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70's Carabela Profesional

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70's Carabela Profesional

Old 02-18-13, 02:11 PM
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javadog
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70's Carabela Profesional

I posted a for sale ad today and rather than post a bunch of photos over there and see them disappear after 30 days, I thought I'd post them here for posterity. There's not a lot of information available on the Windsor and Carabela Profesional bikes produced by Acer-Mex in the 1970's and this particular example is pretty original, so it might serve as a good reference. The main difference between the two versions was that the Windsor used Campy Record compnents and the Carabela used Shimano Dura Ace. Both were built with Columbus SP tubing, more or less to look like a Cinelli. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the orange color was also copied from Cinelli.

I bought this bike in June of 1979. I don't know the production date, as the frame is not dated and I haven't noticed any date codes on any of the components. I still have the original sales documentation but no dates are listed. It wouldn't surprise me if this bike was built earlier than 1979 and spent some time sitting in the showroom of the local shop. Tulsa wasn't the center of the cycling universe in 1979 and this bike was a lot of money in those days. This example has a frame number of 3988.

Apart from the Dura Ace components, the bars are SR World Champion, the stem and seat stay are SR Royal and the saddle is a Lambertini, covered in black suede. The dropouts are Shimano. The cranks are 170mm and the gearing is 44/53 front and 14/16/18/20/22 rear.

JR
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Last edited by javadog; 02-18-13 at 02:20 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-18-13, 02:19 PM
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Old 02-18-13, 02:25 PM
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odd that "profesional" is spelled that way...
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Old 02-18-13, 03:07 PM
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Really pretty .... wow.

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Old 02-18-13, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by norskagent View Post
odd that "profesional" is spelled that way...
That's how you spell it in Spanish, which I suppose is to be expected, given where it was made.

JR
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Old 02-18-13, 03:34 PM
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Shameless Bike Porn!!

Now, please go find some sweet, 105, 600, dura ace black hoods..
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Old 02-18-13, 03:53 PM
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FWIW, the original brake lever hoods were natural rubber in color. The bar tape and toe clip leather was yellow.

JR
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Old 03-06-13, 01:35 PM
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Profesional spelled also in Italian.
I truly love this beauty. What size again?
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Old 03-06-13, 02:16 PM
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The Dura-Ace are probably pre-1976, which is why there would be no date codes. However, the SR stem and post should have them. I'm not sure if there is an intelligence built into the Acewr-Mex serial number.
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Old 03-06-13, 04:05 PM
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My Windsor had what looked like the exact same down tube decal.
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Old 03-06-13, 08:25 PM
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what a fantastic bike. i hope the OP had a change of heart and kept it.
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Old 03-06-13, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
The Dura-Ace are probably pre-1976, which is why there would be no date codes. However, the SR stem and post should have them. I'm not sure if there is an intelligence built into the Acewr-Mex serial number.
I spotted a "Z" letter date code on the adjustable cup, so that makes it from the 4th quarter of 1975, as the pre-'76 date code changes were quarterly instead of annual.

This bike has the very same bars, seat post and milled 110mm stem as my '76 Centurion Pro. Same gruppo too, but mine's all in silver, and even similar top condition.
But my frame is also orange with chromed lugs.
This is of the style I really like in a 1970's bike.

Nice find there!

BTW, a picture of my Centurion, with the correct gum D-A hoods, is here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/1807900...in/photostream

Last edited by dddd; 03-07-13 at 01:51 AM.
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Old 03-07-13, 10:10 PM
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Damn! The Carabela is sweet, but that Centurion is sick. And what about all the other bikes alongside it...your fleet?
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Old 03-08-13, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
Damn! The Carabela is sweet, but that Centurion is sick. And what about all the other bikes alongside it...your fleet?
I still have most of them, getting around to putting big miles on just a few though. The Centurion is one of the relatively heavy and steady riding type of bike that I often prefer, along with my heavier, well-used gas-pipe collection. I like those for their vintage styling embellishments, which stand out from within today's faster-paced training rides as particularly rare, i.e. rather unlikely in their mere presence.

The Carabela seems to be a very rare bike in the broader context, no? At least I've never seen one before.
Did they come from the same manufacturing conglomerate as Windsor? Benotto?
If so, I'd expect it to be quite lively feeling in the Italian way.
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Old 03-08-13, 04:04 AM
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That is a stunning bike. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-08-13, 10:06 AM
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Windsor and Carabela were both Acer-Mex products and aside from the gruppo the Profesional frames were identical; Benotto had his own Mexican operation not associated with Acer-Mex (or so I've read).
There was also another high-ish grade Mexican bike made for a US shop: the Raysport, made from 531 and said to be very nice (never owned one, myself).
Carabela was also the brand used for Acer-Mex's line of small motorbikes/mopeds.

