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'86? Centurion Elite RS

Old 03-18-20, 10:24 AM
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KiwiMtnClmbr
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'86? Centurion Elite RS

What's this worth... intended use is to train for and get into Randonneuring. I'll be doing 30mi a day on it with probably a front and rear rack added for my work stuff. Goal is after needing to use it for 3-4 months of commuting to leave it set up for Rando and use it exclusively for that purpose.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-198...p2047675.l2557

I have these extra pics from seller:


Frame length looks good for me from my research. I'm 5'9" with a looong torso. My best bike fit is on a '11 Kona Jake size 53, with a 530 C-T, 550 Toptube, 285 BB height, and 797 standover. I've got less than a half inch of clearance wearing cx cycling cleats.


Is this an '86 and would/does it have the dread biospace crankset?

How much would you pay for this if you had to drive from DC to Boston and back to get it?
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Old 03-18-20, 08:38 PM
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You must really want one of these to sign up for that road trip. Mid-pack Centurion that appears to need an overhaul and fresh consumables. For me, this is a $100 bike tops and not worth a drive longer than across town. I would think you could find something comparable in any metro market and save yourself the drive.

As far as being a Biopace crank, the rings obviously are. Iíve heard of Biopace-specific cranks but donít know what would make them differ from any other 600 crank.
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Old 03-18-20, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by plonz View Post
You must really want one of these to sign up for that road trip. Mid-pack Centurion that appears to need an overhaul and fresh consumables. For me, this is a $100 bike tops and not worth a drive longer than across town. I would think you could find something comparable in any metro market and save yourself the drive.

As far as being a Biopace crank, the rings obviously are. Iíve heard of Biopace-specific cranks but donít know what would make them differ from any other 600 crank.
Thanks for the heavy dose of reality. I've just been jonesing for a Pro Tour for a while and getting antsy... thanks for the advice on the cranks as well. Sounded weird to me even with my very limited knowledge.
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Old 03-19-20, 04:57 AM
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@KiwiMtnClmbr

So I was probably a bit miserly in my $100 limit considering you’re looking for a keeper and are coping with a high degree of jonesing. Add to that your DC market listings indicate vintage bikes are holding a better value.

All this to mean that if it’s your size and the best of what’s available at the moment, I think you could justify $150. Just remember you’ll be putting at least $100 of consumables on it to make it rideable.

And although the Elite RS is a decent bike with good components, it’s just not something I would travel a long distance to acquire. Just one person’s opinion.

Good luck in in your quest.
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Old 03-19-20, 09:40 AM
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The subject bicycle is a 1986 Centurion Elire RS, manufactured by Katakura of Japan in January. The New 600EX crankset is the version with the BioPace chainrings, however being a performance oriented group, these had the least agressive degree of non-roundness. This model is basically an economy version of the lauded Centurion Ironman. The frame uses the exact same geometry but is built of slightly heavier, stiffer and more robust Tange #2 versus Tange #1 . It uses the same Shimano New 600EX drivetrain but unlike the Ironman does not use the full group and substitutes a mixed bag of more cost effective components for the brakeset, hubs, freewheel, pedals and headser. In 1986 it 4th in a lineup of 8 models and had an MSRP of $400 US. I place current value at $125.
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Old 03-19-20, 11:33 AM
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AFAIK the Centurion Elite was second only to the top of the line Ironman. These are outstanding bicycles with exceptionally well made frame sets. My advice on your particular bike would be to focus on the wheels & tires. A new set of wheels & the right tires would easily allow you to compete in randonneuring events.

I've got an 82 Elite and, is one of my all time favorite bikes to ride because of it's exceptional balance. It's the only bike I own that I feel comfortable cruising down the road hands free. Everything is for sale in my collection except for this one.


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Old 03-19-20, 10:17 PM
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It’s a very 1st world problem to be so conflicted eh? Especially in current times.

My understanding is the Elite RS / Ironman frame geometry is better suited to Rando than the more relaxed Elite GT or Pro Tour, and as pointed out, the Tange 2 can handle more weight than an Ironman. I'm already at the upper the end of the weight scale for an Ironman without any of my daily luggage (which is probably as much as 30 lbs).

