it was no longer necessary or needed, even possible to stamp it onto the BB shell. When you count up the possible scenario for stamping on an SBDU frame in 1979/1980 with a custom build ‘H’ ref nearing 1000 plus the possible 4 digit half centimetre size stamping and the 4 digit SB number, you have SBXXXX HXXXX XX.X – that is 15 individual stamps of the BB shell. Was it just too much detail, was it considered too much to stamp or did they run out of space?

SB3465 – 4958 ** 37 frames viewed ** (1980 – Beginning of 1982)

  • SB3465 last 4 slot BB shell
  • Prugnat 62D lugs used predominantly on 753 road frames.
  • Continued use of Prugnat S4 window lugs on 531 frames
  • Continued use of oversize seat stay caps on 753 & 531 frames
  • SB4310 753 with Cinelli CC crown and tangs/stiffeners
  • SB4310 first Cinelli BB shell – cut with 2 slots similar to existing 2 slot BB shells
  • SB4463 first Cinelli SC fork crown – sloping – Internal sleeve

Moving out of the 70s and into the 80s with this period of frame.

SB3465 was the last frame I’ve viewed with a 4 slot BB. That design had been in use for several years, since SB146. SB3465 dates to some time in late 1979 which puts the main switch between over the top gear cables & underneath gear cables, to the turn of the decade, although 2 slot BB shells had been in use from the end of 1978.

Most of the frames I’ve viewed in this period were Reynolds 753. They all used Prugnat 62D lugs. The small amount of 531 frames I’ve viewed all used Prugnat S4. The main seat stay finish was oversize caps. My own 753 frame, SB4059, falls into this period. At a best guess of age, I’d put my frame at late 1980. It exhibits all the features of a 753 in this period – oversize seat stay caps, Prugnat 62D lugs, semi sloping crown with tangs/stiffeners and a 2 slot RGF BB shell, where gear cables pass through the slots on the underside. The decals on this are not period correct and that detail will be covered under a separate blog post. As I said at the start of the post, frame details are built in, decals aren’t.

TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston SB4059 Team Pro 753
TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston SB4059 Team Pro 753

The first frame I’ve viewed with a Cinelli BB is SB4310. There is a whole lot more on Cinelli BB shells in the next period. They say you learn something new everyday, and the Cinelli BB was a lot of learning for me!

SB4463 has a Cinelli fork crown, the Cinelli SC, which is an internal sloping type similar to the crown on my later SB7660.

Cinelli SC Fork Crown My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Cinelli SC Fork Crown My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston

SB5005 – SB5990 ** 17 frames viewed ** (Early 1982 – Mid 1983)

  • SB5464 first fast back seat stays – Time Trial Special 531 SL (Metric) Shimano vertical rear ends
  • SB5633 last Prugnat S4 window lugs
  • SB5597 first 531c frame
  • Prugnat 62D lugs used predominantly throughout
  • 531 & 753 both have option of fast back seat stays
  • The period between SB5597 and SB5990 seems to be the period of switch over between Metric 753 and Imperial 753R/T. Images just can’t give a definitive answer on this; measuring a tube diameter is the only way. My own frame, SB5377 is definitely metric 753 (26.0 TT 28.0 ST)
  • SB5794 Last Vagner semi sloping fork crown
  • SB5794 531c Metric tubed frame – 26.6 seat pin 1698 grams (56cm frame)

This is a massive period of change for the SBDU. From about SB5464 to SB5990, (end of 1982 to mid/late 1983), not only was 753 tubing changing from Metric to Imperial, 531 changed to 531c, fastback seat stays arrived, the Vagner semi sloping crown disappeared, together with Prugnat S4 lugs.

Starting at the beginning with fast back seat stays. Also known by some as ‘shot in’ seat stays – these are essentially seat stays that fasten to back area of the seat lug rather than fasten to the side of the seat lug. In the case of the SBDU, the stays on the fast back fasten to the seat lug seat bolt boss, and not lower on the back of the actual seat lug like other builders. There are pros and cons of this type of arrangement. Although they could be seen as neater in appearance, they have several drawbacks. The first is clearance; mudguard clearance is affected by fast back stays. SBDU actually recommended that frames over 60 cm or where “…severe service is envisaged…” had seat stays attached to the side of the seat lug – attaching to the side of the seat lug also gives the required clearance for mudguards if they were required.

This is the fast back seat stay arrangement on my own frame, SB5464 – this is the first fast back I’ve seen on any SBDU frame, this is a late 1982 frame. This frame is made from Reynolds 531 SL and also has Shimano vertical drop outs (not drilled). From this point, 531 and 753 both share the fast back arrangement with no identifiable pattern.

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Time Trial Special 1982 SB5464 Shot in Stays
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Time Trial Special 1982 SB5464 Shot in Stays

SB5597 is probably from the very start of 1983. It is notable as the last frame I’ve viewed with Prugnat S4 lugs and the first to use the Reynolds 531c frame decal. The rest of this period uses Prugnat 62D lugs.

