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Cleaning up an old Centurion Omega

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Cleaning up an old Centurion Omega

Old 08-14-20, 07:40 PM
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Cleaning up an old Centurion Omega

I have a Centurion Omega 10 speed that I bought in 1979. It hung in the garage for years and last year I decided to get it out, put new rubber on it, replace the rusted peddles, and start riding again. I did a little and about a month ago decided I would get a little more serious, started riding a little most every day and now I think I would like to clean that old bike up. She needs a paint job but first I need to go over and clean up some rust on little parts, bolts and fasteners, and the like.

If they were available I think I would replace them but I don't think they are so cleaning them up is the way to go. what is the best way? I was thinking of using some steel wool, Dremel wire brushes, and polishing wheels. I know that old Omega was not a great bike but I've had it for all these years, road my kids in a kids seat all over so their memories and I like the bike.

So guess I am looking for some advice on doing this little project? Am I on the right track.

Last edited by royphotog; 08-14-20 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 08-16-20, 05:14 AM
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For small parts look in to this product.
https://evapo-rust.com
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Old 08-16-20, 07:58 AM
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lots of good stuff on YouTube you might check out RJ the bike guy take it slow and enjoy. When polishing alloy etc I tend use Brass wool over fine steel wool - less scratching
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Old 08-16-20, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by royphotog
I have a Centurion Omega 10 speed that I bought in 1979. It hung in the garage for years and last year I decided to get it out, put new rubber on it, replace the rusted peddles, and start riding again. I did a little and about a month ago decided I would get a little more serious, started riding a little most every day and now I think I would like to clean that old bike up. She needs a paint job but first I need to go over and clean up some rust on little parts, bolts and fasteners, and the like.

If they were available I think I would replace them but I don't think they are so cleaning them up is the way to go. what is the best way? I was thinking of using some steel wool, Dremel wire brushes, and polishing wheels. I know that old Omega was not a great bike but I've had it for all these years, road my kids in a kids seat all over so their memories and I like the bike.

So guess I am looking for some advice on doing this little project? Am I on the right track.
As you noted, this model was a low end bike from this maker. Straight gauge steel tubing, 30 lbs... I would hesitate to spend any significant money on the bike but the nostalgia and history may overrule that. Clean and repack all of the bearings (wheel, headset and bottom bracket) and clean the bike in general then ride it. My biggest concern is "Does the bike fit you?". If the seat height as shown in the photo is how you have bike set up when you ride it, then the bike is much too large for you. With patience, you can find a higher quality bike, in your size, for under $200. If you intend to start riding again for fun and fitness, a higher quality bike that fits will add to your enjoyment and you will ride more.
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Old 08-16-20, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by T.W.O.
As you noted, this model was a low-end bike from this maker. Straight gauge steel tubing, 30 lbs... I would hesitate to spend any significant money on the bike but the nostalgia and history may overrule that. Clean and repack all of the bearings (wheel, headset and bottom bracket) and clean the bike in general then ride it. My biggest concern is "Does the bike fit you?". If the seat height as shown in the photo is how you have bike set up when you ride it, then the bike is much too large for you. With patience, you can find a higher quality bike, in your size, for under $200. If you intend to start riding again for fun and fitness, a higher quality bike that fits will add to your enjoyment and you will ride more.
Thanks for the reply, The intention was to clean up the Centurian both for the sentimental value and the joy of doing it. Getting another bike is a different question. The bike is a little large when you consider standover height, in fact, if I had a get off that would not be a fun situation. Sitting and riding on the bike is just fine, my knees are bent just a little at the bottom end of peddle travel and it has always been comfortable to ride. I am just wondering how you figured that out?
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Old 08-16-20, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by eom
For small parts look in to this product.
https://evapo-rust.com
Thanks, eom, I do have some rust-mort but it converts rust and I want to get rid of it. I have to go to one of the stores that they last as having it today or tomorrow.
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Old 08-16-20, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ryansu
lots of good stuff on YouTube you might check out RJ the bike guy take it slow and enjoy. When polishing alloy etc I tend use Brass wool over fine steel wool - less scratching
Thanks ryanso, looks like a ton of info in those videos, I'll start with thing some today. I'll see about getting some brass wool.
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Old 08-16-20, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by royphotog
Thanks for the reply, The intention was to clean up the Centurian both for the sentimental value and the joy of doing it. Getting another bike is a different question. The bike is a little large when you consider standover height, in fact, if I had a get off that would not be a fun situation. Sitting and riding on the bike is just fine, my knees are bent just a little at the bottom end of peddle travel and it has always been comfortable to ride. I am just wondering how you figured that out?
There were some assumptions involved in my stating the the frame is too big for you and I probably should have inserted the word "probably" but, here is my logic... 1.) You have the seat post lowered to the point where the seat post itself is not visible and the seat clamp is sitting right on the frame. In the era when that bike was made and with a horizontal top tube, it was a rule of thumb to have at least a "fistful" (~ 4") of seat post showing on a well fit bike. So, assuming that you were riding with a normal leg extension with the current seat position, I guessed that the frame is way too big for you. 2.) The other indicator is the height of the handlebars. You have the handlebars and stem elevated well beyond what is typical on a well fit frame. Raising the handlebars shortens the reach to the bars and can make it possible to ride a larger frame than is appropriate. Those two observations are what made me believe that the frame is too big for you. Regarding that handlebar/stem position, the vertical portion of the stems on a low end bike of that era were not very long. I would bet that that stem has been raised to the point where the "minimum insertion" line on the stem is well above the top of the headset/fork tube. If so, be aware that that is a risky practice. Having the sliding wedge in the stem pressing against the ID of the fork steerer tube near the top of the steerer tube means that the pressure is being applied to the thinner-walled, threaded, section of the tube. Between a thinner wall thickness and the "stress riser" effect of the threads, it is possible to crack the fork steerer tube with aggressive tightening of the stem bolt.

