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-   -   When did MAFAC Racer brakes start NOT to appear on catalog spec'ed bicycles? (https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage/1207514-when-did-mafac-racer-brakes-start-not-appear-catalog-speced-bicycles.html)

uncle uncle 07-14-20 09:23 PM

When did MAFAC Racer brakes start NOT to appear on catalog spec'ed bicycles?
 
Velobase has info indicating that MAFAC Racer brakes were used into the 1980's, which might be true, but that doesn't correlate to what I remember from my bicycle shop visits back then.... I can't remember a single bicycle being spec'ed with them in the early 80's. Of course, the shop I visited didn't carry any French bicycles. What do you guys/gals remember? Thanks for your responses in advance.

Salamandrine 07-14-20 09:29 PM


Originally Posted by uncle uncle (Post 21587924)
Velobase has info indicating that MAFAC Racer brakes were used into the 1980's, which might be true, but that doesn't correlate to what I remember from my bicycle shop visits back then.... I can't remember a single bicycle being spec'ed with them in the early 80's. Of course, the shop I visited didn't carry any French bicycles. What do you guys/gals remember? Thanks for your responses in advance.

I remember only Peugeots still having them at that time. Not 100% sure.. Maybe Gitane. (?) MAFAC went out of business in the early 80s, IIRC.

uncle uncle 07-14-20 10:00 PM

https://www.bikeboompeugeot.com/Broc...ompetition.jpg

This PXN10LE, from 1979 (USA catalog) uses MAFAC Competition centerpull brakes (close enough to Racers)... but the next year, all brakes are Weinmann. Hmm....

Bad Lag 07-15-20 10:41 AM

My recollection is that by 1978 it was already over.

I bought a set but never liked them. I got rid of them, possibly threw them away.

Salamandrine 07-15-20 10:55 AM


Originally Posted by uncle uncle (Post 21587957)
https://www.bikeboompeugeot.com/Broc...ompetition.jpg

This PXN10LE, from 1979 (USA catalog) uses MAFAC Competition centerpull brakes (close enough to Racers)... but the next year, all brakes are Weinmann. Hmm....

Thanks. I looked through the catalogs. It appears that yeah, 1979 is the last year. After that they came with MAFAC sidepulls for a few years through 1983, when they went out of business, AFAIK.

I remember seeing Competition brakes both on club rides and in races during the very early 80s. In retrospect, I guess they were on bikes that were a few years old. Not unusual. Juniors especially typically couldn't afford a brand new bike. MAFAC was seen as somewhat non conformist at the time, like driving a Saab or something. This being within a sport that was already a little counter-cultural, at the time anyway.

OldsCOOL 07-15-20 11:13 AM


Originally Posted by uncle uncle (Post 21587924)
Velobase has info indicating that MAFAC Racer brakes were used into the 1980's, which might be true, but that doesn't correlate to what I remember from my bicycle shop visits back then.... I can't remember a single bicycle being spec'ed with them in the early 80's. Of course, the shop I visited didn't carry any French bicycles. What do you guys/gals remember? Thanks for your responses in advance.

My recently acquired 83 UO-14 was equipped with Mafac Racer centerpulls and levers. Interesting thread. I too had wondered how long they continued with 70s brakesets into the 80s.

uncle uncle 07-15-20 02:01 PM

So far, some great info coming from out of everywhere. So, my personal story related to MAFAC Racer centerpulls is set in the context of when I came to real 10 speed bicycling, which meant 1982, my first year in college, and a move to a city big enough to have bicycle shops. I don't recall seeing any MAFAC Racers on any new bicycles by that time, nor did anyone I rode with have them installed... but we all had pretty new bicycles. I remember seeing them on bicycles that came into repair, after I started working at the bicycle shop, circa 1985. By then, sidepulls had become the normal, "looks correct" fashion in brakes, though very entry level bicycles probably still had Weinmann or Dia Compe centerpulls. Even Weinmann's and Dia Compe's centerpulls made MAFAC brakes look heavy, unnecessarily complex, and thus dated (all in my innocent uneducated knowledge at the time) . The head mech at the shop told me that "they were hard to adjust correctly, and squealed", which didn't bode well for me either. Now, many people here really swear by them, if they're not swearing at the squeals they make. I hope to hunt down a pair of them, and give them a squeeze... but I did want context into when they were prevalent, and where one could expect them to be used. So far, I'm getting a "French bicycle, up to late 70's" vibe for when/where they are appropriate.

Salamandrine 07-15-20 02:21 PM

It's funny how the attitude changed in just a few years. Let's put this in perspective of the times. Circa the mid to late 70s, center pull brakes were one of the biggest indicators of a quality bicycle. Actually, it was probably the main thing. We kids had all suffered through cheap steel sidepull brakes on various cheap bikes. They barely stopped, and they would always go off center and start rubbing the rim. They were just generally a pain. When you first tried one of those fancy (usually French) bikes with center pull brakes, it was immediately and obviously a monstrous improvement. They stopped with real power, and they always stayed centered. You did not need to fiddle with them all the time. They just worked and worked well. Magic!


Originally Posted by uncle uncle (Post 21589012)
The head mech at the shop told me that "they were hard to adjust correctly, and squealed", which didn't bode well for me either.

IMHO, not really. I've never met a set of center pulls I could not easily adjust and set up to be squeal free. That mech probably didn't know how to adjust them correctly. CP brakes really aren't that difficult. The early Dia Compe cantis were relatively much more annoying. I hated U brakes most of all, but it was primarily because of the inconvenient location. The bike had to be flipped around in the stand to get to them.

uncle uncle 07-15-20 04:14 PM


Originally Posted by Salamandrine (Post 21589040)

...IMHO, not really. I've never met a set of center pulls I could not easily adjust and set up to be squeal free. ...

Yeah... the head mech was probably just being nice to me and bailing me out with an excuse because I was struggling with the brakes, having never had a history with them. He probably could adjust them with one hand, while eating a sandwich with the other, and manning the phone.

dddd 07-15-20 08:53 PM

The Mafac/Spidel sidepulls were some of the last Mafac brakes that I can remember seeing as new OEM-spec, on bikes like upper-tier Peugeot or Gitane from 1980 or 1981.

Doubtless some lower-tier models persisted with the Racers, as OldsCOOL mentioned. I recall the Racer model (if that what it was still called) appeared to be redesigned by then, from a different mold.

oldspokes 07-16-20 01:34 AM

I seem to remember a few mountain bikes with them as late as 1984-85, but they were odd brands sold by parts distributors.
After that I remember seeing them on all sorts of blow out sales for cheap.
The shop I worked at in school used to toss them from brand new bikes, so many people complained or wanted them upgraded they just assembled the bikes with Weinmann brakes and levers.

Mafac went away around the same time that CLB did, and the French bikes were losing out to Japanese bikes in sales. Before the 80's were out, there were no more French bikes on the floor, it was all Asian bikes for the most part. Companies were failing, changing hands, and shops were scampering for new lines to carry that would sell. Where I was, in the 70's Peugeot and Raleigh were king, by 1980, things were starting to change, sales slowed down, bikes were changing, more and more Asian brands were available, and the wholesale sources were changing. New companies were gaining popularity and thus gaining more floor space in the showroom.


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