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