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1970's Centurion Pro Tour

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1970's Centurion Pro Tour

Old 03-08-10, 12:55 AM
  #1  
DiegoFrogs
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1970's Centurion Pro Tour

Does anyone else have one of these? I just picked up a 1977 yesterday and I'm having a blast cleaning it up.

I didn't get into the hubs, the bottom bracket or the headset yet because I loaned my tools to someone a week ago, but I've taken everything else apart and cleaned and polished with no trouble. These pictures are mostly a "before," although I did try a wet rag on most places. The chrome, after using soapy water and plastic pot scrubber, is like new.

I found a Bicycling Road Test written by Gary Fisher about the same bike, and it appears to be almost bone stock. Of course, the toe clips are gone, and the saddle is different (and trashed) and it had cheap Schwinn tires on it.

Here are the details:

Frame: Tange Champion Double Butted Chromoly, half-chromed stays and forks, one set of bottle bosses, two sets each of bosses on the drop outs and fork tips, vertical drop-outs, beautiful fork crown, brazed on pivots for centerpull brakes.
FD & RD: Suntour Cyclone
Shifters: Suntour Barcon (friction)
Hubs: Sunshine Pro-am 36h with grease port.
Rims: Araya alloy 27"x1-1/4" x 36h without bead hook.
Freewheel: unknown Suntour 14-30
Crank: Sugino 52/36
Handlebar: SR World Randonneur aluminum 35 cm c-c at the hoods.
Stem: SR forged aluminum
Brake Levers: drilled Dia Compe with quick releases and adjuster barrels
Brakes: Brazed-on centerpull Dia Compe model G (outstanding!)

I can't wait to finish it and ride it!!

edit: The hubs were SUNSHINE. After four years of coming back here periodically, I have no idea how I never picked up on the fact that I wrote SUNTOUR.
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Old 03-08-10, 01:15 AM
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That looks very nice. I haven't seen centerpull brakes like that before, that is interesting.
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Old 03-08-10, 01:37 AM
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https://cgi.ebay.com/NIB-70s-Gran-Com...2#ht_500wt_924

Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
That looks very nice. I haven't seen centerpull brakes like that before, that is interesting.
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Old 03-08-10, 01:50 AM
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Those are center mount, not brazed on. The ones on my bike would be stiffer and thus provide much more stopping power. And also, that's freakin' ridiculous! For three hundred bucks, he should write more than a couple words.
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Old 03-08-10, 02:08 AM
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Of course.....and I should have been more explanatory, as well. I was just pointing to the similarity, adding a piece to the puzzle, not solving it.

No doubt the center mount could be easily converted to braze-on.

Cool bike.

J

Originally Posted by DiegoFrogs View Post
Those are center mount, not brazed on. The ones on my bike would be stiffer and thus provide much more stopping power. And also, that's freakin' ridiculous! For three hundred bucks, he should write more than a couple words.
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Old 03-08-10, 10:54 AM
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Nobody else has one like this? All of the other Pro Tours I've seen have been the updated versions with cantilevers and lowrider braze-ons and whatnot.

Oh, and the original Paul's Components Racer brake used brazed on pivots, and they swore they'd never make a center-mount version, but then they did, and it was awesome.

I would say that some day I'd spend $260 on a set of obscure brakes, except that these ones work so gosh darn well, and they polished up like new. Gary Fisher compared them favorably to Mafac Tandem Cantilevers, which I've never tried, but I'm gonna be on the lookout for them now!

I'll put up more pictures when I can. The walls on my 14 mm socket are too thick to pull off the crank bolts, so I need to find one with thinner walls in order to fit in the crank. What do you all use? Should I just bite the bullet and take a trip to the Craftsman section of Sears?

The only thing I expect to replace is the handlebar tape, the brake hoods, cables, tires, pads and saddle, and I'm going to throw away the broken Zefal frame pump and tire savers.
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Old 03-08-10, 11:30 AM
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Great bike!

