Baz Senior wrote:
It does make me chuckle when I read all the tosh by 'SBDU' experts and similiar collectors when they talk about frames and bikes. Mostly its from people who have absolutely no hands on knowledge of either the factory or team structure.
I rode for Raleigh 1992-97, firstly as a BMX rider, then as a road and off road rider. I can tell you a thing or two about SBDU and Team bikes. Prepare to have your preconceptions turned inside out!
I had several versions of the SBDU and the LU bikes and I can tell you from a riders point of view - we couldnt care less which one we rode. We rode what we were told to ride, and to be blunt I couldnt see or feel any appreciable difference between the two.
An important thing to remember when you're buying an SBDU bike is that they were mostly raced hard, usually very hard indeed. Generally the bikes would only last a season. I knew a prominent rider who would go through 3-4 bikes a season on 30k + miles. Team bikes were ridden to destruction, we really didnt care about them, at all. The Kellogs series bikes we used, for instance, were chucked in and out the back of vans, the odd dent or scrape we didnt care. Team bikes were raced until every single bit of zip and strength were worn out of them and then 'scrapped' by the mechanics for the next season. Likely most of those that turn up on Ebay (and doubtless here) they have had that same extrememly hard life, and are really just musuem pieces and not much use for riding. You certainly wouldnt get much out of one in a sprint or proper climb. A lot of ex team mechanincs have probably done very well flogging em though!
I only own two SBDU bikes - a 1983 Raleigh Team Burner and an ex Malc Elliot road bike which was never raced. They are both boxed and like the mechanics I'll be keeping em for my pension plan!
So to all the SBDU snobs out there, the bike you have has probably been battered from pillar to post, used, roughly abused and is mechanically 'done in'. I used to wonder why there was so many refinishing and decal vendors for the Team Bikes. Its pretty obvious looking at most of the refurbed ones they have had a very hard life. Another word of warning - our mechanics were very fond of cold setting crashed and damaged frames, and splaying the triangle for more gears, even the 753's. They had no shame!
To us they were just tools of the trade, and the majority of riders battered them to bits. I'd like to hear more from ex Raleigh employees and riders about the Team Bikes. To me, that 'insider' view is the only reliable, informed source there is.
Hi Would like to see know more on the team burner as I still have one