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1973 Paramount brake quandry

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1973 Paramount brake quandry

Old 07-10-20, 04:34 PM
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1973 Paramount brake quandry

I recently acquired a decent 1973 Schwinn Paramount; not a perfect bike but the flaws it has I can live with. It is currently equipped with Modolo Speedy brakes, but I did come with the original Weinmann calipers/dia Compe levers. Would you source a set of pre CSPC Campagnolo calipers, or just mount the original centerpulls?
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Old 07-10-20, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by nesteel View Post
I recently acquired a decent 1973 Schwinn Paramount; not a perfect bike but the flaws it has I can live with. It is currently equipped with Modolo Speedy brakes, but I did come with the original Weinmann calipers/dia Compe levers. Would you source a set of pre CSPC Campagnolo calipers, or just mount the original centerpulls?
I like centerpulls. Get it on the road first, then look for something else if you want to...

EDIT: Pics, please!
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Old 07-10-20, 05:23 PM
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Are you concerned about the brakes matching the componentry? Is the rest of the bike Campagnolo? It sounds like you have a P13 with the road/race geometry (or P10 if it has that geo, but with fender eyelets). Do you simply wish to never use the Speedy's for functional or aesthetic reasons? Do you like the way the centerpulls look and work, or do you wish for something more stylish or powerful or race-oriented? If the rest of it is Campagnolo, then running Campagnolo calipers would my personal decision as it ups the 'purity' factor for this matchy-matchy-oriented rider.

Got any pictures of it???
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Old 07-10-20, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by nesteel View Post
I recently acquired a decent 1973 Schwinn Paramount; not a perfect bike but the flaws it has I can live with. It is currently equipped with Modolo Speedy brakes, but I did come with the original Weinmann calipers/dia Compe levers. Would you source a set of pre CSPC Campagnolo calipers, or just mount the original centerpulls?
2nd on the pics, near blasphemy not showing a Paramount when asking for help.

And of course the Campy's should come onboard at some point but also agree with getting it on the road first.

Modolo's not work? While the centerpulls could have been original, I am not a fan of these for this just because, regardless of often poor performance they require the cabling and hangers that seriously gack the vibe IMO.

And yet mine still has the centerpulls but it came with them ready to go, I did add the Schwinn approved Suntour bar ends though.



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Old 07-10-20, 05:46 PM
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Both Campy Record brakes and Weinmann brakes are good choices and correct for this bike. I'd lean towards the Weinmann centerpulls. They are a better choice for a general recreational riding, even touring. So yeah, new pads and cables etc, but I vote Weinmann.

I could for sure support going either way though. The medium reach campy brakes you'll need for a Paramount are going to be a little less common than short reach. They are out there though. (make sure you get the right ones, and measure the brake bridge to rim distance first, before you buy anything.)

Modolo brakes are cool in their own way, just not right for this bike, IMO.
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Old 07-10-20, 06:22 PM
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i've always been in the 'get it on the road first' then worry about mods as riding time allows.

sometimes the technique quells N+1, for a period of time. for good or bad.
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Old 07-10-20, 06:23 PM
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Centerpulls will look right on this bike.
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Old 07-10-20, 09:14 PM
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Is this a new-geometry P13, which was designed to accommodate Campagnolo sidepulls, and uses clamp-on cable clips?




Or is it an earlier P13 or P15/P10 with slightly longer brake reach and built-on cable stops which aren't always where you want 'em?



It helps to know what one's playing with.

-Kurt
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Old 07-10-20, 10:01 PM
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Yep, you might be stuck with the centerpulls although with the Modolo's on there it should work with Campy's too.
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Old 07-10-20, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Is this a new-geometry P13, which was designed to accommodate Campagnolo sidepulls, and uses clamp-on cable clips?




Or is it an earlier P13 or P15/P10 with slightly longer brake reach and built-on cable stops which aren't always where you want 'em?



It helps to know what one's playing with.

-Kurt
'73 P-13-9, so "new" generation with no cable guides brazed on, just uses clips.
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Old 07-10-20, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by nesteel View Post
'73 P-13-9, so "new" generation with no cable guides brazed on, just uses clips.
Pretty much open season for your choice of brakes then!