I've seen Mafacs mounted that way, but never Dia Compes.
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Old 03-08-10, 11:53 AM
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Yeah, I've been trying to convince my neighbors to sell it to me for about a year. They moved out a long time ago and left it locked up under a roof, thank goodness. They were too lazy to even come and get their bikes (and they own a pickup truck...), so I knew they were never going to put the elbow grease into cleaning them up. I'm embarrassed to say what I paid for it...

I haven't looked at the bearing races yet, but there is no sidewall wear on the original rims, so I'm guessing the original owner didn't ride much. Lots of things called this home, though. The underside of the saddle was full of honeycombs, and I found four locusts (locii?) in the headtube.

What originally caught my attention were the Barcons. They were clearly visible above the railing because the bars were flipped bum-bike style.
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Old 03-08-10, 11:58 AM
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I had one, a 78' or '79. It was forcibly removed from my ownership as I was riding it though. Such a sweet bike.
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Old 03-08-10, 11:58 AM
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Honestly, Grand Bois, your fleet of Frenchies is weighing strongly in my head as I consider my build. Your work, and nlerner's, are rather inspirational.
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Old 03-08-10, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
I had one, a 78' or '79. It was forcefully removed from my ownership as I was riding it though. Such a sweet bike.
Yikes, I hope you made it through okay. I suppose you're located in the Little Rock area? If it makes you feel any better, I was beaten severely in a robbery here in Fayetteville (I was on foot) about two years ago. With any luck, I won't be living here when they get out of prison.
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Old 03-08-10, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DiegoFrogs View Post
Honestly, Grand Bois, your fleet of Frenchies is weighing strongly in my head as I consider my build. Your work, and nlerner's, are rather inspirational.
You made my day! I admire Neal's work, too.
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Old 03-08-10, 02:33 PM
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All of the components date to 1976 so far, and the frame was made in the second half of January, 1977. The grease is clearly 33 years old, but the bearings, cups and cones are immaculate so far.
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Old 03-08-10, 02:34 PM
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Don't mention it. The amount of time you put into both building these things and documenting them (almost 8,000 posts!) is mind boggling!
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Old 03-08-10, 11:34 PM
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Make sure to post some after pictures
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Old 03-09-10, 03:21 AM
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Is there something I'm missing, or is this the worst design of a seatpost that has ever been created? 26.8 SR melt forged custom. Notice how high up the bolts are compared to where the rails will run. I happened to find a specialized tiny wrench punched out of sheetmetal that was able to fit inside of the saddle, but it's certainly not easily adjustable. I'm thinking about replacing the seatpost.

Also, some updated chrome pictures. Pictures are bad because it was pouring rain. Note the nice over-the-cluster seatstay attachment.
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Old 03-09-10, 03:29 AM
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That looks just like a 70's Campy NR seat post clamp. I agree, it is a minor pain in the butt to adjust. One nice thing, you can really get just the right angle to your saddle with that type of system. It's a much finer adjustment than some of the other posts I have like an SR laprade.

The seat cluster on that bike looks really nice. It reminds me of some Raleighs and other English built bikes.
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Old 03-09-10, 05:03 AM
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That's exactly what I thought of when I saw it. The seatstay end is one of the easiest ways to spot a good quality bicycle since they take so much effort to do right. In my opinion, Raleigh was the only builder of low-end bikes that got it right with their wrap-over treatment. Their low-end frames still turn my head when I see them, but I'm partial to that style and their choices in colors in low-end frames.

