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Old 08-14-12, 08:00 AM   #1
blakada
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Centurion Cyclone - but what is it?

Hi,

A bicycle amateur as I am, I bought out of the blue an old racing bicycle, and now when the summer soon is over, and I've completed a couple of miles on top of it, I wonder what it is I bought.

The serial says; WAK18689B, and on the brakes, the gears, (both front and rear), brake rubber (or what its called) and on the pedals it says Suntour Cyclone. It's white, very good polished and in extremely good shape for being the original components, as far as I can tell? The previous owner didn't know very much about the bike, he bought it for the main reason to convert it to single-speed, but he didn't have the time for it. It runs like a charm, I pedal up to 45-50 km/h flat out, and I'm not in very good shape....

How good is this, and for less than $200, have I made a good deal?

Edit: pictures

Last edited by blakada; 08-14-12 at 08:18 AM. Reason: pictures
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Old 08-14-12, 08:10 AM   #2
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Perhaps you could post some pictures? This is always helpful.
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Old 08-14-12, 09:27 AM   #3
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Blakada, welcome to the forum. I am going to make an educated guess that you are writing from Australia, and I think that because the Centurion you have is not a US model, and because the brand Centurion was evidently used in Australia as pictures of various somewhat different models found there show up here from time to time. There are occasionally Centurion models that show up on eBay from European sellers too; it's unclear whether those are the same as those in Australia. We don't know what the relationship between the two (or more) Centurion brands was, but there was evidently SOME relationship as the graphics on the bikes are the same, and some model names (like 'Turbo') repeat--though they are on bikes that are not the same. It's very confusing! Unfortunately while there are vintage US market Centurion catalogs online, I know of only one for European models and it's not from the steel bike era. If you could find any documentation of Centurion bikes in the Oz market that would really help to sort things out.

As far as your bike, more pics (we always want more!) would be good, but the presence of Suntour Cyclone components is a very good sign. That's the second generation of Cyclone which someone here can give you a precise date on, but I am going to say mid 80s. Suntour would have made the drivetrain components, and the other parts would have been made by their zaibatsu allies: Sugino for the crankset, DiaCompe for the brakes, etc. (I'm not sure if this was actually a zaibatsu or a less formal arrangement--but it was definitely an alliance to allow those small companies to compete against Shimano.)

It's interesting that the bike model itself is Cyclone...maybe it says something about how highly regarded those components were, that Centurion 'borrowed' some of the prestige of that name.

Looking over the pics I would say that it's a very good bike, close to top of the line for that brand. And condition looks excellent. Not sure on the current conversion rates, but assuming no issues (dings, rust) US $200 for that bike would be a very good price. Not a steal, but a price where you could clean it up and resell at a profit, or sell the parts off. Better than that though (and it sounds like this is your plan), keep it and enjoy having a really good bike for a bargain price.
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Last edited by Chicago Al; 08-14-12 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 08-14-12, 09:37 AM   #4
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Looks like you got yourself a fine bike there!

As "Windy City" Al said, it very well could be a European market model that is branded differently than
those in the States were; sorta like Koga-Miyata in Europe vs. just Miyata here.

As long as the frame fits, the components aren't worn out and the rubber's OK then have loads of fun on it!

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Old 08-14-12, 09:50 AM   #5
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Thanks for posting pics! I tend to agree with the above - looks like quality bike, Tange #2 tubing is good stuff, as is the 3rd generation Suntour Cyclone componentry.

Altogether a nice package, though I for one have never heard of the Centurion 'Cyclone'. Certainly wouldn't be the 1st bike to carry the name of its component group, but would be the first Centurion I've seen that did.

Glad you're riding it in its original state, rather than the previous owner stripping off all of those great components to make it into a fixie!
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Old 08-14-12, 10:51 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replays, especially Chicago Al for taking your time to make the best answer possible with the information you got. I will post more pictures later tonight, what do you want to see more of?

To begin with, I´m writing from Sweden, and the bike was bought in Göteborg, thus we must believe that it is a european bicycle. I've too reacted, because I tried to find information about the model Centurion Cyclone, and I got no answers at all from my google searches, only Centurion bikes with Suntour Cyclone components. And from what I can make of the serial-number translation from Wikipedia, it's a 1980-model, but that may very well be wrong. If that makes the bike "rare", should I rather begin to polish it and keep it in mint condition, than to actually ride it, that was my originally plan?

Anyway, I might be in desperate need for some small tips for maintaining it in its current condition, what should I be aware of, and do/not do?

Thanks again for all answers!
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Old 08-14-12, 11:23 AM   #7
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Ah-ha! To my knowledge this is the first time we've actually seen a Euro-model Centurion on this forum, but we (the five of us who care ) knew they had to exist. Actually the brand name is still being used there, though of course the bikes are different.

Possibly it's the same company that produced/imported/sold bikes in the 80s, possibly the company name was sold to a successor; even if it's the same company it's probably different owners/management, as one would expect after 30 years. Their main focus for many years seems to have been mountain bikes, though they have a very full line.

http://www.centurion.de/en_int

(German company, English version site)

Here's a thread we had on this subject, generally, last year:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...urion-bicycles

You will see that 'Frantik' and I did not agree on whether the German Centurion company was related-but-different from the US one (as I thought) or the bikes seen in Europe were actually from the American company, Western States Importing or WSI, as he thought. I think it only makes sense that there were the two (at least) companies in the world that used the brand 'Centurion,' each specifying bikes to be built to their specifications for their own markets, but with enough similarities to achieve economies of scale. And the bikes were being made on contract in Asia, obviously. Maybe the bikes seen in Australia were from a third company/importer but I am guessing they were actually Euro market bikes and there was an Australian importer.

Here's a c1993 (German) Centurion catalog, still showing some steel framed road bikes, though several years after yours, Blakada.

http://http://www.retrobike.co.uk/fo...g2_itemId=3407

There's no question that there's a relationship as the graphics and even some model names are the same between the US and Euro models. That can't be a coincidence! And WSI apparently went out of business in the 90s with the Centurion name retired and the Diamondback name being sold to a different company.

I would not worry about your 'Cyclone' bike being a precious collectible. It was intended to be ridden and should be. It looks to be a very nice example of a very well made bike from the 80s, but is not especially rare or valuable. I suspect that in Europe, Japanese bikes are not regarded as collectible at all, with the exception of Koga-Miyata. Actually as OSW points out, it may well be that the German Centurions were like Koga Miyata, a hybrid of Asian and Euro.
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Last edited by Chicago Al; 08-14-12 at 11:42 AM.
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