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My Specialist Bicycle Development Unit Wanted List – An Update

Over the years since bike number one arrived (SB4059), I’ve continued to look at what I’m collecting and I’ve tried to add frames that plug any gaps that my collection has. It’s been nearly three years since I last wrote about my “wanted list”, so as 2018 is coming to a close, I thought I would spend a little time and look again at how my collection and the “wanted list” is doing.

Back in January 2016, I wrote “My SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh Wanted List“, and that post concluded with a list of some of the frames I was still looking for…

– 753 Services des Courses Road Frame
– 24″ Front Wheel Low-Profile Frame
– 531 Pro/531c (Full Chrome/Team Colours)
– Track Frame
– Early 1974/75 Frame
– Team Riders Frame

January 2016

As my collection gets bigger, the wanted list can get smaller but the affect of narrowing the search is that the hunt becomes harder. If I’m lucky though, when I add to my collection, one new addition can sometimes cover multiple items on the list.

Two frames arrived in the last couple of years that ticked off three wanted items. First up was my Jan Raas track frame, JR178T. It not only covered the ‘Track Frame’ item but also covered the ‘Team Rider’ frame. It may not be in original colours, that doesn’t concern me, it is those ‘JR’ initials that matter.

Jan Raas JR 1 78 T SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh
Jan Raas JR 1 78 T SBDU Ilkeston TI-Raleigh

And that JR frame seemed to start a steady supply of track frames. Not long after JR178T, I was lucky enough to add GH6175 to my collection. This frame, which was ridden by Günter Haritz, actually hit three items on the list. Not only was it a ‘Track Frame’ and a ‘Team Rider’ frame, it was also an early ‘1974/75’ frame.

Gunter Haritz GH6175 1975 531 TI-Raleigh Team Track Frame
Gunter Haritz GH6175 1975 531 TI-Raleigh Team Track Frame

In the last few years I’ve also managed to cross off the ‘753 Services des Courses’ item. SB8851, SB8868 and SB8945 are all SBDU Nottingham frames built from Reynolds 753R and which all fall under the Services des Courses model category.

So track frames and 753 SDC frames are now covered with several new arrivals. That left the elusive lo-pro. However, a 24″ wheel model wasn’t the first lo pro to arrive. The very first was a frame that expended the collection past the SBDU and took me straight into Raleigh’s Special Products Division era.

My original collection and subsequent wanted lists were based solely on SBDU Ilkeston frames, but this soon expanded into the SBDU at Nottingham. My collection now covers any ‘SB’ numbered frame or team frame.

SB9529 was the Special Products frame. It is a bonded DYNA-TECH with a 650 front wheel, not exactly the classic 24″ wheel model I was after but still worthwhile having. It is a little tatty but completely original; it also has a bit of history which I’ll hopefully get to write about soon.

SB9529 Raleigh Special Products Division Dynatech Low Profile Frame
SB9529 Raleigh Special Products Division Dynatech Low Profile Frame

Then 2018 brought the 24″ wheel lo pro bikes into the collection that I was looking for and crossed that item off the list. SB9000 and SB8790 are both amazing and original SBDU Nottingham frames. SB9000 was ridden by Dave Mann and SB8790 has never been ridden at all and even came with it’s original Raleigh box.

Some frames can make it onto the wanted list and are ticked off again before I’ve had a chance to even blog an updated list. An example of this was the early Reynolds 753 Carlton Capella lugged frames. These early Capella lugged SB 753 frames pop up from time to time and I’ve been asked in the past to comment on them, but giving an opinion was always difficult to do when I never had one.

SB664 and SH377T thankfully filled that gap in my collection. They are both beautiful examples of this specific type of SBDU frame. Having these two in my collection has allowed me to confidently answer questions about this unusual and limited early 753 SBDU frame.

So what am I left with now, what am I wanting to add? Everything on that old list has been crossed off apart from the full chrome model with team paint and transfers.

753 Services des Courses Road Frame
24″ Front Wheel Low-Profile Frame
– 531 Pro/531c (Full Chrome/Team Colours)
Track Frame
Early 1974/75 Frame
Team Riders Frame

The chrome models appear every now and then and there have certainly been several frames and complete bikes for sale over the last year, but many have had faded transfers, damaged paint or rough chrome, or they are just ridiculously expensive and over priced. I’m happy to wait for the right one though, and I have an abundance of patience. The right one when it comes along will hopefully still have great original chrome – I don’t mind dealing with paint of transfers but I’d like the chrome to be good.

Some bikes that I’ve added to my collection were never on the wanted list, they were frames that I wasn’t actively looking for, but their arrival and inclusion has definately strengthened the collection. SB5084 is an original paint TI-Raleigh Cyclo Cross frame – this is a rarely seem model, and if you read my posts regularly you will know that I don’t use the ‘rare‘ word lightly. I really don’t know why a cross frame was never on the wanted list in the first place, but I have one now.

