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Universal 61 vs Mafac Racers (or other model)

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Universal 61 vs Mafac Racers (or other model)

Old 02-17-24, 12:30 PM
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Universal 61 vs Mafac Racers (or other model)

In earlier posts, I explained that Sweetie’s 1971 Cinelli had universal 61s, brakes and levers.

The brakes themselves to the job great!!

but, with smaller hands, she struggles with the Universal levers which are huge,

I’ve thought of turkey levers, which is funny because frankly, we all make fun of them.

However, the seven I bought her has something called interrupter brakes, and she always uses those and rarely (she just corrected me, “NEVER” she says) the ones on the forward curve of the bars.

My thought is, switching out to a lever, more suited for smaller hands without necessarily mixing up brands.

that tall 1969 Cinelli had Mafac racers, came from wolf’s shop. So, I know that might be an appropriate

oh, her bike did come w Brummell's fenders, which are off for now, but it might nice to return them to the Bike if necessary.

Has anybody experienced the same situation? I’m trying to keep this bike somewhat period correct

as always, y’all more smarter than me, and I appreciate your sharing of said smarts.

robert

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Old 02-17-24, 12:48 PM
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My 74 Le Champion was purchased by a college girl in 1974 and the shop installed these levers to operate the Universals. I’m plan on using this combination be cause I’m not very smart.


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Old 02-17-24, 12:48 PM
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-----

guidonnets could be period correct and solve the problem





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Old 02-17-24, 01:22 PM
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I'm not sure how robust these are, but they look like guidonnets: https://www.somafabshop.com/shop/731...gory=121#attr=
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Old 02-17-24, 01:43 PM
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I love the guidonnets
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Old 02-17-24, 01:59 PM
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My Mondia has Mafac Racer center pull with smooth Mafac levers. They work very well.
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Old 02-17-24, 02:08 PM
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For a first pass test, on the current set-up, I would buy excellent new brake pads and set the brakes to engage sooner. Shorter pull and lighter feel may do the trick.

otherwise, all I have from personal experience is:
short and shallow bars can solve some problems, hood position on bar.
narrow bars might help, or angle of hoods/levers tweeked for anatomically natural pull
and agreeing w/ @Classtime = Weinmann offered shorter reach options.

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Old 02-17-24, 02:43 PM
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so Robvolz which problem are we trying to solve ? Small hands or brake lever position on the bars ?

There are short reach levers out there, these Weinmann "junior" levers are a nice solution for small hands https://www.ebay.com/itm/285642387649

the guidonnet levers are cool but be advised there is a reduction in braking authority

the interruptor levers are a great solution too but not that "classic" look

if it were me I'd change to TRP brakes to improve the braking authority, use the best pads you can find (I like the Jagwire or kool stop) modern cables and the levers she feels safe with.

but that's me. you do you

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Old 02-17-24, 02:57 PM
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I love MAFACs but using Weinmann levers with them provides a quick release, which is really nice. That combination is frequently found in Spence's Cinellis...

Last edited by bibliobob; 02-17-24 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 02-17-24, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by bibliobob
I love MAFACs but using Weinmann levers with them provides a quick release, which is really. That combination is frequently found in Spence's Cinellis...
..this was a pretty commonly done modification, and for exactly this reason, the addition of a QR to the system.
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Old 02-17-24, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Robvolz
...that tall 1969 Cinelli had Mafac racers, came from wolf’s shop. So, I know that might be an appropriate...
Originally Posted by bibliobob
I love MAFACs but using Weinmann levers with them provides a quick release, which is really. That combination is frequently found in Spence's Cinellis...
Originally Posted by 3alarmer
..this was a pretty commonly done modification, and for exactly this reason, the addition of a QR to the system.
In fact Jacob's bike which Rob referenced above is equipped like this.

