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  1. #1
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    Garage Sale Find: 80s Centurion Ironman - help ID (photo included)

    (Comments on what might be worth replacing or other ideas are welcome)

    I went looking for a bike at local garage sales last weekend and had a great find after checking just 3 places:

    A Japanese-made Centurion Master Ironman Dave Scott of 1980s vintage. I'm not sure exactly what year - maybe someone can help identify that based on color scheme and components.

    My plan is to convert it to fixed-gear or a flipflop hub. I'm also pondering whether to keep the original paint job or spray it to a single tone. Right now, the bike weighs under 20 pounds

    Components when bought:
    Frame: Tange Champion #1 (CR-MO double-butted steel). Forged dropouts.
    Gears: Shimano 600 SL-6400 M5
    Brakes: Shimano SLR.
    Stem: Nitto B115 420
    Pedals: "Look" brand metal clip pedals
    Chainwheel: Shimano Biopace
    Hubs: Shimano 600 w/ quick release
    Front Rim: Araya CTL-370
    Rear Rim: Mavic MA-40
    Seapost: Sugino SP-K
    Saddle: "Champion" brand. Far from the best. This will be the first thing to go.
    Last edited by dubesor; 07-08-08 at 01:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Oh yeah! Very very nice. BTW, I think the chain should be the first thing to go, looks sort of rusty, don't try to salvage, it's not worth it. But I think you're right the saddle is old and tired. Still, a beautiful find. Is it a six speed rear?
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  3. #3
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    Oh, absolutely - I was going to scrap the chain. Any particular brand/size it should be replaced with?

    And it's 7-speed, I think. How can I tell? I know that's an awfully dumb question, but despite riding thousands of kms on bikes, I know next to nothing about them. This is the year I finally learn, I think ...

  4. #4
    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    you know, someday (maybe next week) all the kids are going to just go nuts for these wacky '80s New Wave paint schemes and graphics...then you'll really be sorry if you painted over this one with flat black or sumthin'.
    It's a fine bike (BTW, Tange #1 is not *stainless* steel) with a fine mix of components (except the saddle,as you say, and maybe the Biopace rings). If it were me I wouldn't change hardly a thing on it and I'd look for an older frame (with 120mm rear spacing and long slot dropouts) if I wanted to make a fixie...I'm just sayin'.
    Edit: count the cogs on the back wheel: 6 or 7? Also, on second look that might just be a saddle cover over a Turbo or Turbo-copy...might be a decent saddle after-all.
    Last edited by unworthy1; 07-04-08 at 01:35 PM.

  5. #5
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    to tell how many speeds a bicycle has, count the number of sprockets on the rear wheel. then multiply this number by the number of chainrings on the crank. for example, a 14speed bike would have 2 front chainrings and 7 rear sprockets. 2*7=14


    good score.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jet sanchEz's Avatar
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    Vim or rubbing alcohol will clean up the brake hoods nicely. Great looking bike.

  7. #7
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    to tell how many speeds a bicycle has, count the number of sprockets on the rear wheel. then multiply this number by the number of chainrings on the crank. for example, a 14speed bike would have 2 front chainrings and 7 rear sprockets. 2*7=14
    that's exactly it for this one. 2 font and 7 sprockets.

    good score.
    thanks!

  8. #8
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    I wouldn't change hardly a thing on it and I'd look for an older frame (with 120mm rear spacing and long slot dropouts) if I wanted to make a fixie
    another newbie question ... what spacing are you talking about? the rear fork?
    if yes, it's about 150mm on this one. does that make it too wide for fixed-gear use?

  9. #9
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    Also, on second look that might just be a saddle cover over a Turbo or Turbo-copy...might be a decent saddle after-all.
    Sorry, forgot to mention that it is a 1987 dark Turbo saddle underneath. Not my cup of tea though ... just doesn't feel right somehow.
    Last edited by dubesor; 07-04-08 at 02:09 PM.

  10. #10
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    And if you like it the way it is, overhaul headset, BB, hub
    and pedal bearings. It deserves it and you'll like it even
    more as it is.
    BB is back brake?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubesor View Post
    My plan is to convert it to fixed-gear or a flipflop hub. I'm also pondering whether to keep the original paint job or spray it to a single tone. Right now, the bike weighs under 20 pounds
    Terrible idea IMHO, that's an awesome bike. BUT, if you don't want your brakes, I'll buy'em off you.

  12. #12
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    Seems like the fixed-gear convo was indeed a dumb idea. Maybe I'll do that in the future to another, cheaper/heavier frame

  13. #13
    Faith-Vigilance-Service Patriot's Avatar
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    I have an old Centurion too. Same year, but the Expert version.

    Now it's a modern commuter with a 10s Veloce group.
    President, OCP
    --"Will you have some tea... at the theatre with me?"--

  14. #14
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    Patiot, we meet again!

    The face lift in question is a Centurion Expert. It will have some upgrades and updates after the face lift such as 105 triple (replaces a current TruVativ triple), and an Ultegra RD to go along with the already installed Brifters.

    For the OP, doing a fixtie on that bike would be a real trajedy to most of us. I think you're on the right track with finding another frame to convert.

  15. #15
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    dubesor, 7 speed chain is very common. If you can find one, I like the SRAM PC-68, that's a nice replacement. It's polished and looks really good when clean.
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  16. #16
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    dubesor, 7 speed chain is very common. If you can find one, I like the SRAM PC-68, that's a nice replacement. It's polished and looks really good when clean.
    and how much should i pay for one? i personally would guess no more than $20.

