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The "other" 1990 DiamondBack Centurion Interval thread

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The "other" 1990 DiamondBack Centurion Interval thread

Old 09-24-19, 06:11 PM
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The "other" 1990 DiamondBack Centurion Interval thread

I have a thread asking about the 3 X 9 drivetrain for this and I piggy backed a tiny bit on @Tiny1990's thread about his but I decided to start a separate "build" thread as there seems to be a bit more interest in these bikes lately and I thought some of the other Diamondback/Centurion devotees might like to see the build as it progresses. Or not.

I pulled mine down tonight and began cleaning and polishing the frame and fork. The frame shined up nicely and just needed some minor touch up, the fork was badly dulled and had a long scrape down the back of each blade, down to bare metal in places. I rubbed it out with some 3M fine cut polishing compound and got it back up to a semi-gloss finish. I took some Dupli-Color automotive gloss black touch up paint and filled the scratches. I'll let it dry a few days then go back with rubbing compound, bring the touch up spots down to the level of the factory paint and them go after the fork with micro fine polishing compound to see if I can bring back more shine. I did this on a really deep and wide scrape on the top tube on a Bianchi Volpe with great results, unless the light hit it just right you couldn't see it and it was right up on top. These scratches aren't nearly as bad and are in a much less visible area. If I can't bring the shine back back then I'll give it a coat of Rustoleum clear enamel. You can't really see any of this in the pictures so I won't bore you with those.

The top headset bearing was missing a couple balls, 2 were ground flat on one side and the cage was bent. Fortunately there was no damage to the cup or cone and I had a replacement bearing in the parts stash. I suspect mine may have been robbed and the damaged one put in it's place because it didn't come with the headset mounted reflector bracket shown in the pictures so I know it was taken apart before it was shipped to me. I haven't pulled the BB yet but it feels pretty smooth, once I get the fork back in I'll put it on my trusty old Blackburn Workhorse stand and pull it for a clean and grease.

Plenty more to come later. BUT.... just in case there's someone who hasn't seen it, which is hard to imagine LOL, here is what I'm starting with. It looks a LOT better as of a half hour ago. Purchased off Ebay about 4-1/2 years ago and hung up in the rafters until just a few days ago. I've bought and used 2 other sets of parts for it and they both ended up on something else. It's time has finely come. I'm going heavy on black components and accessories with just a touch of stainless, polished aluminum and chrome to break it up. It "may" get a set of black fenders as well. We'll see when I get it built up with the wheels on it.

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Old 09-24-19, 08:44 PM
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I'm going to sound dumb, but I'm kind of used to that. I know Centurion is a brand. (I have an 87 Centurion Ironman in my garage), but is it related to Diamondback? Is this a later model of the bike I have--a merging of two brands? Can you educate me on this?
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Old 09-25-19, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by TriBiker19 View Post
I'm going to sound dumb, but I'm kind of used to that. I know Centurion is a brand. (I have an 87 Centurion Ironman in my garage), but is it related to Diamondback? Is this a later model of the bike I have--a merging of two brands? Can you educate me on this?
You lucky dog, the Iron Man is on my shopping list.

Both brands were distributed by Western States Industries. In 1990 they began to bring the Centurion road bikes under the better known DiamondBack MTB name and used both names on the road bikes. In 1991 they dropped Centurion from the name, not necessarily a great move marketing wise. I also have one of the 1991 bikes, a slightly lower level Momentum but alas, no '89 or older "pure" Centurions......... yet.

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Old 09-25-19, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by TriBiker19 View Post
I'm going to sound dumb, but I'm kind of used to that. I know Centurion is a brand. (I have an 87 Centurion Ironman in my garage), but is it related to Diamondback? Is this a later model of the bike I have--a merging of two brands? Can you educate me on this?
Centurion, a brand offered by Western States Imports? (I'll just use WSI) was sort of "merged" into Diamondback when WSI decided the mountain bike craze was the way to put most of their eggs into one basket.

The "transition" on the marketing side seemed to begin with the last 1989 Centurions, some of which sported Avenir logos. Many 1990 Diamondbacks also had a Centurion logo integrated into their graphics scheme, plus the Avenir logos. The names sort of merged as well, as there was an Expert and Master designation of some Diamondback models, akin to the Ironman Expert and Master of the '87-'89 years. My guess is that WSI wanted to link the two in the minds of buyers. If they could have prolonged the Ironman approach and name through the difficult 90's, perhaps there'd be an Ironman now, for the masses. (As far as I'm concerned, Wraith now carries that torch).

T-Mar would know of the manufacturing side changes, I'm sure.

After having worked on many, many Centurions and maybe a dozen Diamondbacks, my guess is the Lemans RS became a lugged Diamondback model, and perhaps an Ironman became one, but the geometry seems a bit off for that one. There were certainly some heavy, ponderous lugged Diamondbacks, but I don't remember their model names.

Once the frames went OS and TIG, I have no idea how it all shook out, but I've seen a couple that looked pretty aggressive. The forks certainly look a lot like the unicrowns on the later Centurions, but I relate the later Ironman forks to the Schwinn OS Series Paramounts more than I do to the Diamondbacks.

