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Centurion Serial Number Database

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Centurion Serial Number Database

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Old 01-16-07, 08:46 PM
  #151  
T-Mar
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Originally Posted by ampalabike
Here is a picture of an other Centurion in Germany

To my eye the similiarities are striking. Additionally the owner of the shown bike confirmed that it has the drilled lugs and an other (former) bikeowner - fricker 61- in this thread (the orange one on page 2) mentioned that his bike, a proffessional, had the same cutouts in the BB like mine and had the same kind of lugs and seatcluster. His bike is also chromed under the paint and uses the same Cinelli like fork crown. I know that it is definitely not a Centurion equipe Cinelli since those were later and looked totally different. I am also aware that later on the Centurions sold in Germany had nothing to do with those sold in the U.S. since the Centurion brand still exists in Germany but not in the U.S. But i suspect that in that early period there was not such a great difference and the first Centurion brand bikes were produced in Japan. The owner of the bike above promised to provide more pictures for reference but did not post them yet. Petit on the other hand was a very small one man bussiness/framebuilder who was famous for his own designs. The only other two petit frames I saw (on pictures) had different lugs and seat clusters but the same drop-outs. So accounting all features there are more similiarities to that shown Centurion than to the known Petit frames. The only thing on the frame that clearly says Petit are the decals, but since it was a smal shop it is possible that someone had his Centurion frame repainted at the Petit shop and Petit (the owners name was Klein) used his own decals on the frame. So if I could verify it is definitely not a Centurion I would have proof it is a Petit.
There is absolutely no database or information on any numbering on Petits.

OK, now it makes sense. Unfortunately, my Centurion knowledge is almost exclusively tied to the US brand produced for WSI. I agree, it does look similar, so it could be a re-decaled German Centurion.

The only thing that I can positively tell you, is that it is 1980 or newer. Flicker 61 figured his was 1978 based on components. But his uses brakes cable clamps, indicating an earlier version. At least this would seem to corroborate my date estimate.

The serial number format suggests they may be from the same builder, Yours is MO J 59526 versus M7070019 for flicker 61. Initially they appear to be different, but ignore the spacing and assume the 2nd character is a number and the 3rd is a letter. Now they become M0J59526 and M7O70019. M is probably the manufacturer and the 3rd caharacter is proably a fortnight indicator.

This makes flicker 61's bicycle a late 1977 frame, which is close to his estimate based on components. Yours becomes early 1980 model, which ties ties well to my earlier thoughts. So, while this is all educated guesswork, it looks like yours may well be a German Centurion Professional, circa 1980.
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Old 01-17-07, 02:53 AM
  #152  
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Centurion History

T-mar, your thoughts make sense to me. As far as Centurion history goes the brand was first used by WSI on marketing Japanese made frames which were originally produced for Raleigh but then the order was cancelled. I think I read this on Sheldon Browns homepage. This must have been in the seventies. In 1976 a german guy named Wolfgang Renner started importing Centurion frames to Germany. They were always judged here as a japanese brand not an american. Since WSI was the owner Renner must have had a distribution contract with WSI. A lot of the models until around 1986 or so had the same model names, the same or similiar graphics but not always the same paint jobs. Equipment also differed, most Centurions here came with SunTour componentry and rarely with Shimano gruppos. This might be because only frames were imported and since they were also distributors for Sugino, Suntour, Sakae and Dia compe the models here were build up with that range of brands. Centurion got to fame here for selling the first BMX bikes and MTBs from 1979 on. At some time later Centurion in the U.S. ended and obviously Mr. Renner held on to the brand until to day. Their homepage states that the company was called Centurion Renner KG from 1991 on. Before it was called Nowack Radsport. It is now a German brand and the company recently issued some special models for its 30th anniversary, referring to 1976 as their first year. You can find that here:
[URL="http://www.centurion.de/?lang=de&domain=de&p=history&sitemap_mark=0"]
 
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Old 01-17-07, 09:05 AM
  #153  
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One thing I neglected to mention in my previous post is that the 2nd character represents the year. But it looks like you figured that out.

I'm very familar with the Centurion article on Sheldon's site, as I researched the material for the author. He still has several corrections corrections to make.

The early Centurion models often used SunTour/Dia-Compe/Sugino components. In fact, I'd say they were predominatly this mix until the mid 1980s. However, it is not abnormal for some European distributors to spec different components and graphics, due to local preferences.


The curious thing is that out of the dozens of Centurion serial numbers that I've logged, the only M-numbers are from yourself and fricker-61. While WSI did use a number of suppliers, I'm wondering if they had a different supplier for Germany and/or the high end models during this period? They had a unique supplier for the Cinelli Equipe, so maybe this was an earlier attempt along the same idea?

I don't have any good pics of the early 1980s head emblems, but basically, it was a C within a circle. The border had wording which said, in part, "Centurion bicycles". I've seen various color combinations, so they may have been co-ordinated with color schemes. I've seen both decals and what looks like glued-on thin metal. Of course, this is assuming that the German models used the same style head emblem.
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Old 01-19-07, 03:08 PM
  #154  
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Centurion in Germany

I contacted Centurion in Germany and the company does not have any files on frame numbes anymore. They say since warranty was legally only running for 5 years they threw out all the hand written lists of their frame numbers and where the frames were sold.
 
