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Trying to get a 89 Centurion Carbon R back on the road.

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Trying to get a 89 Centurion Carbon R back on the road.

Old 01-16-20, 01:06 AM
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Cierrecart1
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Rebuild: getting a 89 Centurion Carbon R back on the road.

Hey guys. I recently acquired what I think is an almost complete 87 (serial #87L0250) Carbon R, with no decals. Carbon frame with sexy aluminum lugs. Everything is there except for the wheelset and cassette. Bars and stem are 3t, 105 brakes.

Any suggestions for a reasonably priced wheel
set? Im looking locally (SoCal) for anything with 126mm rear spacing, but nothing yet. Im okay going vintage, or a new set from wheelmaster. Anything else I should look for? This might be used for light cross-training or the occasional cruise...nothing hardcore.

One thing of note is that the front fork is chromed steel. I assume it was a replacement somewhere along the line?









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Old 01-16-20, 11:35 AM
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More info

Is on the Ironman thread. Someone there has a set of decals...

I have an OEM fork for a Carbon-R, by the way.
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Old 01-16-20, 11:59 AM
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Thanks Robbie. Im also very interested in that fork. I cant send you a PM yet, so do you mind emailing me some info cierrecart(at)gmail? Thanks!

Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
Is on the Ironman thread. Someone there has a set of decals...

I have an OEM fork for a Carbon-R, by the way.
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Old 01-16-20, 12:31 PM
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Back in the Centurion Carbon bike days of the late-1980's, frames were still being flex-tested by Bicycling Magazine as part of their road testing.

One detail that I recall was that these centurion Carbon framesets (tested with their forks) were the flexiest frameset that Bicycling had ever tested, and this was near the end of the period of these tests of perhaps one or two-hundred models.

It would not surprise me to learn that one of these bike's aluminum forks would be replaced with steel (or later, carbon) in an effort to increase front-end rigidity.
I have one of the Ironman Carbon models (mine also w/o any stickers) on which the fork was replaced with a newer Look Carbon fork, for who knows what reason. The bike is still relatively smooth-riding, so is a preferred ride for certain areas where the pavement is bad, even with it's 23mm tires.

It sounds like you might be able to do some back-to-back testing of these two different forks, if so it would be interesting to learn of the results.
Perhaps Robbie has also tested different forks on these frames(?), would be interesting to hear any opinion he has on this.
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Old 01-16-20, 05:12 PM
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Right you are, dddd, Robbie has tested forks on these.
Somewhere in my distant past are 3 Centurion Ironman Carbons, and one Carbon-R.

1988 Ironman Carbon 1 was a 59cm. Yes, I rode it. Ergo Chorus 8-sp, too.
The OEM fork was flexible. I could get it to rub the tire on torquey climbs. Otherwise, it was smooth as silk. Great century bike.

1988 Ironman Carbon 2 was a 59cm. Yes, I rode it, too. At the same time I had IM Carbon 1, but with 6400 STI.
The OEM fork was flexible. I could get it to rub the tire on torquey climbs. Otherwise, it was smooth as silk. Great century bike.

1988 Ironman Carbon 3 was a 56cm. 9-sp Ultegra 6500. Ooh la la.
The OEM fork was flexible. I could get it to rub the tire on torquey climbs. Otherwise, it was smooth as silk.
I replaced the fork with a carbon Cannondale Slice, and it was a great century bike.
I sold it to a triathlete. He brought it back, as it was too flexible for his power. I understood.
He traded it back in for a Miami Vice model in triathlon setup.

1991 Centurion Carbon-R was an Asian market bike, 56cm, and it had a different OEM fork.
It was still polished alloy/aluminum, BUT, the fork geometry at the "shoulder" was different, and it was not nearly as flexible.
I descended Thunder Ridge on it, in the rain, at over 40 mph. rccardr was there. It was fine. I weighed about 180 at the time.
I enjoyed the heck out of that bike, and tried it with a Ritchey Carbon fork, just for grins. Not much difference, and the Ritchey is a fine item.
However, I got carried away tightening up the Ritchey Logic 1" threadless headset and broke the head tube lugs.
If I'd have left well enough alone, I'd still be riding that Carbon-R. That Ritchey fork (from speedevil) is on my (Lynskey) Litespeed.

