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Orthodoxy Part 1

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Orthodoxy Part 1

Old 12-26-20, 11:48 AM
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Orthodoxy Part 1

Begin the experiment.

I have been a member of bikeforums.net for several years.

In that time I have seen different ideas presented in threads.

These ideas are sometimes repeated or quoted in other threads by other members.

Eventually some of these ideas are taken as fact, probably because they have been repeated so many times.

These ideas take on an orthodoxy and it becomes difficult for any member to dispute or argue against.

Some of these ideas, which may have started in this forum, even move beyond this forum and are put forward as fact in publications and other websites.

This is in fact why I am writing this series of articles.


Recently I have read in two separate places where an orthodox idea from bikeforums.net, which has not been fully verified, has been published.
This idea will no doubt be considered a fact because it is published in a book.

Sometimes on this forum I read posts that state something that does not sound quite right or does not fit with things that I have observed.

I want to say something about the questionable idea but I do not have anything concrete to counter with or the argument against the idea is complex and cannot be easily presented by me in a sentence or a paragraph.

What to do when you want to question orthodox beliefs?

Over the next days I intend to put forward information that challenges two ideas that have been present in the bikeforums.net for more than a decade.
These ideas relate to the origin and serial numbers of vintage Japanese bicycles largely associated with one brand name, Centurion from Western States Imports.

- - - -

There will be a question and answer period at the end of the presentation. We kindly ask that you hold your questions until that time.


- - - -

"Do you want your ears blown out some more?"

Johnny Rotten on stage at the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, California 01/14/78
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Old 12-26-20, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Hummer View Post
...

What to do when you want to question orthodox beliefs?

...
Well, some years ago i read a paper on an obscure topic at a professional conference and afterwards an elder statesman of the field remarked that my interpretation of the evidence was "bold." What he meant, of course, was that i got a lot of interpretation out of a very little evidence.

No, not exactly an answer to your question, but the general idea is relevant: the right word, used the right way, can sound both appreciative and dismissive at the same time.
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Old 12-26-20, 01:09 PM
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Random blathering purported as fact by BikeForums Classic & Vintage:

You can't straighten a steerer tube,
Nuovo Record RD's are infallible,
AliExpress can't be trusted,
Chain skip is probably not due to to wear on the smallest cog,
Any bad eBay experience (as a buyer) is grounds for recommending everyone to stay away from buying on eBay,
You can't turn a C&V bike into an e-bike.

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Old 12-26-20, 01:51 PM
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Part 2. The first orthodoxy

One of the orthodox ideas that exists has to do with date encoding within a serial number of a Japanese frame manufacturer.

This in itself is not very important but it demonstrates that once an idea has been put out into the public realm and that idea takes hold, then it is difficult to change the public perception of that idea.

The specific serial number type is the "N" prefix serial number, followed by a digit which indicates the year of frame manufacture, followed by a letter which indicates a time period within the year, followed by four digits. This format of serial number is most often scene on several models of Centurion brand bicycles from 1978 to 1989. This format of serial number is also found with other brands including, but not limited to: Diamond Back MTBs, Novara, and Terry.

It was the orthodox opinion on bikeforums.net that the time period for the letter was a fortnight.

In October of 2017 I showed an analysis of this format of serial number and demonstrated that the time period represented by the letter was more probably a month than a fortnight.
I will not repeat the report on the analysis here. The analysis is in this post in the centurion serial number database thread:

Centurion Serial Number Database

To my knowledge, no one has contradicted or questioned this analysis.

However within bikeforums.net the belief persists that the letter represents not a month but a fortnight.

Another note on this topic. Bicycle manufacturing goes on a yearly cycle. Bicycle production at a factory is not constant from month to month.
Distributors and retailers in North America order seasonally. They order at the end of one year for the next years spring.

Bicycle factories do much of their production in the last quarter of the year.

If the time period letter in "N" type serial numbers is for a fortnight there should be plenty of letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. These letters would represent the fourth quarter. In the Centurion serial number record of "N" type serial numbers these letters are never reported or almost never reported. This would mean that almost no bicycles were manufactured in the fourth quarter by whoever was the manufacturer.

In the monthly proposal the Letters N, P, and S would represent the last three months of the year. These letters are reported frequently in the N serial numbers. This correlates with the frame manufacturing season.