The period between SB5597 and SB5990 seems to be the period of change between Metric 753 and Imperial 753R/T. Images just can’t give a definitive answer on this; measuring a tube diameter is one of the only ways. My own 753 frame, SB5377, is dated at the middle to last quarter of 1982; it is definitely metric 753 (26.0 TT 28.0 ST) and has a Cinelli BB shell. SB5437, slightly later but still the same period is also Metric 753 with a Cinelli BB shell.

So this is the point where I had to slow down my research and carefully check out Cinelli BB shells… because there is a subtle difference between the appearance of a Metric and Imperial Cinelli BB that can aid the identification without having to resort to getting digital calipers out of the toolbox to measure the seat tube.

Cinelli Cast Bottom Bracket Shell Differences My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston
Cinelli Cast Bottom Bracket Shell Differences My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston

Most people, like me up to this point in my SBDU education, look under the BB of a frame, see a cast winged ‘Cinelli’ logo set into a small cutout and say, “Yep, Cinelli BB”. But hopefully the images above show the differences. The early Metric Cinelli often had a poorly defined, shallow cut out; often it didn’t have the ‘Cinelli’ stamping at all. They were also the CCM style with the chain stay lug tips at the outer side of the shell. ‘S.C. France’ was also noted underneath the ‘Cinelli’ logo.

From what I can identify using the small sample I have, the later Imperial 753R with the 28.6 seat tube used a Cinelli SCM shell. These have ‘Made in Italy’ noted underneath the logo. The SCM also has the chain stay lug tips on the top and bottom of the lug casting, not the sides.

SB5844, dating to the first part of 1983, is the first Imperial 753R frame I have viewed.

SB5794 is a strange and mixed up frame which probably owes its strangeness to the cross over period of Metric/Imperial & 531/531c.

This frame has the Vagner semi sloping crown that I’ve viewed in this selection of 200 SBDU frames. Both frame and forks are stamped with 5794 making them a matching pair. However, the frame has Time Trial Special geometry and the fork has road rake. The frame has Shimano vertical rear drop outs but the fork has Campagnolo drop outs. It is 531c but in Metric sizes, weighs the same as 753 and takes a 26.6 mm seat pin – like I said, a real odd ball! A beautiful original finish frame; just a little mixed up.

SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982 Rear Dropouts
SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB5794 1982 Rear Dropouts

SB6032 – SB6993 ** 20 frames viewed ** (Last period 1983 – End of 1984)

  • SB6088 First low-profile (track frame)
  • SB6192 First Simplex rear end together with Simplex front derailleur fitting
  • SB6337 Last drilled 1010/B (Short) <<Nuovo Record>> Campagnolo rear ends on 753
  • SB6376 First Cinelli head lugs
  • SB6376 Cinelli seat lug – possibly first Services des Courses (Cinelli throughout, including, head lugs, seat lug, BB shell, Type CC crown)
  • Cinelli seat lugs require side fastening, oversize seat stays
  • SB6944 First 531 Professional frame documented
  • SB6993 Last Campagnolo Portacatena rear end

SB6088 which I date to the later part of 1983, is the first of the SBDU Ilkeston Low Profile frames that I have viewed.

The 1984 SBDU Ilkeston “SBDU Team Frame Sets” catalogue describes details of the new ‘Services des Courses’ frame, available in 753R or 531c.

Raleigh Ilkeston 1984 Frame Set Services des Courses
Raleigh Ilkeston 1984 Frame Set Services des Courses

SB6192 is an example of the use of Simplex fittings. Simplex parts were used on the domestic Raleigh Weinmann team from the end of 1983 – this frame has Simplex horizontal rear ends and a Simplex front mech fitting (a threaded boss fitted to the front/right side of the seat tube – rather than a std band on or braze on fitting).

SB6337 is the last frame I have viewed with the SBDU signature Campagnolo 1010/B short drilled rear ends on a 753 frame.

SB6376, which I date to the very start of 1984, is the first example of a Service des Courses that I’ve viewed. The SBDU had previously used Cinelli BB shells and Cinelli CC fork crowns, but this is the first frame with Cinelli head lugs and seat lug. My own frame, SB6560, another from 1984, is an example of a Services des Courses in 531c.

SBDU Ilkeston Panasonic Raleigh Services des Courses Reynolds 531 1984 SB6560
SBDU Ilkeston Panasonic Raleigh Services des Courses Reynolds 531 1984 SB6560

SBDU were clear that any frame with a Cinelli seat lug would have side fitting seat stays. Seat stay fitting choice was optional on other models. During this period, most fast back frames I’ve viewed have used Prugnat 62D lugs.

SB6993 which dates to the period at some point between the end of 1984 and the start of 1985 has the last Campagnolo 1010/B Portacatena rear end that I’ve seen.

