January 4, 2010

Team TI Raleigh 753

I recently acquired this Ti Raleigh Reynolds 753 team bike. It was owned by Eric Tillman of Milwaukee, I am the third owner and will be the first to ride it since Tillman. If any of you Milwaukee peeps has any info on Eric Tillman, I'd love to hear the history of this racer, and perhaps if I'm lucky this machine. According to the person I bought it from, they worked together at a Milwaukee shop (Wheel & Sprocket, I think).


If any of you out there have any race number plates for sale, I'm in the market. Geeky I know, but it's got the braze on, might as well use it



Reynolds 753 blades, stays, main tubes. Before acquiring this frame I was aware of 753, but didn't know anything about it. 753 was Reynolds top of the line racing tubeset, significantly lighter than 531. One of the reasons it's rare is that Raleigh gobbled up most of the tube stock that Reynolds produced of 753. TI Reynolds (Reynolds) was the sponsor after all. Another limiting factor is that "any framebuilder who wants to use 753 is sent a test kit containing tubes, a bottom bracket, silver solder, flux and instructions. He assembles the parts and returns them to the TI Raleigh lab in England, where five tests determine his proficiency. Field said about half of the 753 applicants are refused permission to abtain and use the tubing. He said that the U.S. now has five qualified 753 framebuilders. 753 is the strongest bike tubing in the world(diameter for diameter), it is the most resistant to bending in a fall. However, it tends to dent easier than other tubings because it is so thin; the center portion is only 0.3mm thick, or about three times the thickness of one Velo-news page. "Reynolds 753 is for the discerning rider, It is so light and so stiff that the serious competitor can't afford not to have it."
taken from Classic Rendezvous


IMG_0879Campy dropouts

Ilkeston factory sticker.

Headed by Carlton’s Gerald O’Donovan, Raleigh Specialist Bicycle Development Unit, was created in 1974 and housed in its own standalone factory in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, which was once part of the Rolls Royce works. The SB unit is best known for pioneering and proving the new Reynolds 753 lightweight tubing in 1974 although it made Reynolds 531 framesets as well. Initially, almost all 753 production was for the TI Raleigh Team (which was equipped with 753 frames from the 1975 season onwards) and other European teams with each team member of the Raleigh squad getting two or three frames per season. From 1974-77 it bought out most if not all of the 753 tubing from Reynolds (both Raleigh and Reynolds being part of the TI conglomerate of course) making it exclusive to Raleigh. Production increased to the point of offering framesets to the general public by 1978 at a cost of $475 in the US market including an Edco headset. The 753 was offered in track, roadracing and special time trials frames in the famous team livery, midnight blue or champagne. Initially Ilkeston turned out about 25 753 tubed frames a week c. 1977 and produced approximately 9000 framesets in both 531 and 753 for individuals and teams until its closure in 1986.


Looking through the interweb, I can't find any photos of TI Raleighs with this graphics package. If you know where to locate any info on this machine, please let me know. I'd be very interested in Raleigh catalogs, or a geo chart and would like to pinpoint the year of manufacture. The frame is stamped 58 and has a slightly less than 57 top tube c-t-c measurement.


Andy said...

Cool frame Jeff.
I found a bunch of old photos from one of my dads tours with the guys that worked at the Alt in the 80s. They used to build custom touring tandems back then. You should check them out.


Oh and what part group are you putting on that Ti?

-Andy Lindberg

Kevin Saari said...

Can't wait to see this built up!

Jeff said...

don't know what parts yet. at first I thought I wanted a vintage build, but now I think I'll go modern with some old Campy C record downtube shifters.

Loving the photos, I'm going to repost them with a link, hope you don't mind.

Rydjor Bike Shop said...

We have some catalogs from the 80s and that top tube graphic only showed up in 86 and 87. The only difference between the frame you have and the 86/87 frames is that the catalogs show them to have a black headtube - which seems to be pretty standard across the years.