Does the letter in the "N" type serial numbers represent fortnight or month? You decide.

- - -

"Hey, what was that that just hit me in the head. It didn't hurt a bit."

Johnny Rotten on stage at the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, California 01/14/78
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Old 12-26-20, 02:25 PM
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Old 12-26-20, 02:28 PM
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BF C&V is much better than the recent stuff on political twitter.

forget the orthodoxy. Sheldon Brown is gone, and so is Jobst Brandt.

Its bicycle Perestroika.
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Old 12-26-20, 02:40 PM
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I really don’t think that something is perceived to be a fact because it gets published in a book. Well, maybe some will perceive it that way, but authors have little control over readers’ interpretations.

And on the subject of serial #s, I don’t have much faith in @cudak888 cracking the Raleigh serial # code and do cringe when someone posts to BF with a wild guess on the age of an old Raleigh based on those charts, but I don’t begrudge him for trying.

Helpful text on this topic is Stephen Jay Gould’s Mismeasure of Man.
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Old 12-26-20, 02:41 PM
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Great question, I am waiting for the experts to chime in.
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Old 12-26-20, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
And on the subject of serial #s, I don’t have much faith in @cudak888 cracking the Raleigh serial # code and do cringe when someone posts to BF with a wild guess on the age of an old Raleigh based on those charts, but I don’t begrudge him for trying.
The irony of it is that my attempts came about after getting fed up with Sheldon/RR's serial numbers misguiding everyone. Now the old guides which I wrote on The Headbage are more or less doing the same thing. The good intentions came full circle to bite me in the butt.

If I ever get off my butt with the new website (spent six months of this year on website work for the paying job; reaaaaaly don't want to play Wordpress coder on my measly 1 week of off time), I've got an idea of how to fix this, but...time will tell.

If anything, I need to kick off that section about 1960's serials ASAP...

-Kurt
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Old 12-26-20, 03:03 PM
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There was a recent thread talking about "thread stoppers" or "thread killers" and to be honest I never even got around to reading that thread. But I thought about the concept as it pertains to me not getting the help I seek, on a thread that I start. Often the first person who responds to the OP's thread can either give it a great launch or the at the opposite pole, a negative, juvenile or snarky response might damn the OP's query to the dust bin.

I've also noticed that I have inadvertently shut down other people's threads with my opinions, or detailed suggestions. For example: recently I gave my opinion on the best way to properly mount an Octalink crankset onto an Octalink bottom bracket. The recommendations that I made were very specific and contradicted some of the advice that had been dished out previously by other posters on this thread. I felt that a few of the responses were just silly, unhelpful or just plain misinformed. Like folks were just postulating what they thought the proper solution to some specific mechanical problem might be. Some folks were being polite and playing the devil's advocate with one grouchy respondent whose response seemed both heavy handed and ill informed at the same time. Thank goodness that there are those good natured bike forum members who possess the ability to remain supportive, to guide the topic back on track when it veers off the tracks with venomous cynicism.

But no one posted anything further to that particular post after my post. I mean, it just went dead silent after that. I thought for sure someone would have follow up questions about my specific recommendation of a 2 handed "T-Bar" as the best way to apply even torque and the best way to get reliable tactile feedback when installing a part without buggering it up...

Last edited by masi61; 12-26-20 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 12-26-20, 06:28 PM
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Try suggesting rust removal using steel wool and see what happens...
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Old 12-26-20, 06:48 PM
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"Orthodox" is an interesting term which in my line of work generally means: "...adherence to correct or accepted creeds, especially in religion."

"Creed" is the key to what is orthodox and what is not orthodox. I would argue, that unless the manufacturer published a guide (i.e. creed) to interpret their serial numbers, there can never be 100% certainty when interpreting. There can be best assumptions, however, there can also be room for error and misinterpretation.

Just my two cents.
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Old 12-26-20, 07:29 PM
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Old 12-26-20, 08:01 PM
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Surely we can all agree that WD-40 is the best lubricant for all the various parts of a bicycle.
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Old 12-26-20, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
"Orthodox" is an interesting term which in my line of work generally means: "...adherence to correct or accepted creeds, especially in religion."

