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Why do Weinmann centre pull get abad rap?

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Why do Weinmann centre pull get abad rap?

Old 05-06-16, 06:46 AM
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Why do Weinmann centre pull get a bad rap?

Once apon a time in a far away land, I bought my first 10 speed - a new Raleigh Grand Prix with Weinmann centre pulls and steel rims. An improvement on the steel side pulls no doubt but not really a comparison as they were on a Raleigh Chopper. The next bike I fitted black anodised Dura Ace side pulls which worked beautifully although I lusted after their more expensive Italian competitor.

Fast forward to the present. Two recent builds - a 74 International and a 75 Grand Prix both with Weinmann cente pulls and alloy rims. The only difference being Scott Mathauser shoes on the International and a weight difference between the two bikes. In my opinion I couldn't ask for better brakes - the SM shoes almost work too well. The Grand Prix with std shoes work ok and provide adequate stopping power in wet or dry conditions, I have some SM shoes in the ready but will wait until these std shoes wear out.

So what gives with Weinmann and the bad press?
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Old 05-06-16, 06:53 AM
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in my experience, they are a pain in the A** to adjust and the stopping power isn't as good as a good set of single pivot sidepulls, but like a glutton for punishment, almost every bike i own has them. Raleigh really liked putting them on their bikes in the 70s.

The set i have on my 73 Gran Sport have exceptional braking power, but the set on my 74 Grand Prix, are awful. I'm thinking it has something to do with switching to 700c wheels.
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Old 05-06-16, 07:06 AM
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I think the center pulls got a bad rap because the orange pads got hard fast and half the bikes that had Weinmanns came with the cheese grater Chromix rims.

Good to know someone likes the old center pulls, because some this International I brought back from Florida doesn't look right with the Dura Ace calipers.

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Old 05-06-16, 07:13 AM
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I didn't know Weinmanns had a bad rap. I heard more complaints about MAFAC due to adjusting and squealing.
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Old 05-06-16, 07:27 AM
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I had Weinmanns on my gas pipe ten speed and when I got a P13 with Campy sidepulls I had reached brakeset-appearance nirvana. Never mind they didn't brake worth crap.

With modern Koolstop pads my current Weinmanns and Mafacs brake just fine. The P13 still sucks. Tektro dual pivots (and dual pivots are really centerpulls with one arm flipped over to the other side) are nice but that may be because aero brake levers have better leverage.
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Old 05-06-16, 07:34 AM
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My Weinmann center-pulls do just fine with Kool Stop Continentals, and I'm a big guy, too. Like others say, the pads are the key. I never really had any trouble adjusting them, either.
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Old 05-06-16, 07:37 AM
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Perhaps the large numbers of Weinmanns sold on bikes with hard chrome steel rims contributed to the reputation. I was guilty of swapping them out from my 74 Raleigh International, for Suntour Superbe side pulls. In hindsight, it was mostly to have "the look" of Campagnolo side pulls, and not having the funds to buy them. The reach of the Suntours' was barely enough to correctly clamp the rims, luckily they were fairly good quality aluminum construction. I now admit that the centerpulls were strong brakes, maybe a few grams heavier in many cases, but pretty good items.

Probably the one bike that stands out as having poor braking, with the Weinmanns was my Schwinn Continental, with those chromed rims. You genuinely had to pull down hard, and those turkey wing extensions made it worse. The poor pads is probably a bigger part than I realized at that time, too. I honestly did not know about swapping out the OEM pads for good aftermarket pads, like Mathauser, Kool Stop, etc. Now getting some quality pads is almost automatic to me when I am setting up a bicycle for myself, or a family member.

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Old 05-06-16, 07:49 AM
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They got a bad wrap because the root cause of poor performance was assigned to the brake manufacturer and not the pad material. This is a common occurrence with a lot of products. Most people don't take the time to find the root problem of issues and are quick to assign blame to the symptom(s). Typically they identify a behavioral problem and then jump to solution space without determining the problem statement (poor friction between the pad and the braking surface). Either way they get new pads and the problem is solved without identifying the real problem. Contributes to the GNP and helps retailers stay in business to the point where replacement problem parts are not available, you have to buy a complete assembly.
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Old 05-06-16, 08:08 AM
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It's because they came on a lot of low/mid-range bikes, and didn't have the best finish. I've always thought that, properly set up, they were great brakes. I have them on about a third of my bikes.
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Old 05-06-16, 08:13 AM
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I haven't heard anyone bash Weinmann, and I certainly have no cause to do so myself. Heck, I've got Weinmann Vanqueur calipers on my Paramount.
Okay, they fall short in one area: It's much easier to type MAFAC Racer; you don't have to check the spelling. But that's about it.
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Old 05-06-16, 08:27 AM
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I'm going to have start keeping a list of bad raps. There are so many I've never heard of. This is just one of them.

IME (In My Experience) they work just fine, certainly well enough that I don't feel a need to swap them out even if there are "better" brakes available.
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Old 05-06-16, 08:32 AM
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I have a very old set on my 1960 Olmo gran sport. They work very well with better brake pads. These brakes are original to the bike so they are 56 years old.

