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Centurion 1985 "Cinelli" Equipe

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Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
I am getting one (due in this week) of these bikes (less wheels, pedals, and saddle), but I was unaware of the mystery/history surrounding them. I think it could be made into a short movie.

I found the reasoning behind the marketing concept to be fairly sound: sell a higher end Italian bike made by a well established builder, imported, "rebranded", and sold through a well established bike dealer/distributor (in this case Western States Imports (WSI)/Centurion, and Bikeology) to the well-heeled Americans wanting a high end Italian racer without the high cost. Supposedly, the design concept to use a bunch of different companies for the components came about from seeing average Italians riding race bikes built up with a melange of manufacturers' parts being used. The Italians did this out of economical necessity, but wealthy Americans didn't want a brand new bike that had a hodge-podge of parts; especially from companies they most likely weren't familiar with except maybe Campagnolo and Cinelli (bike's parts manufacturers: Cinelli, Campagnolo, OFMEGA, Fiamme, Miche, Universal, Gipiemme, Vittorio, Regina). I think that is what did it in, along with some poor parts selection, and lack of marketing. I am not sure if I could name another stock racing bike that used that many different suppliers. Technically, Cinelli was controlled by Columbus at that time, but you could add Columbus as another supplier that helped outfit the bike.
The first version was the "Cinelli Project" Centurion which anecdotal evidence has it being available in 1983 and shown in a Bikeology catalog (circa '83-'84). These were very limited and I believe were full Campagnolo bikes (Nuovo Record?). Their fork crown (more Cinelli SC style) was different than the "Equipe" of 1985 and the frame had no chrome on the lugs. Some folks call them "Equipe" prototypes, but you don't send prototypes out into the general public. I look at them more as marketing bikes since only a few were distributed and apparently only one was given to any specific shop. It may have been the thought that "Joe" buys this cool bike that nobody else has, but now others want one and cannot get one creating the demand for the bikes you plan on selling in volume the folliwing year. Unfortunately, even though the Centurion "Cinelli Equipe"" looked cool it got "cheapened" by its parts, their quality, and some compatibility issues between them.
I do not know how many "Project" or "Equipe" bikes were made and imported. I assume the "Project" bikes were about 10 (?), and have heard the "Equipe" bikes only had 50 , 100, 150, or one shipping container full. Also, the possibility exists where Cinelli marketed surplus frames in Europe after the deal ended.
I would like to know how many of these were made. It would help me in deciding whether to rebuild as a stock bike and preserve or just build to ride and/or sell without concern towards accuracy.
The bike I am getting is fairly original: Campy N. Record RD/FD/shifters; OFMEGA Mistral crankset/BB; Universal AER brakes. Missing "GPM" seat post, Cinelli "Volare" saddle, Universal AER levers, Miche/Fiamme wheelset, OFMEGA Sintesi pedals, Regina chain amd FW.
I will not worry about 100% rebuild other than to find a Cinelli saddle (I have a new Unicantor), "GPM" seat post ( I have on hand), and Universal LR-1 or 2 levers. Pedals will be period Looks, and wheels will be whatever fits the need.
 
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Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
Photo of bike before I get it delivered:
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Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
I hope I have a Cinelli Volare saddle (OE on this bike) in my shop somewhere. The Unicanitor is hard as a rock (and it's padded!) compared to the early plastic only models. Now I know why I never used it. It may go with the bike upon selling if I part with it (my first, and only Cinelli frame). The early Volare models are comfortable, but even in moderate condition used ones would cost me on average $75 or more.
Boxed bike waiting at my door when I got home from work so I'll see what I have this weekend and scare up a set of wheels to give it a spin.
Not sure I can stand the cockpit treatment, but it might look better in the light of day. OE Cinelli bar and stem are gone, but I have plenty to swap if needed; I have no idea what bar and stem it has now since it was not my primary conern except knowing they were not OE.
 

Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
Too tired to unpack except to verify no obvious damage.
After seeing it close-up, the decals appear to be self-destructing; but from what I can see so far, the paint (excluding a couple small nicks) and chrome are excellent.

ITM stem (steel Eclypse) is a little out of place, but still a nice component; no idea what the bar is on it.

Universal calipers are in great condition. I've never used AER brakes and have read that they do not perform well. Not sure if that was from someone using the plastic LR-1/2 levers. I cannot see why those calipers would not work well with the alloy levers; the arms seem to be robust enough. If used with plastic levers I think the feel would be affected. I have some Campy Xenon levers and they will make a decent brakeset feel horrible also.

Some quick pics for now while it's halfway unwrapped:
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Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
Project is progressing. I found my Cinelli saddle, but I need a 27.2mm GPM seat post to mount for OE purposes; otherwise anything that fits and is Italian will suffice. The clamp was closed down some from use of a 27.0mm post, but it is 27.2mm (I had thought Cinelli kept their seat lug around 26.2 or 26.4mm).
I am passing on the OFMEGA Sintesi pedals; they are just too problematic to be riding on; but the Campy Xenon pedals which are similar seem to work just fine so I'll substitute those for now. Cockpit will stay the same; cable housings are horrendous and will go by the wayside; replace with black or gray (need to order some).
I received a 9 speed Shimano cassette (? model) with the bike (no wheels/hubs), but I'm going to put on a 6/7 speed FW (probably SunTour).
RD is Pat. 84.
ST: 56cm c-c
TT: 56.5 c-c
HT: 140mm
Rear: 126mm

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Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
I am not knowledgeable about the Mistral crankset. I was told that the BB assy. was specific to the cranks.
A standard Italian threaded square taper BB won't work? It looks normal from the outside and the example I saw on velobase does not seem any different than your typical BB.
It seems odd. Possibly the individual was thinking of something else.
The OFMEGA BB turns smoothly so it is not a concern at present.
 

Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
Continuing to gather parts to finish the build. Some parts OE (Cinelli Volare saddle), some period correct (late model Cinelli 1A stem, Campy Triomphe brake levers w/orig. hoods), and a couple early 90s (Campy Xenon pedals, Cinelli Perfection bar). Seat post and wheels undecided on.

The Xenon pedals look very similar to the OFMEGA Sintesi pedals, but neither are what I consider to be aethetically pleasing compared to other period pedals (I like Campy Triomphe pedals and have some on hand if need be).
The stem should be a Cinelli 1R (which I have many, but most are panto'd for other marques or are missing that darn clamp hardware [anyone got spares?]). I already had a "new" cockpit built for a Tommasini that hasn't seen the light of day (big frame [58?], need to sell) so I will use it on the Centurion instead, sans the red tape and vinyl, and Tommi plugs. Rare for me to use white tape on a personal bike due to soiling (Tommi has a black frame w/white decals so the look was decent), will change to gray when white wrap starts looking dirty. The cockpit presently installed just does not "float my boat" after viewing it for a couple weeks. I thought it would grow on me, and it did; but like a wart in the anal sphincter of progress. It will be better placed on a '92 purple and fuchsia Basso Astra.

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