There are some serious, very serious carbon Diamondback racing bikes. Yeah, I'd like one.

That's all I have.
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Old 09-25-19, 05:04 AM
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As I understand it, WSI did not have the rights to the Centurion name in all markets, and it made sense to consolidate everything under one name as they expanded.
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Old 09-25-19, 05:32 AM
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Thank you, guys! (Sorry to hijack your thread, Murray.)
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Old 09-25-19, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by TriBiker19 View Post
Thank you, guys! (Sorry to hijack your thread, Murray.)
No need to apologize, I filled in some gaps in my knowledge of the marque from some of the other responses. Glad to have the interest.
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Old 09-25-19, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by TriBiker19 View Post
I'm going to sound dumb, but I'm kind of used to that. I know Centurion is a brand. (I have an 87 Centurion Ironman in my garage), but is it related to Diamondback? Is this a later model of the bike I have--a merging of two brands? Can you educate me on this?
The previous posts are correct but are missing a couple of important pieces of the puzzle, which may aid understanding. Mitch Weiner a California based bicycle distributor had created Centurion after a 1969 deal with Raleigh fell through and he was left with a batch of Raleigh Grand Prix that he had sourced from Tano of Japan. He was reading The New Centurions at the time and decided that Centurion would be a good brand name to sell the bicycles under. Sales were good and he decided to market the brand in earnest. In the late 1970s , he created the Diamond Back brand for a line of BMX bicycles and also applied it to ATBs when his company started marketed them in the mid-1980s. Consequently, Centurion and Diamond Back were sister brands of Weiner's company, Western States Imports (WSI).

In the late 1980s Weiner went through a divorce and heart surgery, This, in combination with a forecast sales loss for 1989, made him decide to sell his company along with the Centurion and Diamond Back brands. One of his suppliers, China Bicycle Company (CBC) came forward with an offer that Weiner and his minority partner accepted. The sale became effective in late 1989, for the 1990 model year.

CBC had purchased WSI primarily to ensure product to fill its factories but it also had the ambition of becoming a major world player along with Giant and Merida, the two biggest Asian manufacturers, who were then just starting to market globally under their own brand names. Centurion was well known throughout the world but WSI did not have a global trademark for Centurion. Instead, there were regional owners. The Diamond Back brand did not have this complication. The time and money required for CBC to acquire all the Centurion regional trademarks was not worth their effort. Consequently, they decided to consolidate the road, hybrid, ATB and BMX lines under the Diamond Back brand. In addition, it timed nicely with the expiration of Dave Scott's endorsement contract for the Centurion Ironman models. Basically, CBC sacrificed the Centurion brand in the USA, to build Diamond Back into a globally recognizable, all encompassing brand.

From a marketing and global sales perspective this was the smart thing to do. The USA road bicycle market was a very small piece of the global pie and one that was shrinking, while ATB and hybrid sales were growing. Even in the USA, by 1990, the Diamond Back name had a higher recognition factor than Centurion. CBC wanted a build a prestigious brand with no national borders, similar to Raleigh. Which is ironic, given that Centurion had been created out of a failed Raleigh deal. The ultimate irony is that Diamondback (now one word) and Raleigh would become sister brands in 1999, when control of the brand was purchased by Derby International. In 2000, the bicycles were even marketed as Raleigh-Diamondback in some markets.
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Old 09-25-19, 08:34 AM
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So does this mean that there are comparable Raleigh models to those early Centurions and Diamond backs, or once the split happened, the "new" company's models changed completely?
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Old 09-25-19, 08:54 AM
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And now (2019) Raleigh and DB are divorced again...
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Old 09-25-19, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by TriBiker19 View Post
So does this mean that there are comparable Raleigh models to those early Centurions and Diamond backs, or once the split happened, the "new" company's models changed completely?
I don't know, but I've had my hands on dozens of Raleighs and scores of Centurions, and they never, ever felt the same.
The only guy I knew who had a "thing" for both was my friend @cehowardGS. Maybe he had an innate sense.
I still keep a Raleigh Competition around, for no other reason than it was his favorite bike.

As if I have feelings.
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Old 09-25-19, 06:19 PM
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Got a fair amount done after my Dr's. appointment this afternoon. The frame is on the stand and the brake calipers, derailleurs and bottle cages are mounted. Found out that Kenda Qwest 700c X 32 tires won't fit but Continental Contact 700c X 28's will. The 32's rubbed on the underside of the rear brake bridge and the fork crown. I also can't run fenders as the rear fender hits on the front derailleur clamp. The fork turned out "good enough" and with it on the bike you can't see the touch up areas. I'm hoping the Diamond Back Momentum I picked up has more relaxed geometry and I can use the 700c X 32's and fenders on it. Once I get a few more pieces installed I'll take some pictures, it's looking pretty good.
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Old 09-25-19, 07:41 PM
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Those are good frames to hang parts off of. Wish I could have located an orange or pink one with black splatter.
mine is a 91 expert but just a tad small.
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Old 09-25-19, 07:52 PM
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A woman owned 'start up' bike shop is offering this fairly clean DB-IV with the forgotten Shimano 500. Smoke on white. I forget exactly but the price was most nominal. Fellow in the shop claimed its fully serviced with new rubba', paddy saddy and whatever Gucci treatment 💀

Disclosure: No connection to seller.