SB7024 – SB7893 ** 23 frames viewed ** (Beginning of 1985 – Early 1986)

  • SB7024 also stamped HL1T85
  • Cinelli lugs predominantly used with oversize seat stay caps
  • Cinelli lugs predominantly used with 753 frames
  • Prugnat 62D predominantly used with fast back stays
  • Prugnat used on a mixture of 753 and 531 Pro and 531c

We are now into 1985. SB7024 has a dual stamping. It also has HL1T85. I’ve seen 2 other frames in this period, spanning 1985 and 1986 that have dual stampings that I’ll mention a little later. The dual stamping is the standard SB prefix frame number and another stamping that appears to follow rider initials. The ‘HL’ on SB7024 may not be Henk Lubberding, who was a TI-Raleigh then Panasonic Raleigh rider, as the shell is stamped as a 56 cm and I’m sure Henk was much larger, probably a 59 cm. I’m not sure of any other ‘HL’ riders on either the Panasonic Raleigh or Raleigh Weinmann teams, so I’m at a bit of a loss over this stamping. However, it is a lovely 531c Services des Courses frame.

531 Pro was first mentioned in the 1983 frame set list but I hadn’t viewed a single example until just before 1985. In this 23 frame sample, 7 are made from 531 Pro so seems to have been a popular period.

3 models of 531 Pro were offered…

531 Pro (Complete Paint) | 531 Pro Super (Part Chrome) | 531 Pro Super (Full Chrome). Here is my own 531 Pro Super Part Chrome from 1985, SB7219

SBDU SB7219 531 Pro Rear Stays
SBDU SB7219 531 Pro Rear Stays

Prugnat lugs and a HADEN BB shell were the typical frame fittings for this model. At this time, Cinelli BB shells were specified on either 753 frames or 531c/753 Services des Courses (Cinelli fittings throughout).

The other 2 frames in this period with dual stampings that I mentioned earlier are both fully painted 531 Pro frames. Both have Prugnat 62D lugs, so are not Services des Courses, but both have a Cinelli BB (normally reserved for either 753 or SDC and not 531 Pro). They both share the same distinctive red/orange fade paintwork and both have the “Ed V.D Meulen” decal on the front of the seat tube.

This period also has the only 2 examples of the ‘Randonneur’ frame that was detailed in the 1984 frame set list. Both of these frames are owned by myself. 2 models were made, one in 531c and one in 753R, I have one of each, SB7657 in 753R and SB7660 in 531c – both frames are only 3 SB numbers apart in production. Both have Prugnat 62D lugs, Cinelli SC fork crowns and oversize seat stay caps (required for mudguard clearance). Both also have Campagnolo 1010 long horizontal dropouts with an additional eyelet fitted, making a double eyelet drop out. Both also have internal rear rack mounts brazed into the inner side of the rear stays. The 531c model has a fork lamp boss and a HADEN BB and the 753R model has a Cinelli shell.

Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB7660 1985 Randonneur
Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh SB7660 1985 Randonneur

SB8021 – SB8367 ** 10 frames viewed ** (Last half of 1986 – End of Ilkeston Production circa 1987)

  • SB8074 last Prugnat 62D lugs
  • From SB8074 most frames use side fastening seat stays with oversize caps

This is generally considered to be the end of the SBDU period at Ilkeston, before it moved to Nottingham at approx SB8400. All the frames in this period use oversize seat stay caps except SB8073 & SB8074; they are both Low Profile frames with fast back stays and have Prugnat 62D lugs.

From this point until the end of Ilkeston, all the frames I’ve viewed use oversize caps and Cinelli Lugs. In fact, as most now use Cinelli lugs, the fast back seat stay feature seems to fade away and almost disappear. Most frames from SB8074 also appear to be 753R. 531c frames are still made, but rarely seem to make an appearance in the frames that I have viewed.


There are several permutations of an SBDU Ilkeston timeline on the internet at the moment. Several variations pop up in some form or another on different forums. I’ve looked at most. Most are quite close on the years from 1977 onward; it is the early period that seems to differ, there isn’t much known for definite about exactly how many frames were produced in 1974. Some will reckon on about 50 frames while others will quote approx 200 frames.

Based on frames such as the Bob Jackson 753 SB498, the Paris Cycle Show in October 1975, a receipt for an early 1976 753 frame, and my own research on my own collection and the data I’ve collected, I’ve come up with my own SBDU Date Timeline and written a separate post which you can see here

1974 - Start SB1      End SB50
1975 - Start SB51     End SB500
1976 - Start SB501    End SB1010
1977 - Start SB1011   End SB1870
1978 - Start SB1871   End SB2600
1979 - Start SB2601   End SB3400
1980 - Start SB3401   End SB4200
1981 - Start SB4201   End SB4900
1982 - Start SB4901   End SB5650
1983 - Start SB5651   End SB6300
1984 - Start SB6301   End SB7000
1985 - Start SB7001   End SB7700
1986 - Start SB7701   End SB8430
1987 - Start SB8431   End SB8432 - SB8438...

