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My 1983(?) Centurion ProTour restoration/build

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My 1983(?) Centurion ProTour restoration/build

Old 07-19-21, 07:42 PM
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My 1983(?) Centurion ProTour restoration/build

Hi all,

For almost a year I have been slowly building up a Centurion ProTour that I bought in a sad state, missing most of its original parts. I really adore this bike and I thought some of you might enjoy it as well.

I never meant to keep this bike; I had planned to swap some more period correct parts onto it and flip it. The seller's ads had terrible quality pictures, so I really didn't know what I was getting, other than a good deal. Once I picked it up and saw all the chrome accents I knew it was special and that I was doomed to keep it. I wasn't familiar with Centurion then, but I'm a total sucker for chrome accents and vintage Japanese touring bikes so it already had a lot going for it. Fun story- the seller only spoke a tiny bit of English, and had posted the ad in Spanish. I only speak a tiny bit of Spanish, so we used google translate to conduct the transaction, from when I first messaged him through picking it up. It was fun. Nice guy.

I have have had dozens of vintage touring bikes; I've tried pretty much all the ones you commonly see and even some of the more famed ones. Nishiki Riviera GT, Fuji Saratoga, Shogun 500s, 1500s, all the various Univegas like Viva Touring, Gran Turismo, Panasonic Touring Deluxe, etc, a Specialized Sequoia. I know I'm forgetting some. I even had a Miyata 1000LT and a Univega Specialissima, both of which I sold eventually. They were all lovely in their own way but I try not to keep more than 1-2 bikes for myself (it takes restraint!). I have however always really wanted a vintage touring bike to become a permanent resident of the stable. So I was waiting for the one that charmed my socks off and I guess this is the one. Ironically the Miyata 1000LT was probably the best among them by far as an overbuilt, purpose built tourer but I really wanted a more classic aesthetic, which this had, and I'm not about to do any real heavy duty touring, so I'm sure this is enough for my needs.

Without further ado. Pictured as found below.


Last edited by cstar; 07-19-21 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 07-19-21, 07:58 PM
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Whenever I try to post replies with more pictures they stop uploading at 50% and I get a message box that says "Alert" with nothing else... Can someone let me know what this is about and how I can continue adding pictures to this thread? Thanks
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Old 07-19-21, 08:04 PM
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This was the first rendition, featuring a really nice 27" wheelset I took off a like-NOS Univega I parted out. The rims are ARAYA 16A with Sansin sealed bearing hubs and stainless spokes. I threw on some Shimano Br-AT50 cantilevers I had as well as a Sugino GP triple crank, an AGDA leather saddle, a nitto stem, SR Sakae 420mm bars, Suntour barcons and some newer Tektro aero levers. As much as I liked this faux cork bar tape, I also felt like it looked kind of wrong with anything other than cotton tape

It was a good start overall, but I wanted nicer parts more befitting to a higher end bike like this. Alas, I used what I had for now
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Old 07-19-21, 08:19 PM
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In time, I gathered up this Sugino AT and the appropriate BB parts (although I would still love to find an MT 68 spindle). The original Sugino AT had badly stripped extractor threads. I also acquired some Shimano BR-MC70 cantilevers, a Tange Levin LV-1500(?) alloy headset to replace the steel one, which required some massaging... the lower bb cups, including the original, were not particularly tight in the head tube. Im not sure but I think they may have very slightly over reamed the head tube at the factory. I couldn't detect any damage but it was the loosest press fit I've seen. I used a bit of PVC pipe like a mandrel to expand the lower cup a bit where it would seat into the head tube, and checked over and over with digital calipers until it had the proper range of interference for a press fit. I should have taken pictures of the process, it was amusing

The Suntour MK-II Cyclone front derailleur shifts real smooth. I like it a lot, and I like that it doesnt have the endless clamp

I found this very nice bar combo on a bike I bought to part out. SR Royal stem and bar as well (I think). They have pretty deep drops, which I think really add to classic/vintage bike aesthetics. I decided to give cotton tape a whirl and really liked just the plain black. Also acquired some pretty slotted, era appropriate Aero Gran Compe levers

Oh, and I found matching Blackburn racks and bottle cages! I realize I'm missing the stiffener bar in the front rack, I just didn't put it on for the pictures
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Old 07-19-21, 08:27 PM
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And here she is, Finished!! Well, as finished as a bike can be. I got the Brooks Professional in trade, I made a working Zefal HP frame pump from a few broken ones I got with bikes I bought to flip or part, and by a stroke of luck I acquired this long cage Suntour Superbe rear derailleur, which of course had to make its way onto this bike. It has been a dream of mine to find one of these derailleurs. I also got some Panaracer Pasela 1" gumwalls to set it off. The MKS platform pedals came off the same Univega that donated the wheels.

