OVER THE LAST four years, I've bought on e Bay and elsewhere five Centurion-branded bikes of different models and have become interested in their origins and relative quality.I'm not an expert on the subject but since there seems to be no Centurion expert on the Web, I thought I would just throw out what I know.

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While Weiner focused on running the business and on marketing, "Cozy" Yamakoshi served as WSI's product development manager, doing most of the frame design work and coordinating and supervising the manufacture of his creations in Japan and exporting them to the US.

The earliest models of the Centurion line had high-tensile steel frames but by the late 1970s and into the early 1980s Centurion's pricier models, such as the Professional and Semi-Professional (late 1970s), Pro-Tour (late 1970s to early 1980s) and the Turbo and Comp TA models (early 1980s) featured Tange's high-end Champion #1 or #2 tubing, a double-butted, seamless chromium-molybdenum (Cr Mo) steel alloy.

The difference in weight between Champion #1 and #2 tubing (and the later high-end tubing used for Centurions, simply labeled Tange #1 and Tange #2 by about 1985) was so small (less than 3oz for a 58cm c-c frame, all eight tubes) that it seems a bit silly to debate supposed frame quality differences between these two high-end tubesets.

The thing to remember is that the high-end Tange tubesets were high-quality Cr Mo steel which were on a par with high-end Columbus SL/SP (Cr Mo) and Reynolds 531 (manganese-molybdenum) tubesets.

Tange's seamed Infinity Cr Mo tubing began replacing high-tensile tubing on mid-priced Centurion models, such as the popular Le Mans RS, Super Le Mans and Le Mans Mixte models, by the early 1980s.

Lower- end models of this period featured Infinity tubing for the three main tubes and high-tensile tubing for seat and chain stays and fork blades.

In the highly competitive market of the late 1980s, Centurion's mid-priced models boasted Tange #1 and #2 tubing for the three main tubes and use of high-tensile steel became a thing of the past for even entry-level machines as Infinity replaced it.