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  1. #1
    sultan of schwinn EjustE's Avatar
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    Quick question about MAFAC brakes

    Was the "Competition" higher in the pecking order than the "Racer"? (I am talking 60s and 70s for reference).

    Merci beaucoup
    -E

    still stuck in the '80s; '70s were good as well, but i severely dislike tubulars.
    I tri...

  2. #2
    perpetually frazzled mickey85's Avatar
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    I believe they were similar, but at different times. The competition replaced the Racer.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/mafac.html

    There's some more info for you to chew on.
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  3. #3
    sultan of schwinn EjustE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickey85 View Post
    I believe they were similar, but at different times. The competition replaced the Racer.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/mafac.html

    There's some more info for you to chew on.
    Thanks, but not the second generation Competition. There was a first generation Competition that was contemporary with Racer in the very late 60s and very early 70s. Racer was made since the 50s and into the 80s when the second generation Competition was born (late 70s). So they were contemporary at 2 points in time. I am interested in the first time overlap. (and I hate to dispute Sheldon's timeline, but Velobase also does)
    -E

    still stuck in the '80s; '70s were good as well, but i severely dislike tubulars.
    I tri...

  4. #4
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    Yes, the 70s Competition was a step above the Racer: slightly nicer/sleeker finish/design, different straddle wire, same pads/shoes I think. Came on the better French bikes, PX10, top Merciers, can't remember what else. The Racer was the basic Mafac brake came on everything from the bottom to the top. I used both versions, though not lately: honestly I don't think there's much performance difference. The Competition just looked nicer.

  5. #5
    perpetually frazzled mickey85's Avatar
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    When I was looking at cyclespeugeot.com, I checked the catalogs that had specifications, and in '73 and '74, even the PX10 had Racers. I made the ASSumption that Sheldon was right in his chronology based on that. Guess I was wrong. Sorry !
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    Quote Originally Posted by EjustE View Post
    Was the "Competition" higher in the pecking order than the "Racer"? (I am talking 60s and 70s for reference).
    Yes (like dbakl said before)

    Early "Competition" has different straddle cable (with relieve grip at one end) and is generally a bit nicer/slimmer than "Racer".
    Main difference is shorter reach.

    Extract from Jan Heine-article from "Bicycle Quarterly" Winter 2008 ("Slow down"):

    "...in 1970, Mafac introduced the "Competition" (...) with a shorter reach, a narrower profile and better finish to counter the popularity of Campagnolos high-end side pull brakes. In 1973, the "2000" followed, offering the same high-end finish as the "Competition" with the longer reach of the "Racer".

  7. #7
    Senior Member ftwelder's Avatar
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    Hmmm, I have a set of CLD racers as well as some Mafac racers and the CLD seem to be much higher quality. I don't see much about these. I now wonder if what I think is a CLD is actually Mafac racer II ?


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    Quote Originally Posted by ftwelder View Post
    Hmmm, I have a set of CLD racers as well as some Mafac racers and the CLD seem to be much higher quality. I don't see much about these. I now wonder if what I think is a CLD is actually Mafac racer II ?

    I believe those are "CLB" brakes (rather than "CLD"). CLB made some very nice brakes, including some well-known trick lightweight sets that found their way onto many time-trial and climbing specials in the 80's.
    (CLB did make a "Racer" model apparently patterned after Mafac's.)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Competitions have brass bushings at the arm pivots where Racers have plastic.

    My '74 PX10LE came with Competitions. The '74 PX10E came with Racers and was a few dollars cheaper.

    I don't believe there is any significant difference in reach, but you can check here:

    http://www.velo-pages.com/main.php?g...geViewsIndex=1
    Last edited by Grand Bois; 06-18-10 at 06:11 AM.

  10. #10
    sultan of schwinn EjustE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
    Competitions have brass bushings at the arm pivots where Racers have plastic.

    My '74 PX10LE came with Competitions. The '74 PX10E came with Racers and was a few dollars cheaper.