"Creed" is the key to what is orthodox and what is not orthodox. I would argue, that unless the manufacturer published a guide (i.e. creed) to interpret their serial numbers, there can never be 100% certainty when interpreting. There can be best assumptions, however, there can also be room for error and misinterpretation.

Just my two cents.
I like what William Warburton supposedly said: "Orthodoxy is my doxy. Heterodoxy is another man's doxy." [He was presumably thinking of the word as used in the sense of a mistress, lover, or prostitute.]
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Old 12-26-20, 09:29 PM
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Unsure if the OP is concerned with fortnights or the lack of response to, and/or publication of, his analysis.

Also, seen not scene. In arguments of such magnitude attention to detail is crucial.

Looking forward to the Second Orthodoxy. Reason unknown.
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Old 12-26-20, 10:06 PM
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Orthodoxy says don't use grease on square taper BBs, but I've always used it with good results so far.
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Old 12-27-20, 12:56 AM
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Surely, this can't be another Hudsucker Proxy.




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Old 12-27-20, 01:02 AM
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Surely we can all agree that WD-40 is the best lubricant for all the various parts of a bicycle.
Wong. I, for one, do not see WD40 as a great lubricant. Cleaner, yes but not a lubricant. Best chain lube, in my mind, is ProLink. Grease seems to be the best lubricant for bottom brackets and head sets and wheel hubs.

As for the comments here on Bike Forums. I read and consider, but do not repeat to others unless I have tried it myself. That said and for what it is worth, I have seen many examples of extremely poor advice offered by some fellow Bike Forums members. And, for what it is worth, WD-40 is one of the very few chemicals that I use when working on my bikes. And I do not use much.
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Old 12-27-20, 01:34 AM
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But I used the very best butter on my chain and my square taper BB


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Old 12-27-20, 11:33 AM
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Part 3. The second orthodoxy

Another orthodox idea that has long been present on the vintage enthusiasts bikeforums.net is about a Japanese company: H. Tano and Company.

The idea that has been put forward is that H. Tano and company is reportedly to have manufactured bicycles for the USA brand name Centurion.

It is unclear to me what is meant by the word "manufactured". Manufactured could mean only the frame of the bicycle was manufactured, or some other component/components were manufactured, or that the bicycle was assembled from other manufactures frames and components.

It is also unclear to me what "reportedly" is supposed to mean. Something concrete or something purposefully ambiguous.

The original idea that "reportedly H. Tano and Company manufactured bicycles" has morphed into "H. Tano and Company manufactured bicycles". The caveat "reportedly" has been removed and this new version of what kind of a company H. Tano and Company was now exists.

The removal of the caveat "reportedly" has gone unnoticed or unchallenged, even by the originator of the first statement where "reportedly" is used.

The idea that is repeated is "H. Tano and company manufactured bicycles".

I have several references to H. Tano and Company as a Japanese export company that supplied bicycles.

The first place that I found the reference to "Tano" as a "manufacturer" is in this post from February of 2006 by bikeforums.net member @T-Mar:

Centurion Serial Number Database

Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post

Example: N4E0283 indicates the 283 frame manufactured during the period of weeks 9-10, for the year 1984.

The letter prefix for these codes is typically 'N'. It has been suggested that this represents National, the Japanese market brand for Panasonic, which are built my Matsu****a. While the Panasonic branded models use a similar format, there is no prefix letter, nor is there a letter prefix on the Matsu****a manufactured Schwinns. This suggests the N-codes are be another manufacturer. reportedly Tano, though this is unconfirmed.

I have not seen where T-Mar reveals the source that reported Tano as a manufacturer.

Two bikeforum.net members have questioned T-Mar about his reportedly Tano assertion, once in May 2017 by member @msl109 and once in August 2019 by member @madpogue.

member mls109 thread with question and T-Mar's response:

Manufacturer of Centurion Japan frames?

Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
The majority of 1980s Centurion use S/N with an N prefix, in conjunction with the standard year-fortnight-sequential manufacturing number format. There's a 2011 Korn Ferry Institute article on Georgina Terry, where it is reported that her supplier, Tano, copied her frame design for use on Centurion models, which they manufactured for WSI. We know that Centurion introduced the Terry style Ironman Expert Women's model in 1987, followed by the LeMans Proportional in 1988. Samples on these bicycles in my database show them having S/N with N-codes. This would seem to be reliable information suggesting that the N-codes represent Tano. However, the sole 1987 Terry S/N I've found is an S-code. While it's possible that Tano used a different prefix for different customers, this does not appear to have been a common practice among manufacturers and is enough to leave some doubt as to the manufacturer of the N-codes. Still, they are currently the leading prospect, in addition to the article statement, they were the original source and are often reported as being WSI's major supplier in the 1980s.