...SB Build Production Relocated to Nottingham

And that is it…

As one of my caveats said, there will be lots more SBDU frames out there that may not fit into any of the patterns of features that I have described in this post. Hopefully, the more I see, the more I can add and the more accurate I can make this timeline. This won’t be a one-off blog post, I’ll update this as and when I get new data.

Credits and Mentions

Massive thanks go to the TI-Raleigh Yahoo group as 80% of the images I have seen have been viewed on that site. If I could give one piece of advise, it would be to have clear images of the detail of a frame including the BB shell, seat stay caps, lugs, drop outs and fork crowns.

Other images I’ve used here such as lugs and BB designs come from ‘Classic Rendezvous’

All the images of SBDU frames on this post are from my own collection. I am lucky enough to have a varied collection of different styles and models, displaying several of the features mentioned in this post on my own frames.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve always paid particular attention to the emails to the TI-Raleigh group from Mike Mullett. Mike was workshop manager at the SBDU Ilkeston from 1978 to 1982. He has obvious first hand knowledge of the unit and its working practices and methods, together with excellent knowledge of Reynolds 753 and frame building in general. Mike was probably the one who initially asked if someone was going to take on the challenge of pulling together and writing a timeline.

Hilary Stone responded to Mike’s request for a timeline a few years ago, and a lot of what Hilary noted and listed in his timeline is very close to what I have discovered for mine.

I’m now working on a series of timelines as part of my blog. This one has given me the bug!

The next will be a brief run down of Reynolds tubing and how the SBDU used these tubes over the period of Ilkeston. This will be followed by a timeline of the more changeable items – items such as decals, where these decals should be placed, what they should read. Also, the little details such as bottle bosses, gear lever bosses and brake fittings. That post may take a little while…

Revision History

  1. 28/03/2016 – First published
  2. 02/04/2016 – Revision (5 new frames added | 1 existing frame detail updated)
  3. 22/04/2016 – Revision (3 new frames added | 1 existing frame detail updated | Vagner fork crown reference updated from ‘Flat 4 Point’ to ‘Semi Sloping’)
  4. 23/05/2016 – Revision (11 new frames added | Update on the introduction of Reynolds 753 | latest Prugnat S4 frame updated | latest drilled 1010/B 753 rear end frame updated)
  5. 13/07/2016 – Revision (26 new frames added | Update on Prugnat 62D | Update to Simplex Fittings | Update to First 531 Pro Frame)
  6. 19/07/2016 – Revision (Small update to yearly boundaries | New Timeline Graphic | Link added to new Date Timeline Blog Post)


  1. Thanks Neil, I wish we could have such a detailed time line on all our other vintage bike brands.

    1. Hi Hilary

      Thanks for your comment, and yes, I would love it if that was possible and we could arrange it? The more I can add to the timeline would help immensely.

      Thank you
      Neil (

  2. Hi, I have recently purchased a Raleigh pursuit frame SB 8636, which Colin Sturgess rode in the commonwealth games 86 small footage of this is on YouTube. It needs a total re spray as the colours are wrong the original colours are red, white and blue. However I’m not sure if it’s 753, if you can cast any light on this frame it would be fantastic, my only worry is your timeline would suggest its 1987 frame… Any details would be great, marcus, let me know if you want me to send photos

    1. Hi Marcus, thanks for getting in touch. I would love to see some images of that bike, they may also help identifying it as 753 although that can be very difficult! SBDU also built a few lo-pro in 531P which is very similar weight etc to 753.

      I’ve seen the clip of Colin on his bike, the red/blue/white track bike. First thing is, are you sure that is the frame number? It probably is but you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t get it right, if there is too much paint then a 6 can easily be seen as a 3 or an 8…

      The frame number of 8636 does put this in 1987 from what I’ve found out, but my timeline is only based on the small number of frames that I’ve seen. I’ve put the move from Ilkeston to Nottingham in early 1987 – that is based on some excellent knowledge from people who have documented the SBDU. I’ve put the frame numbers for this move between 8367 and 8621 because of the word “Ilkeston” on the foil oval transfer – 8367 has Ilkeston on it and 8621 doesn’t.

      Do you have provenance that this was Colin’s bike?

      My dating for 1986 starts at SB7801 because that frame is also date stamped with ’86’. SB7660 was definitely 1985 so I’m quite sure that 86 started from the date stamped frame number of SB7801. The games in 1986 were from July to August, so if SB8636 was used at these games, it must have been built no later that half way through the year which means that the SBDU must have built approx 800 frames in the first part of the year which would be staggering as they typically only built 700-800 in an entire year. SBDU were really starting to slow down production at this time. I know of SB9057 which is only 421 frames different to your frame, but was built in 1989 – it was Dave Rayner’s bike DR.1.89 – that shows how much production slowed down after the move from Ilkeston.