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Old 09-25-19, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by crank_addict View Post
A woman owned 'start up' bike shop is offering this fairly clean DB-IV with the forgotten Shimano 500. Smoke on white. I forget exactly but the price was most nominal. Fellow in the shop claimed its fully serviced with new rubba', paddy saddy and whatever Gucci treatment 💀

Disclosure: No connection to seller.



Wow, that's pretty.
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Old 09-25-19, 10:04 PM
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Cool thread Murray, sounds like you are going a bit Black Lightening with this build do you have any components to share with us yet? I occasionally see the early 90s DB road bikes but not that often, I have been looking at late 80s and early 90s stuff lately to source a wheel-set for a build and its cheaper to find a deal for a full bike locally than to have 700c wheels shipped. What I find is that most of these bikes didn't survive the 30 years with a matched wheel-set intact. Have fun with the build, looking forward to more posts.
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Old 09-25-19, 11:39 PM
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@Murray Missile mine (Expert TG) appears to have clearance for 25 under the fork but it's the end of the steerer, not the brake, in the way. It would do more with some filing. Plenty more room in the rear.
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Old 09-26-19, 05:19 PM
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Pics or it didn't happen.......

Some key hardware is soaking in white vinegar and I'm waiting on another part so I decided to take a few pics.



Finding this forgotten in a box is what triggered the whole thing. I was standing there looking at it and then looked up and there was the poor old Interval, I decided that was a good home for the crankset and things just kind of snowballed.



With Avenir on the frame it was only natural that I put these into action......




Tektro R540 brake calipers, well one of them anyway.....


And a DiamondBack threadless stem and matching bars, I'm not married to these though. I'll see how much I like them when it gets time to wrap the bars. I haven't decided on red or black for the bar wrap but I'm leaning toward red.




Here's the Momentum, the bars, stem and wheels didn't come with it but I figure I have about $10 in it as purchased. It has the same tire clearance issues as the Interval.

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Old 09-28-19, 06:43 PM
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No physical progress today but I decided to use a different set of wheels and I found a better looking threadless stem adapter in the parts for another project that has been mothballed. I'm hoping to get it wrapped up in the next few days..
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Old 09-28-19, 06:52 PM
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Looks good so far sir!
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Old 09-29-19, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by TriBiker19 View Post
So does this mean that there are comparable Raleigh models to those early Centurions and Diamond backs, or once the split happened, the "new" company's models changed completely?
The bicycle industry is so competitive that for any given era and price point you can find comparable models for different brands. In the case of very early 1970s Raleigh and Centurion, there were marked differences in components given their sources but a decided similarity in graphics. This stemmed primarily from the similar sizes and locations of the contrasting panels but even extended to the font employed for the brand and model names. A knowledgeable cyclist could spot the differences but the initial graphic resemblance wass so strong that, even from a a relatively short distance, the average consumer could easily confuse a very early 1970s Centurion LeMans for a Raleigh Grand Prix. Within a few years time these cosmetic similarities would start to disappear, though the models would grow more similar in componentry, as Raleigh shifted from European to Japanese components.

Edit: Attached are pictures of a circa 1972 Centurion LeMans (yellow) and Raleigh Grand Prix (red). Initial impression to the average person is that they could be the same bicycle but in different colours. However, this is solely due to the graphics. Closer examination, reveals different components, lugs, frame features, etc.

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Old 09-29-19, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
This is nearly a twin to the '72 GP I got for my birthday 48 years ago today, well I got half for my birthday and I paid for the other half. Mine had red bar tape with white hoods and cable housings and of course wasn't faded. I've been trying to find another one like it but in a 25" frame. When I do find one in decent shape it's the wrong year, wrong color, insanely priced, a 1,000 miles away with insane shipping costs or all of the aforementioned. I don't think it's meant to be.
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Old 09-30-19, 01:54 PM
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Too much red with the wheels? And would red bar tape be over the top with these wheels? I have a set of red cables but I think those would be too much so I'm sticking with the braided platinum cable housings. The 700 X 28 tire rubs on the bottom of the steerer tube a little so I'll have to fire up the die grinder but I have a mile of clearance in back.

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Old 09-30-19, 02:56 PM
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I think red bar tape would look slick with those wheels and agree red cable housing might be a bit over the top or you could go black bar tape and red housing. Looking sweet
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Old 09-30-19, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ryansu View Post
I think red bar tape would look slick with those wheels and agree red cable housing might be a bit over the top or you could go black bar tape and red housing. Looking sweet
Thanks. When I started out today it wasn't even on my mind to put these wheels on it, I was moving them from one of my other bikes, the wheels that had been on this were going on that bike with larger tires and a different set were going on this with these tires. I leaned one of these up against the bike and danged if it didn't look good. Couldn't tell you how many tire changes I've done today LOL but at least 4 sets. Black bar tape with red cables............ hmmmm......... I like that idea.
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