I cleaned off the NDS crank this morning (tonight?) and was surprised to find that someone carefully scratched his name into it! It's on the end, near the bottom bracket spindle.
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Old 03-09-10, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by DiegoFrogs View Post
I cleaned off the NDS crank this morning (tonight?) and was surprised to find that someone carefully scratched his name into it! It's on the end, near the bottom bracket spindle.
Cool! A neat little piece of the of the bike's history, like the dutch bikes with numbers carved into them. I have a campy NR hub with a name and number carved into the shell... for some reason I can't seem to think that one is cool.
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Old 03-11-10, 05:12 PM
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Update

The bike weighed in at 24.6 pounds as pictured. It's an absolute delight to ride! The braking is freakin' scary-impressive!

The bar tape is temporary since I'm waiting on hoods and some other goodies from VO, and I'm still tuning in the position of the brake levers and the exit of the shift cables from the tape. The hoods will be the brown Cane Creeks and the tape will be white cork. I'm also expecting a big saddle bag and chromed cable clips to replace the two plastic stock ones that I can't stand. As is, I keep having to move the cable all over the place.


I'll be moving my Planet Bike Cascadia fenders over from my fixed gear Schwinn Traveler soon. Also on the list is either better tires or relacing in some 700c rims. And repacking the original MKS pedals.
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Old 03-12-10, 01:25 AM
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That looks great. I love the old Centurion headbadges
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Old 03-15-10, 06:52 PM
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A.Winthrop:

Thanks. I'll be sure to borrow a good camera and take good pictures this weekend. I'm still waiting on my cable clips and brake hoods from Velo Orange.

I was, however, able to ride it a bit for about a week now. I have about 100 miles on it now, despite not putting on good cork tape yet. The ride is really outstanding. The braze-on mount centerpulls stop way better than I'd ever need and look fantastic doing it, too.

The biggest blemish is on the lower headlug. It looks like it swung back and forth on a metal hook. I was able to find a pretty close match with nail polish. (Hint: Try to bring a lady with you when doing this. I got some funny stares.)

My major gripe is the gearing. There is a *lot* of duplication and really big jumps between gears. I'll post a table below. I'll probably replace the freewheel with something else.
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Old 03-15-10, 06:54 PM
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Gearing Table.

Here is the table below (a.) along with the (b.) gearing on my fixed gear 1980 Schwinn Traveler which has nearly identical geometry.
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Old 03-15-10, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
That looks just like a 70's Campy NR seat post clamp. I agree, it is a minor pain in the butt to adjust. One nice thing, you can really get just the right angle to your saddle with that type of system. It's a much finer adjustment than some of the other posts I have like an SR laprade.
Amen. I'm fussy about seat tilt and this is my favorite type of post. When I sold my '77 Pro Tour (in '07) I kept the seat post.

The seat cluster on that bike looks really nice. It reminds me of some Raleighs and other English built bikes.
Cecil Behringer called my Pro Tour a Rarreigh, a Raleigh with a Japanese accent. He also pronounced Dura Ace "Duracce" as the early DA was pretty much a copy of Italian designs.

I loved the ProTour but I'd bought it a little large and in 30 years I'd lost a little height. Also I had just gotten my Jack Taylor SuperTourist dialed in. So it was redundant and I sold it to a friend who had been born in '77.

When the December 1976 Bicycling arrived at our house, my wife phoned me at work to tell me that my next bike had just been introduced. She didn't know much about bikes back then but she knew what I wanted. I was working part time at a bike shop at the time so I got what was probably the 1st one in the midwest.

I've scanned the Gary Fisher road test;
https://bikesmithdesign.com/temp/ProTour1.jpg
https://bikesmithdesign.com/temp/ProTour2.jpg

BTW I liked the brazed on centerpull brakes so much I used them on several of my early frames.
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Old 03-15-10, 09:14 PM
  #25  
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Thank you. I believe your road test scan was the one that I was looking at, indeed.
I hope that mine serves me well for thirty years, too.

About the seatpost: When I replaced the horrible saddle that was on there in the first place, I noticed that it was much easier adjusting with my $5 yardsale Brooks installed. It provided much more space inside to move my mini wrench. I'll probably sandpaper and polish the seatpost and keep it.

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