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Ironman Master vs. Expert settled once and for all.

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Ironman Master vs. Expert settled once and for all.

Old 01-07-19, 03:58 PM
  #1  
belacqua
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Ironman Master vs. Expert settled once and for all.

Ok Bike Forums, my friends.

When I first started reading about these bikes, consensus was the Master and Expert were identical frames.

Over the past three years, it's shifted. Most now agree there are "subtle differences."

Discussions mention lugs, indentations, and so forth, always in the abstract. Let's settle this once and for all.

Can we compile here concrete, photographic evidence of differences between the Ironman Master and Ironman Expert frames?

Posterity thanks you.

With that, I leave it to the experts.


Last edited by belacqua; 01-07-19 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 01-07-19, 04:14 PM
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I will leave the subtle differences to the more serious cultists.
Just some basics from me, and I'll stick to the frames.
Everyone knows the components differed.

The "split" came in 1987.
1987 Expert: unicrown fork
1987 Master: sloped crown fork

I'll let the other show the more detailed stuff, like lugs, stays, etc.
So here we go.
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Old 01-07-19, 05:00 PM
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You're claiming to not be a serious cultist, correct?^^^^ I guess Jesus technically was not a member of the Christian religion.
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Old 01-07-19, 08:23 PM
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There are differences besides components. @fleslider
The oem experts components are about 1.5 lbs heavier than the masters.
​​​​​​​I may be the only one who believes there is a frame weight difference however I have no way of proving there is a frame weight difference.
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Old 01-07-19, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
I will leave the subtle differences to the more serious cultists.
Just some basics from me, and I'll stick to the frames.
Everyone knows the components differed.

The "split" came in 1987.
1987 Expert: unicrown fork
1987 Master: sloped crown fork

I'll let the other show the more detailed stuff, like lugs, stays, etc.
So here we go.
Yes! I edited the original post to emphasize this. Thanks.
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Old 01-07-19, 09:25 PM
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Old 01-07-19, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by seedsbelize View Post
You're claiming to not be a serious cultist, correct?^^^^ I guess Jesus technically was not a member of the Christian religion.
I'm not serious, just insolent.
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Old 01-08-19, 12:45 PM
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Ohh man this discussion ..

Building upon RT and Tex.

There were some differences with the lugs . please note these are subtle differences and I dont feel that they make a difference, Although Tex swears there is a difference in weight but we have not been able to weigh the same size frames to see.
I have also documented the differences here https://vintage-centurion.com/tech/frame-differences.shtml.
There is also a difference between the Bottom Bracket shells, the Expert has a C notch cut into it on the down tube side ( i need to get some pictures of it)


Please note these are both 60cm ,1987 Models




87 Expert


87 Master


87 Expert


87 Master



87 Expert


87 Master
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Old 01-08-19, 12:45 PM
  #9  
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Oh man, this is getting good right off the bat.
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Old 01-08-19, 12:55 PM
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Multiple companies built Ironman frames on contract for Centurion, correct?
So couldnt at least some of the differences be based on the contract builder(s) at the time? Year to year there were subtle differences too- i chalked this up to natural variance due to available frame components from contract builder to contract builder. One builder uses X lugs and another builder uses Y lugs. etc.
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Old 01-08-19, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Multiple companies built Ironman frames on contract for Centurion, correct?
So couldnt at least some of the differences be based on the contract builder(s) at the time? Year to year there were subtle differences too- i chalked this up to natural variance due to available frame components from contract builder to contract builder. One builder uses X lugs and another builder uses Y lugs. etc.
I'm not sure they used different places after 1985. The '85-older Centurions may have been from different places, but the '86 to '89 seem to be cut from the same cloth.

I'm with you on the variances, probably in available lugsets. Some are a bit shorter on the points, some are more rounded. If I recall, there may have been slight differences in chainstays, but I really can't remember.