      Another problem is that I also know of another track bike that is claimed to be from the 86 Commonwealth games – the frame number of that bike is SB8074, it is a lo-pro track bike too – that number does fit in with March/April 1986 meaning that it could well be a games bike. SB8636 just seems too late based on what I have seen about 1986 bikes. Once the SBDU moved to Nottingham

      But I am more than happy to see information that corrects my data. I’ve changed my timeline a couple of times because of new information. Anything that firms up my timeline is more than welcome!

      If the bike you have doesn’t have it’s original paint or transfers, it could be really tricky to know what it is made from but information like the seatpin size and outside diameter of the seat tube/top tube can help if they can be measured accurately.

      Anyway, you’ve got me onto my fav topic and I could probably ramble on for ever. It would be really good to see a bit more of this bike.


  3. I have the Raleigh touring with 20-30 steel high tensile. In the colors with decals of the Team TI.
    With framenumer NB0057875
    I cannot find anything about this bike.
    Is there someone who can tell me something about it.

    1. Hi Jan, thanks for getting in touch. Your frame number probably means ‘N’ Nottingham ‘B’ February ‘0’ 1980. The 3rd digit was repeated every 10 years so maybe 1990? Parts and frame style generally help date it to the correct decade. The final 6 digits are just the amount made in that production period. Was the number underneath the bottom bracket or behind the seat tube? Do you know if it was a specific touring model or are you just thinking that because it has mudguards or mudguard eyes? If you can list some parts and part names, together with a good picture, I may be able to identify it for you. Raleigh did make a lot of bikes with 20-30 frames so the more information the better. If you wanted to send something through then my email is

  4. Hi, I own SBDU 5296, its a 753, with plain lugs, a cinelli bb, and over sized seat stay caps, it has shimano vertical dropouts, which are drilled. It is a time trial special in dark none metallic blue with white block letter decals, it is built up as I bought it with full super record, including ti bb and pedal axles, cinelli bars /stem and unicantor saddle. It is a wonderful bike to ride , the only thing I don’t like is how the rear mech slants too far forward on the shimano dropouts

    1. Hi Craig

      Thanks for your comment. SB5296 sounds lovely. I like SBDU bikes that don’t conform to the usual TI/Panasonic colours (as lovely as they are), it’s always nice to hear of something different.

      I’m lucky enough to have a few frames with both the Shimano and Campag vertical dropouts. Although they are both called vertical, they are both completely different. The Campag one is actually more like a 45 degree dropout as the wheel axle pulls back and up into it. The Shimano is truly vertical, the axle pulls directly up. When a wheel is in the Campag dropout, it is directly above the rear mech fixing bolt but the Shimano is totally different, when a wheel is fitted in a Shimano dropout, it is probably the entire width of the dropout in front of the mech fixing bolt. I think SBDU made the switch to Shimano as the Campag dropouts required more work, they were thin and needed a washer brazed to the inside to get the correct width. I think it is one of the things SBDU did over time to simplify production, which is why they eventually also stopped drilling the dropouts on 753 frames.


  5. hi neil i wonder if you can help i have just picked up a 531 team bike (ex david duffield) frame number is h1659 any pointers would be appreciated pics available if you need them

    1. Hi Paul, thanks for getting in touch. I’d love to see some images, my email address is

      An ‘H’ with 4 digits should put this frame at approx 1973 but the system before the ‘W’ for Worksop serial numbers took over is a bit ‘flaky’ with lots of cross over in letters and years.

      Looking forward to hearing from you.

  6. Neil, Great job on this. I have SB5546 which fits well within your time line. Metric tubing, CCM BB.

    I have another old frame that I have been trying to date. The bike looks like a professional from the late 60’s. Headbadge is Nottingham, Carlton decals, the tubing type decal is gone but it looks like 531 tubing. The BB S/N is Y2971 which I can’t find in any Raleigh S/N schemes. Any knowledge of that type S/N would be helpful.
    Rich Allen

    1. Hi Rich

      Thanks for your comment, it’s nice to know my timeline stands up. I’m sure at some point an SB frame will crop up that makes me adjust it, but at the moment, it’s proving quite accurate.

      I’ve seen that serial pattern before from the late 60s to the early 70s but it is normally A though to H followed with 4 digits – silly question, but is it definately a ‘Y’?

      The serial number system up to 1974 when it was standardised is very much of a mystery as there were a few systems that weren’t particularly well adhered to! The A – H system is 90% accurate, but if it is a ‘Y’ you might want to have a look at a good Carlton group on Facebook they may be able to help.


  7. Thanks Neil for your reply . I didn’t know about that Facebook group and already found some useful information. Great networking and sharing info. My Y looks consistent with 1967 but may never know, I guess that is half the fun, continuing to research.
    Rich Allen

    1. HI Adrian

      Thanks for getting in touch. I saw VH176 a few years ago on your blog when I first started researching the SBDU. It is one of a small bunch of interesting early frames built around 76/77 with modified Carlton Capella lugs. A beautiful example. Thanks for letting me use some of your images – that is very much appreciated.

