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  1. #1
    DON'T PANIC!
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    A few questions re: Going from center pull to sidepull rear brakes?

    So I am looking into possibly replacing my rear brakes on my Gitane TDF. Now I have Shimano Tourney's, and they are ok, but not that good in comparison to the other components. Don't know too much about the pros cons of either, or how easy/hard it would be, or even what brands or models to look for. Any help would be appreciated!!
    Here is a pick of the current setup:
    Last edited by craggen; 05-27-11 at 09:41 PM. Reason: pic too big

  2. #2
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    With a vintage Gitane, Mafac Racers are just about mandatory.

  3. #3
    Bottecchia fan
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    Quote Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
    With a vintage Gitane, Mafac Racers are just about mandatory.
    +1 Or MAFAC Competition. If you absolutely must have sidepulls then I would say Weinmann 500's.
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  4. #4
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    And switch brake shoes to Koolstops.
    Riding 19 Years of Specialized Sirrus Tradition.
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  5. #5
    DON'T PANIC!
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    Okay, I am checking ebay for Mafac racers. Found some starting at $1? Does this seem right? O_o

    Oh and the guy who I bought the bike from said that the wheel in back was smaller than 700c, so when he put the bigger wheel on there, he had to change out the brakes. Thus the Tourney's. Will the Mafac's be affected by this?

  6. #6
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Mafacs are great brakes... their weakness is in the hardware as the stock hangars are flexy and should be replaced with something stiffer and they were often paired with steel rims and had pads that were nothing like Kool Stops.

    Install these with better hardware and Kool Stop pads and you may be astounded at how well they work... there is good reason why early cyclocross riders preferred Mafac Racers.

    Set up a friend's Peugeot for a mountain tour and used the stock Racers and upgraded the hardware and pads... these worked great.

    And they are mandatory on a Gitane...

  7. #7
    DON'T PANIC!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Mafacs are great brakes...
    And they are mandatory on a Gitane...
    Haha

    I found these on eBay, they look okay?
    Last edited by craggen; 05-28-11 at 02:12 AM. Reason: link

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by craggen View Post
    Haha

    I found these on eBay, they look okay?
    Yes, but they are missing some key hardware that to locate separately will probably cost more than you would think. Look for complete calipers with the straddle wire.

  9. #9
    DON'T PANIC!
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    could I not use the wires I already have on the rear setup? I probably wouldn't do the front ones right away.

  10. #10
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    Believe it or not, one of the best operating vintage road bicycle brakes I have used are the Mafac Racer or Competition. Incidentally, I have sets of each, complete with all cable guide brackets, if interested. You can send a PM to discuss.

    Switching to side pulls, provided they can reach the rims braking surface, is a simple thing to do. Take the old brakes off. Bolt the new ones into place. Install cables. Line-up pads and tune for feel. That's about it but I would still stick with the Mafacs, were I the OP.
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  11. #11
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Mafacs are great brakes... their weakness is in the hardware as the stock hangars are flexy and

    Install these with better hardware and
    65'er, what pieces are you talking about here? Replace what hardware?
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

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    ^ Those Mafacs are missing their straddle cables with the all-important bobbin, which fits into the arm without the clamp.

    Neal

  13. #13
    DON'T PANIC!
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
    ^ Those Mafacs are missing their straddle cables with the all-important bobbin, which fits into the arm without the clamp.

    Neal
    Have a look at the pic in the OP, if I were to just replace the rear brake setup with those mafac's from the ebay listing, could I not use the hardware/cables that are already there? I know if I were to do the fronts, I would need more stuff, but the rear brake is what I am mostly concerned about atm!

  14. #14
    DON'T PANIC!
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
    Believe it or not, one of the best operating vintage road bicycle brakes I have used are the Mafac Racer or Competition. Incidentally, I have sets of each, complete with all cable guide brackets, if interested. You can send a PM to discuss.

    Switching to side pulls, provided they can reach the rims braking surface, is a simple thing to do. Take the old brakes off. Bolt the new ones into place. Install cables. Line-up pads and tune for feel. That's about it but I would still stick with the Mafacs, were I the OP.
    I would love to discuss this with you, but I do not have 50 posts, so I can't pm you You can PM me your email, then I can get back to you that way!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by craggen View Post
    Have a look at the pic in the OP, if I were to just replace the rear brake setup with those mafac's from the ebay listing, could I not use the hardware/cables that are already there? I know if I were to do the fronts, I would need more stuff, but the rear brake is what I am mostly concerned about atm!
    No, that wouldn't work for Mafac brakes. Your existing brakes use a different type of straddle cable with different ends to connect to the calipers. They do look like the type that would fit in a Weinmann/Dia Compe centerpull if you wanted to go in that direction.

