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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For the brain trust!

I found a NOS Centurion Elite that looks like early 80s for sale in my area. Upon doing research into Centurions, as I had not really run into them much before (still a total newbie in the C&V bike space), I found that the Centurion Elite's should have Tange #2 tubing (according to the late Sheldon Brown). The sticker on the seat tube for this specific bike says Champion #5 though. Can anyone clear that one up for me?

Also, regarding steel in general, how much does the weight and wall thickness change the ride quality? For example, how different does a Tange 2 vs 5 bike feel? Or a Columbus SL vs SLX or Reynolds 531 vs 853? I am a clydesdale (6'5" and 215 lb); should I worry at all about the type of steel when looking at vintage bikes?

Thanks!
 

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Try this.......

Good read:
Magnificent 7

Sheldon is a great site but I remember Elite's being low end so Champion 5 is probably appropriate.

I thing the skill of the builder is much more important than the tubing, I have custom frames that are a mix like SL and SP.

At your weight you might be at the recommended limit for some tubing like Columbus EL which was or is 180# as I recall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the link to the article. I have read that before and it is a good read. I also agree with you that a bike is more than the material of the frameset.

Maybe I should be more specific: the info I was able to find about the Centurion Elite 12 speed came primarily from the Sheldon Brown website (Centurion Bicycles From WSI (Western States Industries)) in which the Centurion Elite is cited as being Tange #2 and that it is "entry level for the racing enthusiast" (from the 1979 catalog). The pictures of the bike for sale have a Champion #5 sticker on the seat tube. I am curious why that is the case. Perhaps it is just a year to year materials choice?

More critical, since you bring it up, is weight limits on various tube types. I wouldnt want to be out there on a bike in which I was 40 lbs over the recommended limit. Any concise resources that list weight limits on tube types? Most of what I turn up with cursory searching is the weight of the bike and nothing to do with the weight of the rider.
 

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I think the issue with weight is the flexing of the frame, which may not be that significant to you. I am 180, ride a 58cm and find the EL frame to not be flexy at all but must add that being deep into my 60s I have not flex a frame in a long time. Check out this Columbus chart comments on the tubing, maybe someone knows where to find one for Champion/Tange. With Columbus I think, as an example, you will find fine C&V frames made in SLX up to 58 or 60cm and then a transition to SPX, a heavier tubing, probably for the flexing issue.
The Bicycle Info Project :: Columbus tubing chart
 

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Centurion Elites came in a couple of different variations. The RS and GT come to mind. Higher-end Elites did come with Tange #2 while the lower-end ones came with either Tange 900, or in your case, Tange #5.

Tange #5 is straight gauge (0.9mm) cro-moly (head tube is 1.0mm). It's designed to be tough and its original intended use was for touring bikes. A frame-only weight came in at about 2500 grams.

Tange #2 is double-butted (0.9-0.6-0.9) cro-moly (head tube is 1.0mm). A frame-only weight came out to be about 2300 grams.

I only have one Tange-tubed bike, a Panasonic track bike with Prestige tubing. However, according to Retrogrouch, Tange #2 is comparable to Columbus SP; see here: The Retrogrouch: Classic Tubes: Tange and Ishiwata

If I'm not mistaken, anything like Tange #1 or Ishiwata/Kaisei 022 has a weight limit of 175-180 pounds. Tange#2, Ishiwata/Kaisei 024, or lower, do not have rider weight limits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Im pretty sure the bicycle in question is an early 80s generic Elite. There are only a handful of old Centurion catalogs online, but the bike in question looks to be exactly what is listed for the 1979 Elite. The '79 catalog doesnt say what type of steel it was, just that it was Tange Champion Cromoly. Perhaps it wasnt until the mid 1980s that they started using the higher grade steel tubes? It is an interesting puzzle to sort out.

It is a really nice looking classic bicycle. Im guessing the only reason it hasnt sold is because it is being listed too high ($500) for what it is, largely because it is NOS and the seller thinks it is worth more than it really is. There also arent that many people looking for the largest sized bikes.

Another interesting note is that the Centurion was marketed as an entry level racing bike, but it sort of looks more like a touring bike with the fender/rack eyelets and Champion 5 tube set. Maybe this is just my noobishness getting the better of me.

Regardless, thanks for the reply and the info!
 

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Have an elite rs that I bought used in Portland Oregon years ago, took it everywhere on a ship. Azores, Maderia, Barbadoes, & West Coast San Diego, San Fran, Seattle.

Has been one of the best bicycles I have owned ever, Tange 2 tubing.
Just replaced derailers, chain, crank with Campagnolo & Mavic wheels!

Continues to BA a great bike, i.e. It fits me very well that helps.
 

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I had a Tange #2 on an 84 Centurion ProTour. Nice tubing for the touring purpose. A bit springy by today's standards for my 200lbs, but the 59cm frame was a solid descender with 27" wheels and 1 1/4" tires. Your weight should be fine for the frame, as always = watch for potholes and no curb hopping & other such wheel-eaters.
 
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