Just my opinion, having ridden about 12-15, and handled dozens: There are no weight differences in the frames by any intended action. The contracts were for x number of frames, some to be painted as Experts, some to be painted as Masters. This was absolutely common in that era, and the extra expense in a very competitive market would not have been justified.

Differences in components are understandable. My guess is a Superbe Pro Ironman (Master?) would have been a bit lighter, but lack of indexing would have killed it, along with the inevitable price increase.

I tend to pair the Comp T/A with the '85 Ironman, both in geometry and clearance.

I then group the rest, knowing that it's likely there were slight geometry changes towards aggression right up to 1989.

Bike magazines were told by WSI that the '89 had quicker geometry, but no numbers were supplied to them to back that up.

My core understanding is: same frames, different components.

As an aside...
...At the same time, I had a DeRosa Professional, Merckx Corsa Extra, and an '88 Ironman (Master). I tried them all with 2x9 DA, hubs laced to A23's with 700x25 Continentals. Blindfolded, no way could I tell the difference. A Nitto B115 bar does feel slightly different than a Cinelli 64-42, but otherwise, I'm way too dumb to tell. I still have the '88 Ironman.
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Old 01-08-19, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
As an aside...
...At the same time, I had a DeRosa Professional, Merckx Corsa Extra, and an '88 Ironman (Master). I tried them all with 2x9 DA, hubs laced to A23's with 700x25 Continentals. Blindfolded, no way could I tell the difference. A Nitto B115 bar does feel slightly different than a Cinelli 64-42, but otherwise, I'm way too dumb to tell. I still have the '88 Ironman.
You rode 'em all blindfolded?!?!?
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Old 01-08-19, 01:54 PM
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Requisite Digression

Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
As an aside...
...At the same time, I had a DeRosa Professional, Merckx Corsa Extra, and an '88 Ironman (Master). I tried them all with 2x9 DA, hubs laced to A23's with 700x25 Continentals. Blindfolded, no way could I tell the difference. A Nitto B115 bar does feel slightly different than a Cinelli 64-42, but otherwise, I'm way too dumb to tell. I still have the '88 Ironman.
Why wasn't there a single scene in "Birdbox" of anyone riding an Ironman blindfolded? Could Ironman ride a Centurion blindfolded? A Centurion could ride a bike blindfolded, but there didn't seem to be many bikes in Galactica? They don't have eyes, as such, only those noisy red lights scanning back and forth.

Which explodes upon impact more dramatically when crashed riding blindfolded, the Expert or the Master? Will the new Doctor have a catfight with a new old Master?

Riding a bike blindfolded could be the new "Birdbox Challenge"?

(Disclaimer: In no manner is the post meant to suggest anyone ride a bicycle blindfolded, unless it's being recorded and an explosion is involved.)
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Old 01-08-19, 02:01 PM
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Hudson, yes "blindfolded" is a common way to rule out subjective bias though it does stress test the rider to a certain degree.



Same/Different, I'm sure there are differences and appreciate being educated as to those differences by the posters, but both are beautiful and great riding machines, you wouldn't want to do the 100 mile ride on the Kona Coast without some comfort even though you're getting paid. I have an 87, the last year Dave Scott won the Ironman and it is having contact with that history as well as the design and ride that makes this such a nice bike to me.
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Old 01-08-19, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Multiple companies built Ironman frames on contract for Centurion, correct?
So couldnt at least some of the differences be based on the contract builder(s) at the time? Year to year there were subtle differences too- i chalked this up to natural variance due to available frame components from contract builder to contract builder. One builder uses X lugs and another builder uses Y lugs. etc.
I agree this could be the case, I had posted this up in the IM thread and did not have a contradictory frame that spoke these changes were not tied to the model, this was across all years of the Expert/Master 87-89.

I will ask again anyone with a US Spec Ironman Master/Expert that does not have these noted lugs in their respective expert/Master please let us know. although its a small sample size being this forum, it still looks to hold some truth.
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Old 01-08-19, 06:17 PM
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this is the good stuff, thanks @fleslider.
Originally Posted by fleslider View Post
Ohh man this discussion ..