I encourage you to go ahead and do a full overhaul of the bike. If the bearings are good and there is no hidden damage the cost should be minimal to moderate. The bike will probably clean up better than you think it will. You may add to your bike maintenance skills and will have the pleasure of putting an old, faithful, bike back into service. Then, give that bike to a friend or family member who is a couple of inches taller than you who will ride it and will appreciate the history. In addition, go find a good used bike that fits you properly. There are a lot of really good bikes from this era that can be purchased for a good price. Good luck!

Last edited by T.W.O.; 08-16-20 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 08-17-20, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by royphotog
Thanks ryanso, looks like a ton of info in those videos, I'll start with thing some today. I'll see about getting some brass wool.

Oh and I forgot to mention Park Tools also has some very helpful videos on YouTube as well
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Old 08-17-20, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by T.W.O.
There were some assumptions involved in my stating the the frame is too big for you and I probably should have inserted the word "probably" but, here is my logic... 1.) You have the seat post lowered to the point where the seat post itself is not visible and the seat clamp is sitting right on the frame. In the era when that bike was made and with a horizontal top tube, it was a rule of thumb to have at least a "fistful" (~ 4") of seat post showing on a well fit bike. So, assuming that you were riding with a normal leg extension with the current seat position, I guessed that the frame is way too big for you. 2.) The other indicator is the height of the handlebars. You have the handlebars and stem elevated well beyond what is typical on a well fit frame. Raising the handlebars shortens the reach to the bars and can make it possible to ride a larger frame than is appropriate. Those two observations are what made me believe that the frame is too big for you. Regarding that handlebar/stem position, the vertical portion of the stems on a low end bike of that era were not very long. I would bet that that stem has been raised to the point where the "minimum insertion" line on the stem is well above the top of the headset/fork tube. If so, be aware that that is a risky practice. Having the sliding wedge in the stem pressing against the ID of the fork steerer tube near the top of the steerer tube means that the pressure is being applied to the thinner-walled, threaded, section of the tube. Between a thinner wall thickness and the "stress riser" effect of the threads, it is possible to crack the fork steerer tube with aggressive tightening of the stem bolt.

I encourage you to go ahead and do a full overhaul of the bike. If the bearings are good and there is no hidden damage the cost should be minimal to moderate. The bike will probably clean up better than you think it will. You may add to your bike maintenance skills and will have the pleasure of putting an old, faithful, bike back into service. Then, give that bike to a friend or family member who is a couple of inches taller than you who will ride it and will appreciate the history. In addition, go find a good used bike that fits you properly. There are a lot of really good bikes from this era that can be purchased for a good price. Good luck!
I appreciate you noticing that and mentioning it in your post. As I said, I have had the bike since 1979 and bought it from a bike shop. I can't remember how they fit that to me at the time, maybe it was their last Omega and they saw this 24 years old come in and said, "now we can get rid of that bike", I don't know, I know that I have shrunk a little in those 41 years, I am now buying 29-inch inseam pants when I used to buy 31s but not that much. When I measured the frame it would be called an XL, for someone 6' to 6'3", never been over 5'10" I never thought to check it until your post. I will be checking out some new road bikes. Your right, I probably would be happier with new tech. My wife has a low-end Trec with disc breaks and when I get on that it's wood. I'm going the check out that stem bolt also. Thanks again.
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Old 08-17-20, 02:35 PM
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As a 30 inch inseam 5 ' 10" guy - short legs long torso I tend to ride 58 cm bikes. My first real road bike was a 54 cm Cannondale and it only took me a decade to figure out it was too small lol. If you can test ride some various sizes in the range do so, finding the right fit can take a while but its time well spent.

Have fun with the Centurion rebuild
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Old 08-17-20, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by ryansu
As a 30 inch inseam 5 ' 10" guy - short legs long torso I tend to ride 58 cm bikes. My first real road bike was a 54 cm Cannondale and it only took me a decade to figure out it was too small lol. If you can test ride some various sizes in the range do so finding the right fit can take a while. Have fun with the Centurion rebuild
thanks, I just bought a gravel/mountain bike off CraigsList that is a medium, seamed small at first but checking online for a mountain bike, that was the correct size for me) I am getting both used to it, and I have a new handlebar on the way (it has little 545mm flat bars on it now) The new bar is 620 with a 30mm rise, we'll see how they work.
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Old 08-31-20, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ryansu
lots of good stuff on YouTube you might check out RJ the bike guy take it slow and enjoy. When polishing alloy etc I tend use Brass wool over fine steel wool - less scratching
thanks for the RJ the bike guy, I have watched a few of his videos already, good info.
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