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Help with Centurion Identification

Old 07-17-13, 03:38 PM
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crad159
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Help with Centurion Identification

Hi all.

I just inherited a Centurion 700 from a family member. The bike was kept in great shape in a shed for many years. I just have brought it in for service so it can become rideable again.

Anyways, what year is this bike from? It sure is heavy... I haven't examined the serial number yet, because Wikipedia claims that you can find out the year of manufacture through it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centurion_(bicycle)). I am guessing the bike is from sometime between the late 70s to mid-80s.

Can anyone help identify the bike. Also does anyone have original brochures, Centurion catalogs, spec sheets etc? I can't seem to find too much information on these bikes.

Thanks



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Old 07-17-13, 03:56 PM
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Centurion never made a bike. They were a marketing company. And like many of those marketing brands, information is scarce. Realize all the brand specific vintage sites out there were not started by the brands, but instead by some individual collector that just wanted to share information, at their own expense, with the rest of the world. Its amazing to me how many have done it.

To take on this effort for a marketing brand is a lot of effort. They are all long gone. It takes someone with time/dedication/and money to collect catalogs and photos and create a website. Its a labor of love for sure. Catalogs pop up on ebay from time to time.

I find Wikipedia information on bikes is marginal. Better off just searching this forum via google. That style stem shifter is throwing me a bit, as I usually see them on 1970s era bikes. But the headbadge style is 1980s. Drive side pic always helps.

I've owned hundreds of bikes, from dozens of mfrs. Anymore except for a handful of brands (Schwinn, Panasonic, Miyata, Trek, Cannondale), I ignore serial numbers on dating, and just go straight to component codes instead.

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Old 07-17-13, 04:45 PM
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The left chainstay appears to read "LeMans," which is one of the models of the period. It appears to be the ordinary LeMans from the very late 1970s or very early 1980s.

What makes you think that it's a 700? That's not even a model that I'm aware of.
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Old 07-17-13, 04:48 PM
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+1 Sure looks like it says "Lemans" right on it.
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Old 07-17-13, 04:53 PM
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Try looking for date codes on the components.
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Old 07-17-13, 06:34 PM
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700c?
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Old 07-17-13, 07:11 PM
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And by taking a wild guess, I imagine that bike weighs in at around 24.5 to 26.5 pounds, which is not too bad for back then....Modern bottom feeder Aluminum road bikes are only a couple of pounds less than that. "It sure is heavy" is not what comes to my mind. Try grabbing a 25 inch Schwinn Continental and get back to me.,,,,BD
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Old 07-17-13, 08:12 PM
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pin stripes point to 79-80.
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Old 07-23-13, 02:46 PM
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Ok so thank you all for the responses up to this point.

First and foremost, this bike is indeed the LeMans model. I thought it was a 700 because the bike shop had identified this as a Centurion 700 on my service slip. I was foolish enough to not take a closer look in the first place.

Secondly, I just got the bike back from it's service. Spent upwards of $150 (closer to double the estimated value) in servicing this bike which in my opinion, was too much. Part of what ran up the cost was the servicer advising to put on two new tires. The original tires were deflated and had little tread, but probably could have still been ridden on. It was $25 per tire. I do regret not keeping the original tires because they certainly were cool and would have kept the bike all original.

It is raining out today, so I only had a chance to ride up and down my small street. The position of these older road bikes is very low, and some could say uncomfortable. But it will grow on me, especially for the type of riding that I will be doing (campus and commuting).

So I took some better quality pictures and will upload them for more help in identifying the year of this Centurion.

A few things I want to note:
- The components have the name, SunTour, on them. Was this Centurion's in-house component brand, or another Japanese bike company?
- I noticed Sakae Randnner's name on the handlebars, could this be the Centurion LeMans Sakae Randnner edition?
- The very last photo is of the serial number, N1G0561. Anyone know how to read this serial number and put it to a date of manufacture, etc.?
- Also what is the Japan Cat Eye Model 300? It is on the end of both handlebars.
- Still kept the original grip, which I am glad I did. The bike shop said it would run about $35-40 for new grip, but I like the look and feel of keeping the bike original.
- Because I am not familiar with Centurions, is this the original seat that came with the LeMans model? I am not sure if the person who I inherited the bike from had switched saddles at some point...

Last edited by crad159; 07-23-13 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 07-23-13, 02:52 PM
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Old 07-23-13, 02:56 PM
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Last edited by crad159; 07-23-13 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 07-23-13, 03:32 PM
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Did they list everything that was done for the $100 that wasn't tires? Looks to me like they put tires on it, and gave it back to you? Did they rebuild both wheel hubs, headset, and the bottom bracket? Way too much is relative, I've had some tickets that were hovering close to $400 when I was wrenching up to a month or so ago.

I mean to say I see grit around the bottom bracket spindle, and that and the wheel hubs are THE most important things to do to a bike that has been sitting. That would be about $15 or so each, depending on the shop. Without the bearings being redone, it may only a last a month or two before it needs new wheels and and a full bottom bracket assembly. (pedal bearings) It also looks like they didn't even bother cleaning other than rinsing it off with a hose possibly. The chain is filthy, and shows no sign of being lubed as well, and the front tire is on backwards..,,,,BD
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Old 07-23-13, 04:24 PM
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Suntour was a Japanese bicycle component manufacturer. Many bicycle brands from this era also used Suntour's components on at least some of their bikes, even the European brands. Their higher-end stuff, as well as higher-end Centurion bikes from this era, really appeal to me. Together, they would have represented really good quality and value to the American consumer at the time.

