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Centurion was a brand of bicycles created in 1969 by Mitchell (Mitch) M. Weiner and Junya (Cozy) Yamakoshi, who co-founded Western States Import Co. (WSI) in Canoga Park, California (initially Wil-Go Imports) to design, specify, distribute and market the bicycles. The bikes themselves were manufactured initially in Japan by companies including H. Tano Company of Kobe and later in Taiwan by companies including Merida. The Centurion brand was consolidated with WSI's mountain bike brand Diamond Back in 1990. WSI ceased operations in 2000. Centurion and WSI competed in the U.S. against domestic and European bicycle manufacturers including Schwinn, Raleigh, Peugeot, Gitane and Motobecane — as well as other nascent Japanese bicycle brands including Miyata, Fuji, Bridgestone, Panasonic, Univega, Lotus and Nishiki — itself a line of Japanese-manufactured bicycles that were specified, distributed and marketed by West Coast Cycles — a U.S. company similar to WSI. Japanese-manufactured bikes succeeded in the U.S. market until currency fluctuations in the late 1980s made them less competitive, leading companies to source bicycles from Taiwan. WSI marketed the Centurion brand of road and touring bicycles in the United States using the tag line "Where Centurion leads, others must follow" and "A Lifetime Bicycle", offering a warranty without time limit. For a brief period the bikes carried a "Centurion Bicycle Works" headbadge. The German company Centurion, which still exists, imported Centurion bikes from Japan to Germany from 1976 on and bought the name-rights in 1990.
The Raleigh Bicycle Company is a bicycle manufacturer based in Nottingham, England. Founded by Woodhead and Angois in 1885, who used Raleigh as their brand name, it is one of the oldest bicycle companies in the world. After being acquired by Frank Bowden, it became The Raleigh Cycle Company in December 1888, which was registered as a limited liability company in January 1889. By 1913, it was the biggest bicycle manufacturing company in the world. From 1921 to 1935, Raleigh also produced motorcycles and three-wheel cars, leading to the formation of the Reliant Company. The Raleigh division of bicycles is currently owned by the Dutch corporation Accell. In 2006, the Raleigh Chopper was named in the list of British design icons in the Great British Design Quest organised by the BBC and the Design Museum.
The Schwinn Bicycle Company was founded by German-born mechanical engineer Ignaz Schwinn (1860–1945) in Chicago in 1895. It became the dominant manufacturer of American bicycles through most of the 20th century. After declaring bankruptcy in 1992, Schwinn has since been a sub-brand of Pacific Cycle, owned by the multi-national conglomerate, Dorel Industries.