      Thank you

  8. Thanks for putting up this website. Its wonderful to see this history preserved. Does anyone recall a short movie called “The Ironmen” produced about the development of 753 tubing, the SBDU, Gerald O’Donnovan and Raleigh’s professional race team? Any information would be helpful. I’m also in the midst of rebuilding SBDU serial #PA1084. It had been sitting in Raleigh’s Seattle facility having been damaged in a crash. It eventually made its way into my shop where it sat for many years until last year when I tracked down the original frame parts to put it back together. This frame was ridden by Phil Anderson to a stage win in the TDF. When its finished, I’ll furnish photos.

    1. Hi Harry, thanks for the message and your comments. I’ll keep an eye out for that movie – can’t say I’ve heard of it but now you’ve mentioned it I really want to see it!

      Is your PA184 on the Yahoo group? I’m sure I’ve seen it or heard about it from somewhere before – it definately rings a bell.


  9. Hi,
    I have a Raleigh of 1982 in team colours with 531c tubing bought in the UK with “Professional” tranfers on the top tube. Campy record headset, cranks, chainwheels, hubs, derailleurs, front and rear dropouts, pedals, brakes and seatpost. Came with a Cinelli stem and handlebars. The wheels are Mavic GP4 tubs. The frame number starts with WI or WE (not very clear though). Any idea if this was an Ilkeston or Nottingham frame. Could send you pictures if you need. Maintained in top notch condition and here with me in India.
    Grateful if you could dechipher its DNA.

    1. Hi Rakshakdin

      Thanks for getting in touch. Dating your frame all comes down to the first 3 digits/letters of your frame number, but the spec you have mentioned is almost the same as the 1982 Team Replica (complete bike) – but yours may have been bought as a frameset and built with similar kit if it has a small script style font on the top tube that says ‘Professional’.

      If it starts with a ‘W’ then it isn’t Ilkeston as all Ilkeston frames started with ‘SB’

      Raleigh used the ‘W’ at the old Carlton facility at Worksop, but this place closed in late 1981 and manufacturing was transferred to Nottingham where they continued to use the ‘W’, so it is important to know the 2nd and 3rd digit to accurately date your frame and say where it was built.

      The first letter ‘W’ could be either Worksop or Nottingham
      The second letter will tell you the month
      The 3rd (a number) will tell you the year, so ‘1’ = 1981 ‘2’ = 1982 etc.

      Reynolds changed from ‘531 Double Butted’ to ‘531c’ at some point in 1982, so if it has a 531c frame transfer (and it is original) it is more likely to be 1982+

      So it all depends on the start of the frame number if you can read it and send it through.

      Please feel free to send through some images to


  10. I have just picked up a nice record ace, the serial number is WM6000624, it has shimano gears, and weinman brakes, with 531 frame and forks. Nice Mavic 700 wheels, I think it was made in Worksop possibly 1986, any ideas?

    1. Hi Robert, thanks for getting in touch.

      It’s probably 86 but frame details and spec should narrow it down. They repeated the numbers every ten years so ‘6’ could be 1976 (Worksop) or 1986 (Nottingham). Nottingham continued to use the ‘W’ after Worksop closed in 1981. The ‘M’ is September, so it may be a late 86 model.

      Please feel free to send a pic through to and I’ll have a look.


      1. Thanks Neil

        Its got Shimano 600 cranks, with wienman brakes, and 700c wheels, so I would think it is the 86 model, picked it up for a song.

  11. Neil,

    Some photos of SB518 have appeared on (Feb 2017). Not sure if it allows you to adjust your timeline a bit but it has a sloping fork crown.

    1. Hi, Yes I saw it on another forum. I have data on about 90 different SB frames to add to the timelines – I may get some time in the next couple of months 🙂


  12. Thanks for te view on SB Ilkeston Raleigh and your collection, Specially for the SB number table, now I know my SB5805 531 pro super is from 1983!
    Regards Jan Willem

  13. Hi, I emailed you ages ago but unfortunately I can’t find your personal email address. Would love to see your collection one day, I’m a bit of an addict, I’ve got quite a few. I’ve recently got a couple that might interest you. SB 87, a totally original and in great condition 531 fully built up and SB 336, this is 753 and one of Gerald O’Donovan’s personal frames. It was given to one of the other Ilkeston guys and resprayed in the mid 80’s in the casterama colours after the win in the Tour de France.

  14. Hi Neil,
    First of all thanks for all your time and effort. I bought a Raleigh frameset with serial number SB5727 size 61, Cinelli ccm bb, fast back rear stays. Campagnolo Catena drilled horizontal rear drop outs. Previous owner said it’s an 753.
    Unfortunately he had it repainted in white and yellow without any decals. As soon as possible i will strip the paint off and check if it is a 753 and if the fork number is the same. Is it correct to have this frame repainted in TI Raleigh red/black team colours or should it be in Panasonic team colours? I prefer the red/black because of the history that those bikes have in Holland, but I also think that it should be in a period correct colour scheme.