The earlier, IM Carbon forks had the "shoulder" outside the arc of the rim. The Carbon-R had the "shoulder" well inside that arc.
This made it stiffer and reduced some gyro effect that was present on the Ironman Carbon round-shouldered forks.

So, if you want to do centuries, and be comfy and smooth, leave it alone.
If you do heavy duty descending, or weigh over 180, perhaps a fork change from the OEM Ironman fork to the lower-shoulder Carbon-R's fork.
So, look at the fork and decide. Outside of the fork, it's not a criterium bike by any means.

As far as the frame, well, it doesn't have a Y-Foil or a Madone or a Tarmac bottom bracket, that's for sure.
It's light and pretty and glides like few others, but Tom Boonen or Tony Martin would likely break it.

When I read your initial post, I thought "I should sell this guy my Carbon-R fork."
However, that's not how the Ironman people operate. Yours if it fits, from a 56cm.

I will ask that you get to 10 posts, and then PM me.
1-because you have not been to the Centurion thread yet, and
2-
8 more posts will let us get to know you.
A small price to pay in order to PM me and get a free fork if it fits.
(plus shipping, though.... I don't hand out money, just parts).

By the way, welcome, Cierrecart1
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Old 01-16-20, 06:15 PM
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Awesome info, thanks! I have lots of pics, but cant post them yet. Id love to get your input on which model I have. It would be cool for it to be an Ironman as I used to race them.

Ill be totally content getting it polished up and going for the occasional casual cruise...my hammering days are behind me.

Today I picked up a used wheelset for a good price that fit the bill nicely. Chain and pedals are on the way.
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Old 01-16-20, 06:24 PM
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Awesome info, thanks! I have lots of pics, but cant post them yet. Id love to get your input on which model I have. It would be cool for it to be an Ironman as I used to race them.

Ill be totally content getting it polished up and going for the occasional casual cruise...my hammering days are behind me.

Today I picked up a used wheelset for a good price that fit the bill nicely. Chain and pedals are on the way.
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Old 01-16-20, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Cierrecart1 View Post
Awesome info, thanks! I have lots of pics, but cant post them yet. Id love to get your input on which model I have. It would be cool for it to be an Ironman as I used to race them.
Really, venture over to the thread. They're nice folks who don't bite unless you're--oh never mind, we won't get into that, it was a couple of weeks ago and I'm sure everyone is up on their vaccinations now.
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Old 01-16-20, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TriBiker19 View Post
Really, venture over to the thread. They're nice folks who don't bite unless you're--oh never mind, we won't get into that, it was a couple of weeks ago and I'm sure everyone is up on their vaccinations now.
Haha, Im working my way through it now. Good stuff!
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Old 01-17-20, 02:09 AM
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Gotta love it when a project starts out with a wtf?!

Tonight I figured Id get a start in disassembly, and go to pull the seat post. It won't budge. I try everything and can only get it to turn a 1/4. Finally I decide to sacrifice the post, and clamping in my vise. I can get it to spin a little, but no upward movememt. Eventually the thing snaps off flush with the seat tube. Ugggh. Figured Im going to have to try the hacksaw trick tomorrow. Then I read something on these forums where someone said screw it, and just tapped the damn thing down into the frame. Figured Id give it a shot, and after 2 light taps it slides down the BB, lol. I used a sanding drum attachment on my drill and clean up the upper inch or so the tube and am eventually able to slide the brakes piece out far enough to grab with pliers and twist it out.
And thats when I realize what the problem was. Some genius had drilled a couple dozen holes in it (looking for weight reduction?). They hadnt cleaned up the holes though, and they were jagged, so they were snagging when trying to pull it out.

