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WTB: Guidonnet levers

Old 02-14-22, 09:59 AM
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WTB: Guidonnet levers

Looking for a set of Guidonnet levers in nice shape, but not necessarily NOS/mint. Actually, only need ONE lever (for my Zeus track project, one brake only and the lever will be at the top of drop bars on the left side to actuate a front brake. Whaddaya got?
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Old 02-14-22, 12:19 PM
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How about this orphan MAFAC left guidonnet lever, w/ clamp, probably NOS or nearly so. Been my junkpile for some time!

How's $35 shipped sound? Venmo, Paypal F&F, or money order. If price seems unreasonable, make me a reasonable offer!

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Old 02-14-22, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
How about this orphan MAFAC left guidonnet lever, w/ clamp, probably NOS or nearly so. Been my junkpile for some time! How's $35 shipped sound? Venmo, Paypal F&F, or money order. If price seems unreasonable, make me a reasonable offer!
(while I wait a wee bit longer to see who else has what...)

Got my attention, as MAFAC is a favorite non-Campagnolo component company (and, interestingly, the caliper will say Brev. Camp.) That said, I recall the MAFAC clamp can be a bit uncompromising during installation. I recently scored a nice pair of Cinelli bars here on a BF/C&V/WTB, so, let's see. Man, old adhesive and bits of antediluvian bar tape can be a bear to get off, took a fair amount of Goof-Off and muscle but they are clean now -- and I happened to have an old MAFAC clamp handy, so I did a test fit and it seems OK, I can get the clamp all the way up to the bar's collar. So far, so good.

Can I ask a favor? I've never had Guidonnet levers, and I guess I worked on some bike with them in the 1970's but that's hazy. Regardless, another criterion for fit is length... could you snap a photo next to a ruler? From the end of the center collar, the bar's width to the outside of the curve is 5-1/2", to the inside of the curve is 4-1/2", so it would be interesting to see where the lever will sit relative to the bar (ideally, centerline of lever falls directly under centerline of bar, is that too much to ask?)

I guess price is OK. That's in the range I see online for a pair of new levers (but w/out shipping), but they'd say Dia-Compe on them and not MAFAC.
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Old 02-14-22, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Can I ask a favor? I've never had Guidonnet levers, and I guess I worked on some bike with them in the 1970's but that's hazy. Regardless, another criterion for fit is length... could you snap a photo next to a ruler? From the end of the center collar, the bar's width to the outside of the curve is 5-1/2", to the inside of the curve is 4-1/2", so it would be interesting to see where the lever will sit relative to the bar (ideally, centerline of lever falls directly under centerline of bar, is that too much to ask?)
Your wish is my command. Consider it done

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Old 02-14-22, 10:02 PM
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not to scotch this deal, but I have a pair (LH and RH) of the same MAFACs, look to me in same condition.
So if somebody ELSE is reading the thread and in the market for one, or preferably both: PM me.
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Old 02-15-22, 12:54 AM
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MAFAC Guidonnet Lever

WARNING!!! STAY AWAY FROM THE MAFAC PLASTIC GUIDONNET LEVERS!!!



We sold a lot of French bikes back in the 70's including some real randonneur models that came with these plastic MAFAC levers.

Along with the plastic guidonnet levers, we had problems the even the more dangerous MAFAC Ville 715 levers that came on a lot of French mixtes with upright bars. They frequently broke about 1/3 of the way up from the ball end while we were assembling them out of the box!



The all metal MAFAC Guidonnet 820 levers were reasonably robust. Even saw them on a few tandems.




Based on the lever shape in the photo tiger1964 posted above, it looks like MAFAC made several different versions of all metal guidonnet levers.


Not trying to mess up any deals in progress, PSA info on other guidonnet levers:

CLB also made guidonnet levers but they are not "refined" as much as the MAFAC levers.

CLB levers:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/284428944979
https://www.ebay.com/itm/31365455139...8AAOSwV11g6j7L

There's also some modern Dia-Compe guidonnet levers on the Bay....

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Old 02-15-22, 06:58 AM
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Interesting. Does the lever in post #2 look like the 715 are there nuances I am missing?) and, if so, how/where did they break? They look robust enough to my untrained eye...

Actually, the 715 in your photo does not even look like a Guidonnet, unless the 90-degree curve in the lever arm is hidden by the angle of the picture.

Yeah, plastic brake levers are a non-starter.

Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
Along with these plastic guidonnet levers, we had problems the even the more dangerous MAFAC Ville 715 levers that came on a lot of French mixtes. They frequently broke while assembling them out of the box!