    Regards Leen

    1. Hello Leen
      Thanks for getting in touch. In that period, the SBDU were making both 753 and 531SL with a Cinelli CCM BB, and both types had a similar weight, both significantly lighter than 531. The 531SL model had the same Campagnolo Portacatena ends but they weren’t drilled in the same way that period 753 frames were. So it is a good chance that your frame is 753.

      Your frame number is just inside the start of 1983 and is an early example of a fast back rear stay frame. As it is just inside 1983, there is a good chance that its original colour was TI-Raleigh team Red/Black/Yellow – other colours were being done, but from the original examples I’ve seen, most were TI.

      Send me through some images to when you get a chance, I’d love to see some.
      Thanks again

  15. Hi Neil. That’s a fantastically comprehensive and detailed history which made for fascinating reading. I do have a SBDU frame in 753, purchased new sometime in the middle to late 80s. I can’t remember when but I do remember being measured for it by the inestimable Mr. O’Donovan at, if I recall correctly, the Raleigh factory at Nottingham. I recall that the special build department was at the back of main factory somewhere although after all this time, the memory is hazy at best.

    However, my frame number is SB8545 and there’s no doubt about that. I upended the bike last night to double check and, so far, my short term memory isn’t failing!

    On that basis and from the timeline it would appear that my frame was built in 1988 but at SB in Nottingham rather than Ilkeston. Would that be correct and does anyone know exactly when SB ceased? I’m assuming that my frame might be one of the last SB frames ever built?

    1. Hi Neil
      Thanks for getting in touch. I’m glad my ramblings have gone down well!

      Your story of your frame and visit to Nottingham is great and your frame number tallies with what I have found out about the relocation of the SBDU from Ilkeston to Nottingham. I’ve pinned this down to the year end period of 1986/1987 when production was up to approx SB8432. Your frame will be 1987 from the information I’ve gathered to date.

      SBDU at Nottingham didn’t produce frames in the same quantities as Ilkeston. There are definately frames with SB numbers approaching SB10000, the highest I have images of so far is SB9940 – these high number SB frames would have been built by Raleigh’s Special Products which came about after the SBDU and the Lightweight Unit. The transition period from the SBDU Nottingham to Special Products is very unclear so I’m not aware of the latest actual “SBDU” frame number but Raleigh did continue the ‘SB’ reference after the SBDU name disappeared.

      If you had time and wanted to send some images through then that would be greatly appreciated. My email address is

      Thanks again

  16. Hi Neal,

    I couldn’t recall my SDBU bicycle’s number, and went to take a few pictures of it. I’ve uploaded them to Flickr. Imagine my surprise when I came back to look over which block of time it fit into, and saw that you already have it accounted for. SB1092 resides downstairs. I received it about 8 years ago, half in primer. At the time, I wanted to have it painted a bit differently, so I used the red-yellow-black colors, and had them applied as yellow-black-red. It is a bit mind-bending, and I nicknamed the bike, “Crayola”.

    I am curious about how you determined the frame is made using 753. The gentleman I purchased it from told me it was 531c. Believe me, I would prefer the frame be built from 753, but a 27.2 seatpost fits it perfectly, and I was under the impression that a 27.4 seatpost was the “tell” for a frame being made from 753.

    At any rate, here’s a link to the small album of pictures that I took this evening.

    Take care,

    John Barry

    1. Hi John, thanks for getting in touch and thanks for the link to the pictures.

      Your bike is very much a ‘stand out’ bike with that colour scheme, and I love the ‘Crayola’ name.

      Tubing type is difficult to determine once original paint and transfers have been removed. One thing it isn’t is 531c – just on a technicality as 531c wasn’t introduced until 1982. So it could have been 531 Double Butted. But it is specific frame features that indicate a 753 frame. Some features such as drilled dropouts are an indication – but not necessarily definitive proof. Your bike has a HADEN fork crown which I’ve only seen on a handful of SBDU bikes, so not common, and I’ve only seen this crown on 753 bikes. However, your bottom bracket shell is made by ‘RGF’ and that is the evidence that clinches it for me. RGF were not used on 531 bikes.

      If it was thought that the bike was 531 then there may be a chance that the seat tube was reamed to accept 27.2 – the normal seat pin size for 753 at this time was either 27.0 or 26.8 (27.4 came later with 753R), your frame probably took a 27.0 but may have been slightly enlarged to accept 27.2.

      Hope that helps

  17. Hi; I just went to my barn and checked the Team Pro. It is stamped SB3360. I bought it around 1980 – it had been repainted. It’s been in my barn about 20 years. It has a Cinelli bb, and a plastic piece that fits into the single hole in the bb to allow for cable routing. The plastic piece has a Cinelli logo on it. Campy drilled dropouts, non-wrap around seat stays, semi sloping fork crown. Super record, Brooks, etc. Sloping 753 decal on seat tube, metal head tube badge.

