Re. the serial numbers from frames that were made at the Ilkeston workshop, Steve is correct that the "SB" part of the serial number has been described by many, for many years now, to mean "Special Build." A minor clarification, based on observation (so not definitive fact), is that they are not all followed by a 4 digit numeric number. Based on personal observation only, I believe that they were incremental numbers starting with number 1. I have seen the Raleigh Team bike with "SB16" and can say for sure based on paint scheme (yellow head tube) and componentry that she was from early 1974 which is when Ilkeston was opened. I am also the current steward of Raleigh Team bike "SB19" and again, based on paint scheme and her original components she is undoubtedly from early 1974 also. I have also seen SB238 which was the later paint scheme (black head tube) and had 1975 dated Campagnolo SR rear derailleur. Most Team bikes that I have seen are indeed 4 digit numbers but that seems reasonable since if they were indeed incremental starting with SB1, there are only 999 of them made before the 4 digit range came into use.
Some get caught up in Campagnolo dating and markings, I get into Raleigh Team serial numbers and the Team bikes (among other things).
> From: Joss Winn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> "I am going to build up a singlespeed road bike from odd parts and
> have my eye on a frame on eBay (#3680526193). Can anyone comment on
> this frame and in particular, the sticker which reads 'Reynold 753
> Renovated'. The seller knows nothing about the frame but says the
> sticker on the seat tube has that on it.
> Also, ever heard of a frame builder called 'GOD or G.O. Donovan'?"
> Hi Joss,
> The auction doesn't mention a sticker containing the word "renovated".
> Instead, it says the frame was renovated. I wonder how extensive the
> renovation was??
> I think you'd want some detailed pictures in order to determine the
> frame's condition. When purchasing a frame via the web, I usually like to
> get detailed shots of any damage to paint or decals. It's nice to get a
> shot that might show if forks or the downtube are bent or bowed.
> G.O. Donovan is probably refering to Gerald O'Donovan. He was the head
> of Raleigh's Ilkston facility, where they built the Team bikes. These
> bikes often had a serial number stamped on the bottom bracket shell. The
> number had the format of "SBxxxx", where four digits followed the letters
> SB. Folklore says that SB stands for Special Build. These were pretty
> darned nice frames.
> If this frame was built as one of the Team frames, it seems odd for it
> to have mudguard eyelets front and rear. Might have been part of the
> renovation, maybe?
> Ask the seller for more pics and any info available. Nicks, dings,
> markings, dimensions, etc. It's all handy to have.
> Steve Kurt
> Peoria, IL
> (where I have a nice Raleigh Team bike in my hallway)