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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:24 pm
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I was wondering....

I know there is a lot of love here for SBDU frames (me included) but how do they compare for quality with other builders of note? I'm thinking about classic steel frames from the like of Colnago, De Rosa, Gios, Pinarello and Bianchi. How about a Holdsworth Professional?

Playing the Devil's advocate here, SBDU frames look pretty ordinary to me when you compare them to some of the detailing and finish on continental frames. Is it just British nostalgic sentiment driving demand or is there something I'm missing?

Cheers
John


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:09 pm 
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History plus they were the first to use 753 (I think). :) My Kevin Sayles Bob Jackson is better finished and there were a lot of very good builders around at the time. Bill Philbrook for example.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:17 pm 
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I'm looking for something to hang a Campag 50th Group on. I was originally thinking about a Raleigh 753 SBDU frame but given the prices they are commanding now, I've been widening my search.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:40 pm 
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i always thought the SBDU frames had a premium-brand image, but was never that impressed. I knew 2 guys back in my racing days who had them (753s) and both had tube failures - one of them had his frame break twice.

.... maybe they are isolated anecdotes, I dunno, but it put me off and eventually I bought a Nag master


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:05 pm 
rBoTM Winner
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You only ever hear about the frames that fail, just like you only ever hear about the Record cranks that crack - Campagnolo produced 100s and 1000s, if not millions of these cranks but it is only the cracked one that people talk about. You can talk about an SBDU frame (thousands made), and you will always hear a story about a snapped frame.

From my personal point of view, all the SB frames I've had have been very well made and finished. Stay ends and caps, fork ends, lugs etc all very clean and precise, seat pins fit perfectly. They are pinned and aligned before being brazed and I've never had a problem with anything out of line, everything has fitted perfectly and ridden really well.

I can't say that same thing about other high end frames I've worked on. I've seen snotty braze, wonky bridges, fork ends that need filed to sit a wheel straight, rear ends that need a tug to align, seat tubes that take a lot of work to fit a seat pin...

I guess it might come down to the manufacturing process. Midlife mentioned his Kevin Sayles Bob Jackson - that is a good example of one craftsman putting his skill into the build AND the finish. Other, larger output builders, may have some degree of mass manufacture involved where the personal touch and time isn't available.

The SBDU built great frames, the first to use 753 (not the first to use Silver), their quality was good and the name and reputation was undoubtedly helped by the TI-Raleigh team success. But there are builders other than the SBDU who built some equally good frames.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:46 pm 
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Can't really argue with any of that Mr Originalshinkicker, never seen a duff SBDU :)


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:39 pm 
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I suppose the question was not whether they were reliable but more around how they compare with say a Bianchi Specialissima


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:49 pm 
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SBDU stock frames were a matter of form follows function, no fancy panto stuff apart from the early trademark drilled dropouts. The "H" individually spec'd frames were whatever people wanted.

From a technical point of view they were on the same level IMHO.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:22 am 
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Thanks all for the replies.

For clarification, were they only custom built if they have an H suffix? Otherwise standard sizing, angles and details?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:21 pm 
rBoTM Winner
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The H ref system appears to have stopped at the end of 1979. The last frame I've seen with an H up to this point is SB3177.

From the bikes I've seen in the 1979 period, every other frame had an H ref, so it looks like it was dropped from the start of 1980.

The SBDU built custom frames, that could mean geometry, it could be things like brake drop and clearance or it could be something you can't see such as tube gauge. If you are buying an SB frame then you are almost certainly buying a frame built for someone else's body shape, riding style and the type of event they were riding.

Seat tube length seems to be the main measurement people use to buy a frame but there are so many other things that need to be checked. I've bought several SB frames that have short top tubes when compared to seat tube length - that is great for me as I like a shorter bike but that probably won't suit most people.

If you have a 50th group to hang off a frame then you also have other things to consider such as seat pin size (type of tubing and gauge), front derailleur type and brake drop/clearance.


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