I scored the rear panniers off Facebook Marketplace, and I found the matching fronts on ebay shortly thereafter. I like their colors with the bike. I am very happy to have a full vintage touring rig, down to the panniers.

Someday, I would like to find a Sugino MT 68 spindle, and some Superbe sealed bearing pedals, as well as a Suntour freewheel with a 34T ring. The current one is Shimano freewheel with a 32T ring. I do have a similar Suntour freewheel with more even jumps between cog sizes that I may use until the 34T turns up. But otherwise I really like how this bike came out. I actually ride it more than my new bike now (a 2016 Surly Crosscheck I also built up).
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Old 07-20-21, 12:54 AM
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I like the handlebar ensemble, since I equate comfort with a larger bend radius.
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Old 07-20-21, 05:44 AM
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Well done! I like doing restorations this way too. Treat the bike as a tinkerer like me would have done - use period correct parts but tailor it to suit me vs suit some design engineers. Original spec is nice but just a starting point. Cosmetics are nice but perfectly turned and functional and all day long comfortable is great.

But I have question about the front low riders. Yours are just fastened to each side of the fork vs the units that are connected via a hoop over the wheel or a front rack. What keeps your style from wagging around when loaded? Seems like no triangulation to stabilize them. Thanks.
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Old 07-20-21, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I like the handlebar ensemble, since I equate comfort with a larger bend radius.
Thank you! I tend to feel the same way. Plus, my friends and I do a few mountain auto road rides with long steep descents, and a deep drop helps me to really tuck in, which is fun I hit 47mph ish on this bike last time I did that
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Old 07-20-21, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Prowler View Post
Well done! I like doing restorations this way too. Treat the bike as a tinkerer like me would have done - use period correct parts but tailor it to suit me vs suit some design engineers. Original spec is nice but just a starting point. Cosmetics are nice but perfectly turned and functional and all day long comfortable is great.

But I have question about the front low riders. Yours are just fastened to each side of the fork vs the units that are connected via a hoop over the wheel or a front rack. What keeps your style from wagging around when loaded? Seems like no triangulation to stabilize them. Thanks.
Thank you! That was exactly my thinking with this bike. I love vintage, and there were some solid parts on this bike, but I really wanted to make it my own!

You are spot on with the front racks. I would never use them like this, it would be much too flexy. This rack has a stiffener bar that goes over the wheel, it just didn't make it on for the pictures
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Old 07-20-21, 09:15 AM
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Very nice build! Had a pro tour same color combo as yours prior to retirement. Once overhauled, it served as my Winter rain bike for many years. High mileage when I got it, I swapped in a 6 speed freewheel, the original rear derailleur was replaced with a long cage VGT Luxe & crankset replaced with a nearly new SR Aerox triple. wheels/hubs were end of life, so I replaced them, had a front wheel built around a SA Dynohub that powered a new BM Oval Lumotec headlight. When I moved to Oregon, sold it on.(should have kept) By then the big and middle chain rings were well worn, crank arms showed a lot of rub and the right arm had been bent from a fall on ice, then straightened out by Bill Stevenson of "The Bikestand', my LBS in Olympia WA.

Main reason I sold was she looked so beat up compared to my nearly pristine Expedition Touring, which I still have. In reality, bike was not too bad cosmetically. Recently picked up another ProTour, same color combo minus wheels and some parts, but she looks so much like my old pal (beaten and worn but still ready to hit the road again) I couldn't resist. It's a size smaller, but old age has shrunk me a bit, so I will make it work, these are great rides! Don

Pro Tour 15

My Pro Tour Rain Bike
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Old 07-20-21, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by cstar View Post



Nice! Cool pannier set too. Does the blackburn rack not need the hoop when carrying less weight or is it just not installed right now as its not in use?
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Old 07-20-21, 02:34 PM
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Thank you!

I'm sure the front rack needs the stiffener / support bar for any load. This was just a hasty sloppy mock up to get pictures 🙂 The panniers weren't secured right either.