-Kurt
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Old 07-10-20, 11:15 PM
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Bike in question:


Original brakes:
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Old 07-10-20, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Pretty much open season for your choice of brakes then!

-Kurt
That's good info to know, thank you.
The Modolo setup just doesn't look right. Those will likely find their way onto the '83 Serotta that showed up last week should I decide to keep/build it.
Their are early Wienmann Carerra calipers in the parts bin, and Suntour Superbe 4700's.
The more I consider it, the less I like the center pull aesthetics. Perhaps after it's cleaned up I'll toss a set of spare Campagnolo calipers on it and check the looks.
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Old 07-11-20, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by nesteel View Post
That's good info to know, thank you.
The Modolo setup just doesn't look right. Those will likely find their way onto the '83 Serotta that showed up last week should I decide to keep/build it.
Their are early Wienmann Carerra calipers in the parts bin, and Suntour Superbe 4700's.
The more I consider it, the less I like the center pull aesthetics. Perhaps after it's cleaned up I'll toss a set of spare Campagnolo calipers on it and check the looks.
Good to hear, the Campy's are the only real choice imho and the only other original option and while the lackluster pedestrian Weinmann/Dia-Compe kludge are somewhat endearing.

I have always been dismayed at Schwinn's use of them but I guess they had to do it for sheer volume since they used them on everything.
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Old 07-11-20, 09:58 AM
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I think that people have a prejudice against Weinmann center pull brakes because they were so common. I know I did. That changed when I saw my first real in the flesh René Herse touring bike, perhaps 30 years ago. Guess what brakes it had? Weinmanns. He could have picked anything. This was clearly a no expenses spared custom bicycle. Made me re-evaluate. I had them on my Super Mirage when I was a kid, and I remember that they always worked well for me. They stop well. They are solidly made. The 'cheap' perception seems to originate mostly because they came on so many less expensive bike boom bikes, not from any inherent quality of the brakes themselves.
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Old 07-11-20, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
I think that people have a prejudice against Weinmann center pull brakes because they were so common. I know I did. That changed when I saw my first real in the flesh René Herse touring bike, perhaps 30 years ago. Guess what brakes it had? Weinmanns. He could have picked anything. This was clearly a no expenses spared custom bicycle. Made me re-evaluate. I had them on my Super Mirage when I was a kid, and I remember that they always worked well for me. They stop well. They are solidly made. The 'cheap' perception seems to originate mostly because they came on so many less expensive bike boom bikes, not from any inherent quality of the brakes themselves.
+1

I don't totally dislike the Weinmann's, they are iconic but think they dilute the Paramount"s classiness.

Options were limited back in the day and Schwinn was buying them by the truckload so a no brainer I guess.

Just think it ironic that a Varsity had Paramount brakes or that a Paramount had Varsity brakes.

They were always excellent quality and very well made but when paired with "Safety", turkey levers, yep even often on Paramounts and anything other than perfect setup and adjustment with good pads, they performed well below what they should.
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Old 07-11-20, 02:48 PM
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There is nothing wrong with Weinmann centerpulls that cannot be fixed with KoolStop pads and modern cables and housings. Last year I replaced the rear brake cable and housing on my UO-8 (Peugeot-branded Weinmann 999) -- what a difference!
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Old 07-11-20, 04:00 PM
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My only objection to Weinmann centerpulls is that the shoe mounts are so far apart that they need wide rims or thick pads for the brake shoe to hit the rim squarely. Otherwise, the pads angle upwards into the braking surface, with only the lower edge making contact. I see this very frequently in pictures here on the forum, and I'm always curious what the owners aren't saying about the performance of their brakes. Also, sometimes I see Kool-Stops haphazardly thrown on, which does compensate for this, but it doesn't excuse bad setup/adjustment.

Even then, I've seen Weinmanns factory spec'ed with rims not wide enough to begin with. Some of the original Weinmann pads were, admittedly, thicker/deeper than many new replacements available today, but I've seen some dodgy factory combinations.