I can tell you from experience that, if one works carefully, the Weinmann levers can be bent so that there is less reach between bar and lever for smaller hands.
Brent
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Old 02-17-24, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by philbob57
I'm not sure how robust these are, but they look like guidonnets: https://www.somafabshop.com/shop/731...gory=121#attr=
@SDHawk just posted on a Moto wearing these, pic for reference:

eBay / CraigsList finds - "Are you looking for one of these!?" Part II
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Old 02-17-24, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by obrentharris
I can tell you from experience that, if one works carefully, the Weinmann levers can be bent so that there is less reach between bar and lever for smaller hands.
Agreed. Don't try to bend anything from Universal though, they snap. Definitely don't try to bend the brake stirrups for toe-in, the allowable bend before snapping is zero. The lever blades appear the be wrought, and bendable, but the lever perches share the brittleness of the calipers. They snap from the bike falling over once, or even just over-tightening the bolt that holds them to the hbar. Plus they're ugly and uncomfortable. Other than that though, great levers!

Weinmann and Mafac both used superior metallurgy (forging, and proper alloys and/or heat-treat?) and are surprisingly bendable.
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Old 02-17-24, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bibliobob
I love MAFACs but using Weinmann levers with them provides a quick release,
Mafacs ( and the various clone) calipers have a qr, none needed on the lever.
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Old 02-18-24, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by bibliobob
I love MAFACs but using Weinmann levers with them provides a quick release, which is really nice. That combination is frequently found in Spence's Cinellis...
Exactly my thoughts: 80's Weinmann drilled levers came in several varieties, one with QR. and they look fabulous


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Old 02-18-24, 05:22 AM
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She might like Tektro inverse levers on a VO Porteur bar, mounted to give a slight drop. They are small and comfortable. Don
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Old 02-18-24, 09:26 AM
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You may want to defer to Sally's advice from an episode of "3rd Rock from the Sun",
" Kill her. Get a different one. "

Sometimes it seems like ........

OR

Just give her whatever would make her happy cos nobody actually GAF what the Cinelli looks like anyway (I mean, fenders?). Get rid of those stupid brakes and levers. Put some old Campys on it and be done with it.

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Old 02-18-24, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie
Agreed. Don't try to bend anything from Universal though, they snap. Definitely don't try to bend the brake stirrups for toe-in, the allowable bend before snapping is zero. The lever blades appear the be wrought, and bendable, but the lever perches share the brittleness of the calipers. They snap from the bike falling over once, or even just over-tightening the bolt that holds them to the hbar. Plus they're ugly and uncomfortable. Other than that though, great levers!

Weinmann and Mafac both used superior metallurgy (forging, and proper alloys and/or heat-treat?) and are surprisingly bendable.
Before the gruppo mafia took over, mixing and matching parts was quite common in the pro peloton, not in the least with brake systems. Below is a pic of the 1964 Wiel's Groene Leeuw Tour de France team. From a distance it looks quite homogeneous, but if you zoom in on the brakes and levers you'll see a lot of personal preferences.



MAFAC calipers with Universal levers was actually a very popular combination. Eddy Merckx also used it on his "Peugeot":

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Old 02-18-24, 12:52 PM
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Been there, done that. Above all, seek out a nice set of GB Coureur 66 brakes. The design is brilliant vs. other centerpulls. The main support for the pivoting arms wrap the axis bearing, smoother action and minimizes torsional flex.

The aftermarket MAFAC bridge by Spence Wolf and now by a forum member (Kurt) attempts to fix the weakness of those type of centerpulls. Whereas the GB Coureur has it built-in with elegant design and lighter weight.

Boost the brakes performance by utilizing some sort of self centering pulley hanger bridge cable (perhaps Dia Compe) and definitely use Kool Stop red pads.
If one can't 'handle' the above, just stick to a rear coaster braked bike.
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Old 02-18-24, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie
Before the gruppo mafia took over, mixing and matching parts was quite common in the pro peloton, not in the least with brake systems. Below is a pic of the 1964 Wiel's Groene Leeuw Tour de France team. From a distance it looks quite homogeneous, but if you zoom in on the brakes and levers you'll see a lot of personal preferences.