    Years ago I showed it to a young biker, he thought I wanted to give it to him, but said he’d have to think about taking it…

  18. Hi Neil,
    Thanks very much for putting this interesting information together. Might you be able to help me with a lightweight Raleigh frame, D13313? If possible I’d like to establish the tube spec, but the bike has been repainted and the decals are gone. There is some lug similarity with the earlier SBDU frames, but I know this bike is later and was probably made in 1992 or 1993, when it was bought new in Leicester. thanks

    1. Hi Matt
      Thanks for getting in touch. From what I know about the later Special Products numbering, ‘D’ places this frame in 1993. Identifying a repainted frame and then the tubing is tricky. The best place to start is the catalogue for that year and match up things like fork crown, lugs, dropouts etc Details such as seat pin size and maybe tube diameters can also help. Please feel free to send some images to

  19. I have SB8935 and SB8936 mine and my father’s bikes. We were both measured up by Gerald O’Donovan at the Nottingham site in 1988. Cinelli SuperCorsa bottom brackets and Reynolds 531ST. They both still ride beautifully.

    1. Hello and thank you for commenting. Both of those SB numbers and date correspond perfectly to what I have associated with the SBDU timeline. Putting the timeline together has been difficult because of a lack of records so the type of information you have given me is great. I have SB8945, so not too far away from both your bikes. I can imaging they are beautiful bikes. If it were possible then I would love to see some photos, my email address is

      Thank you

  20. Thanks for your interest. I’ve followed ‘My TI-Raleigh SBDU’ which I presume is your facebook page.
    I’ve created an album on facebook: Steve Musgrave
    If you request to follow me I’ll give you access.

    The bikes were after the eroica era and started life with 8-speed indexed down tube shifters and were designed for touring hence the Reynolds 531ST and frame fittings for mudguards/racks.

    My bike was done to death on my commute so is entirely new (bar the seat post) with a refurb at Mercian and refit at Cycle Inn Beeston and rides like new.

    My father’s bike is as is except for the shifters and rear mech (he gave it to me as he is now 82 and doesn’t ride).

    Apologies for the modern restorations, but the frames are the best bits and haven’t changed (bar a tweak on mine for allen key brakes) the original paint jobs were bespoke anyway.

    Gerald O’Donovan treated us like potential TdeF winners and made us feel really special. Amazing really, since he did deal with TdeF winners!

    Any more info: I can supply on request. Soz if I’m going on!

    On another note did you see the Raleigh Documentary on BBC4 last night? It did mention the SBDU.

    1. Hi, yes that is my Facebook page, I post a lot of SBDU stuff on there that I don’t have time to write full blog posts about.

      Your 2 frames are really nice examples of SBDU builds. They are a slightly updated version of both my Randonneurs, SB7657 and 7660. Mine have the same frame fittings as yours for racks and guards but mine have horizontal ends. Your vertical ends are a much better option and allow a bigger tyre – I can ride up to 28mm tyres but have to deflate it to get it out the frame so the tyre clears the back of the seat tube, 25mm are fine though.

      Your frames are ‘Service des Courses’, so top of the range with Cinelli lugs. I built a steel frame with Dave Yates and fitted modern kit, I used Shimano 6800 – the best of both worlds in my opinion, a good quality steel frame and modern kit.

      You would have seen one of the ‘Crane’ bikes on the Raleigh documentary that they used on their journey to the centre of the earth – they were also Services des Courses frames. Gerald definately knew his business.

      Thanks for sharing

  21. I saw the 1975 ti-Raleigh 753 show bike about a week after the show in Northern Virginia. It was in the hands of a gentleman named Paul Lentz working in a bike shop in Camp Washington. Paul was a native of Great Britain and a big part of NCVC’s youth racing program. On the way down from NYC, Paul stopped in Princeton NJ to show into to a young rider there. Geoff ordered one for the season and that began the saga of learning just how thin the 753 tubes were in the middle…

  22. What a great site – I did my apprenticeship at SBDU as a stove enameller up until it’s close and move to Nottingham, so have many happy memories of painting the bikes on the site

    1. Hi David, thanks for the comment. Good to hear from you. I read once that there were 3 apprentices before Ilkeston closed, only one name was known, Christopher Shelbourne, so it’s good to have another name!

  23. Hi Neil,

    I’m currently polishing up my Dad’s (I think) SBDU bike. He purchased it in 1989 from Ribble in Preston, and the stamp on the BB looks like SB7860. He was told that it was a ex-TDF bike (no provenance of course) with an Edco competition BB and headset. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and if you would agree to what he’d been told.


    1. Hi Rob, thanks for the comment. It’s very unlikely that it was an ex TDF bike. It could easily have been built for someone who raced as part of a team. This was after the end of the TI-Raleigh/Panasonic Raleigh era, but there was still a domestic team sponsored by Raleigh. But without any concrete provenance there is no way of knowing. But what you do have for sure is still an excellent bike, with an SB number built at some point early 1986.

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