Sunday, October 30, 2011

Centurion Lugged Frame

Nothing relaxes me more than spending Saturday morning taking a bike apart and cleaning out everything down to the frame and fork.  Having gotten up later than I would have liked, I skipped riding yesterday altogether and instead cleaned out the Centurion frame to get ready for my rat rod bike build.  This Japanese lugged frame from the 70s (including bottom bracket and headset) weighed in at 8.8 lbs -- which is really heavy compared to carbon or aluminum frames today.  However, the lug-work is exquisite to the point, I think, where it's definitely a work of art.  They don't make detailed design like this anymore.  This is the first time I've overhauled a bike in over a decade and I realized how much I miss the spending the time just alone to my thoughts.  A little different than alone thought while riding, which is a little less relaxing since I have to watch out for cars and other road hazards.  I will not repaint this frame but maybe put a clear coat on it to prevent further rust.  I knew the bike had good bones the minute I saw the Craigslist pic.  I do think that bike manufacturers will someday sell new bikes with this worn, distressed look, just like Fender and other guitar manufacturers sell "new" vintage stuff.

I will keep the original bottom bracket and headset.  I truly believe that these bearings have already settled into their housings and even though it's tempting to replace them, it really is better.  The ball bearings were perfect when I unpacked them with nice, thick grease that took a half hour to fully clean out.

The welded rear derailleur hanger is rare for a bike from the 70s.  Most mid-level bikes back then used clamp-ons which was not as mechanically rigid as these.  I do need to get some chrome polish to spot clean some rust spots.

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