Funny how everyone is catching that lol
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Old 07-20-21, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ollo_ollo View Post
Very nice build! Had a pro tour same color combo as yours prior to retirement. Once overhauled, it served as my Winter rain bike for many years. High mileage when I got it, I swapped in a 6 speed freewheel, the original rear derailleur was replaced with a long cage VGT Luxe & crankset replaced with a nearly new SR Aerox triple. wheels/hubs were end of life, so I replaced them, had a front wheel built around a SA Dynohub that powered a new BM Oval Lumotec headlight. When I moved to Oregon, sold it on.(should have kept) By then the big and middle chain rings were well worn, crank arms showed a lot of rub and the right arm had been bent from a fall on ice, then straightened out by Bill Stevenson of "The Bikestand', my LBS in Olympia WA.

Main reason I sold was she looked so beat up compared to my nearly pristine Expedition Touring, which I still have. In reality, bike was not too bad cosmetically. Recently picked up another ProTour, same color combo minus wheels and some parts, but she looks so much like my old pal (beaten and worn but still ready to hit the road again) I couldn't resist. It's a size smaller, but old age has shrunk me a bit, so I will make it work, these are great rides! Don

Pro Tour 15

My Pro Tour Rain Bike

Hi Don- thanks for the pictures and for writing all that. I really enjoyed reading it 🙂 I'm glad you found another one, maybe we will be seeing pics of a build with that someday?

I did not there was an Aerox triple. I had a double once and currently have an Aerox stem, which is finished almost as nicely as the SR Royal on my bike now, and which was probably OE to our bikes.
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Old 07-20-21, 03:17 PM
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"I did not there was an Aerox triple. I had a double once and currently have an Aerox stem, which is finished almost as nicely as the SR Royal on my bike now, and which was probably OE to our bikes" Nor did I, only one I ever saw, was on bike when I got it and probably the only near new part on it. Have watched for one over the years without success. Mine led a long and useful life on its daily Winter Commute. Will post up when there is a build. Don
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Old 07-20-21, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ollo_ollo View Post
"I did not there was an Aerox triple. I had a double once and currently have an Aerox stem, which is finished almost as nicely as the SR Royal on my bike now, and which was probably OE to our bikes" Nor did I, only one I ever saw, was on bike when I got it and probably the only near new part on it. Have watched for one over the years without success. Mine led a long and useful life on its daily Winter Commute. Will post up when there is a build. Don
Neat. I wonder if it was home made? Or did it have bosses cast into the crank to accept the small ring that refute that idea?

Ive seen 1st gen Dura Ace cranks made into triples convincingly and some Campagnolo cranks of a similar vintage
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Old 07-20-21, 11:50 PM
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Nice build of the ProTour, It looks to be a 1984 model with the frame colors and graphics, I am working on its little brother a 1984 Elite GT.

you are probably aware but if not the Pro-Tour has internal frame provisions for generator wiring.

Vintage Centruion Pro-Tour
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Old 07-21-21, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by cstar View Post
Neat. I wonder if it was home made? Or did it have bosses cast into the crank to accept the small ring that refute that idea?
Ive seen 1st gen Dura Ace cranks made into triples convincingly and some Campagnolo cranks of a similar vintage
Velobase shows a 100, 200, 300 series of the Aerox and notes the 200 and 300 series had a triple available, but they must be pretty rare. Don
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Old 07-21-21, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by fleslider View Post
Nice build of the ProTour, It looks to be a 1984 model with the frame colors and graphics, I am working on its little brother a 1984 Elite GT.

you are probably aware but if not the Pro-Tour has internal frame provisions for generator wiring.

Vintage Centruion Pro-Tour
Very cool! I had to go look up the Elite GT as I was not familiar.

It looks like they were very similar bikes, except that yours was Tange 900 vs the ProTour with Tange #2, and it looks like the cranks were different (the ProTour having Sugino A. cranks) with about $100 difference in original price. Cool stuff.

I believe my bike to be a late '83 based on the serial number: N3S0028 - but maybe I'm not decoding it correctly

Yes, I think the internal wiring thing is so cool! Unfortunately the original BB was long gone when I got the bike, as were any wires. Seems like it would be a nightmare trying to snake wires through the frame? Wonder how they did that.

I wonder why they offered 2 bikes so similar to one another
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Old 07-21-21, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ollo_ollo View Post
Velobase shows a 100, 200, 300 series of the Aerox and notes the 200 and 300 series had a triple available, but they must be pretty rare. Don
Nifty, the more you know!
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