I’m also considering a Trek 520 from same period. Travel for pickup considerations aside, and consumable upgrade accounted for, which would do better at handling the commute/training abuse followed by some long events when the world becomes sane again?

Last edited by KiwiMtnClmbr; 03-20-20 at 05:28 AM.
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Old 03-20-20, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
AFAIK the Centurion Elite was second only to the top of the line Ironman.....
The Ironman was never the top Centurion model. The Ironman was marketed 1985-1989 and during that period the top Centurion model was the Prestige. Also, in 1985 and 1986 there was a model between the Prestige and Ironman, the Cinelli Equipe and Facet respectively.
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Old 03-20-20, 07:16 AM
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I had a Centurion Elite RS for about 2 years. I bought it from a person who never rode the bike. It was pristine and I paid 100 for it. I rode it for a couple of years and I really liked it. It was very nice and comfortable on long rides. It still looked new when I sold it for $300 back when bikes were worth something! There wasn't anything not to like , Full Suntour Cyclone drive , Gran Compe anodized brakes , stainless steel spokes laced to some real nice anodized Araya wheels. I only sold to get my Raleigh Competition GS which was more my style. The guy who bought it loved it just as much as I did . There wasn't a mark on it , even the original bar tape was pristine. Joe

Centurion Elite RS

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Old 03-20-20, 07:33 AM
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That looks like a low mileage bike and would clean up nicely. I don't see brazeons for racks/fenders which you might want for commuting/randoneuring. My 86 Ironman will take 28mm tires, so this bike may also. This would be a good fast commuter or a sunny day fast Rando bike.
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Old 03-23-20, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
The Ironman was never the top Centurion model. The Ironman was marketed 1985-1989 and during that period the top Centurion model was the Prestige. Also, in 1985 and 1986 there was a model between the Prestige and Ironman, the Cinelli Equipe and Facet respectively.
Yes, I know there were a few higher end bikes like the Cinelli & the Prestige. But, those bikes were pretty rare back in the day. Like the Fuji Opus or, Shogun Samurai. I guess they must have been special order items. They seem to be as rare as unicorns now. Please forgive my biased opinion. But, the main Centurion line up in the mid - late 80's (to the average Joe) was Ironman, Elite and, LeMans. Then, after that it was a hodge podge of low end high tensile steel pipe bikes. What fascinates me about Centurion is the evolution of manufacturers and quality from the beginning of the run to the end. The 88 LeMans I recently sold was an amazingly well finished product.
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Old 03-23-20, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post


Yes, I know there were a few higher end bikes like the Cinelli & the Prestige. But, those bikes were pretty rare back in the day. Like the Fuji Opus or, Shogun Samurai. I guess they must have been special order items. They seem to be as rare as unicorns now. Please forgive my biased opinion. But, the main Centurion line up in the mid - late 80's (to the average Joe) was Ironman, Elite and, LeMans. Then, after that it was a hodge podge of low end high tensile steel pipe bikes. What fascinates me about Centurion is the evolution of manufacturers and quality from the beginning of the run to the end. The 88 LeMans I recently sold was an amazingly well finished product.
Bicycles like the Prestige were rare because they were high end, Japanese and from an American full range marketing brand at a time when the American high end consumer preferred Italian boutique brands with a professional peloton presence. The Ironman well sold because it was aimed at the booming mid-range triathlon market, which didn't have the same pomposity, and was was endorsed by Dave Scott with a highly recognizable model name. WSI spent big bucks for the Ironman license and Scott endorsement, so that's where they put there marketing emphasis and rightly so, as the mid-range novice triathlete and racer market was more lucrative. The Ironman itself is no better than the dozens of other Japanese manufactured, mid-range models from the late 1980s.
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Old 03-23-20, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
The Ironman itself is no better than the dozens of other Japanese manufactured, mid-range models from the late 1980s.
Oh my T-Mar. Say it ain't so. There are many of us here on the forum that completely disagree with your statement. IMHO the Ironman was one of the best bicycles available during that period of time.
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Old 03-04-21, 08:42 PM
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This is my tricked out Centurion Elite 12. It's sporting a 2x7 drivetrain with cheap ass "Micro New" STI shifters & Shimano Sora RD. Just rode it about 15 miles today. I was surprised by how solid & quiet the drivetrain was. Amazing..........................




