Blog Featured Posts General Topic My TI-Raleigh SBDU Collection Raleigh Special Products Division SBDU Ilkeston SBDU Nottingham

My SBDU Collection… What’s Been Happening Recently?

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
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…

  • SB9000 Reynolds 753R Track TT/Pursuit low profile – original Raleigh Banana paint
  • SB6827 Reynolds 531c Road Bike – original paint and unridden condition
  • SB7393 Reynolds 531P TT Road Bike – original (and unusual paint)
  • SB8790 Reynolds 531c TT low profile Road frame – original paint and unridden condition
  • SB8200 Reynolds 531c Randonneur – not original and poor condition but filled a gap for 1986 Ilkeston production
  • No Frame Number 531DB Jan le Grand Motor Paced Stayer Frame
My TI-Raleigh SBDU Collection 2018 Arrivals

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
My TI-Raleigh SBDU Collection 2019 Arrivals

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.

My TI-Raleigh SBDU Collection 2019 Blue and Green Colours

Collection Summary

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.

Frame Overview

The list of frames is getting longer but here is a basic overview of the entire collection…

My TI-Raleigh SBDU Collection

SB NumberYearTypeTubingColourCondition
No Number1974/1975Motor Paced Stayer531DBNew TeamRepaint (SBDU)
GH61751974/1975Track531DBNew TeamRepaint (SBDU)
SB19951978Road753GoldRepaint (SBDU)
SB33271979TT753New TeamRepaint
SB44091981Special753 OvoidBlueRepaint
SB50841982Cyclo Cross531SLTI-RaleighOriginal
SB57941983TT531c MetricRedOriginal
SB65601984Road531cNew TeamRepaint
SB87901987Road Low Profile531cNew TeamOriginal
SB90001988Track Low Profile753RBananaOriginal
SB95291991/1992Road Low Profile2070PurpleOriginal
"New Team" refers to the new team colours (Panasonic/Weinmann/Pirelli). Some of the years following relocation to Nottingham are still being researched so some of those frames are quoted with a couple of years until more reliable information comes through.

What Next?

As the collection comes together, it gets closer and closer to being *complete. The amount of new arrivals will no doubt slow down but the search for new examples or original frames goes on. I will continue to gather more frames and features to plug the shrinking gaps.

Blogging will always continue – there is still so much information to share. For example, I’m planning a blog post to highlight each SBDU frame feature, type and style in detail… and there are lots of details to cover! RGF, Cinelli CCM, Cinelli SCM, Haden, Single Taper, Double Taper, 1010, 1010/A, 1010/B, 1060, 1053, Shimano SF, Shimano UFP, Vagner, Fischer, Davis, Cinelli CC, SC, SCA, Prugnat S, S4, 62D, Carlton Capella… these are only a few examples…

* I often wonder if I’ll ever reach the point of completion – new information constantly uncovers fresh avenues to seek more frames and add more features.

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