From the 87 catalog:
"The limited edition 753 frameset is handmade in Ikleson, England and features the finest Cinelli lugs and Campagnolo dropouts. This "Service des Courses" model is equipped with two bottle mounts, number hanger and sports the red and black graphics. The Tour de France winning 753R tubing is the lightest ferrous frameset available. Sizes: 51, 54, 56, 58, 60, 63cm"

No geometry chart but the 531 frameset of the same year features "hot geometry."

Record C was introduced in 86 so it would be appropriate.

DKellner said...

I have this same frame. I bought it new in 1990 from Ted who runs The Tread Mill in Potsdam NY. I still have it. I've been through a couple sets of wheels but still have most of the original Superbe pro group.

Ted always had a thing for vintage bikes and history. I bet you could get more info if you contacted him.

The Tread Mill

55 Market St
Potsdam, NY 13676

verktyg said...

I just got one of these bikes a few weeks back. The frame has been repainted pearl white with late 80s or early 90s Raleigh USA Technium Team purple, red and gold decals. The forks are still the original black with white Raleigh decals and a Reynolds 753 sticker.

It's a fully lugged 753 SBDU frame not a glued together Technium model.

It has the remnants of a Suntour Superbe Pro gruppo filled in with Sprint and Cyclone parts. I have all the components to complete the gruppo.

Paid Waaay too much for it but it has the holy grail ride I've been looking for since the mid 70s!

Here's what it looked like when I got it:


The bike supposedly came out of Portland, OR and was a team bike of some sorts. It may have been repainted to match the later Raleigh USA team frames.


Matthew said...

I have two of this exact bike. I got them from a racer I used to hang out with in Southern California whose was riding for the Levi's/Raleigh USA team.

These frames were actually hand built in the race shop in Nottingham, England not in the US. They ride very well and have no weaknesses in terms of a race frame - except they are heavy compared to new bikes. If you build up with light stuff like carbon seatposts and light wheels etc, you can get an honest 20 lb all steel bike.

Some other info about 753; it cannot be cold set so if you were to try to put in newer 130 mm rear wheels (to convert to 10 speed), you may be able to spread the frame, but it will never "set" in that width. I decided to keep mine in 126mm and stick with old school drivetrains.

If you need the frame repaired, be prepared for an expensive hassle - few framebuilders are authorized to build with 753. Contact Raleigh USA to start. You can no longer get factory decals for this frame.
another thing - these bikes are race bikes and have no clear coat so decals are exposed to the elements. handle with care.

I can post images of my bikes if people are interested

Matthew said...

Sounds like I'm wrong about the Nottingham thing - I assumed that they were built there from the original shipping box that one of my frames was in.

Andy.Ilkeston said...

Hi folks came accross your blog and had to comment. I have a Services des Courses in 531c, considered a replica but it was one of the last bikes to come out of the Nottingham SBDU only weeks before its closure.

I live in Ilkeston and from what I understand from friends who worked at raleigh as well as local cycle shops, all competative race bikes originated from the UK. Raleigh's with an Ilkeston sticker on are rarer than rocking horse droppings, even locally.

Old Raleighs are tossed away with contempt, being local seems to breed contempt.

With Mercian cycles only in Derby, Raleigh's best are only just being given the recognition they deserve back home in Nottingham.

Ray said...


Join the "TI-Raleigh Team Pros" Yahoo! group to ask questions, get answers and to share serial numbers and photos.


chris said...

These are great frames. From the posts in this thread, seems like several folks have one or like them. So, wondering if you all know a good place to sell a frame set to someone who would appreciate it and put it to good use (as opposed to me who has had it in the basement for over 20 years.)

I have one that I'm looking to sell. is there a good website?

It's never been built up except for the Dura Ace headset.

it's the Red/Black scheme in the pictures in the post. I'll post pictures if anyone is interested.

60 cm
Serial number SB8328

braze on race number bracket, etc.



darin said...

Hey! I have this same frameset but made with 531. Thanks for the info regarding these frames, I haven't been able to find any other frame like it till now. Do you know if they were sold as frame sets or built up what components they were sold with otherwise?