So now I need to add a seat post to the list. 25.4 sound right?
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Old 01-17-20, 02:44 AM
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Mine uses a 25.0mm post.
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Old 01-17-20, 06:47 AM
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Keep your eyes peeled on FB marketplace CL and offer up for wheels. Don't rule out buying a whole bike for parts. I've found plenty of 40 dollar bikes in so so condition that had great parts and saved me a lot of time and money on builds
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Old 01-17-20, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Cierrecart1 View Post
Gotta love it when a project starts out with a wtf?!
So now I need to add a seat post to the list. 25.4 sound right?
I think I have a seat post, too, but you need to stop breaking stuff....
Pretty sure that thing would not have come out very willingly.
OEM seat post was a fluted 3TTT. I'll check my box, but I think I kept it from my Carbon R
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Old 01-17-20, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
I think I have a seat post, too, but you need to stop breaking stuff....
That's part of the fun, though!
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Old 01-17-20, 10:14 AM
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Haha, Ive built or restored my fair share of both bicycle and motorcycles, so I know how to exhaust every non-harmful way of removing seized parts...and there was no other way with this one. A few more posts and I can post a pic of the carnage.
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Old 01-17-20, 12:15 PM
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Added pics to the first post. Heres with the wheels I got and below that the mangled seat post:


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Old 01-17-20, 12:54 PM
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Very nice early carbon. +100.

I remember test riding some early CF - never a Centurion - and Ti frames.
Spesh had a carbon tubed Al lugged that was whippy in large sizes. (edit = Wasn't there a brief predecessor to Allez?)
A bit later Trek improved it quite a bit - forget the model, was it 2100 or 2120
(edit: IMHO, tubed CF frames were far superior in 'ride feel' over the early monoqote's (sp?); meaning = layup and resin in vacuum bag)

In Ti, the early Litespeed Classic and other lower priced frames (the early touring frames) were whippy. for 190 lb strong riders. Only tested once a (now vintage) ti fork and passed.


Regarding this type of frame construction, your rear wheels must ALWAYS be a perfect fit. No way to cold set a new spacing, only add more stresses at the dropout bonds. This is a case of measure the frame spacing and adjust the rear hub accordingly. Well maintained, they can still be a comfy ride without huge tires. I would not ride a vintage carbon fork on rough pavement or long tours. These frames survive better in the smaller sizes.

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Old 01-19-20, 02:25 AM
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Thank you for the info! The rear wheel I bought is 126mm spacing, so no worries there.

New seatpost, hood covers, and 2k clear showed up today. Going to have the bike stripped down and ready for some polishing/clear tomorrow.

One item of note is that the fork is indeed steel. Id really like to get a model-correct aluminum replacement for it. Anyone got any leads?
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Old 01-19-20, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Cierrecart1 View Post
Thank you for the info! The rear wheel I bought is 126mm spacing, so no worries there.

New seatpost, hood covers, and 2k clear showed up today. Going to have the bike stripped down and ready for some polishing/clear tomorrow.

One item of note is that the fork is indeed steel. Id really like to get a model-correct aluminum replacement for it. Anyone got any leads?
I have the fork you need, and a seat post.
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Old 01-19-20, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
I have the fork you need, and a seat post.
awesome. I cant private message yet...can I email you?


edit, looks like I can. Message sent!
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Old 01-21-20, 01:24 PM
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Figured Id post some pics before I start the rebuild. Frame is ready for decals and 2k clear. I cleaned up the lugs, but have no desire to go full polish. Robbie is an awesome guy and is sending me the correct fork for it too. Other than new cables, bar tape, and a re-issue turbo saddle, everything else is in great shape and getting put back on.


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Old 01-21-20, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Cierrecart1 View Post
Added pics to the first post. Heres with the wheels I got and below that the mangled seat post:

Is it just perspective or does that seem to flare at the bottom?

Nice bike!
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Old 01-21-20, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by TriBiker19 View Post
Is it just perspective or does that seem to flare at the bottom?

Nice bike!
Just perspective....I measure the damn things multiple times to make sure I ordered the correct replacement. . Its 25mm.
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Old 01-21-20, 01:43 PM
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I am pretty sure I have the 3TTT seat post, too. If I find it, I'll put it in the fork box.
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Old 01-21-20, 01:44 PM
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