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Viking 'SBU' Tracker - 1954

Posted: Wednesday 12th August 2020

Owned By: Maurice Bartle

FrameViking SBU (Short Base Underslung) 24" frame; 1953; 73º head and seat angles; wheelbase 39½"; effective bottom bracket 10¾"; fork rake 1½"
WheelsFiamme sprint rims on Airlite small-flange hubs 32/40; DB spokes tied and soldered; Clement Condor tubs
ChainsetBSA 5-pin 27T with inch-pitch roller chain
GearsSingle speed fixed
Stem/BarsGran Fondo bars on 5½" Cinelli stem
SaddleBrooks B17 Sprinter
Extra DetailsThis is a genuine SBU and is in original finish. There are reproduction versions to be found on the market but this one of very few genuine Viking produced models. Early models did not have the central stay between chainstay and seatstay - needless to say it was very 'whippy'!
Peter Underwood adds that

“looking through Cycling’s in 1954 I came across details of a Viking track machine known as the ‘Viking S.B.U. Tracker’ – 1954. In the Cycling road test they state: “SBU (Short-Wheelbase Underslung) design was arrived at after extensive research into lateral and torsional twisting stresses. As you can see, there are two pairs of chainstays, an upper and a lower, and the down tube extends down beyond the bottom-bracket for an estimated 28cm.” Viking state that “The SBU separates the two stresses and concentrates each at a different point”. Originally, in 1953, this frame only had the lower chainstays but the upper ones were introduced in 1954 – it should have been obvious that a big open quadrilateral would be more flexible than a smaller triangle but maybe the idea was to save weight.   The bottom-bracket is in a lug behind the junction of the down and seat tubes, giving a short rear triangle of 16″. The 1954 specification was: Brampton Alatet headset, Baylis Wiley ‘Featherweight’ bottom-bracket, Williams 5-pin inch-pitch chainset with Italian Noli and Catteano quill pedals.  Christophe toeclips with AL-E straps.  Brooks B17 Narrow or Sprinter.  Wheels had Weinmann ‘Scherens’ sprint rims on Airlite LF hubs fitted with Cyclo domed track-nuts.  Cinelli bars and stem with 15½” ‘Gran Fondo’ deep drops.”

For more information on the Viking Cycle Company visit

Thanks for reading

Posted: Wednesday 12th August 2020

Owned By: Maurice Bartle

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