There are just too many things to describe on this bike. I actually had trouble thinking of a shorter blog title! It is everything I could ever want to find in a bike, it ticks so many boxes; and it all became reality in the space of a few hours on a Saturday evening.
I really don’t know where to start with this bike. The fact that it is linked to my old shop, Denton Cycles in Newcastle… or that it was ordered new by someone who worked at Dentons… or that it is an SBDU Ilkeston Reynolds 753 bike… or that it has only covered 1000 miles since new… or that it is equipped with the fantastically rare Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary group set – even the Pope has one of these groups, he has group #00002!! Group #00001 is in the Campagnolo Museum.
AND……. if all of that wasn’t enough, this bike is my size, 57cm!! It was a Saturday night and after a couple of emails a price was agreed and I had the bike; I really should have put the lottery on too, I couldn’t have been more lucky.
The BB is stamped with SB6398 together with the original owners initials of ‘HH’. This is Hugh or ‘Hughie’ for those that knew Dentons in the 1980s. Colin Davison, the owner of Dentons, had formed some ‘links’ with Ilkeston in the mid 70s through his racing for British Cycling and selection for the Milk Race, and although Dentons were not Raleigh dealers, they managed to order a few SBDU frames. I already own an SBDU/Denton 753 frame, SB7657.
This number, SB6398, dates this bike to the turn of the year between 1983 and 1984. If I follow my own SBDU Date Timeline theory, this is very early 1984 as it comes slightly after the first Services des Courses frame which was introduced in ’84.
Campagnolo released this limited edition group set in 1983 as the “50th Anniversary Group“. The release date ties in perfectly with the age of the bike. Sadly, it was also the year that Tullio Campagnolo died. There is lots of information available about Campagnolo, almost every classic bike book will devote at least a chapter to the man and his company. Essentially, he invented and introduced some of the game changing designs into cycling such as the quick release lever and rear derailleur. Here is a little from Wikipedia…
In 1922 Campagnolo began his amateur cycling career.
In 1930, he patented the cam mechanism quick-release skewer that became the standard for the industry, a design still used today.
In 1933, the first quick release hubs were produced by Campagnolo.
Also in 1933, he patented the sliding hub, dual seat stay rod-operated, back-pedal derailleur, ultimately known as the ‘Cambio Corsa’.
In 1949, he introduced the ‘Gran Sport’ twin-cable, parallelogram rear derailleur at the Milan trade show, the first modern derailleur.
Approximately 15,000 anniversary groups were made. This might sound a lot for a limited edition, but it is a tiny number of groups compared with the millions upon millions of bikes produced each year. They came in their own sealed and numbered presentation case. Each part had the ‘Tullio Campagnolo’ signature engraved into it and the kit was embellished with Gold and the Campagnolo shield logos. Some purchasers never took the parts out of the case to fit to a bike and some have never even broken the seal of the case. Prices for these NOS groups have soared and they sell quickly whenever they appear, regardless of price.
I’m not going to do my normal thing with this bike. Normally, I strip bikes immediately and check and measure the frame. This bike is different because it is so special and potentially expensive to fix or replace parts if something doesn’t work. Patience is key with this one. I don’t need to do much investigation, I know exactly what this is, I know when it was built and who owned it. It is 100% original and I want to keep it that way so I am going to do some very careful preservation.
Most SBDU bikes have the all important SB frame number stamped under the BB; this bike has a second important number, the anniversary group set number. The group set number is stamped on the inside of the right hand crank.
Frame number SB6398 and group set number 9555. SBDU would usually stamp the frame size on the other side of the BB shell but in this case, the size ’57’ is stamped next to the SB number. This is because Hughie’s initials and postcode are stamped on the other side, stamped by the SBDU during the frame build.
The bike has no Raleigh frame transfers apart from the small SBDU Ilkeston oval transfers on the chain stays.
Most SBDU 753 bikes of this era had horizontal 1010/B drilled rear ends, but this one has the option of vertical drop outs. It is fitted with Shimano rear vertical drop outs drilled by the SBDU. Forks have drilled Campagnolo ends. The rear spacing is 126mm and fits the 32H rear hub and Maillard 6 speed freewheel perfectly. It is fitted with a black Sedis chain.
The 50th anniversary parts on this bike have not suffered from any scratches or marks. It was used as a 3rd bike, it was ridden but not very often. When it wasn’t being used, it was stored carefully. So parts that normally get scuffs like the rear derailleur, chainset and brake levers are all unmarked.
The parts that have suffered are the small chrome details such as QR levers and cable fastenings. The chrome toe clips have suffered the most.
The Cinelli 1R (Record) stem and Cinelli handlebars together with the Super Record headset are perfect. The gear levers have some light corrosion to the fasteners.
Because it has been ridden, the Cinelli saddle probably shows the most signs of use, but it is still remarkably clean and tidy after 33 years.
Apart from the chrome toe clips, the largest areas of chrome on this bike are the wheel QRs. All Campagnolo QRs are prone to this corrosion and these anniversary examples are no different. The hubs are in great condition and just have a little grime on them. The freewheel is dirty but the pawls sound perfect. The original Vittoria Nuovo Pro tubs are still on the original Mavic OR10 rims.
This bike also has the original ‘Flint Catchers’ fitted – something you just never see!
I’ve really concentrated on the group set on this bike for this first blog post about it. The frame is beautiful and an excellent example of an original Ilkeston SBDU Reynolds 753 frame, but I’ll cover that in more detail when I strip the bike.
For now though, I think the Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary Group Set just has to take centre stage and needs to be seen to be appreciated.
I still cannot believe this bike is in my collection.