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So what did I buy this time? 80s Raleigh 531c

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So what did I buy this time? 80s Raleigh 531c

Old 05-09-22, 08:16 PM
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So what did I buy this time? 80s Raleigh 531c

I dragged this one home today. Suntour Cyclone friction/Aero Compe. Pretty grungy, but I think it'll clean up well enough. These were made in UK for Raleigh USA as I understand it. I like flexy frames, so I expect I should like this. Does 531c = .9/.7/.9 tubing profile?


Yay, with those spacers on the steerer I won't need a technomic to get the bars high enough.

dirty, but doesn't appear to be cracked

Fancy bars
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Old 05-10-22, 04:33 AM
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Raleigh Lightweight Unit Frames For Raleigh USA

Reynolds 531c Competition Tubing Wall Thickness Dimensions:
Top Tube - 0.8mm x 0.5mm x 0.8mm
Seat Tube - 0.8mm x 0.5mm Single Butted
Down Tube - 0.9mm x 0.6mm x 0.9mm
Chain Stays - 0.8mm
Seat Stays - 0.5mm
Head Tube - 0.9mm
Fork Blades - 1.0mm/0.5mm

Around 1987 Raleigh moved their SBDU Unit where they made the Team Bikes and high end specials from Ilkeston to their main plant in Nottingham. They also somewhat merged the SBDU Unit with their Lightweight Unit that had been making the higher end production models.

SBDU still had their own crew from Ilkeston. The Lightweight Unit had about 65 employees and were set up to produce ~25,000 bikes a year using only Reynolds 501 or 531 tubing. Those frames had the same features as most of the SBDU frames but were production made rather than one offs like SBDU produced.

Around 1985 Raleigh SBDU started making Team frames for Raleigh USA in red and black kit. They were available with Reynolds 531P Professional or Reynolds 753R tubing.



After 1987 the Lightweight Unit may have sold some of their top models as bare frames. I remember seeing some of the red and yellow bare frames??? Probably branded Raleigh USA ??? The Lightweight Unit frames from that era were high quality.

This style seat stay cap was used on many of the Lightweight Unit frames. It was also used on some SBDU frames too.



The OP's bike has a mishmash of components so it may have been built up from a bare frame.

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Old 05-10-22, 06:19 AM
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The bicycle should be circa 1986-1987, as the livery matches that used by 1986 RAAM winner, Pete Penseyres. His competition bicycles were Technium but he did have a back-up, Reynolds 531 bicycle. The subject bicycle appears to have friction shift levers and SunTour introduced indexing for 1987. So, that would make it 1986, provided the derailleur system is OEM. However, it could be a parts build, as previously suggested. The serial number should allow us to determine the year and country of origin.
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Old 05-10-22, 06:53 AM
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I will tell you what you bought... an incredible bike! I have the exact frameset and it is the lightest and fastest in my C&V fleet. Very twitchy and not something I want to spend more than 2 hours on but it sure flies. I got some background on this forum when I bought mine years ago. Offered as a frameset (maybe '87 only?), the colorway commemorates Pete Penseyres' 1986 record-breaking Ride Across America. I found my frameset in 2016 and never saw another one until a couple of years ago. I've probably come across 10 or more since then so probably not as rare as I once thought.

Not that you were asking for inspiration but I'll offer some up, resto-mod style
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Old 05-10-22, 09:30 AM
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The seat cluster treatment is definitely different, with semi-wraparound seatstays. Serial appears to be "710866"





forgive the upsidedownedness. Technology is giving me a headache today...
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Old 05-10-22, 12:45 PM
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That's a pretty rare one. I have only seen a couple. Here's Nelson Vails racing his factory provided unit...
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Old 05-10-22, 04:07 PM
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1987 Raleigh UK Dealer Flyer

T-Mar Dylansbob plonz

Straight from the horse's mouth with lots of embroidery from the marketoids... Pages from a 1987 Raleigh flyer for the UK dealers:

History interspersed with Bull Pucky about the SBDU move to Nottingham.