Whatever the case, proper setup and a thick enough pair of pads (threaded canti pads with conical washers don't look good, but often solve the problem) can result in very powerful performance out of these centerpulls - even if spongy.

I never cared too much for them myself (I only have them on my '61 Paramount for originality's sake), but I wouldn't say no to throwing a set on a flipper.

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Old 07-11-20, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
My only objection to Weinmann centerpulls is that the shoe mounts are so far apart that they need wide rims or thick pads for the brake shoe to hit the rim squarely. Otherwise, the pads angle upwards into the braking surface, with only the lower edge making contact. I see this very frequently in pictures here on the forum, and I'm always curious what the owners aren't saying about the performance of their brakes. Also, sometimes I see Kool-Stops haphazardly thrown on, which does compensate for this, but it doesn't excuse bad setup/adjustment.

Even then, I've seen Weinmanns factory spec'ed with rims not wide enough to begin with. Some of the original Weinmann pads were, admittedly, thicker/deeper than many new replacements available today, but I've seen some dodgy factory combinations.

Whatever the case, proper setup and a thick enough pair of pads (threaded canti pads with conical washers don't look good, but often solve the problem) can result in very powerful performance out of these centerpulls - even if spongy.

I never cared too much for them myself (I only have them on my '61 Paramount for originality's sake), but I wouldn't say no to throwing a set on a flipper.

-Kurt
I had a 1978 Motobecane with Rigida 13-20 rims and Weinmann Vanqueur 999 c/p's on it that had brake pad contact issues. The bike came new with the orange Weinmann pads that looked like a row of oval bumps, the pads had to be mounted upside down to get them to mate flat with the rim. They didn't last long, I was always changing out the brake pads on that bike because of uneven wear. The long arms would flex and the pads would wear more on the front then the rear of the pad. I melted a few too riding in the hills in PA back in the day. They stopped the bike fine, and the soft pads didn't eat up the soft Rigida rims but I used to carry a few spare sets of pads and a wrench in a bag under the seat. A buddy with the same combo used to keep a few sets of pads wired together dangling from his handlebars. Back in the day we would get a buddy to drive us all up to the top of one long hill and we would race downhill through the winding roads in the fall when there was no traffic. I remember a buddy on a Raleigh with a pair of Weinmann concave rims and the same c/p calipers riding along side me and as he braked, I could see the ring of smoke form around the front wheel as the pads melted. He eventually got the rim so hot the front tire blew out. We stopped riding there after seeing that.

I never felt the C/P calipers lacked any stopping ability, in fact I generally preferred them. They were easier to adjust, they rarely dragged one side or the other, and they gave great clearance for fenders and different size tires. The only downfall I saw with them was weight, the calipers themselves were no doubt heavier than a good side pull and the associated hangers added even more weight. For my purposes though, stopping ability and reliability took precedence over weight. I always absolutely hated dealing with side pull calipers that refused to stay centered. The position of the cable casing has no effect on a C/P caliper like it can on a side pull.
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Old 07-11-20, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by barnfind View Post
I had a 1978 Motobecane with Rigida 13-20 rims and Weinmann Vanqueur 999 c/p's on it that had brake pad contact issues.
A combination I'm familiar with, and still have on my '61 Paramount. There was a time when I was awash in Rigida 1320's from every old-time LBS down here. I also regret it - they're soft and they don't build well.

Originally Posted by barnfind View Post
The bike came new with the orange Weinmann pads that looked like a row of oval bumps, the pads had to be mounted upside down to get them to mate flat with the rim.
Exactly what I was describing. The 1320's wouldn't have made this any better - they're particularly narrow in comparison to Weinmann box-section rims. The Weinmann pads were thicker at the bottom to mate up to rims with slightly angled sides, so they happened to work better inverted.

For those reading who don't understand what I'm blabbing about, here's an example. Please ignore the April Fools-worthy Campagnolo-badged Dia-Compe centerpull and the cable routing. It's an old pic and the only thing I had on hand:



Thing is, these brakes work much better if the pads are contacting the rim long before they're tilted in this far. I found that a 2mm spacer between the pad and the brake arm usually does the trick, but finding a pad with enough thread to support this hack is fairly difficult.