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Old 03-08-13, 10:51 AM
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What a nice example of a original 70's lightweight. That color really grabs me, and reminds me of the old Bic pro team colors. Can you send these photos over to Classic Rendezvous? I don't think they have anything as good as this example on their site. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 03-08-13, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I spotted a "Z" letter date code on the adjustable cup, so that makes it from the 4th quarter of 1975, as the pre-'76 date code changes were quarterly instead of annual.

This bike has the very same bars, seat post and milled 110mm stem as my '76 Centurion Pro. Same gruppo too, but mine's all in silver, and even similar top condition.
But my frame is also orange with chromed lugs.
This is of the style I really like in a 1970's bike.

Nice find there!

BTW, a picture of my Centurion, with the correct gum D-A hoods, is here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/1807900...in/photostream
Some of the pre-1976 Shimano products do have what appears to be a date code, but I've never seen any explanation for it, until now. What makes you say it's quarterly? What's the 2nd letter represent? That cup appears to have a ZE stamping.

Your bicycle is not a Professional but a Semi-Pro that was apparently upgraded to Dura-Ace. The Centurion Professional was another Cinelli clone, complete with Cinelli style fastback stays and three holes in the lugs. Early examples were built by Acer-Mex before the production was offloaded to Japan. Even then, the Japanese made a very close copy of the Mexican frame and they're almost indistingishable without decals, until you start looking very closely.
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Old 03-08-13, 03:37 PM
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Very interesting about the frames for the Pro and Semi-Pro.

I found a printout (magazine article?) a while back from a different, commercial site iir, it says that (at the particular time they were referring to) that the Pro and Semi-Pro had the exact same frame, just different componentry. Curiously, these model year(s) also didn't have any model designation labeling on the frames.
Unfortunately, there was no catalog spec's or photo for reference, but one the Centurion experts here just might recall the article and chime in.
I've been wondering about exactly what year's production Pro frames had the Cinelli-esque features, as I have seen those and assumed they came just a year or two later than mine, which I came across locally (Craigslist) for $225 just about two years ago.

What's funny is that as I looked at these two orange bikes, I started to wonder if the frames of both could have been made in Mexico.
I had also wondered in the past if My frame was made in the same factory as the likes of Schwinn's Volare and Voyageur II.
Really none of any specifically Cinelli influence though in my Centurion frame's details.

One other detail is the the prev owner copped to re-lacing the wheels to the 27" E-2's from formerly tubular rims, and btw I've had rear wheel spoke breakage issues with it on almost every other (albeit long, hard) ride. And I don't actually recall him ever saying he was the original owner, but he did have an album full of photo's of his cycling journeys from what looked like the mid-70's time period.
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Old 03-08-13, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
...I found a printout (magazine article?) a while back from a different, commercial site iir, it says that (at the particular time they were referring to) that the Pro and Semi-Pro had the exact same frame, just different componentry. Curiously, these model year(s) also didn't have any model designation labeling on the frames....I've been wondering about exactly what year's production Pro frames had the Cinelli-esque features, as I have seen those and assumed they came just a year or two later than mine...What's funny is that as I looked at these two orange bikes, I started to wonder if the frames of both could have been made in Mexico...I had also wondered in the past if My frame was made in the same factory as the likes of Schwinn's Volare and Voyageur II.

I'm wondering if the reference to "same frame" was actually a reference to the tubeset, as opposed to the frame. These models were built during a time when the Tange decals simply said Champion and didn't identify the the level of Champion, which was simply Tange's name for their seamless, CrMo tubesets, regardless of thickness or butting. Even the Centurion catalogs I've seen did not make the difference. Someone could erroneously assume that since both frames were the same color and made with Champion, that they were the same.

Based on the samples that have surfaced so far, there are Pro both older and younger than 1976 with the Cinelli features. What is your serial number?
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Old 03-08-13, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
...Based on the samples that have surfaced so far, there are Pro both older and younger than 1976 with the Cinelli features. What is your serial number?
I just went out and peeked at the number, it's M6C06156.

TIA for any particulars of what I have here!


"Some of the pre-1976 Shimano products do have what appears to be a date code, but I've never seen any explanation for it, until now. What makes you say it's quarterly? What's the 2nd letter represent? That cup appears to have a ZE stamping."

I've drawn my conclusions over a few years of examining these codes. There is a cutoff before which I haven't seen any examples, which is around the letter P or so. This is counting backward from Z being 4th qtr of 1975, and doesn't yet conflict with anything I've seen on the bikes I've looked at. A lot of letter R and T hi-flange Shimano hubs for example, which could be around 1974, and which I should really try to compare to known databases of Nishiki frame numbering for example.
The second letter I am not altogether sure of, but could be the work week within the quarter, and which would then never exceed the letter M.
And if I'm not mistaken, Suntour's date coding counts whole years back from Z=1983.

Silly thing about this forum is that I so often have to log in repeatedly just to make a quick reply or correction to a post. It's been literally getting almost impossible to post anymore, as sometimes I have to log in every 5 or ten minutes now, so with this trend I likely might be sending my last post soon.