The story behind the "new" Lightweight Unit...




There should be a sticker like this "DESIGNED AND ENGINEERED IN THE U.S.A." BS disclaimer above the MADE IN THE UK Union Jack sticker at the bottom of the seat tube:



As far as the wrap over seat stay caps are concerned, Raleigh used a slew of different designs on the SBDU frames so why should the Lightweight Unit frames be any different? I saw a few of those red and yellow RAAM frames on eBay over the years and they all had small leaf shaped seat caps.



Is it "rong"... or just Raleigh!

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Old 05-10-22, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
T-Mar Dylansbob plonz

Straight from the horse's mouth with lots of embroidery from the marketoids... Pages from a 1987 Raleigh flyer for the UK dealers:

History interspersed with Bull Pucky about the SBDU move to Nottingham.



verktyg
Super cool history. I have never seen that, and I'm pretty much exclusively a 1980's Raleigh collector!

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Old 05-10-22, 06:55 PM
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Raleigh 1987 Flyer

Originally Posted by La Brea Bike View Post

Super cool history. I have never seen that, and I'm pretty much exclusively a 1980's Raleigh collector!
WOW! That's quite a spread!

Someone from the UK sent me the 16 page 20 MB .PDF flyer way back.... I posted the applicable pages.

My Raleigh collection:
1971 Lilac Competition
1973 RRA
1974 International
1974 Pro silver & black
1974 Team Pro SB 10
1975 Pro
1979 "Record" - Competition GS made for the French market in Team Kit with mostly Japanese components
1985 Raleigh USA Team Pro 753 SB 8051 in 1992 Raleigh USA Team Technium Kit
1990 Raleigh USA Team Technium 753

Teasers:







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Old 05-10-22, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
WOW! That's quite a spread!

Someone from the UK sent me the 16 page 20 MB .PDF flyer way back.... I posted the applicable pages.

My Raleigh collection:
1971 Lilac Competition
1973 RRA
1974 International
1974 Pro silver & black
1974 Team Pro SB 10
1975 Pro
1979 "Record" - Competition GS made for the French market in Team Kit with mostly Japanese components
1985 Raleigh USA Team Pro 753 SB 8051 in 1992 Raleigh USA Team Technium Kit
1990 Raleigh USA Team Technium 753


verktyg
WOW!!! Amazing stuff. So awesome You have SB10! I'm sure you and Niel McGrowan are thick as thieves!
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Old 05-10-22, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Dylansbob View Post
The seat cluster treatment is definitely different, with semi-wraparound seatstays. Serial appears to be "710866"

forgive the upsidedownedness. Technology is giving me a headache today...

That's not what I was expecting to see, as it's not a typical SBDU, Nottingham Lightweight, Nottingahna or Kent serial number. It's also not what you typically see on the contract manufactured Japanese or Taiwanese frames from around this period. I'm guessing that the first is the production year. It would be interesting have the serial number from plonz's sample, to see if the formats match.
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Old 05-10-22, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
It would be interesting have the serial number from plonz's sample, to see if the formats match.
My serial number is 8710880. It also has the same seat stays as OPís


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Old 05-11-22, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by plonz View Post
My serial number is 8710880. It also has the same seat stays as OPís
It's one character longer than the OP's serial number. That makes me think that the OP's is missing or has a faintly struck leading 8. In which case, the first two characters would appear to represent the year. That would make the two bicycles are only 14 units part and from the same production run, which would make sense.
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Old 05-11-22, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
It's one character longer than the OP's serial number. That makes me think that the OP's is missing or has a faintly struck leading 8. In which case, the first two characters would appear to represent the year. That would make the two bicycles are only 14 units part and from the same production run, which would make sense.
Looking at the author's images, I do believe I see hints of that leading "8".
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