    I don't believe there is any significant difference in reach, but you can check here:

    http://www.velo-pages.com/main.php?g...geViewsIndex=1
    Thanks. Looks that the do differ in reach as far as the ones listed in the 79 catalog go; each model comes with 3 cage types: short, long and adjustable and for Racer the respective reach of each is 48.5-63, 53.5-68, 55.5-75 while for Competition it is 44-54, 49-59, 51-66. That catalog though lists what I call second generation, the one with the model stamp instead of the early ones that had the engraving of the model name next to MAFAC pretty much the whole length of the arm, like so:



    (seen there in an unfortunate 700 tubular to 27 clicher conversion on my TdF by a PO, thus the move of the shoes all the way up.) Did your TdF come with Competition or Racer brakes?
    -E

    still stuck in the '80s; '70s were good as well, but i severely dislike tubulars.
    I tri...

  11. #11
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    My TdF came with Competitions, but the front brake is slightly too long, even with 700c wheels and the slotted mount.

    The big problem with that brake is that the bridge wires are unobtainable. I've made them by soldering brass tubing ends to pieces of cable.


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
    Competitions have brass bushings at the arm pivots where Racers have plastic.
    I believe the early Racers (labeled Dura Forge, but same design) had brass bushings too.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Dural Forge? They had a different name and different construction. It's a stretch to call them Racers.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
    Dural Forge? They had a different name and different construction. It's a stretch to call them Racers.

    Really? I have both and they seem pretty identical, except the name and period...

  15. #15
    French threaded PDXaero's Avatar
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    I concur, the bushing material may have changed but other than that the dural forge is identical to the racer.
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  16. #16
    can't member Noah Scape's Avatar
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    I believe the Dural Forge preceded the Racer and are very similar, if not identical, in design.

  17. #17
    Chrome Freak Rabid Koala's Avatar
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    I have Competitions on my Gitane TdF. I am edgy about the 35+ year old bridge wires and have been thinking about switching to some Competitions that I have.

    I sure wish someone made those bridge wires.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noah Scape View Post
    I believe the Dural Forge preceded the Racer and are very similar, if not identical, in design.
    I think you are right.

    The "Dural Forge" stamped MAFACs were always called "Racer" officially, even if the imprinting read "Dural Forge". This imprinting eventually changed into "Racer".
    http://www.classicrendezvous.com/Fra...acer-Tiger.htm

    http://mysite.verizon.net/imagelib/s...title=Page%208

    Early versions of the "D.F." used brass bushings, later "D.F." (until ca. late 1960s) still used brass bushes covered from the outside by red plastic washers under pivot bolt, visually identical to the later "Racer"-labelled ones.
    These later (non-"D.F.") "Racers" used humbler red plastic bushings with integral (visible red) washers.

    Sorry for causing confusion.
    Last edited by qd-s; 01-17-12 at 01:08 PM. Reason: progression on learning curve

  19. #19
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    I only meant that the design is different because they had brass bushings.

  20. #20
    can't member Noah Scape's Avatar
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    I think we're all in agreement then.

  21. #21
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    Was there a better Mafac brake caliper than the "Competition"?

    Also, for what it is worth, Competitions almost always sell for considerably more on Ebay, than do Racers.

    I have never seen a Peugeot UO8, or similar level French bicycle, issued with Mafac "Competition" brake calipers. The only bikes I have found fitted with the Competitions was a Peugeot PX10s and a couple of Gitane Professionals. Never found any other really high end French bikes except my early eighties Vitus 979 (what a nice bike) and it was full Mavic SSC.

    So, in my opinion, yes, the Competition is a more sought after brake caliper.

  22. #22
    can't member Noah Scape's Avatar
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    The Mafac "Top 63"... the most beautiful brakeset of all tiime, IMO! It definately comes in ahead of the Competition... ha ha.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  23. #23
    vintage motor kroozer's Avatar
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    A while back somebody posted a very simple and effective way to make Competition straddle wires. I don't remember the technique (don't have those brakes) but look around on the C&V forum a bit.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    There's a picture of one of my home made straddle wires above.

  25. #25
    Holy Spokes it's Batsman! Glennfordx4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rabid Koala View Post
    I have Competitions on my Gitane TdF. I am edgy about the 35+ year old bridge wires and have been thinking about switching to some Competitions that I have.

    I sure wish someone made those bridge wires.....
    Do you have a pic of the bridge wire(my Mafac's are buried in storage) because looking at the parts break down that is listed they don't look like anything special and I would bet I could make them with my kit for making cables. It would only cost a few dollars for the fittings and could probably use left over stainless brake cables for the wire.
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