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Looking at a used Centurion Elite GT - worth it?

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Looking at a used Centurion Elite GT - worth it?

Old 01-11-10, 11:22 AM
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TwoHeadsBrewing
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Looking at a used Centurion Elite GT - worth it?

I've been looking at this mid 1980's Centurion Elite GT on craigslist, which looks to be in good condition except for the missing front brakes and bar tape.
https://chico.craigslist.org/bik/1546735407.html

The guy is asking $150 for it, but I have no idea what the value on it really is. I've got a few questions, being a used bike noob:

1. What is a fair price for this bike, assuming it rides well and is in good condition?
2. What should I look out for with an older bike like this? i.e. What are the expensive things to fix?
3. What small things should I ignore, which I can easily fix myself later?

Thanks all!
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Old 01-11-10, 11:32 AM
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Yes, it is probably worth it. Its a touring style bike, and with a front brake, would have good value around here (touring bikes sell for 50% higher than an equivalent road bike).

Always look for dings, dents and rust on the frame. That can be a lot of work, and in the case of dents, the value is clobbered.

Always take a multitool with you, and loosen and remove the seat post and the handlebar stem, if they are stuck, that is a deal breaker.

Look for a label on the frame as to tubing, it will tell you whether it is a good frame, or a P*O*S.

Bad tires, leaky tubes, rusty cables, missing bar tape, dirty, poor shifting; all of that normally leads to huge discounts and can be sorted out pretty cheaply.

Here's an example of a bike I recently picked up at a significant discount: dirty, tri-bars (fine if that is what you are looking for, otherwise not), rusty cables, scraped up frame, faded out dork disk, worn tires that did not match, etc. But underneath all of that was a pretty nice bike.

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Old 01-11-10, 11:43 AM
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Short Answer: Yes, if it fits.

Long Answer:

Here is the main catalogue page for that bike,

Here are the specs.

Here's a good background article on Centurion.



Centurion offered Grand Touring bikes at two price points. This is the less expensive of the two bikes -- still a very nice bike. FYI, the primary difference between the Elite GT and their nicer/pricier bike, the Pro Tour, is that your bike has hi-ten steel (rather than cro-moly steel) for its front fork and for 5 of its eight tubes... this translates into a less premium ride quality (and a slightly heavier bike.) You can compare the side by side specs of the two bikes and see all the differences.

FYI, Touring bike = relaxed geometry, double-butted cro-moly frame (ideally) with longer chain/seat stays for comfort and to allow installation of rear panniers without conflicting with the natural arc of your pedaling feet, mounting eyelets for racks and fenders, lots of spokes. Several other companies marketed touring bikes in "tiers" (e.g., Schwinn, Panasonic, Raleigh)... unlike other touring bikes of its class, the Elite GT does come with front mounting "braze-ons" on the front fork, for mounting a touring rack... and it also has wheels and hubs with 36 (front) and 40 (rear) spokes (this translates to greater durability out on the road.)

From all outward appearances, your craigslist example seems to be in very good shape. I would say there would be a very healthy demand for this bike when you go to sell it, given Centurion's reputation, and the fact that touring bikes tend to do well in the market.

For a bike of this type, $150 is an ok-to-good price... if the bike fits you, and it tests out as far as functioning well. If I was feeling lucky, I might try to negotiate down, simply because I'd have to shell out time and energy to wrap the bars and get the front brakes -- the bike appears to be missing its original rear rack also. (the seat stem may not be original, either?) None of these is a show stopper. Elite GT's don't come up often.

Nice bike -- suitable as an every day bike, well-suited to touring. Good luck, let us know how it goes.
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Old 01-11-10, 11:45 AM
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If the bike fits you, the price is right and the brakes are cheap.
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Old 01-11-10, 11:49 AM
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Thank you for the reply. I'm not too concerned about the cheap parts like brake cables and such, I'm pretty handy and should be able to handle that myself. I'll be sure to take a look at the frame sticker to see what type of tubing it is. On that note, what IS the good tubing for a bike like this?
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Old 01-11-10, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by dit View Post
If the bike fits you, the price is right and the brakes are cheap.
I'm 5'8" with a 30" inseam, so 53cm should be about right...but I'll have to take a spin to see if it fits properly.
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Old 01-11-10, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
what IS the good tubing for a bike like this?
See my (edited) post above, see the specs. Ideally, you'd have full cro-moly, double or triple butted.... and you'd pay considerably more.

Last edited by akcapbikeforums; 01-11-10 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 01-11-10, 12:36 PM
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On tubing, at this price, just avoid high tensile steel for the full frame. This bike probably only has cromoly main tubes, but that is OK at this price point.
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Old 01-11-10, 07:00 PM
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Yes worth the price, but I would try to get it for $125.
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Old 01-11-10, 10:21 PM
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I'd pay $150 if it fits, but that's the max. You may have to put $50 or so in it. It can be pretty sweet.
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Old 01-11-10, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Yes, it is probably worth it. Its a touring style bike, and with a front brake, would have good value around here (touring bikes sell for 50% higher than an equivalent road bike).

+1

Here's an example of a bike I recently picked up at a significant discount: dirty, tri-bars (fine if that is what you are looking for, otherwise not), rusty cables, scraped up frame, faded out dork disk, worn tires that did not match, etc. But underneath all of that was a pretty nice bike.

I need that seat post, but I've still never found yours. Which is odd, because it'll never fit anything I have, either. Those aero's will bring $20.
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