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Old 03-04-21, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
The Ironman was never the top Centurion model. The Ironman was marketed 1985-1989 and during that period the top Centurion model was the Prestige. Also, in 1985 and 1986 there was a model between the Prestige and Ironman, the Cinelli Equipe and Facet respectively.
Err moslty correct the Ironman held the top of the line for 1987 and 1988.
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Old 03-06-21, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by fleslider View Post
Err moslty correct the Ironman held the top of the line for 1987 and 1988.
You are correct, at least for the USA. My earlier statement had been based a Prestige that surfaced with a smoke finish (not the 1989 marble finish) but later I discovered it was a foreign market model. The USA market Prestige appears to have co-incided with Centurion team sponsorships. 1985-1986 were the years for the Texas Metros women's team, while 1989 was the Montgomery Securities - Avenir men's team.

My view is that that the Ironman was associated so closely with the triathlon market that WSI wanted an even better model that would be considered exclusively as a pro-level racing bicycle tied directly to their teams. What I never understood was why they did not capitalize on marketing the women's team. There's mention in the 1986 catalogue and a posthumous mention in the 1987 catalogue but I don't recall seeing any advertisements featuring the women's team, only the later men's team. Which is strange given that the women's team was so successful and Marianne Berglund was a former World Champion and arguably the best looking women racer. Other brands were were promting their female racers such as Connie Carpenter (Cannondale), Carol Addy (Fuji) and Susan Notorangelo (Nishiki). Maybe WSI had spent too much on Dave Scott and the Ironman license?

Both teams used the Prestige and in some 1986 events you'll also see the women's team members on the Facet. You can also find early pictures of Marianne Berglund wearring her Centurion gear but ridng her ex-Levi's Raleigh. This suggests the team frames may have been custom built and not standard production models.
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Old 03-10-21, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
You are correct, at least for the USA. My earlier statement had been based a Prestige that surfaced with a smoke finish (not the 1989 marble finish) but later I discovered it was a foreign market model. The USA market Prestige appears to have co-incided with Centurion team sponsorships. 1985-1986 were the years for the Texas Metros women's team, while 1989 was the Montgomery Securities - Avenir men's team.

My view is that that the Ironman was associated so closely with the triathlon market that WSI wanted an even better model that would be considered exclusively as a pro-level racing bicycle tied directly to their teams. What I never understood was why they did not capitalize on marketing the women's team. There's mention in the 1986 catalogue and a posthumous mention in the 1987 catalogue but I don't recall seeing any advertisements featuring the women's team, only the later men's team. Which is strange given that the women's team was so successful and Marianne Berglund was a former World Champion and arguably the best looking women racer. Other brands were were promting their female racers such as Connie Carpenter (Cannondale), Carol Addy (Fuji) and Susan Notorangelo (Nishiki). Maybe WSI had spent too much on Dave Scott and the Ironman license?

Both teams used the Prestige and in some 1986 events you'll also see the women's team members on the Facet. You can also find early pictures of Marianne Berglund wearring her Centurion gear but ridng her ex-Levi's Raleigh. This suggests the team frames may have been custom built and not standard production models.
Good thoughts T-Mar, that does seem to coincide with the Prestige offering. I have yet to see the 86 Prestige other than the one in the catalog.

I do know that the Professional bikes used by Dave Scott and Mike Pigg were custom made. so the thought that the ladies team frames were custom made seem plausible.
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Old 03-14-21, 08:50 PM
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For some reason I've repaired and sold many old Centurions. This is the best one. I got it from the original owner. They purchased it in San Diego California in 1987. All original down to the reflectors. Shimano 600 drivetrain. It cleaned up very nice. Sold it to a young man living somewhere in Jacksonville.









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