Member madpogue question in the Centurion Serial Number Database thread:

Centurion Serial Number Database

Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
A 1980 Omega just followed me home. Second from the bottom of the line, hi-ten and plenty of chromed steel bits. According to the 1979 catalog, 30 lb. Serial number is on the NDS of the seat tube; curve of the tube makes for an incomplete strike. Excuse the fuzzy photo; taken in the middle of the night while yawning....

@T-Mar , could it be that the "N" in the Japan-made Centurions with the N(1) format stands for Nippon?

[
Member T-Mar's response:

Centurion Serial Number Database

Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
There's a 2011 Korn Ferry Institute article on Georgina Terry, where it is reported that her supplier, Tano, copied her frame design for use on Centurion models, which they manufactured for WSI. We know that Centurion introduced the Terry style Ironman Expert Women's model in 1987, followed by the LeMans Proportional in 1988. Samples of these bicycles in my database show them having S/N with N-codes. This would seem to be reliable information suggesting that the N-codes represent Tano. However, the sole 1987 Terry S/N I've found is an S-code. While it's possible that Tano used a different prefix for different customers, this does not appear to have been a common practice among manufacturers and is enough to leave some doubt as to the manufacturer of the N-codes. Still, Tano is currently my leading candidate for the N-codes. In addition to the article statement, Tano is generally cited as being the original Centurion source and is often reported as being WSI's major supplier in the 1980s.

In neither response does member T-Mar say the source of his 2006 assertion of "reportedly Tano".

In both responses member T-Mar cites an article in 2011 publication of the Korn Ferry Institute
written by Lawrence M. Fisher entitled "Georgena Terry's Long-Distance Ride".
(Note: In both responses member T-Mar spelt Georgena incorrectly.)

In the second response member T-Mar also adds a new assertion:

Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
In addition to the article statement, Tano is generally cited as being the original Centurion source and is often reported as being WSI's major supplier in the 1980s.
From what I have seen this assertion is true. Other sources do credit H. Tano and Company with suppling bicycles to Western States Imports(WSI) or their predecessor organization.

These sources do not say that H. Tano and Company manufactered the bicycles or any part of the bicycles.

Is the Korn Ferry Institute article a credible confirmation?
What is the Korn Ferry Institute?





- - - -


And remember class, there will be a test on all this material on the third Thursday of January.
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Old 12-27-20, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Hummer View Post
....Other sources do credit H. Tano and Company with suppling bicycles to Western States Imports(WSI) or their predecessor organization.

These sources do not say that H. Tano and Company manufactered the bicycles or any part of the bicycles.
I had always heard that H. Tano did not actually produce the frames, but was responsible for heat treatment of frames manufactured by Korn Ferry's manufacturing subsidiary. H. Tano's proprietary "suppling" process is said to have improved frame resiliency. According to some sources, at least--others vociferously disagree.

Sadly, that suppling process has reportedly been lost to history.
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Old 12-27-20, 12:56 PM
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The OP's first sentence in Post #1 is "Begin the experiment."
Then what follows isn't an experiment.
It's more of a request for Truth in the public record, a demand for accuracy in the use of words, and a not so subtle calling-out of a BF C&V member held in high esteem.
Why wasn't this done through a one-to-one contact privately rather than post a thread to the sub-forum's readers?
And why would the OP state "Begin the experiment." as an opening sentence to this thread when it's clearly not an experiment, yet he is the one demanding accuracy in definition and spelling?

UNLESS......it really is an experiment.
And the OP is the Investigator.
And the System being perturbed is BF C&V.
And the Perturbation is the Centurion SN story
And Data being collected are the responses to this thread.
If so, guess who the rats are.
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Old 12-27-20, 01:37 PM
  #24  
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The plot thickens...
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Old 12-27-20, 01:50 PM
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WoW!
​​​​​Unexpected replys. These replys are what I'd expect on Cycling Discussion or Foo.
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