Building upon RT and Tex.

There were some differences with the lugs . please note these are subtle differences and I dont feel that they make a difference, Although Tex swears there is a difference in weight but we have not been able to weigh the same size frames to see.
I have also documented the differences here https://vintage-centurion.com/tech/frame-differences.shtml.
There is also a difference between the Bottom Bracket shells, the Expert has a C notch cut into it on the down tube side ( i need to get some pictures of it)


Please note these are both 60cm ,1987 Models




87 Expert


87 Master


87 Expert


87 Master



87 Expert


87 Master
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Old 01-08-19, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308 View Post
You rode 'em all blindfolded?!?!?
like ZZ Top says, "arrested for driving while blind...."
Ha, no respect I tell ya....

If I were searching for credibility, I'd say I mounted the bike(s), pedaled off and immediately went to my special bike place...where I was cresting Alp de Huez while looking over at The Pirate, grinning like the fools we are, in a zone of our own. I hope to meet him someday.

Once the bike disappears beneath you, and the miles are just afterthoughts, bikes are the same. It's probably just the fit, and the tune, but some bikes just do.
Those three, at that time, were like that.

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Old 01-09-19, 03:03 PM
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My '89 IM Expert bare frame weighs 2.16kg (4.76 lb), with no BB, HS or races installed. The seat tube measures 57cm (C2C), and the top tube measures 59cm (C2C).
The original unicrown fork weighs 762g (1.68 lb) with crown race installed.
The Postal scale I use has given me identical results when I weigh the same frames years apart.
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Old 01-09-19, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308 View Post
My '89 IM Expert bare frame weighs 2.16kg (4.76 lb), with no BB, HS or races installed. The seat tube measures 57cm (C2C), and the top tube measures 59cm (C2C).
The original unicrown fork weighs 762g (1.68 lb) with crown race installed.
The Postal scale I use has given me identical results when I weigh the same frames years apart.
Thanks for the data, just for total clarification was that with/without seatbinder bolt, water bottle cage bolts, and rear dropout adjusters?
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Old 01-09-19, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by fleslider View Post
Thanks for the data, just for total clarification was that with/without seatbinder bolt, water bottle cage bolts, and rear dropout adjusters?
Ah... a man with an eye for details!
That was with NO seatbinder bolt, water bottle cage bolts or dropout screws installed.
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Old 01-09-19, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308 View Post
Ah... a man with an eye for details!
That was with NO seatbinder bolt, water bottle cage bolts or dropout screws installed.
Great, i will make a note of that for the website! now does some one have a Master in a 56cm frame to weigh

@RobbieTunes is probably rolling his eyes at this..
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Old 01-09-19, 04:11 PM
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I've only owned, built and ridden 10 Ironman. I'm now down to four.
I noticed my '88 master (frame only) was so light and my '89 expert (frame only) seemed so heavy in comparison. Unfortunately I have no statistical evidence. But somewhere someone has both frames and I'm waiting for them to prove me completely Wrong... which isn't hard to do just ask my wife.
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Old 01-09-19, 05:37 PM
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Robbie was using the force like Vince Vaughn in Dodgeball. No need for vision.
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Old 01-09-19, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by fleslider View Post
Great, i will make a note of that for the website! now does some one have a Master in a 56cm frame to weigh

@RobbieTunes is probably rolling his eyes at this..
My apologies... the weight I gave did indeed include the binder bolt.
Everything else was stripped off. I re-weighed it minus the bolt. Corrected result is 2.150kg (4.74 lb).
NOW Robbie is rolling his eyes!
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Old 01-09-19, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by texaspandj View Post
I noticed my '88 master (frame only) was so light and my '89 expert (frame only) seemed so heavy in comparison. .
You really need to stop doing drugs.
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