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Centurion Ironman Dave Scott: 30 Year Old Bike Review

The Centurion Ironman Dave Scott was a mid to high-level road bike designed for use in triathlons. They were manufactured in Japan between 1985 and 1989. Quite a few of these bikes were made so they are pretty easy to find on Craigslist and eBay. A Centurion Ironman in good condition can be had for around $300.

Centurion produces several different versions of the Ironman Dave Scott over the years. The original was made from 1985 to 1986. In 1987 the line split into two models called the Master and Expert. with the Expert being the higher range model. These were made from 1987 to 1989. An Expert Women’s version was produced in 1987.

Components

Based on the components and color scheme, I believe I had a 1985 model. It included:

  • Shimano 600EX groupset
  • Tange 1 steel frame
  • Shimano 600 downtube friction shifters
  • Shimano 600 hubs
  • Araya rims
  • Shimano 6 speed freewheel

The regular Ironman Dave Scott and the Master models come equipped with Shimano 600 components. The Expert version comes equipped with Shimano 105 components. Both are very reliable and of good quality. Shimano 105 are one level up from the Shimano 600.

The Ride

Even though mine had seen better days, it still rode fast and smooth. The highlights of this bike are the frame and wheels. The tange 1 steel frame is well made and of high quality. The bike has a comfortable but sporty geometry. For their day, the wheels were pretty high grade. They are light and sturdy.

Reliability

At the time, I wasn’t really into cycling and did pretty much zero maintenance other than adjusting the brakes when I got it. The bike took a beating and never left me stranded. I rode this thing pretty rough, occasionally going over curbs and hitting potholes. I never broke a spoke.

Who This Bike is Good For

This is a great bike for someone who is just getting into road cycling. It also makes a good commuter or around town bike. Rather than spending thousands of dollars on a new road bike, you can pick up one of these used and get started for a few hundred bucks. Because this bike was a higher end model for its day, it still holds up compared to low to medium level modern equipment. If you are on a tight budget, this is a much better choice than a department store bike.

What I Don’t Like

I had only owned mountain bikes before I bought the Centurion Ironman. The only downside of this bike for me is the down tube shifters. They take a bit of getting used to but are low maintenance and shift smooth.

Another thing that may bother some people is the color scheme depending on the year and model you get. These bikes were made in the 80s and have a very 80s look. Many feature bright pink, purple, yellow, or green paint jobs. I prefer less flashy colors but that is a personal preference. Lucky for me, mine was dark gray with quite a bit of rust.

Final Thoughts About the Centurion Ironman Dave Scott

The Centurion Ironman Dave Scott was my first road bike. I bought the rusty old bike on Craigslist for about $150. For two years I commuted to school and around town on it while I was living in Santa Barbara. At the time, I thought of it as just an old beater bike to ride around town. As I learned more about the model, I really grew to appreciate it.

Do you ride a Centurion Ironman Dave Scott? Share your experience in the comments below!

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Brett

Sunday 15th of August 2021

I have a Marine Green and White 1988 Ironman Expert 58cm.. Did lots of triathlons on it in the late 80's early 90's. I upgraded the 6 speed 105 drive train to a 600 7 speed. Still riding it today. New saddle and tires that's it, other than replacing the front wheel after a bike crash around 1990. Great bike. Nice and quick.

wheretheroadforks

Friday 27th of August 2021

That's awesome. It's amazing how long bikes will last if they're taken care of.

Peter Comstock

Monday 19th of July 2021

Also, bit of back story for your FYI on the bike production line: The ironman series was a contribution product from Dave Scott, a multi-time winner of the Hawaii Ironman, ergo the signature/name on the frame, that prior to pure based triathlon bikes that exist today was a design that Dave envisioned for a more applicable, comfortable ride within the sport of triathlon. Along with the BISPACE crank, if you compare the rake, and overall length of the frame of a centurion master, expert, or elite model to another frame design for what was intended to be a road/race bike of the day the centurion is slightly longer to accommodate comfort for a triathlete trying to lay over the top of the bike during particular long rides. I both trained, and did stage races at the Casper Classic, Dupont Classic, and others where I was on the saddle for 100-200 miles at a time. In full comparison, the fatigue I would experience on the Cent was slightly less than a race frame (Trek, Giant, Cannondale, etc) Cents were kinda like the Ford Mustang GT to the other brands in terms of price, components installed, but it was a platform that held its own against others that were in the 1-2K USD range. Being from Wyoming, it was a good reliable bike for the weather, wind, and angry truckers. I also got hit by cars 3 times on mine and both the frame and fork remain true. That Japanese steel and flanged joints of the frame are no joke.

wheretheroadforks

Friday 30th of July 2021

Lots of interesting info here. Thanks for taking the time to write this out. I didn't really know the difference between the Ironman geometry and other road and racing geometries from the 80s. I have a Biopace crankset on a Schwinn High Sierra from around the same era. I think I prefer round chainrings but I see why people would prefer the elyptical shape.

Peter Comstock

Monday 19th of July 2021

I have had my Master from new back in the 80's, with the white with grey fade paint scheme. Had the 600 group of parts with the Biospace triple ring crankset. Put on about 45000 miles during the years I raced/trained on it. I didn't get on a saddle for about 12 years, but when it came to doing so again I brought the old Cent out of retirement. I upgraded to the newer 105 group about 2 years ago, fitted it for shifters on the handle bars. I had to open up the spread in the back for the rear to take modern cassettes, but it now is as good as gold. Side note though, originally the 600 Shimano was the mid-top of line group, above the 105 back in the late 80s. Nowadays the modern 105 is considered the equivalent of the 600 from back then, but only due to modernization and better construction. I actually went full 105 for the build I just did on mine, keeping all the original parts, due to it being an equivalent to what I had experience with. The price tag of 1400 USD was a lot cheaper in the long run for a training bike build, than the SRAM I wish listed for at around 3800 USD. Back on those old vintage cents the group sets went from 105 to 600 to Durace from cheapest to most expensive. All sets were reliable, and like I mentioned earlier, were perfectly capable of putting a massive amount of work to without major complications, repair, if maintained properly. If yours has the BIOSPACE crank, keep it. The slightly oblong, elliptical shape it has was a design feature to smooth out your cadence, provide a smoother pedal flow.

Daniel Capalbo

Friday 7th of May 2021

I have a 1987 Centurion ironman dave scott. I believe it's a 54 cm frame. Two tone red and white. Its the expert model with shimano 105 components. Tange 1 chromoly steel frame. It's in good overall condition. Some scratches. All the original parts except for the that someone replaced with an aftermarket one. And it's missing the reflectors. I paid 500 dollars for it December 2019. It's been a great bike. I love it.

wheretheroadforks

Monday 17th of May 2021

Sounds like a beauty. That 105 groupset is great.

Steve Campbell

Sunday 14th of March 2021

I have a Save Scott carbon framed Ironman truathalon bike that I would like to k ow more about. If I sent you some pics would you be willing to give me some info on it?

wheretheroadforks

Monday 15th of March 2021

You can send me some pics if you like but I don't know if I can tell you much about it. I didn't even know a carbon fiber version was available. I just did a quick search and it looks like the carbon model was made for one year only in 1989.

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