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Old 05-06-16, 08:38 AM
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They are all I have ever had (all 70s Raleigh) and with kool stops (I like the adjustable version) they work wonderful. Plus I always work on the cosmetics for fun.
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Old 05-06-16, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
It's because they came on a lot of low/mid-range bikes, and didn't have the best finish. I've always thought that, properly set up, they were great brakes. I have them on about a third of my bikes.
I think this is a significant factor. The Weinmann's were inexpensive and very functional, and as a result, ended up on a large portion of the bikes produced by Raleigh, Schwinn, etc. back in the 70's. When Campy came out with their sidepulls brakes, they were very desirable!! The sleek quick release, the wheel guides, the anodized finish, etc., just had most of us bike nerds drooling. Plus, the brake levers were much more comfortable than the poorly shaped hard rubber hoods on the Weinmann brakes.

A factor that always nagged at me about the way that the Weinmann centerpulls were installed was that a lot of the cable hangers were rather flexible. Even on my beloved Raleighs, there was a puny loop of rod that acted as the rear hanger, and it flexed visibly when braking.

The brake cable housing of the day was not helping matters either. When the first teflon lined cable housing became available in the 70's, I swapped out the rear brake cable housing on my Raleigh Gran Sport and was in love with how much easier it was to apply the brakes!

Overall, though, I don't recall anyone saying that the Weinmann centerpulls didn't work back in the day. They just weren't as sexy as the Campy sidepulls, and when Shimano brought out their SLR sidepulls with the ball bearing pivots in the late 80's... well.. those were a huge improvement! That pretty much sealed the fate of centerpulls (although they may have already been dead and buried at that time).

I'm still using Weinmann centerpulls on my Raleigh International and think they perform fine. I've got Campy Record sidepulls on other bikes and think they are fine. I've got Shimano 600 SLR (circa 1989) on another bike, and they really do perform better. All of them are good enough, imho.

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Old 05-06-16, 08:47 AM
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What does "Vainqueur 999" mean, anyways?
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Old 05-06-16, 08:50 AM
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Love Weinmann and DiaCompe centerpulls with DiaCompe Gray matter pads. A great combination for stopping power and nearly silent braking IMO. With that said, I have only modern wheel sets on my bikes. No vintage steel or aluminum rims.
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Old 05-06-16, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by obuckler View Post
They are all I have ever had (all 70s Raleigh) and with kool stops (I like the adjustable version) they work wonderful. Plus I always work on the cosmetics for fun.
hmmm..... I think I have your bike's twin.. also a shiny 74 International in copper. so shiny!

You make a good point about cosmetics. The Weinmann brakes can be polished to a high shine, equal to any other bit of bike bling.




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Old 05-06-16, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by arex View Post
What does "Vainqueur 999" mean, anyways?
Winner 999 - just the model name I believe

FWIW I got a pair of the new Gran Compe version to put on my Mercian, and it's not a retro build. They always worked just fine as touring brakes BITD, and will work even better with modern pads/housing/levers. Weinmann were often spec'd on Alex Singer and Rene Herse bikes, and those were the rolls royces of the vintage bike world. They could have put anything on them, and they went with Weinmanns. That tells you something.

Modern dual pivots are just cockeyed centerpulls anyway.
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Old 05-06-16, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Alex Singer and Rene Herse... could have put anything on them, and they went with Weinmanns.
...and MAFACs.


Mostly they used what the customer requested, AFAIK.

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Old 05-06-16, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by arex View Post
What does "Vainqueur 999" mean, anyways?
Vainqueur means "victor", presumably in Swiss? No idea what the 999 signifies, although I have a feeling that I've seen an explanation somewhere.

There is a good write-up on the history of Weinmann and their products on the Classic Lightweights site (an excellent resource).
Weinmann components


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Old 05-06-16, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
It's because they came on a lot of low/mid-range bikes, and didn't have the best finish. I've always thought that, properly set up, they were great brakes.
Yes, they work fine, and you have to look pretty hard to find any centerpull caliper with a decent finish.

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Old 05-06-16, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
hmmm..... I think I have your bike's twin.. also a shiny 74 International in copper. so shiny!

You make a good point about cosmetics. The Weinmann brakes can be polished to a high shine, equal to any other bit of bike bling.




Steve in Peoria
Looks like it, love your International as I do mine!!! NICE photo. Have two, on pristine, one with patina which I gave to my son! (I bought that one first and found the second pristine one after--would have kept them both but domestic issues arouse plus my son lusted after it). Both great riders.
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Old 05-06-16, 10:31 AM
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If I have any complaint about my 750's, it's that they're a little flexy, so they feel a little squishy in use. But it's manageable, and might be hard to avoid with long-reach brakes without making them unduly heavy.
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Old 05-06-16, 10:40 AM
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They were on a lot of cheap bikes bitd. IMO, they are a lot easier to setup and less flexy than MAFAC racers.
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Old 05-06-16, 10:42 AM
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I"ve been running a pair of Weinmanns changed out to both rear brakes on two bikes and running a pair of Mafacs changed out to both fronts. The Weinmanns are a very good match as rears to the Mafac fronts. Stopping power and predictability is excellent. Two of the best stopping bikes I have ever owned. (Both bikes were 27", now 700c. I never rode them as 27" bikes so I can't comment on that comparison. And neither had these brakes in their former lives.)

This is my go at the Campy dual pivot front, sidepull rear effect. (Centerpulls - the original symmetrical dual pivot. I was saying this long before Shimano got on board with its symmetrical dual pivots.)

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