Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Bikes: Dawes Kalahari, Puch Prima Super Sport, Graham Weigh 853
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Whatever you can get cheaply
Mine has a Veloce/Mirage/Avanti 9 speed grab bag of assorted parts.
I could not see myself going any higher than Centaur though. I've seen Centaur for around 600$ with the alloy chainset, which is 100$ more than Veloce. I really like polished aluminium, so I would say Veloce, except that Mirage has been discontinued for 09 and was already really cheap from the big UK onlines stores. If I had the money, I would store one for when my grab bag gruppe breaks down.
As for cantis, you could use Campagnolo linear pull brakes. They allegedly work, but I recall you have tried them already. Maybe you could find some old Campagnolo atb cantis. Euclid or Olympus cantis would look great and make you feel like the Campag nerd king