June 28, 2015


mrbrown1Stop in and show off yours!


For whatever reason the bikes that we see come through our doors follow a pattern.  They come in waves.  The latest wave has been in the form of late 80′s/90′s Centurion road and touring models.  I’ve seen enough come in, purchased, refurbished and sold that it seemed sensible to do some research and find out more about the now defunct brand.

To spare the long history, Centurion is a brand started by Mitchell Weiner and Junya Yamakoshi.  The brand was the on-road sibling to off-road Diamondback.  For more of the history on the origins of Centurion as well as their American distributor WSI, see here.

Centurion produced many models before their final demise in 2000 but we most commonly see the LeMans and Ironman series.  Many of these bikes are badged as being built with ‘Tange 1′ or ‘Tange 2′ tubing.  I’ve long been familiar with the Prestige tubeset from Tange and that along with the apparent quality in construction of the Centurions we’ve seen got me interested in the difference and comparative quality of these bikes vs. others of their era.


Long story short, both Tange 1 and 2 tube sets are a double butted CroMo steel tubeset, hence the relative lack of weight of these models.  The claimed weights of tubesets and frames built from them indicate that weights are comparable to the likes of Columbus SL and Reynolds 531. The model shown in the gallery below is the Ironman Master series (purple) and LeMans (yellow) which came equipped with Shimano 600 components and is built with the ever so much lighter Tange 1 tube set, the LeMans Tange 2.  The weight savings are negligible compared to the Tange 2 series tubes found on the LeMans and more budget minded models.

If the gallery below is no indication, quality and heritage aside, the Centurions certainly coveted a wild but classic paint scheme.  With graphics that scream the influence of Keith Haring and colors that give a even the likes of a John Slawta-built rig a run for its money on the brightness scale, every Centurion road model we see is unique, bold and just the right amount of silly.  Chime in if you have any important Centurion details that need mention. Otherwise, enjoy two of the models that walked through our door and influenced this post.


June 27, 2015


We’ve had a gaggle of Canadian visitors in the shop today.  They’ve reminded us of an important adage:  anything but apathetic.  No apathy in the bike shop (eh)!  That button is on point!


In case you didn’t know, we are now an official Surly dealer.  Surly has a long history of pushing the envelope and creating frames that are multipurpose and fun.  They can be credited with the mass development of the fat bike and 29+ markets and have never shied away from being a little out there.  Out there is good.

Many folks are familiar with the Cross Check, Long Haul Trucker and Karate Monkey.  Each of these models have solidified Surly’s place as a best in class model in their respective categories.  The Cross Check is the jack of all trades, likely the most popular model Surly has created.  The LHT has all but cornered the market on production touring bikes and is now available as a disc-equipped model.  The Karate Monkey has long been considered a front runner for a solid all around 29er that is equally satisfied ss or geared, rigid or with a front suspension.

While the Cross Check certainly is no race cx bike it can be a great bike for off road endeavors.  Still, those of us who spend a lot of time riding gravel, dirt roads or mixing it up by riding single track on non mountain bikes can find a few aspects of the Cross Check that leave it with room for improvement.


Enter the Straggler.  The Straggler is similar to the Cross Check in too many ways to make it worth delving into.  The most noticeable differences are the disc brake tabs over v-brake studs, the dedicated 135mm rear spacing (making it easy to swap your mtb or disc cx wheels in should that be a selling point), and a tweaked geometry.  The Straggler drops the bottom bracket an additional 6mm to 72mm.  Add to this variable chain stay lengths for different frame sizes and the Straggler achieves a much more stable ride quality more akin to a road bike but with the ability to handle a wider tire like the Cross Check.  Surly opted to keep with a semi-horizontal drop out so geared or ss use is easily accommodated.  Lastly, the Straggler is available in both 700c and 650b platform frames.  This not only allows smaller riders an equally smaller wheel size and thus allows their smallest frame/complete bike (a 38cm!) a more friendly stand over clearance, but also allows each of us to indulge in our inner retro grouch.

The gallery below is an example of the 700c offering in their ‘glitter dreams’ color way.  In typical Surly fashion the bike is also available in black.

June 26, 2015


In honor of the USWNT facing off against China this evening (watch it! support our women!) we leave you with a little bit of ‘mericuh.  Ride safe this weekend!  In the meantime take a look at this Outpost…