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High end vintage brake brands?

Old 03-23-18, 11:17 AM
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High end vintage brake brands?

I searched all over the internet but couldn't find an answer. since im still kind of new to the vintage bike world and I'm trying to learn as much as i can about all aspects of vintage bikes and parts.

Could I get your opinion on the best vintage brake brands.

I am refurbishing a vintage road bike and I wanted to use NOS long reach brakes. there is a bike shop in my city with isles and isles of NOS parts. They have just about every brand you can think of like DIA-comp, mafac, suntour, shimano 600, etc.

thanks much...
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Old 03-23-18, 11:21 AM
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What is the reach you need ?
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Old 03-23-18, 11:35 AM
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more to the point what bike are you building?
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Old 03-23-18, 11:40 AM
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Circa 1960, Weinmann Vainqueur 999 centerpulls were very popular on a wide range of bikes, include some high-end ones. Reaches were 610 and 750 -- the latter should cover most road bikes with generous tire/mudguard clearances. Typical setup was 610 front, 750 rear, depending on your front and rear clearances.
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Old 03-23-18, 11:43 AM
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About the best working vintage brake system used, by me, would have to be the Mafac Racer, or Competition offering. Finicky to set up, but the stopping power, in my opinion, is second to none, in that era...

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Old 03-23-18, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa
About the best working vintage brake system used, by me, would have to be the Mafac Racer, or Competition offering. Finicky to set up, but the stopping power, in my opinion, is second to none, in that era...
I always trust practical @randyjawa. Not sure about the 'high-end' but good stoppers.
But the answer lies with the bike and era.
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Old 03-23-18, 12:24 PM
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If the 80s are vintage enough, and larger tires on a roadie are the objective, these Monoplanars and CdA Deltas will just accept a 30mm Schwalbe tubular.
Note: Not pictured with a 30mm
More info needed to respond specifically to your needs.
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Old 03-23-18, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood
If the 80s are vintage enough, and larger tires on a roadie are the objective, these Monoplanars and CdA Deltas will just accept a 30mm Schwalbe tubular.
Note: Not pictured with a 30mm
More info needed to respond specifically to your needs.
+1 about the limited clearance on Campy Delta calipers. The on on my Pinarello is really tight up front. Looks like just a couple of mm's with a 23mm tub..... but then it could be just the fork crown design that's causing it?
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Old 03-23-18, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Dustin sterling
Could I get your opinion on the best vintage brake brands... there is a bike shop in my city with isles and isles of NOS parts. They have just about every brand you can think of like DIA-comp, mafac, suntour, shimano 600, etc.
It's difficult to rate by brand, especially when makers started to come out with wider ranges of product offerings. A low-end part from 'Brand X' might be awful while their high end stuff is fantastic. Or stuff from one era might be dreck while they made great stuff at another time.

It's not that different from many other products. Take cars, for example. A Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is an impressive car, but we can't say the same applies to all cars from the same brand. A Chevy Cavalier or Aveo just ain't the same.

If you were to let us know what kind of bike you're working on, we'd be happy to give you lots of different suggestions. Give us as much info as you can -- age, brand, model, needed brake reach, etc. -- and we'll give you brake options. We can point you toward stuff that might've come on your bike as originally sold, stuff that's period- and country-appropriate even if it's not original, or stuff that works great and won't look out of place. Whatever strikes your fancy.
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Old 03-23-18, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1
+1 about the limited clearance on Campy Delta calipers. The on on my Pinarello is really tight up front. Looks like just a couple of mm's with a 23mm tub..... but then it could be just the fork crown design that's causing it?
Yup. The distance from the dropouts to the brake mounting hole is what makes the same brake rub on one bike and have clearance on another. In that picture you can see how low that bike puts the brake pads on the two Campy calipers. I'll bet your Pin has the pads closer to the top of their slots.
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Old 03-23-18, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1
+1 about the limited clearance on Campy Delta calipers. The on on my Pinarello is really tight up front. Looks like just a couple of mm's with a 23mm tub..... but then it could be just the fork crown design that's causing it?

Different versions of Delta is what I have seen. I'm not an expert, but Croce'dAune (and maybe others) opened up. There was a Record or Chorus version with lesser clearance. I forget the thread where we had different models shown consecutively.
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Old 03-23-18, 02:29 PM
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OP, what era of brakes are you seeking?
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Old 03-23-18, 03:57 PM
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Hi and welcome.

We will really need more information about your bike in order to make a recommendation. What brand and model? What year? A picture of it would be most helpful. The answer you seek depends on the era and the make of the bike.