Likewise, Sakae was another Japanese company making some of the components used by many bicycle brands. Mostly handlebars, stems, seat posts and cranks. This handlebar is slightly noteworthy in that they misspelled Randonneur.

Those Cat Eye bar plugs are just nice color matched bits to keep the handlebar tape from peeling back and to help keep you from impaling your legs (or whatever!) on the ends of the handlebars in the event of a crash.

The saddle doesn't strike me as original.

The $50 in tires doesn't actually seem too bad, but I also wonder what else the service included. I wouldn't let anyone I cared about ride on 30-35 year old tires.

Last edited by DiegoFrogs; 07-23-13 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 07-23-13, 04:35 PM
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What's the red bike in the first photo? Specialized something..
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Old 07-23-13, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by jdefran View Post
What's the red bike in the first photo? Specialized something..
I am not sure what the Red bike is, for it was sold away some time ago. That photo which I first posted with is from a few years back.
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Old 07-23-13, 04:54 PM
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And here is the receipt to show what was done. Is this a justified price?

The Ride Ready line item is: "Ride Ready" Tune-up: Get your bike ready for a big event or a great season of riding. After our comprehensive set of precision adjustments and lubrication, your bike will deliver top performance – mile after mile.

When I asked an employee they said the Ride Ready they:
Check whole bike out
- adjust hub
- adjust headset
- adjust bottom braket
- lube all derailers
- lube chaine & pulleys
- & clean bike



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Old 07-23-13, 05:08 PM
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Were the tubes $9 each? Damn. Then another $10 to install each tube & tire.. I don't work in a shop but for 90 bucks they should have serviced the headset and BB.
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Old 07-23-13, 07:32 PM
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The shop I worked for charged $50 for that "Ride Ready", and included tire mounting in that cost. Our tubes were $7.62 with tax each? So yeah, in other words they raked you over the coals pretty bad. I doubt the 89 included servicing the Bottom bracket, hubs, or headset. We charged $15 extra for each lube point, but hardly ever did anyone say sure, I want my bike to last longer. 99.9 times out of 100, they wanted it to look good, and stopped short of anything more than a basic tune up.,,,,BD

Our $50 was..


Clean the bike front to back and top to bottom(pressure washer)
Adjust derailleurs
Adjust brakes
Adjust headset (if needed)
Adjust hubs (if needed)
True wheels
Check all hardware for tightness
Lube chain
(etc, if needed)

Labor for cables was covered under the tune up, but the cables/housing was charged.. I did however, get a 10% commission, so selling
parts was a good way to make more money. I was fair about it though, and only sold things that were actually needed.
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Old 07-23-13, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by crad159 View Post
a few things i want to note:

- i noticed sakae randnner's name on the handlebars, could this be the centurion lemans sakae randnner edition?

there is no such model. Sakae randnner is simply the name of the brand and model of handlebars that centurion installed

- the very last photo is of the serial number, n1g0561. anyone know how to read this serial number and put it to a date of manufacture, etc.?

your bike was made in 1981 per forum member t-mar's database:

1980-1990 japanese models:

Japanese models during this period use a serial number format wxyzzzz where;

w = a letter, purpose uncertain, but probably indicates manufacturer or centurion
x = a number, indicating the calendar year of manufacture
y = a letter, indicating the fortnight of manufacture (a = wk 1 & 2, b = wk 3 & 4, etc)
zzzz = four digit number, probably indicating frame number during fortnight

example: N4e0283 indicates the 283 frame manufactured during the period of weeks 9-10, for the year 1984.



- because i am not familiar with centurions, is this the original seat that came with the lemans model? ..

based on the 1979 centurion catalog, i believe you have the oem saddle on your bike.

Here is a link to the velobase page. Scroll down a bit and you will see a link to a pdf of the 1979 catalog
.
https://velobase.com/ViewBrand.aspx?B...f-283acc8513b3
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Old 07-28-13, 01:04 PM
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Ok, great. Thank you all for the help!
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Old 07-28-13, 03:27 PM
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I was just at the local not-for-profit bike coop in Detroit.

The tune up is about $50.00.

An overhaul, which is a tune up + servicing the two wheels, headset, and BB is $175. It includes new cables, housing, and brake pads.

Tires or flats are $10 each. They charge $24.95 for Paselas.

Overall, the NFP's prices are average and on par with the for profit LBS in the region. REI is about the same, less for flats.

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Old 07-28-13, 03:55 PM
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Note the Ride Ready says "adjust." That can be everything from looking at it and giving it a spin, to adjusting. None of it means taking it apart, cleaning it, re-lubricating it, which should be done to both hubs, the bottom bracket, and the headset.

Many of us who do this ourselves are a little surprised at the price paid for so little done. I won't defend the shop, but here, with no phone, no other customers, nothing else going on, it's a 4-hour job, minimum. What they did is about a 1-hour job, maximum.
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