  17. #17
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    geez don't let people tell you what to do with your bike. the main idea is to set it up so you'll ride it often and get the most enjoyment out of it. if you decide to go fixed or single speed its VERY easy to go back to geared later - just keep all your original parts. i just got a pristine small centurion ironman master for my girl and converted it to single speed and she loves it - rides it all the time. light enough for her to carry it up and down 3 flights of stairs. you don't need to wait for a cheaper heavier frame to try fixed since that would only make your first experience feel well, heavy and cheap. by all means ride it around geared for awhile and you can always convert if you feel like it. its a very decent bike - have fun!!!

  18. #18
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    Nice find! How much did you pay for it?

  19. #19
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    My old eyes may be deceiving me, but are those chainrings in the correct position, or are they off by one bolt?

  20. #20
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Hmm, an Ironman, in purple fade. PM sent.
    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻
    Perhaps you didn't really hear what you thought I said...

    1979 Centurion Semi Pro
    1982 Lotus Classique
    1986 De Rosa Professional SLX
    1987 D'Arienzo (Basso)
    1988 Miele
    1995 Hot Tubes TT
    1998 Kestrel KM 40 Airfoil
    2006 Cinelli XLR8R-2
    2011 Eddy Merckx EMX3
    2014 Wraith Hustle

  21. #21
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubesor View Post
    and how much should i pay for one? i personally would guess no more than $20.
    A little more than $20. You can get the PC-58 for aobut $20, not quite as nice as the PC-68. My guess is a PC-68 is around $25-30. It's been over a year since I bought one.
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  22. #22
    Mercrudgeon Bikedud's Avatar
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    Great find and a great bike. Those frames are really sweet riding- you should enjoy it for years. Personally, I'd keep the rad purple/white paint job. Have fun.
    The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Ashley pretty much filled you in on the bike, and he's the one to do it. Since I have two of the '89 Masters, I can tell you a bit.

    The bike is excellent quality, and can be upgraded easily to perform with anything out there, plus you can say "steel is real" when asked. Despite claims currently on eBay that these were $1500 new, they were not, but that hardly matters today.

    The best thing you can do if you keep the bike is take it apart, clean each component, lube where needed, and put it back together.

    That particular model has Shimano 600 (tricolor) hubs, which can be disassembled, examined, repacked, and will spin like new, and you should do this regardless of how well preserved you think they are. The spokes can be cleaned, along with the rims, which are extremely light, but will need to be trued regularly if you ride on rough pavement.

    You should also have the bottom bracket cleaned and repacked, new ball bearings if necessary, or just buy a new square taper Shimano BB. I think I paid 16.95 at my bike shop for a new one. Moisture tends to collect in this area and can rust the bearings and other stuff in there.

    Then, the headset. It's probably dry as a bone, so that should be repacked.

    All of the above are minor, and necessary maintenance.

    You should also clean and lube the shifters, front derailleur, and rear derailleur. I take them off and take them apart, but that's just me; I feel the bike deserves it. Then, turn the bike over and make sure no gunk has built up under the bike where the shifter cables run.

    I don't know about that saddle. It's your derriere. You'd likely need bar tape and after you clean and lube the brake levers, pick a color. You can polish part of the bars and all of the stem, but it's a lot easier if you disassemble them, too.

    Those tires are hard as wood, but it's your call. If you don't replace them now, you will if you ride the bike anywhere other than smooth roads.

    Nice bike, and if you don't feel like the rehab on it, I'll buy it, price depending.

    The advice you get here on BF Classic & Vintage is spot-on, except mine, which you should understand is blatantly subjective when it comes to Ironman bikes. Remember, Dave Scott won all those Ironmans by training about 20 hours a week. No one else can say that, so the Ironman bike sort of carries that mojo...capable, competent, effective, but no big deal. There are prettier belles at the ball, but few deliver. (maybe that's not a good analogy...)
    Last edited by RobbieTunes; 07-04-08 at 08:50 PM.
    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻
    Perhaps you didn't really hear what you thought I said...

    1979 Centurion Semi Pro
    1982 Lotus Classique
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    1987 D'Arienzo (Basso)
    1988 Miele
    1995 Hot Tubes TT
    1998 Kestrel KM 40 Airfoil
    2006 Cinelli XLR8R-2
    2011 Eddy Merckx EMX3
    2014 Wraith Hustle

  24. #24
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    Thanks for all the advice, everyone!

    There's not a whole lot of serious work to be done on this one and I will do it gradually, learning more about cleaning/tuning bikes as I go along. It definitely is a light and sweet ride, even with the (so far) minimal attention I've paid it, that ol' rusty chain, and old tires.

    What kind of 700c tires should I be looking for? Any suggestions for what would work well with these Araya/Mavic rims, look good, and have a smooth tread? I will do mainly stop-and-go commuter cycling with this one, in city traffic.
    * Road: 1989 Centurion Master Ironman
    * Tour/Commute: 1980s Nishiki Continetal

  25. #25
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    Also, you can confirm your bike's MANUFACTURE year by
    checking its serial number, stamped on the underside of
    the BB (bottom bracket). It will probably start with an N
    and be followed by a number, probably 9 as in 1989 and
    then another letter, the fortnight code (ie. A=1st two
    weeks of January; B=next two weeks, et al). It is possible
    your bike has a late 1988 serial number but while that
    would indicate it was MANUFACTURED in 1988, the marble
    fade paint scheme makes it a 1989 MODEL.
    Strangely, the serial # from the bottom bracket begins with N8B - which puts the manufacture in early 1988, but I guess it's still a 1989 model.
    * Road: 1989 Centurion Master Ironman
    * Tour/Commute: 1980s Nishiki Continetal

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