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Old 02-15-22, 07:54 AM
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MAFAC 715 Ville Levers

Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Interesting. Does the lever in post #2 look like the 715 are there nuances I am missing?) and, if so, how/where did they break? They look robust enough to my untrained eye...

Actually, the 715 in your photo does not even look like a Guidonnet, unless the 90-degree curve in the lever arm is hidden by the angle of the picture.

Yeah, plastic brake levers are a non-starter.
I need to change some wording in my post...

The MAFAC 715 Ville levers are not Guidonnet style. They were made for use on upright bars. They broke about 1/3 of the way up from the ball ends.

I seem to remember that the plastic Guidonnet levers may have had a thin metal rod inside of them???

High strength plastics were in their infancy 50 years ago when those levers were being produced. After all those years the old plastics have probably deteriorated: think Simplex Delrin derailleurs!

"Hey, watch this!" "Hold my beer." "What's that red button for?"

Is it wrong, or just French?

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Old 02-15-22, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Interesting. Does the lever in post #2 look like the 715 are there nuances I am missing?) and, if so, how/where did they break? They look robust enough to my untrained eye...

Actually, the 715 in your photo does not even look like a Guidonnet, unless the 90-degree curve in the lever arm is hidden by the angle of the picture.

Yeah, plastic brake levers are a non-starter.
I believe verktyg is talking about la version en plastique. The 715 is not a guidonnet. They called it "ville", short for "vélo de ville", which literally means city bike. It was for shopping bikes and utility bikes with flat or upright bars and often plastic because these bikes were built to a cost. There was also a metal version of the 715 but I don't know if it had a different model number. The constructeurs seem to have preferred the bar-end-plug "inverse" lever for their upright-bar builds.

The one I have is definitely metal, in case anyone's wondering!
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Old 02-15-22, 08:24 AM
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Vélo de Ville With MAFAC Plastic Levers

Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I believe verktyg is talking about la version en plastique. The 715 is not a guidonnet. They called it "ville", short for "vélo de ville", which literally means city bike. It was for shopping bikes and utility bikes with flat or upright bars and often plastic because these bikes were built to a cost. There was also a metal version of the 715 but I don't know if it had a different model number.
It wasn't just bikes "built to a cost". This mid range Bertin mixte had black plastic MAFAC Ville 715 levers...





The French were infatuated with plastics back then (So was everyone else).


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Old 02-15-22, 08:29 AM
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MAFAC levers command a premium, the are long out of production and look very nice on a French city bike or even old randonneuse. $35 is a deal. Regardless, I’d negotiate final prices offline.
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Old 02-15-22, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
I need to change some wording in my post...

The MAFAC 715 Ville levers are not Guidonnet style.
Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I believe verktyg is talking about la version en plastique. The 715 is not a guidonnet.
All good news. Eh, sometimes reading between the lines results in reading what is not there... good to know the metal MAFAC guidonnet is not "dangerous".

This is for a track bike with a single brake, gonna rely on it -- that said, this would be on paved trails, rural roads, by myself; cannot imagine riding in a group, fast, sitting on someone else's rear wheel and he brakes abruptly and I only have the one brake!
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Old 02-15-22, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
How about this orphan MAFAC left guidonnet lever, w/ clamp, probably NOS or nearly so.
Thanks for the photo -- close enough on length, I think! I think I'll give it to the end of the day to see if there are others out there, but I think I'm ready to send you a PM.

Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
not to scotch this deal, but I have a pair (LH and RH) of the same MAFACs, look to me in same condition. So if somebody ELSE is reading the thread and in the market for one, or preferably both: PM me.
Thanks -- but I'd hate to waste one, and Carlson seems to have the single one that suits best. Hope you find a home for your pair!

Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
we had problems the even the more dangerous MAFAC Ville 715 levers
So are you implying that you think the name Ville 715 has one too many ells in it?
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Old 02-19-22, 02:19 PM
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Just to be a ship-disturber, I've used the Ville levers on a couple of fixed gear bikes with no problems. However I do have big hands and apply pressure across the length of the levers. I quite like them but they aren't Guidonnets.


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Old 02-19-22, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Just to be a ship-disturber, I've used the Ville levers on a couple of fixed gear bikes with no problems. However I do have big hands and apply pressure across the length of the levers. I quite like them but they aren't Guidonnets.
Thanks for sharing that. I presume there are various levers that would work just fine (INCLUDING Dia-Compe) in a fixed-gear application, including what you've shown. That said, I think the Guidonnet will be great for my needs -- and the one from scarlson is on the way to me. To everyone who viewed and/or responded on my WTB... thanks!
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