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Thoughts on $100 Centurion Le Mans 12?

Old 05-24-24, 05:23 PM
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Thoughts on $100 Centurion Le Mans 12?

Here are pictures of the bike imgur.com/a/100-centurion-le-mans-12-7q9EUnb

Judging by the posts about it on this site, this model's a notch above new walmart bikes (huffy, magna, schwinn, etc). Seller says its a 90s bike, though it looks identical to the one in the lower left corner of the 1984 catalog on sheldonbrown except for the flat handlebars.

I know little about it atm but can ask, though the seller doesn't seem to know much either. I was told it is probably average woman height (was his mom's) so hopefully will fit me (5'1"). I'm considering going to the seller to try it but I've got no idea how to examine bikes other than height, rust, and brakes. I'll commute routes that have short bursts of hills (max ~150 ft/mi). I've biked before as an amateur but never found a bike that truly felt like an extension of me (too heavy, single speed, too tall, etc.). So any tips or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 05-24-24, 05:40 PM
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Link help:

https://imgur.com/a/100-centurion-le-mans-12-7q9EUnb

Bike looks clean but I suspect it will be a bit too tall for you. It has pretty tall gearing from what I can see. Price is ok for the bike as long as everything works and is usable.
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Old 05-24-24, 05:47 PM
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not only eighties but early eighties

components have date codes you can show to seller to prove age if it may assist with negotiations

good decent quality, good value for money, reportedly made by Miyata


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Old 05-24-24, 05:49 PM
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The LeMans was at the lower end of the Centurion line-up, but still a decent bike for its time. It has stem shifters, but they're Suntour ratchet stem shifters (same shifters I used for racing, but in a stem-mount configuration).

Early-1980s LeManses had heavy steel rims, but this one seems to have aluminum rims.

In this market, is $100 too much? Depends. If it's ready to ride or only needs tires, it could be a decent deal. If there is hidden damage, perhaps not. The non-drive-side photos aren't optimal.
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Old 05-24-24, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Aubergine
Link help:

Bike looks clean but I suspect it will be a bit too tall for you. It has pretty tall gearing from what I can see. Price is ok for the bike as long as everything works and is usable.
Thanks so much for the comment and link help!

I heard a general rule of thumb is for the top tube to be 1-2 inch from the crotch when straddling it?

I used to ride a way too tall fixie that I couldn’t even straddle and got my crotch pinched a few times. Felt like I was riding a penny farthing.
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Old 05-24-24, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by gracetheartist
Thanks so much for the comment and link help!

I heard a general rule of thumb is for the top tube to be 1-2 inch from the crotch when straddling it?

I used to ride a way too tall fixie that I couldn’t even straddle and got my crotch pinched a few times. Felt like I was riding a penny farthing.
Fit is very important. A light fast bike that doesn't fit will be worse than a heavy slow bike that does. It looks to be about a 21" frame, which when used with 27" wheels typically results in a 30-32" minimum inseam to clear the top tube. For comparison, I wear a 29" inseam, and on a 21" frame with 27" wheels such as this I'm typically straddling with the top tube making slight contact with the body; e.g. a bit too big (my first "real" road bike was a 21" frame late-70s Centurion Super Elite).
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Old 05-24-24, 07:04 PM
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Another thing about fit for short people. The *length* of the bike might be too long even if the height is ok. The problem is that 27" (and 700c) wheels limit what can be done with a frame and still have the bike be rideable. It may well be that a bike with 26" wheels would fit better.
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Old 05-25-24, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Aubergine
Another thing about fit for short people. The *length* of the bike might be too long even if the height is ok. The problem is that 27" (and 700c) wheels limit what can be done with a frame and still have the bike be rideable. It may well be that a bike with 26" wheels would fit better.
+1 This bike has fairly long top line with the current none original fairly big riser bar setup. One should or will likely need to change the bars for good fit riding so figure that into your cost. As for year if it matter's it's 83/84 model likely made 83 Japanese makers stopped using the very nice Suntour power shift VX group 84/85.

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Old 05-25-24, 11:12 AM
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Thanks so much guys! The top tube does look tall now compared to photos of a vintage road bike I found with a 5'2" rider, might try that instead if this doesn't work out (a Bianchi Premio)

I was told the rider of this bike is 5" taller than me, and the seat post can lowered 3 inches. Seller said seat height to lowest position on the pedal for this centurion is currently 32 in with the heightened seat post, and I just measured the height of my crotch to be about 29.5" with shoes. It's probably on the cusp and doesn't factor in handlebar reach/height so I'll have to try it in-person I guess.
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Old 05-28-24, 06:12 PM
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I’d say that bike is definitely too big for someone 5’1”. I’m 5’4” and it’s a size too big for me. Also, it would not be a good idea to lower the seat, because that seatpost is fluted, and if you lower it so far that the vertical recessed areas go below the top of the seatpost, water can get inside the seatpost and cause rust.
If i were you, i’d keep looking.
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Old 05-29-24, 01:50 PM
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I see the bike has front and rear derailleurs and a crank. Unfortunately I can't tell what they are, what condition they are in, or if they were even original to the bike, because the pictures are of the wrong side of the bike...
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Old 05-29-24, 02:22 PM
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I'll second what some of the other posters wrote which is you may be better off looking for an older, small mountain bike (one with a rigid, not a suspension fork). I picked up a 1990s 15 inch Trek 930 for a friend who is around your height and she fits that bike well. Older mountain bikes make fine all around bikes good for commuting, touring, road riding, etc. The 26 inch wheel is a good choice for a small frame bike.
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Old 05-29-24, 04:34 PM
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Raising or lowering seat post does nothing for top tube length. At 5-1, I would look for either a Terry styled bike, or a rigid frame MTB. Some of the brands made very small adult MTBs. My wife has 2, a 14 1/2 inch and a 15 inch frame.
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Old 05-31-24, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101
Raising or lowering seat post does nothing for top tube length. At 5-1, I would look for either a Terry styled bike, or a rigid frame MTB. Some of the brands made very small adult MTBs. My wife has 2, a 14 1/2 inch and a 15 inch frame.
+1 even changing bars and stems can make for problems big costs and doesn't always work much cheaper to find a right size bike and smaller MTB's are much easier to find.
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