SB6827 is a remarkable bike in remarkable unridden condition, a 531c frame built with some of the very last Campagnolo Super Record components and then impeccably stored away. But even better than that is my 753 Dynaflite (SB4409), built with Reynolds 753 Ovoid tubing.

So if I was to add a chrome 531 model to the collection would that be the end of the search? The answer to that question is “absolutely not!”

Every time I revisit my wanted list I always dig down further and redefine what I’m looking for, expanding the list into even more granular detail.

If I was to write another wanted list right now it would look a bit like this…

  • Ilkeston Built Lo Pro
  • Ilkeston Built Reynolds 753 SDC
  • Chrome 531P/531c
  • 1982+ Track Frame

It isn’t enough now just to have an SB numbered lo pro. The three I currently have are all brilliant, but the addition of an Ilkeston built lo pro would create a unique sub collection consisting of SBDU Ilkeston / SBDU Nottingham / Raleigh Special Products lo pro frames.

I added several Reynolds 753 SDC frames but they all come from SBDU Nottingham, so going into more detail, an Ilkeston 753 SDC would be good to have. I do have a few nice Ilkeston 753 frames but not the specific Cinelli equipped SDC. I also have a great sub collection of track frames but they are all pre 1982 (1975, 1976, 1977 & 1978), meaning they are 531DB and 753 – it would be good to get some 1982+ examples in 531c and either 753R or 753T.

And yes, the chrome 531P/531c is still on there.

So as the years quickly roll by, the wanted list can easily evolve, but as I mentioned earlier, it can become more specific, and the frames required to meet the new criteria can become much more difficult to source.

I’m always looking at my collection in new and different ways and I’ve recently looked at how my collection spans all the years of the SBDU (starting with the SBDU at Ilkeston). I’ve never looked at it in this way, but now that I have, I can see another glaring gap and I’ve created another new way to add a frame.

The SBDU at Ilkeston started in 1974 and relocated to Nottingham at the end of 1986 / start of 1987, and I have most of those years covered apart from one year… 1986! For some reason, I’ve clearly never added a frame from 1986.

My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Yearly Frame Collection
My TI-Raleigh SBDU Ilkeston Yearly Frame Collection

I have a very reliable timeline for SB numbered frames and I’m happy that after all my effort and research that the SB frames I have fall into those years. It is a little more tricky with my two team frames, it is a lot more difficult to tell when they were built – was it the end of the year of the start of the year? GH6175 definately has a feature that sets it as either 1974 or the first part of 1975. As they are both track frames and not team road frames, I’ve shown these two specific frames across the year boundary as they could easily have been built in either part of the year.

You can see the obvious gap under 1986 – so far a frame from this year has eluded me. I have 1986 defined as SB7701 to SB8430. This gap means I can add another line to the current wanted list…

  • Ilkeston Built Lo Pro
  • Ilkeston Built Reynolds 753 SDC
  • Chrome 531P/531c
  • 1982+ Track Frame
  • 1986 Frame (SB7701 – SB8430)

Back in July I wrote a new post after SB8790 arrived and I mentioned a little about my current thoughts about collecting.

I want my collection to be more than just a random accumulation of frames with an ‘SB’ stamp, my aim is to have a collection of beautiful and diverse bikes that encompasses everything the SBDU and the most skilled Raleigh builders could offer. Originality, paint schemes, frame features and bike design are all aspects that I look out for.

I made a promise to myself this year that I would try and stick to my aim and only add to the collection if I could add something that I didn’t already have, or that was different to the norm, interesting or original. I’ll always consider an original paint frame no matter what it is because the details and accuracy that come with that originality are disappearing fast as more and more are renovated, and often renovated with no regard to how they should be. If I can save and preserve any original bikes and maintain a record of them then I’ll try my best to do that.

What that means is that I still want to add new frames, but I’m being more picky! That is evident in how much I’ve slowed down this year. My ultimate goal is to have a collection that fully demonstrates the depth and breadth of the skill and talent and design genius exhibited by Raleigh’s top frame builders. That is my purpose, my collection has to be more than just a random accumulation of frames.

I’m still looking to fill gaps and I’ll always look to add original paint frames (even if they create a duplicate), original and unadulterated frames regardless of condition are the very best source of SBDU information I can get. I’m also looking for frames with features that are either interesting or different or that I don’t currently have. I also have an idea in my head of the type of bikes that I want to build and ride and I will always look to add frames that fit those thoughts and plans.

And who knows which direction my collection will take in the future…

1 comment

  1. Brilliant Neil. Seeing the bent top tube made me recall my visit to Nottingham in 1988 with my father to be measured up by GoD for a frame each. Whilst we were there somebody ( one of the frame builders i think ) excitedly brought in a bent tube he’d made to show Gerald. They were both very excited with it…to this day I don’t know the significance of it.

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