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How to find Centurion model name from serial number

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Old 03-14-19, 03:01 PM
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tomhailand
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How to find Centurion model name from serial number

Hello I am new to posting in a forum so please forgive any lack of etiquette, it's unintentional.
I have a Centurion bike that I purchased in 1978 or 79 and paid around $850 for. It is a tall frame, black, with quick release wheels and Suntour derailleurs. The serial number is N8A5975, any idea how to find the model from this?
Thanks,
Tom
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Old 03-14-19, 03:10 PM
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unterhausen
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There is a thread about Centurion serial numbers here: Centurion Serial Number Database
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Old 03-14-19, 05:14 PM
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The serial number does not correspond to the model of the bike.
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Old 03-14-19, 05:16 PM
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Here is a link to many Centurion catalogs, including 1978 and 1979. Centurion Catalogs

What brand and model components did your bike come with?
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Old 03-14-19, 06:50 PM
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Japanese numbers can really only determine the year and frame maker. If you give us nice drive side pic of the whole bike chances are someone here can id the model.
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Old 03-15-19, 07:44 AM
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As noted, the serial number does not contain model information. It tells us that it was manufactured in January of a year ending in '8' by a Japanese manufacturer that is believed to be Tano. Given that you purchased it in the very late 1970s, it is a 1978 model. However, in 1978, $850 would have been very expensive, even for the top of the line Professional model. Furthermore, the Professional and even the Semi-Pro models that surface from this era were typically sourced from Mikki, suggesting that it is probably an even lower model. Pictures (drive side, please) would be a big assistance in determining the model.
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Old 03-15-19, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by zukahn1 View Post
Japanese numbers can really only determine the year and frame maker. If you give us nice drive side pic of the whole bike chances are someone here can id the model.
Thanks everybody for your responses.
I bought the bike new in Vegas 40-41 years for approximately $850. I used it for my transportation until I moved back to Buffalo NY and it has been stored indoors for the past 35 years. I'm looking to sell this bike and get a bike that I can ride in a more upright manner, after 40 years of cabinet making my lower back is shot. Any idea what its worth?
Black with pin stripes. Total weight with air pump is 26 lbs
The seat post is 25-1/2" double butted high tensile steel
Suntour VX front and rear derailleurs
Sugino Super-Maxy crank
Ukai 27" x 1.25" aluminum quick relaese wheels
Diacompe quick release caliper brakes
I tried to insert a photo but I'm not able to until I've posted at least 10 times.
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Old 03-15-19, 01:24 PM
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Tom, something isn't adding up for me. Did you look at the catalogs to see if the pictures match up to the bike in your possession. I didn't find Ukai rims on any of the potential models and if you say it is double butted hi-tensile steel it doesn't seem to correspond to any of the likely candidates. The Super LeMans and the LeMans were not offered in black in 1978. The Super LeMans WAS offered in gloss black in 1979 but was not hi-tensile and had Araya rims. Sometimes bike manufacturers published specs and the actual bike varied from what was specified, but your bike doesn't seem to match up well with any of the criteria.

Without any additional information or pics, sounds to me like you have a lower tier Centurion and if it is in great shape worth south of $200.00 and a lot less if it is a huge frame and well worn.
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Old 03-16-19, 01:37 AM
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Based on the additional information and picture, the subject bicycle is a 1978 Centurion Super LeMans. It would have been considered low mid-range in it's day and had an MSRP of $230 US. I'd value it at $125, in ready to ride condition. Picture assist...
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Old 03-16-19, 05:55 AM
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Old 03-16-19, 02:26 PM
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I have an extreme bias towards Ishiwata frame sets myself. That Centurion Tange stuff is for kids. I like to know my steel frame bike will stand up to my 210 lbs at 45mph downhill.
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Old 03-16-19, 06:01 PM
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It was good enough for the men who went to the moon. Used by adults as well as kids.
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Old 03-17-19, 02:50 PM
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I would much rather re-enter the atmosphere with an Ishiwata reinforced capsule than a Tange one. Ishiwata steel leaves purple trails when it reaches its melting point.
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Old 03-18-19, 07:34 AM
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IMO, Ishiwata and Tange tubesets for any given era and level are comparable. With the exception of some pre-1980s, generic, seamed tubesets, I haven't seen any tube failures that could be placed directly on the tubing manufacturer. Frame failures are almost invariably from owner abuse or poor workmanship (over heating, insufficient braze penetration, etc.) However, I have seen failures attributed to frame fittings such as fork crowns. Very early 1980s Trek forks using a particular Ishiwtata crown have a bad reputation and Trek pointed the finger directly at the crown. However, even that appears to have been an isolated case. The bottom line is that I'd be far more concerned about who built my frame, than which brand tubing it was built with.
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Old 03-18-19, 01:22 PM
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tomhailand
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Originally Posted by TugaDude View Post
Tom, something isn't adding up for me. Did you look at the catalogs to see if the pictures match up to the bike in your possession. I didn't find Ukai rims on any of the potential models and if you say it is double butted hi-tensile steel it doesn't seem to correspond to any of the likely candidates. The Super LeMans and the LeMans were not offered in black in 1978. The Super LeMans WAS offered in gloss black in 1979 but was not hi-tensile and had Araya rims. Sometimes bike manufacturers published specs and the actual bike varied from what was specified, but your bike doesn't seem to match up well with any of the criteria.

Without any additional information or pics, sounds to me like you have a lower tier Centurion and if it is in great shape worth south of $200.00 and a lot less if it is a huge frame and well worn.
The parts are as I stated above, I just went and checked again, maybe the bike shop built this out of different parts from different models? don't know, doesn't matter, but THANK YOU ALL for taking time to answer my questions.
May you all ride until you drop!
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Old 03-18-19, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
IMO, Ishiwata and Tange tubesets for any given era and level are comparable. With the exception of some pre-1980s, generic, seamed tubesets, I haven't seen any tube failures that could be placed directly on the tubing manufacturer. Frame failures are almost invariably from owner abuse or poor workmanship (over heating, insufficient braze penetration, etc.) However, I have seen failures attributed to frame fittings such as fork crowns. Very early 1980s Trek forks using a particular Ishiwtata crown have a bad reputation and Trek pointed the finger directly at the crown. However, even that appears to have been an isolated case. The bottom line is that I'd be far more concerned about who built my frame, than which brand tubing it was built with.

Please excuse me for my frivolous response to the OP. I was amused by the description of the price paid and other features of the bike. But, in my experience I've really never seen a broken Ishiwata frame. I've seen a couple broken Tange frames though. Anectodal observations not backed up by any facts. It's the reason I call old Fujis "bulletproof".
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Old 03-19-19, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
Please excuse me for my frivolous response to the OP. I was amused by the description of the price paid and other features of the bike. But, in my experience I've really never seen a broken Ishiwata frame. I've seen a couple broken Tange frames though. Anectodal observations not backed up by any facts. It's the reason I call old Fujis "bulletproof".

One of the LBS became a Fuji dealer in the early 1980s and being a former manager at the shop, I would sometimes be called in for consultation. Consequently, I have seen some atrocious cases of workmanship on Fuji frames. They certain weren't immune from putting out defective product, though I still have an overall high respect for them and, like most Japanese companies, they were far better than the Europeans. In my experience, the Japanese companies with the lowest defect rates were Sekine in the 1970s and Miyata in the 1980s.
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