Last edited by dddd; 03-08-13 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 03-08-13, 09:50 PM
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That's a beautiful bike, the black parts look great on the orange frame. Looks like it needs to get ridden some more!
I have a Super Carrera frame awaiting restoration. It looks very similar to yours (chromed lugs, fastback stays, etc.) but it's built with Tange tubing and dropouts.
That's pretty interesting that Acer-Mex built the early Centurions.
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Old 03-09-13, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I just went out and peeked at the number, it's M6C06156.

TIA for any particulars of what I have here!
Your bicycle is a 1976 Semi-Pro, built in Japan by Mikki. I've seen Semi-Pro for every year from 1975 to 1981 inclusive and, with the exception of yours, they've all been SunTour Cyclone, Super Mighty and Dia-Compe equipped. Consequently, the Dura-Ace would appear to be an upgrade, unless it was also offered as a frameset.

Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I've drawn my conclusions over a few years of examining these codes. There is a cutoff before which I haven't seen any examples, which is around the letter P or so. This is counting backward from Z being 4th qtr of 1975, and doesn't yet conflict with anything I've seen on the bikes I've looked at. A lot of letter R and T hi-flange Shimano hubs for example, which could be around 1974, and which I should really try to compare to known databases of Nishiki frame numbering for example.
The second letter I am not altogether sure of, but could be the work week within the quarter, and which would then never exceed the letter M.!
The farthest back I've seen on the first character of the pre-1976 code is "R". However, I have seen up to "U" for the 2nd, so work week would appear to be out the window. There's not enough letters in the alphabet for it to be the days of a month, unless they were factoring out the weekend, sabbath or other non-working days. I agree that it is some kind of code but I don't have enough confidence to say what it is and use it for dating components. Have you seen it on anything other than Dura-Ace? I haven't, other than a Tourney hub. It would be nice to find some on the uncataloged Dura-Ace center pull brakes, so we could know exactly when they're from. All the ones I've examined have been blank.


Originally Posted by dddd View Post
And if I'm not mistaken, Suntour's date coding counts whole years back from Z=1983.!
The SunTour codes are year specific as far back as 1973 based on bicycles which I bought new and still have with OEM equipment.

Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Silly thing about this forum is that I so often have to log in repeatedly just to make a quick reply or correction to a post. It's been literally getting almost impossible to post anymore, as sometimes I have to log in every 5 or ten minutes now, so with this trend I likely might be sending my last post soon!
I feel your pain. I have the same issues. I routinely "copy" my replies before I hit "post quick reply", as I'm typically being logged out. I've tentatively scheduled my forum retirement to take place on my 10,000th post, which should take place in about a year's time. It will be a blockbuster!
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Old 03-09-13, 11:35 AM
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I'd hate to lose our "brain trust" due to some computer posting glitch.
There surely must be somebody with much more expertise in this area who can offer a suggestion or two to make it work better...we can't afford to alienate or discourage people like dddd or T-Mar!
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Old 03-10-13, 01:25 AM
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T-Mar wrote: "...Have you seen it (2-letter code) on anything other than Dura-Ace? I haven't, other than a Tourney hub. It would be nice to find some on the uncataloged Dura-Ace center pull brakes, so we could know exactly when they're from. All the ones I've examined have been blank."


I went right for my shift lever stash for an answer, knowing there were mid-1970's "333" and "Unishift" leversets in multiple quantities.

I first found no markings on an old pair of Unishift bar-end shifters, nor any date-code on a Titlist front derailer.

The first (of two) Unishift DT lever-sets has no markings, other than a 2-character designation for left and right (LN and RN respectively) on each cable-housing stop plate.

A second set of Unishift DT shifters has an AE date code on the inside of the clamp band, in addition to the LN and RN designations on each respective housing stop plate.

For the "333" DT leversets, one has no letter markings anywhere, but on the other identical pair, there is YI stamped into the right-hand cable-housing stop plate. And btw, note that the YI stamping definitely does not read "YL".

I also found an early Shimano "old-splined", pre-UG, 14-24t, 5-sp freewheel, with the only markings being a big Y in a circle and a ZD date code on the lockring. I believe this one came from the same Viscount Aerospace Sport as the pictured shift levers.

Lastly, the Hi-flange "333" hubs on my "late 1972" Amer.Eagle/Nishiki Kokusai read RD and RP. The Suntour freewheel shows late 1972 prod'n and the s/n is KS161072.
This might suggest more like a 1/3 year date interval for successive first letters. on pre-1976 Shimano date codes.

So, this perhaps raises as many questions as it answers, but answers your question at least.



And yep, they logged me out twice in the time it took to post this.

Also, weren't the RaySport bikes made by the Windsor conglomerate?

And thanks, T-Mar, for the info on the Semi-Pros.

Last edited by dddd; 03-10-13 at 02:02 AM.
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