    Neal

  16. #16
    DON'T PANIC!
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
    No, that wouldn't work for Mafac brakes. Your existing brakes use a different type of straddle cable with different ends to connect to the calipers. They do look like the type that would fit in a Weinmann/Dia Compe centerpull if you wanted to go in that direction.

    Neal
    Darn, I guess that was too good to be true
    On a side note, let's say I can't find any mafac's, and I just wanted to replace the brake pads on my rear brake with Kool Stop ones, what would I need? There are a bunch of different kinds. I would ideally like to replace the shoe and the shoe holder.

  17. #17
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    Kool Stop Continentals will give you lots of braking power:



    Neal

  18. #18
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Mafacs are great brakes... their weakness is in the hardware as the stock hangars are flexy and should be replaced with something stiffer Set up a friend's Peugeot for a mountain tour and used the stock Racers and upgraded the hardware and pads... these worked great.
    The stock hangers are fine. They don't bend at all in the direction of pull. There is only a slight deflection toward the head tube under extreme pressure. I've tried using heavier hangers and it made no perceptible difference.

    MAFAC centerpulls may be mandatory for a '70s Gitane, but that looks like a later frame to me because it has brazed on cable guides.
    Last edited by Grand Bois; 05-28-11 at 10:59 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    I would love to discuss this with you, but I do not have 50 posts, so I can't pm you You can PM me your email, then I can get back to you that way!
    Just go to my website, MY "TEN SPEEDS", and email me through there.
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  20. #20
    DON'T PANIC!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
    ...that looks like a later frame to me because it has brazed on cable guides.
    That's what I am thinking too, I was just doing some sleuthing online and found that the 70's models cable runner things are strapped on or look like there is metal wrapped around the frame. Whereas mine has them welded on. I posted pics of my bike on the Gitane forums and am waiting a response. I am interested to hear what they say

  21. #21
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Brake cable clips.

  22. #22
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
    The stock hangers are fine. They don't bend at all in the direction of pull. There is only a slight deflection toward the head tube under extreme pressure. I've tried using heavier hangers and it made no perceptible difference.

    MAFAC centerpulls may be mandatory for a '70s Gitane, but that looks like a later frame to me because it has brazed on cable guides.
    I must be a princess when it comes to things like this...

    With nice wheels and Kool Stops Mafac racers are very decent brakes and consider them to be among the best centre pulls... the stock hangar for the head tube is too flexy (for my tastes) and makes the brakes feel mushy... have found that using a better hangar (Shimano / Dia Compe) really improves feel and performance and these also come with an inline adjuster and release which is also a plus.

    The stock rear hangar is not nearly as bad but I still prefer a stiffer hangar with an inline adjuster and release.

    The other nice thing about Mafac centre pulls is that you can adjust the straddle which affects the mechanical advantage so you can really tune them to the levers you are using.

  23. #23
    ^ JBC. jbchybridrider's Avatar
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    I just started riding with side pull Tourneys and seem great but I think a lot has to do with the outer cable as well. I started with the cheap stuff and the brakes were mushy till the lever went all the way to the bars.
    So I changed to super rigid Jagwire cables and WOW what a difference.
    2010 Custom Carbon JBC, 1990 Ricardo Pinnacle, 1988 Ricardo Elite, 1983 Ricardo Varsity, 1990 Peugeot Hurricane, 1977 Dawes Galaxy GT, 2007 Pinarello F3-13, Custom aussie made 1980 Columbus SL racer, 1975 Calton Rapide, 1995 Olympia Fusari, 1993 Basso Viper.

  24. #24
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
    With a vintage Gitane, Mafac Racers are just about mandatory.
    Perhaps Spidel:


  25. #25
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    I must be a princess when it comes to things like this...

    With nice wheels and Kool Stops Mafac racers are very decent brakes and consider them to be among the best centre pulls... the stock hangar for the head tube is too flexy (for my tastes) and makes the brakes feel mushy... have found that using a better hangar (Shimano / Dia Compe) really improves feel and performance and these also come with an inline adjuster and release which is also a plus.
    Placebo effect, perhaps?

    I know you have dial indicators.

    French engineers were and are some of the best in the world.

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