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Old 01-19-07, 10:41 PM
  #155  
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Centurion Le Mans. White with purple/smoke fade.
Tange 2 Seamless Double Butted Tubing.
Serial Number F3(maybe an 8, but not likely)1094C(maybe 0)3, there's also a 3A 043 stamped across the BB shell.
Avenir spandex seat.
Shimano 600 Cranks (FC-6207). Shimano BB.
600 FD (FD-6207 bent but maybe repairable).
600 RD (RD-6207 broken).
600 Calipers (BR-6207).
Exage Hubs (HB-A450 front, FH-A450 rear)
Odd looking Shimano freewheel that I can't figure out how to remove.
Araya 700C single wall rims.
Exage sport aero brake levers.
Centurion bars.
Kalloy KA80 stem.

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Old 01-21-07, 01:06 PM
  #156  
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Originally Posted by devilinblack
Centurion Le Mans. White with purple/smoke fade....
This is almost certainly a 1989 Lemans. The fade smoke paint job came out in 1988 but was restricted to the Ironman models that year. The Avenir saddle and Centurion bars are consistent with the 1989 model and were different in 1988. The wheels appear to original while the derailleurs. cranks and brakes are upgrades. Based on my experience with other serial numbers from this period, the characters should all be numbers, except for the first, which is a letter.

The model number for the rear hub indicates a freehub model as opposed to cassette. Given the era, it should be an IG freehub which uses a threaded outer cog. Removing this cog will allow the other cogs to slide off, usually as an assembly that is held together by three 4mm bolts. To remove the outer cog you will need a set of chainwhips.
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Old 01-21-07, 02:25 PM
  #157  
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Thanks for the info, T-Mar!
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Old 01-21-07, 08:13 PM
  #158  
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My COMP TA conversion

I'm not sure of the year but it was fully equipped with Shimano 600 groupo before I converted it to a fixed gear.
SN 4B04782.
27 x 1 wheels - Araya on Suzue hubs
Superbe Pro cranks 165mm
Dura Ace stem and AX caliper
Shimano 600 headset
Suede Italia seat on SR post

My first Centurion was a Le Mans RS that I bought in 1985.
SN N5E5641
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Old 02-02-07, 04:02 PM
  #159  
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Here's another old centurion (70's it appears, due to SN) - I'll get pics up shortly. I bought it as a converted fixie, but it appears that the stem, front brake, and possibly crank and seatpost could be original.

SN WSM78C1745
"Hi-Tensile Steel" sticker on bottom of ST
Round, riveted headbadge - a large C with the words "centurion bicycle works" around the edge
Dia-compe front brake, with "D186B" stamped in the arm
Semi-horizontal drops, with no derailleur hanger.
SR stem
Sugino cranks -

Any idea what year this guy is?
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Old 02-02-07, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by trackandtrials
Here's another old centurion (70's it appears, due to SN) - I'll get pics up shortly. I bought it as a converted fixie, but it appears that the stem, front brake, and possibly crank and seatpost could be original.

SN WSM78C1745
"Hi-Tensile Steel" sticker on bottom of ST
Round, riveted headbadge - a large C with the words "centurion bicycle works" around the edge
Dia-compe front brake, with "D186B" stamped in the arm
Semi-horizontal drops, with no derailleur hanger.
SR stem
Sugino cranks -

Any idea what year this guy is?
Well, that's another new serial number format for Centurion! However, it appears to be based on a fairly common format, in which case it is likley a 1978 model.
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Old 02-11-07, 10:24 AM
  #161  
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I also would like to add my bike to the list. I just got this bike. The only numbers on it are near the bottom bracket on the seat tube. The numbers are S322. It is a Centurion Super LeMans. Tubing is Double Butted High Tension tubing. SR APEX cranks. SR stem and handle bars. SR 26.0 seat post. Sun Tour VGT rear deraileur. Sun Tour front deraileur. Sun Tour friction bar ends. Dia-Compe brakes. Baby blue paint with chromedstays and fork ends. Any idea as to year? I will try to get some pictures later today. Also is there another place for serial numbers? Roger
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Old 02-11-07, 11:03 AM
  #162  
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A couple of pictures of my Super LeMans. Roger
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Old 02-12-07, 08:25 AM
  #163  
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Originally Posted by rhenning
I also would like to add my bike to the list. I just got this bike. The only numbers on it are near the bottom bracket on the seat tube. The numbers are S322. It is a Centurion Super LeMans. Tubing is Double Butted High Tension tubing. SR APEX cranks. SR stem and handle bars. SR 26.0 seat post. Sun Tour VGT rear deraileur. Sun Tour front deraileur. Sun Tour friction bar ends. Dia-Compe brakes. Baby blue paint with chromedstays and fork ends. Any idea as to year? I will try to get some pictures later today. Also is there another place for serial numbers? Roger
Under the bottom bracket is the typical location for serial numbers, but some some posters have reported the seat tube like yours. Double butted, hi-tensile tubing suggest mid to late 1970s, but I have yet to see a Super LeMans that old. Check the back of the derailleurs for a two-letter date code.
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Old 02-12-07, 04:56 PM
  #164  
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Rear derailleur had RL on it and the seat post has 75 12 on it. Front derailleur is double stamped and hard to read. Weiman brakes also say 1275 0n them so I am guessing it is a 1976 model? Roger
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Old 02-13-07, 07:42 AM
  #165  
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Originally Posted by rhenning
Rear derailleur had RL on it and the seat post has 75 12 on it. Front derailleur is double stamped and hard to read. Weiman brakes also say 1275 0n them so I am guessing it is a 1976 model? Roger
All the evidence is pointing towards a 1976 model. Does it have the headbadge that looks like a stylized, four pointed star? Thxs for sharing.
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Old 02-13-07, 09:03 AM
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That sounds like the head badge. Here is a picture. Roger
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Old 03-14-07, 06:10 PM
  #167  
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I also have a Super Le Mans with the serial number on the seat tube. I got it while dumpster diving, so I only got the frame and stem. But it looks identical to rhenning's. The serial number is N645. The stem is an SR Forged stem with the date code 75.4, so that would make the bike a '75 or '76.

