This site is for you. It is to help you find all that you need to understand and research your own project or future purchase. Several years ago I found myself in a situation of wanting to buy a Raleigh SBDU Reynolds 753 frame but unable to find any reliable resource to help; I bought on a massive hunch. Thankfully it worked out. I now use my own collection and research to fill the blog with as much information as I can.

Thousands of people all over the globe have used these pages to research their own projects. So if you want to know more about Reynolds 753, SBDU frame details, the TI-Raleigh scheme or anything related to these beautiful bikes then you should definately read through these pages.

About This Site…

Trying to make sense and research and write about a workshop, the frames and the set of guys who built those frames is a big task. In fact it is a massive task! They only existed under the same roof in Ilkeston for a little over a decade, and for those few years, they designed and built bikes that beat the world over and over and they became the team behind the team – that team was the most successful team in professional cycling.

That success for TI-Raleigh has brought lots of information onto the internet, and I’ve given myself the job of sifting that information into the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The ‘Good’ pile never seems to grow as much as the other 2! However, whatever does make it into the good pile is the stuff I like to write about and share. Hopefully what I find and share helps those with their own SBDU bikes…

A Quick Overview of SB Frame Numbers & Dates…

There are no records for Raleigh’s Ilkeston Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) workshop. That means there is no guaranteed way to determine the build year of any SB numbered bike unless the frame comes with accurate and original SBDU based documentation. Over the last few years I’ve collected information on hundreds of SB bikes and frames and I’ve been able to put together the following guide to finding a build date for one of these frames.

Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) Frame Numbers & Dates (Ilkeston Period)

YearStart NumberEnd NumberLocation
1987SB8431SB8432 - SB8438Ilkeston
1987SB8432 - SB8438-Nottingham
** Frame Numbers & Corresponding Dates: Last Updated March 2019

Each range of SB numbers is as accurate as I can determine based on the small sample set of SBDU data that I have. Since compiling my initial list, all of the subsequent information I’ve found on SB frames has fitted well within my existing ranges. However, I am aware that there will be frames out there, yet to be documented, that will change the data I have, so please check back regularly for updates.

Read More Detail About SB Numbers & Dates…

I’ve tried very hard not to just throw together a random list of numbers. I’ve delved into SBDU data, frame features and SBDU design trends to pull together valid points to back up my list. For a detailed look at my theories behind each ‘Year Range’, have a look at here at my SBDU Ilkeston Date Timeline 

About Me…

My name is Neil and I am a self confessed collector of TI-Raleigh bikes built at the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) at Ilkeston, England.

I spent years as a bicycle mechanic in Newcastle upon Tyne in the north east of England. The shop I worked in was called Denton Cycles and it had existed on Westgate Hill in several different locations. Originally called George Barrass Cycles until 1953 before becoming Dentons in 1954. I joined in 1989. Because of its long history, the shop and especially, the back shop and workshop were a treasure trove of vintage components, rims, frames and tools. You couldn’t open a cupboard or drawer without finding an old simplex mech, TA chain ring or wooden sprint rims.

I recall building orders such as 531 & 753 frame sets from the local suppliers such as Dave Yates and Joe Waugh, to vintage Mercians, Flying Scots and Hetchins and the finest steel, aluminium and carbon frames from builders such as Colnago, ALAN, Vitus & TVT. Road, Time Trial, Track, Cyclo Cross and even Tandems! Mountain Bikes were even in there too with 3 of the bikes I built being ridden by the national champion in 3 world downhill championships.

I learnt the skills of wheel building from Colin Davison and “Ron the Wheel” aka Ronnie Robson who sat behind his wheel jig day after day, occasionally coming out for a puff of his pipe.

I’ve recently spent a week with Dave Yates in August 2015, learning the process of frame building, and just completed my first ever frame and fork build.

I started this blog in 2012 to share the work I was doing to rebuild a TI Raleigh Team Pro, my first SBDU bike! Since then I seem to have fallen in love with all things SBDU and now appear to be working through a list of must have Ilkeston bikes, documenting what I find and do in this blog. My knowledge on these bikes from this small unit has grown and hopefully you might find what I write to be of some use to you.

Thank you


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