The best bike is the bike you ride!

My overwhelming philosophy since I started in the retail cycling business is that a bike is only as good as the amount it gets ridden. Whether an issue of fit or practicality, a bike needs to make its owner want to get out and use it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Centurion ProTour 15

So, I was posting some pictures on Flickr of my Centurion.  I found this bike on Craigslist, mis-listed as a Centurion Pro and since I was looking for a touring bike to get me started and preferably to restore/customize/improve, I was really excited to find it.  The pictures looked rough that were in the listing, but when I got there and rode it, it was a smooth, polished ride, despite all the negatives of the componentry.  The frame was actually a little rougher than I imagined, but I was happy to see that the chrome plating that Centurion put underneath was still intact.

My original pictures of the Centurion, as acquired

Since I've had the bike, quite a bit of improvements have been done and more are planned.  So far, I've put on a Velo Orange saddle, updated to a new bar/stem and barcons, added a front and rear rack and will be converting to 700c wheels in a few days time, when the parts arrive.  My baby will also be getting stainless steel fenderes, a dynamo front hub and lights, and new crank, BB, and headset. 

I've found Suntour front and rear derailleurs for it, and a NOS 7 speed freewheel and new chain.  It's still a little fidgey on the shifting - I'm not sure the chain length is correct, and since I'm still mid-upgrade, there's lots to be done.  Once I have the new cranks on, I'll figure out the chain length and get the shifting dialed in.

It's been a growing project - I initially thought it'd be a decent sized project, but as I've worked on it, I have found more and more things done to it over time that weren't quite what I want - the rims, for example, are 27 inch and gargantuan in terms of width.  Surprisingly, they're listed as 325 grams, so they're light, but they're also 27mm wide, which severely limits my tire size choices and also precludes fenders from fitting, as I discovered trying to put on the stainless steel beauties I purchased.  Nevertheless, despite the scope creep on the bike, it has been a ton of fun to build it and plot the next upgrade or fix!

In any event, I've continued riding the bike as I've put in the work on her.  I ride to work, to the shop, and generally around whenever I can - she's a comfortable bike and very practical, especially with some panniers.  I've been very, very impressed with the design of the bike and how despite all the sub optimal treatment she's gotten, she still does very well, thank you.... I can't wait to have her set up more to my liking!

And, later, I promise to add some pictures of the work in progress.   Maybe it'll be interesting to some of you to see how it all is coming together, and, when it's "done" I'll add more pictures, still!

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