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Universal 61 or Weinmann 999 center pulls, which do you prefer?

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Universal 61 or Weinmann 999 center pulls, which do you prefer?

Old 06-15-20, 07:05 PM
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motogeek
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Universal 61 or Weinmann 999 center pulls, which do you prefer?

In building up my latest iteration of my '75 Motobecane Grand Jubile I am in a quandary as which centerpull brakeset to use, Universal 61s or Weinmann 610/999s, which were found on tons of new bikes in the mid '70s. Which set would you use and why?
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Old 06-15-20, 07:22 PM
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-----

one difference to be aware of is the alloy

the Universal is stiffer than the Weinmann but it is also more brittle

this comes in when an owner/mechanic is "toe-ing in" the brakes

Universal alloy is not very tolerant of bending

many an ower has learned of this through hands-on calamity

btw - the Motobecane Grand Record came with 61's for a year or two in the mid-70's

-----
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Old 06-15-20, 07:46 PM
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I have no problems with either one -- I especially like the look of Universal CPs, but Weinmanns have always worked well for me. However, on a French bike, I'd prefer Mafacs, on both counts. Depending on the frame, you might need the longer reach version of Weinmann/Universal/Mafac for the rear -- a 610 has max reach of 61 mm, while the 750 goes to 75. We do have a '77 Grand Jubilé, though and reach required is less that 61 for both wheels. A '72 Le Champion though -- a bit more in the rear.
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Old 06-16-20, 05:00 AM
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I prefer the Universal Model 61 to any of the Weinmann center pull stoppers that I have used. But both are very close in looks and performance, in my mind. The Weinmanns will cost less, probably. That said...

As one other forum member mentioned, Mafac brake calipers are a much better choice. They certainly look the vintage part. The offer a toe-in adjustment opportunity and they work as good or better than any other stoppers that I have tried from the 60s and 70s with only a couple of exceptions (Campy and Dura-Ace stoppers, from the early seventies were pretty good also.

Take the still alloy thing about the Universals seriously! They are brittle but, in all honestly, I have never busted one, attempting to adjust toe-in, nor has a busted Universal brake caliper ever come my way. And a lot of vintage road bicycles, thousands actually, have come my way over the years.
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Old 06-16-20, 09:51 AM
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I broke one.

It essentially did not not bend.

At all.

Yes I saved the bits, they're here <mumble> somewhere. It was a long time ago.
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Old 06-16-20, 11:07 AM
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+1 on the MAFACs for a nice French bike. But if you need a longer reach brake in the rear, I’d definitely go with the Weinmanns. Occasionally you can find Weinmanns branded as Motobecane. There are a few on the auction site now. That’d be cool.



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Old 06-16-20, 12:39 PM
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I prefer Weinmanns for actual function. They are underrated brakes IMHO, presumably because they were on so many relatively inexpensive bike boom bikes.

While I've never personally broken a Universal brake, I know the older models had a reputation for being brittle and prone to snap. Not something I like in a brake. Universal brakes came in far cooler boxes though. Had a set of NOS Super 68s on a shelf for years -- just to look at the box.

AFA Mafac vs Weinmann, I go back and forth. Currently more on team Weinmann/Gran-Compe.

MAFAC = Ford
Weinmann = GM

or is it:

MAFAC = Stones
Weinmann = Beatles

Last edited by Salamandrine; 06-16-20 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 06-16-20, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

one difference to be aware of is the alloy

the Universal is stiffer than the Weinmann but it is also more brittle

this comes in when an owner/mechanic is "toe-ing in" the brakes

Universal alloy is not very tolerant of bending
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Old 06-16-20, 01:57 PM
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Weinmann's were OEM on many Moto's for decades so there's really no choice
Universal's are for Italian bikes
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Old 06-16-20, 02:21 PM
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Yeah Opps:
P1000591, on Flickr

At the time it broke, they were about $2/pair at the coop. They shine up really nice, wrong pads and all!
2008-06-01 08.43.29, on Flickr
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Old 06-16-20, 02:42 PM
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I'll confess to snapping one of those Universal arms off. Felt like a bonehead. Didn't take much force, either.
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Old 06-16-20, 03:59 PM
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Weinmann was OEM on your Moto, courtesy of importer Ben Lawee. In France it was Mafac. Lawee understood that “bicycle mechanic” in US meant a college kid, or maybe a high school kid. And being American those kids were going to do it their way, not the right way. Fifty years later the high school kid way has become the hallowed old school way. Weinmann brakes will withstand gorilla mechanics better than anything else. Mafac doesn’t work well at all unless you know what you are doing. And then it is best by far.

Do not bend aluminum brake arms. Just don’t. Every geezer on this forum, me included, has done it and done it often. Don’t be like us. Buy orbital adjustment pads. Make a shim. On Mafac file a groove into that fat washer next to the post.
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Old 06-17-20, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Weinmann was OEM on your Moto, courtesy of importer Ben Lawee. In France it was Mafac. Lawee understood that “bicycle mechanic” in US meant a college kid, or maybe a high school kid. And being American those kids were going to do it their way, not the right way. Fifty years later the high school kid way has become the hallowed old school way. Weinmann brakes will withstand gorilla mechanics better than anything else. Mafac doesn’t work well at all unless you know what you are doing. And then it is best by far.

Do not bend aluminum brake arms. Just don’t. Every geezer on this forum, me included, has done it and done it often. Don’t be like us. Buy orbital adjustment pads. Make a shim. On Mafac file a groove into that fat washer next to the post.
Or just ride and wait - the pads will be parallel to the rim soon enough.

Toe-ing-in is unnecessary.
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Old 06-17-20, 05:35 AM
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The prime reason for the superior braking of MAFAC is the significantly larger contact area of the pads. Admittedly, the multiple adjustments allow you to fine tube their performance to a far greater extent but only in the hands of a knowledgeable mechanic. In the hands of an the hands of an uninformed mechanic, it is very easy to have a significant decrease in performance. Weinmann and Universal, on the other hand, are more foolproof.
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Old 06-17-20, 06:09 AM
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You can go the Eddy route. In his Peugeot days he rode with Mafac calipers and Universal levers.
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