Adding to the confusion, what was formerly called standard reach (47-57) is often referred to as long reach today. (erroneously IMO)

No one seems to want to hear it for some reason, but the definitive high end brakes from about 1968 to 1986 or so is an easy question to answer. They were Campagnolo Record or Super Record sidepulls. Towards the end of this era Modolo or Superbe were an acceptable substitute. MAFAC centerpulls were an acceptable choice at the beginning.
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Old 03-23-18, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine
No one seems to want to hear it for some reason, but the definitive high end brakes from about 1968 to 1986 or so is an easy question to answer. They were Campagnolo Record or Super Record sidepulls. Towards the end of this era Modolo or Superbe were an acceptable substitute. MAFAC centerpulls were an acceptable choice at the beginning.
I agree. My old bikes (which is all but one bike) are using Campagnolo Record or Super Record on the non-French bikes, and Mafac Racers on the vélos de Gaul. I think the Records work a smidge better than the Mafacs, but they all stop very well.
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Old 03-23-18, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood
Different versions of Delta is what I have seen. I'm not an expert, but Croce'dAune (and maybe others) opened up. There was a Record or Chorus version with lesser clearance. I forget the thread where we had different models shown consecutively.
Yes, the Record and CdA versions adjust differently. The Record has very short slots in the arms for the pads and the mounting bolt is in a slot; the main way of adjusting the brake is to loosen the mounting bolt and slide the body of the brake up and down while using the slots in the arms for fine adjustment. The CdA has longer slots for the pads and the mounting bolt is fixed so it adjusts like a typical brake.

The CdA definitely has more clearance. The pads are all the way down in the slots in this pic and the tire measures 31.8mm wide.

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Old 03-23-18, 06:08 PM
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Thank you @Choke for the clarification and brief explanation.
(without mansplaining it.)


Back to the Originating Poster - DiaCompe also had some good brakes with clearance, and if you clean them expertly or choose to polish them up, they work just fine too.


The bigger question could be = Who has the nicest BRAKE LEVERS to go with their quality longer reaching brakes (as yet undefined....)????
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Old 03-23-18, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood
... The bigger question could be = Who has the nicest BRAKE LEVERS to go with their quality longer reaching brakes (as yet undefined....)????
For me, it's Weinmann 999 hands-down (so to speak), because most of the European competitors have a longer finger reach. With the Weinmanns or the Shimano aeros on my Bianchi (I know, travesty, since almost everything else on it, including brake calipers, hubs, rims, derailleurs, and pedals is Campag.), I can quickly and confidently grab a fistful of braking power in a panic stop, something I can't manage nearly as well with Mafac or Campagnolo levers.
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Old 03-24-18, 03:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood
The bigger question could be = Who has the nicest BRAKE LEVERS to go with their quality longer reaching brakes (as yet undefined....)????
BITD racers with smaller hands would combine Universal levers with MAFAC brakes. A nice combo, IMO.
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Old 03-24-18, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Dustin sterling
I am refurbishing a vintage road bike and I wanted to use NOS long reach brakes.
Good responses here about what bike. I'm also asking myself what constitutes high-end to you? That's why the bike matters.

Show us the bike! (Or it didn't happen. It's one of the rules, you know)
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Old 03-24-18, 12:03 PM
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Here is a link to the thread I started about my bike build. With photos.
Vintage bicycle rebuild... follow my progress till the end.
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Old 03-24-18, 12:06 PM
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Nice. For brakes you want a decent set of sidepulls, probably Campy despite the 105 hubs. But there are some nice Shimano brakes too.
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Old 03-24-18, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by John E
For me, it's Weinmann 999 hands-down (so to speak), because most of the European competitors have a longer finger reach. With the Weinmanns or the Shimano aeros on my Bianchi (I know, travesty, since almost everything else on it, including brake calipers, hubs, rims, derailleurs, and pedals is Campag.), I can quickly and confidently grab a fistful of braking power in a panic stop, something I can't manage nearly as well with Mafac or Campagnolo levers.
You know for me it's the converse, strangely enough. I've mostly been a MAFAC partisan over the years, but came to realize much of what I liked were the big levers. They are very comfortable and feel just right for my oversized paws. It's like someone made them for me custom. Lately I've come to prefer the Weinmann approach. I find the stiffer calipers give me better more Campy-like fine control. What I actually ride now are Gran Compe 610. These are essentially 60s era Weinmann 999 reissues. A little more beefy than the 70s version. I use modern TRP levers, which seem to work well for people of all different hand sizes.
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Old 03-24-18, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Dustin sterling
Here is a link to the thread I started about my bike build. With photos.
Vintage bicycle rebuild... follow my progress till the end.
Nice Flandria. My first thought is Weinmann 999 centerpulls would be nice. It is a euro bike, but the Dia Compe version is fine if you can't find Weinmanns. (they were licensed copies)

I could also see some other one notch below campy record brakes as looking appropriate on that bike. Some others to keep an eye out for: Universal CX or 68, Zeus, campy GS, MAFAC, Galli, CLB.

Don't put Weinmann sidepulls on there. Terrible.
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Old 03-24-18, 02:27 PM
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Universal made a side pull long reach rear, shorter reach front, because there were frames like that.
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