Also the paint and decals are in bad shape, and I would like to do a repaint with new decals, but a search for Centurion catalogs turned up nothing. T-mar, do you by any chance have a catalog from these years.
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Old 03-15-07, 06:01 AM
  #168  
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T-Mar is currently on hiatus...we aren't certain when he will be back.

You might want to post a separate post asking if anyone has a catalogue for that year for the Centurion, it's amazing what some of the folks here have lurking around the house .

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Old 03-15-07, 07:52 AM
  #169  
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Here is a bike on St. Louis Craigslist someone might be interested in. Not mine, and the price is unrealistic.

Ladies Mixte Style Centurion Road Bike Like New - $150


http://stlouis.craigslist.org/bik/293816169.html
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Old 03-15-07, 11:37 AM
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German Centurion Catalogue Aero Professional

I have got a 1982 german Centurion catalogue. At this time the german distributor was not yet separated from the american models. The catalogue published for the 82 cologne cycle fair (IFMA) shows the complete model range as available in Germany. You can check it out at my wooljersey album right here:
http://www.wooljersey.com/gallery/v/...rion1.JPG.html
http://www.wooljersey.com/gallery/v/...rion2.JPG.html
http://www.wooljersey.com/gallery/v/...rion3.JPG.html
http://www.wooljersey.com/gallery/v/...rion4.JPG.html
The model range seems to go like this:
Saphir - LeMans - Super Elite - Semi Professional - Professional and Aero Professional
I was familiar with the Le Mans, the Super Elite (I have one from 84) and the Professional models but not with the Aero model which is quite impressing. Does anybody know or has one?
 
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Old 03-15-07, 12:56 PM
  #171  
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Thanks for letting me know East Hill, I almost started a new thread but thought I should try here first.
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Old 03-15-07, 01:36 PM
  #172  
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Thanks for the German catalog, Amphalabike. I have read that the German Centurion company was unrelated to the company that imported Japanese bikes into the USA under the Centurion name. However, the German catalog shows that in 1982, at least some model names were shared between the bikes imported to the USA and the bikes imported to Germany.

One of the interesting names was "Semi-Professional". Several Japanese bike makers used the name "Semi-Professional" to denote their second-best race bike. To my ears, and I suspect most American ears, the name "Semi-Professional" sounds more like "third rate"...which was not at all what the importer intended.

My OWN understanding of "Semi-Professional" comes from baseball, where a player who is not good enough to play in the minor leagues might play for a steel mill's company team, and get paid enough to buy beer and pizza after the game. It is a Wal-Mart level name that was applied to what would today be an "Ultegra" level bicycle.

Of course, some Japanese importers never tried to use an name that meant anything in English. Azuki, Nishiki....
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Old 03-15-07, 02:25 PM
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German Centurion

Thanks Alanbikehouston. As far as I can see the brand was owned by WSI in the US and the frames were made and bought in Japan. A german company started to import those frames to the US around 78. At that point it was just one brand and the models were identical. I think due to different markets they separated their models and marketing in the following year. At one point the brand name was given up by WSI but kept and/or acquired by the german importer. This must have been at the end of the eighties if i am not wrong. What is interesting is the different designs mostly copying high end features of other makers such as Cinelli or Raleigh.
 
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Old 03-19-07, 09:08 AM
  #174  
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Anyone ever encountered a metallic brown LeMans?

Also, I want to replace the decals on my bike, anyone come across anyone who makes them.

A
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Old 03-19-07, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by CampyGuy
Thanks for letting me know East Hill, I almost started a new thread but thought I should try here first.
Anytime! It makes it a bit easier for people in the future to do research if we have a database in one place.

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