Originally Posted by barnfind View Post
I never felt the C/P calipers lacked any stopping ability, in fact I generally preferred them. They were easier to adjust, they rarely dragged one side or the other, and they gave great clearance for fenders and different size tires. The only downfall I saw with them was weight, the calipers themselves were no doubt heavier than a good side pull and the associated hangers added even more weight. For my purposes though, stopping ability and reliability took precedence over weight. I always absolutely hated dealing with side pull calipers that refused to stay centered. The position of the cable casing has no effect on a C/P caliper like it can on a side pull.
Agreed. For a long time until the late 1970's, the only sidepull that could match this performance and not fall out of alignment all the time were Campagnolo Records.

In that context, the 999's made perfect sense. Though I'd argue that the finicky and PITA unthreaded brake studs on Mafac centerpulls gave them just the slightest edge, as this design eliminates pad-to-rim distance issues.

-Kurt
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Old 07-11-20, 06:11 PM
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Oh I remember those angled pads, and the angled rims too. They were kind of a pain. They did make non angled pads too. In fact they made a bunch of different pads, some thicker than others. The brake pad hitting the rim at an angle as the pad wears is an issue on modern dual pivots too. That's why modern pads are so thin. The only brakes that are really immune from the issue are old school single pivot sidepulls.

I'm pretty sure that one of the Kool stop replacement pads will fit those holders. 4 dot probably the best if they fit. It wasn't uncommon for folks to run Mathauser or other aftermarket brake pads. I personally never found Weinmanns difficult to adjust and set up so that they were not spongy or ineffective. The Weinmann calipers have considerably less inherent flexiness than MAFAC, if you've ever compared the two side by side. Of course though, the turkey levers were always a joke. They were OK for casual slowing down, I suppose. I always felt the Weinmann brake levers were too small, but they probably fit more people than MAFAC.

BTW @merziac, I'm pretty sure you had to spring for the Continental to get those fancy Paramount brakes.... That's a whole notch up from the Varsity. It was pretty crazy that the same component was used on both the top model and an almost entry level model. That kind of thing doesn't happen anymore, does it?
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Old 07-11-20, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Oh I remember those angled pads, and the angled rims too. They were kind of a pain. They did make non angled pads too. In fact they made a bunch of different pads, some thicker than others. The brake pad hitting the rim at an angle as the pad wears is an issue on modern dual pivots too. That's why modern pads are so thin. The only brakes that are really immune from the issue are old school single pivot sidepulls.
I wonder how many folks thought the angle was supposed to help the pads angle towards the rim more.

Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
I'm pretty sure that one of the Kool stop replacement pads will fit those holders.
I have noted that some Weinmann brake holders actually come with a second - and really lousy fitting - stamped-aluminum pad retainer. They look like crap and make angling the pad right a fiddly issue, but these actually add the missing 2.5mm or so on each side of the pad needed for the 999's to work on most rims.

Problem is, those repop Weinmann 4-dot, 6-dot, and 7-dot replacement pads - far as I know - didn't come out until sometime in the last seven years, I believe - so it wasn't like you could re-use the old holder with the necessary, longer threaded mounting stud. Either that, or I was under a rock.



Oh, and for those curious:
Kool Stop International - High Performance Bicycle Brake Pads Since 1977
Kool Stop International - High Performance Bicycle Brake Pads Since 1977
Kool Stop International - High Performance Bicycle Brake Pads Since 1977

Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
The Weinmann calipers have considerably less inherent flexiness than MAFAC, if you've ever compared the two side by side. Of course though, the turkey levers were always a joke. They were OK for casual slowing down, I suppose. I always felt the Weinmann brake levers were too small, but they probably fit more people than MAFAC.
Just looking at the thickness of the Mafacs says it all, really. Still, pretty impressive for what they are.

The Weinmann levers did come in two sizes though. And when they were designed for turkey wings, they'd sometimes be a bit shorter on top. Between all the variations, plus Dia-Compe levers, and all the aluminum and steel no-name knockoffs, one could pretty much make whatever they wanted with enough parts.

Also, one could simply file away material on the top of the lever to increase the reach. Unless, of course, the lever in question happens to be a built-in QR model.