Sorry for the diversion, but I can't resist. On the far left is Benoni Beheyt in the World Champion's jersey he won in 1963. He beat a certain Rik van Looy in the sprint, depriving van Looy of his third consecutive rainbow jersey. Small problem: they were both on the Belgian team, of which van Looy was supposed to the leader/top dog. van Looy expected Beheyt to do a lead-out and then step aside and let him win, and so did practically everyone else. When Beheyt won, van Looy (not exactly known for being warm, cuddly or diplomatic - Merckx couldn't stand him for good reason) said all the correct things to the press about Beheyt being faster that day and of course he had the right to win. But forever after, the Emperor made it a point to screw over Beheyt every chance he could. Beheyt was a good rider with good palmares, but they would have been better without a vindictive van Looy making sure his breaks were always chased down and his every weakness was exploited, regardless of the situation.

This kind of brouhaha at the Worlds, where riders from different trade teams are thrown together on a national race for a single event, are not uncommon. Witness the Merckx/Maertens imbroglio at the 1973 Worlds, where Maertens chased down a Merckx breakaway (it took them something like 30 years to kiss and make up), or in the 1980s when Greg Lemond chased down Jock Boyer at the Worlds (as far as I know, they still haven't kissed and made up). The same sort of thing was also not uncommon at the Tour de France in the days when it was contested by national teams. The tradition of the winner giving all his prize money to his teammates came about as a way for one rider to buy the loyalty of the rest of the team, some, perhaps most, of whom were from other trade teams and might have their own ambitions. Louison Bobet likely was not the first to do this, but he was probably the most noteworthy example when he publicly pledged during one of the years he won in the mid-1950s that all his winnings would go to the team. (Odds are he more than made up for it in the post-Tour criteriums, where his yellow jersey no doubt commanded premium appearance fees.)

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
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Old 02-18-24, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Robvolz
In earlier posts, I explained that Sweetie’s 1971 Cinelli had universal 61s, brakes and levers.

The brakes themselves to the job great!!

but, with smaller hands, she struggles with the Universal levers which are huge,
I had trouble with reach of the Mafac levers on the 1971 PX-10 that I restored. I took a hint from a French restorer and added spacers between the lever and the lever body. I took a plastic cap from a Presta valve and cut a hole in the end for the cable to pass. It’s out of sight after installation and brings the levers closer to the bars. To bring farther in, just use a longer spacer.


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Old 02-19-24, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer
This kind of brouhaha at the Worlds, where riders from different trade teams are thrown together on a national race for a single event, are not uncommon. Witness the Merckx/Maertens imbroglio at the 1973 Worlds, where Maertens chased down a Merckx breakaway (it took them something like 30 years to kiss and make up), or in the 1980s when Greg Lemond chased down Jock Boyer at the Worlds (as far as I know, they still haven't kissed and made up).
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Greg LeMond Rules ! ! He doesn't have to kiss and make up with anybody !

On the topic I can't believe the absurd lengths people go to in order to preserve ugly. We're not talking museum pieces here, these are riders. I got over Mafacs and Universals as soon as I could afford better. A Big $ vintage bike with junk brakes? Puhleeezzz ! And the people who have them are good for a laff when they're not around so as not to embarrass them. And they probably secretly ride lycra too.

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Old 02-19-24, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie
... I got over Mafacs and Universals as soon as I could afford better. A Big $ vintage bike with junk brakes? Puhleeezzz !...
Charlie got this right, despite a few bombastic comments. lol
That '71 Cinelli deserves better. And Campy levers measure almost 3/4" closer to the handlebar.
And deliver superior braking and smoothness. Centerpulls = spongy.
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Old 02-19-24, 11:34 AM
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Campy. What's not to like? An incredibly simple solution. Go figure.

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Old 02-19-24, 11:48 AM
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Personally I like the mafacs but I am usually using them with upright bars and city style levers. Weinmann and universal not so much. The campy brakes work well too in my book.
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