1978 Centurion Pro-Tour

1978 Centurion Pro Tour

Here is a stunning and near-perfect 1978 Centurion Pro-Tour.  This bike was a joy to work on – everything was in almost new condition, so the work went very quickly.

Although the Pro-Tour was a production touring bike, the build quality of this frame rivals that of any custom builder.  It’s the reason both Richard Ballantine and Sheldon Brown dubbed the Centurion Pro-Tour one of the finest production touring bikes ever made.  And, I should know because I rode a 1976 Pro-Tour for 20 years and put about 40,000 miles on the bike, before I crashed it irreparably.  There are very few touring bikes built today that equal the quality of the Pro-Tour, which went for about $500 back in 1976.

The frame was fully chromed, then painted with the seat lug, drop-outs and head lug masked, leaving them as chrome.  The rear drop-out is vertical, making flat repairs much easier, with double eyelets front and rear for fully loaded touring.  Drop-outs are by Suntour.

012Suntour Dropouts

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The finish work on the seat lug is outstanding.  The frame features a brake bridge and brazed on centerpulls.

 035020027Centurion Pro Tour

All eight tubes are Tange Champion chrom-moly tubes.  The condition of the paint is amazing.  The components are all in as-new condition.  I love these Dia-Compe brazed on centerpulls.  They work well and never go out of adjustment.

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The wheelset needed some truing, but the cups and cones were in really nice shape.  The rims are double wall Araya laced to Sunshine Pro-Am hubs which feature bearing seals -shown above.

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The drive train is 100% Suntour, with Suntour ratcheting bar-end shifters, Suntour Cyclone front and rear derailleurs, and Suntour 5 speed 14/30 freewheel.  There’s nothing sweeter than the sound of a Suntour freewheel.  The SR Apex triple crankset is color matched with 52/42/30 chainrings.   After thoroughly cleaning the chain, I put it back on because I liked the bi-color look and because it was not stretched and showed no wear.

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The hoods on the drilled Dia-Compe levers are in excellent shape, with no cracking, and the levers feature a quick release mechanism.  SR Sakae stem and Randonneur bars – my favorite bar shape.  I kept the original color matched housing in both an effort to keep the bike original, and because with a little lubrication, they are working fine.  New cables, of course.

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Here are more details:

1978 Centurion Pro-Tour  53 cm ST, 54 cm TT.  Weight as pictured:  23.6 lbs.  Original MKS Unique Royal Touring Pedals,  Original Avocet Leather Touring saddle, new Panaracer Pasela 27″ x 1 tires, new tubes.

Alas, the bike is not my size and I will be putting it up for sale soon.  I hope someday I’ll find a Pro-Tour in my size that I’ll be able to keep and treasure.

UPDATE December 19, 2013:  SOLD!  Congratulations to Randy in Minnesota.

About Nola Wilken

Cycling enthusiast and owner of Restoring Vintage Bicycles; CPA/Founder of Wilken & Company, P.C., CPAs
This entry was posted in Bicycle restoration, Centurion bicycle, cycling, Touring bicycle, Vintage bicycle, Vintage touring bicycle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 1978 Centurion Pro-Tour

  1. john McNeil says:

    Hi – Nice Pro Tour.

  2. cory says:

    That’s a beautiful Pro Tour! I picked up a used mid 80′s model last summer that was in great shape with rough paint. I stripped the frame and have heavily changed the parts over to reflect my dream bikes (Rene Herse, Toei ). This bike ride great! a little slow but very comfortable. I love your 70′s Meral! I would love to own one of those. Here is a link to some pictures (http://www.flickr.com/photos/83311771@N04/)

    - Cory

  3. Joshua says:

    So Happy to find this post! What an excellent example of this fine beast.
    I just acquired (for a hellofa deal) a 1979 Pro Tour in the champagne color, in my ideal size of 62cm, and it is a total time capsule just like this one! A good cleaning, lube, re-cabling, new tires, saddle and bar tape and it will be ready to last me until I am too old to ride :-)

    • Nola Wilken says:

      Hi Joshua, congratulations on your find. I hope you and your Pro Tour have many happy miles together! I have a Centurion Pro Tour Pinterest site, so if you want to share some photos I could post, just let me know.

      • Joshua says:

        I would be happy to do so as I start working on it. Just tell me where to send them.
        Also, did you happen to note the serial number from this bike? want to see how it compares to mine for date accuracy. thanks!

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