-Kurt
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Old 07-12-20, 08:51 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
A combination I'm familiar with, and still have on my '61 Paramount. There was a time when I was awash in Rigida 1320's from every old-time LBS down here. I also regret it - they're soft and they don't build well.



Exactly what I was describing. The 1320's wouldn't have made this any better - they're particularly narrow in comparison to Weinmann box-section rims. The Weinmann pads were thicker at the bottom to mate up to rims with slightly angled sides, so they happened to work better inverted.

For those reading who don't understand what I'm blabbing about, here's an example. Please ignore the April Fools-worthy Campagnolo-badged Dia-Compe centerpull and the cable routing. It's an old pic and the only thing I had on hand:



Thing is, these brakes work much better if the pads are contacting the rim long before they're tilted in this far. I found that a 2mm spacer between the pad and the brake arm usually does the trick, but finding a pad with enough thread to support this hack is fairly difficult.



Agreed. For a long time until the late 1970's, the only sidepull that could match this performance and not fall out of alignment all the time were Campagnolo Records.

In that context, the 999's made perfect sense. Though I'd argue that the finicky and PITA unthreaded brake studs on Mafac centerpulls gave them just the slightest edge, as this design eliminates pad-to-rim distance issues.

-Kurt
I liked that about the Mafacs too but I always felt Mafacs were reserved for French bikes only, and at that only those they came on from the factory. In other words, a Mafac side pull would look pretty out of place on an old Trek or even a vintage Paramount.

A number of years ago I came across a whole display card full of black Weinman shoes which rather than being angled in one direction they were tapered on all four sides with an X pattern cut in them. These were a good 4 mm thicker overall than the older pads and worked pretty well fit wise on narrow rims, the problem was they didn't stop as well as the old red pads from the early 70's. The black pads felt 'greasy' in hand, they were okay for the first few stops but after they got warm they felt like someone greased the sides of the rims. They looked very similar to the pads that came new on the later Dia Compe 500 series side pulls.

One thing do notice when dealing with older C/P brakes is that they work better with smaller pads, the lesser pad surface allows for more pressure per square inch against the rims, thus they seem to stop better. The lever has to keep a mechanical advantage over the caliper for any brake to be really effective. I had a mid 70's Schwinn Voyager II that came with Shimano Tourney C/P's and narrow Araya rims. The pads were the one's with the little arrow patterns. That was by far the worst stopping bike I ever owned. The pads were noisey regardless of adjustment, and the brakes had trouble even slowing the bike on level ground let alone stopping it in the hills.
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Old 07-12-20, 10:59 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Oh I remember those angled pads, and the angled rims too. They were kind of a pain. They did make non angled pads too. In fact they made a bunch of different pads, some thicker than others. The brake pad hitting the rim at an angle as the pad wears is an issue on modern dual pivots too. That's why modern pads are so thin. The only brakes that are really immune from the issue are old school single pivot sidepulls.

I'm pretty sure that one of the Kool stop replacement pads will fit those holders. 4 dot probably the best if they fit. It wasn't uncommon for folks to run Mathauser or other aftermarket brake pads. I personally never found Weinmanns difficult to adjust and set up so that they were not spongy or ineffective. The Weinmann calipers have considerably less inherent flexiness than MAFAC, if you've ever compared the two side by side. Of course though, the turkey levers were always a joke. They were OK for casual slowing down, I suppose. I always felt the Weinmann brake levers were too small, but they probably fit more people than MAFAC.

BTW @merziac, I'm pretty sure you had to spring for the Continental to get those fancy Paramount brakes.... That's a whole notch up from the Varsity. It was pretty crazy that the same component was used on both the top model and an almost entry level model. That kind of thing doesn't happen anymore, does it?
I must have seen a lot of Varsity Sports, the 74's came with them so maybe the later regular ones did too or they standardized along the way, imagine that.
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Old 07-12-20, 01:35 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by nesteel View Post
Bike in question:

Now that I see the bike, I'm changing my vote to a strong lean towards Campy record brakes. The frame has the top tube clips rather than under tube braze on stops. Plus the geometry looks full race.
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