Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

Sidepull brake evolution: Which are truly the best?

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

Sidepull brake evolution: Which are truly the best?

Old 11-23-07, 11:00 PM
  #1  
dannyg1 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,225
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Sidepull brake evolution: Which are truly the best?

I've spent alot of time over the last few months, riding a wide assortment of classic bikes on fairly long (24 mile), varied rides and I've put some time into comparing various sidepull brakes. I actually started thinking about it after reading a short review of the Suntour Superbe Pro brake (which I'm assuming means the rare internal spring model) presented as the final 'best' product in the sidepull evolution.

Here's some competition and what I think of each. Please add your experience and extend the last!:

Dia Compe Suntour BRS EDGE, external springs (they made an internally sprung version of this I haven't tried): May be the strongest sidepull ever made, but there isn't _any_ mdulation to speak of. If you're careful enough not to throw yourself over the bars, these will stop you faster than almost any other brake. A version of this brake is still available and is one of the weightweenie classics, for the poorer. Not so good looking and finished plainly.

Royal Gran Compe 400
(Suntour Cyclone/Sprint/older Superbe clone): A really excellent balance of power vs. modulation, with a nod towards the modulation side of things. Stops very, very well but doesn't have as strong a 'panic mode' as some of the others. A great improvement though, over Campagnolo Super Record, its main competition of the day. Beautifully finished.

Shimano Dura Ace 7401 (Non-SLR) - An almost perfect brake and my vote for best sidepull I've ever ridden. Has great modulation and is very predictable because of it. Also has real power in 'panic' mode stops. Beautifully finished in a way that transcends most every other, save the Campagnolo Chorus Aero's which are polished to another level above these.

Shimano 600 6200 series (Non SLR) - Perform almost identically to the Royal Gran Compe brakes and look a bit like them too. These are finished well and are a great choice if you're looking for something that works really well, looks pretty and doesn't cost an arm/leg combo. The Royal Gran Compe's though, are finished a touch better IMO. Unfortunately named and logo'd, just like their replacement - Ultegra. What is it about Shimano names in the mid/high-line?

Campagnolo Super Record (Second-to-last, still with rounded nut version) - This brake is great looking and works almost fine but I really am not a fan. The next version (with the script lettering and the aero bolts the 'Cobalto' and the '50th Anni' are made of this script-etched one) is a good bit better but, IMO, these dont stop as much as modulate and have lousy panic abilities. I get scared riding them at-speed in Manhattan.

Campagnolo Chorus Aero and Athena Aero
- These two versions seem to be almost exactly the same brake (the Chorus has a split follower arm and the Athena a top seated one), they certainly feel identical to me. These are really lovingly polished and provided that you like the shape, are some of the prettiest sidepulls ever made. They're very stiff, with really tight springs and a great lever feel that makes them modulate very, very well. They do also perform very well in panic stops but take more lever pull to get to it, and the assembly is 'hard-sprung' so some good hand force is required as well. I like these second-best of the 90's brakes I've tried even though they only look really right on post-80's frames. I actually like the look and design of the less pricey Athena version better.

Dia Compe AG 500 - These are the cheaper version of the 'Aero-G' brake which I haven't tried. These are some of the worst brakes I've ever ridden and are certainly the worst mid-range brake I've tried. Poorly finished too.

Galli - A real surprise, considering their status when I was growing up. Much better than Super Record and almost as good as the Royal Gran Compe's. If they were a little stiffer, they'ld be truly great. As they are, they're just excellent. Finished in a very 'old-school' compatible deep shine with simple graphics and a 60's-esque quick release. My favorite for a truly vintage ride.

Mavic Aero
- These are from Mavic's 'Starfish' 7-speed index group, right after the SSC's and are/were apparently made by Modolo (Modolo offered an identical design). Excellent stiffness and a really strong spring make these feel very much like the Campagnolo Aeros in light use but the difference is in panic stopping where these fall short. It could just be the brake pads though as these certainly feel, and look, up to the task. Well finished and very interesting looking, they're a good choice but their rarity makes them too pricey for me in terms of what you get. I'd choose the Chorus/Athena over these without question, unless of course, I was looking for that special Mavic 'personality'. In which case I'd match them with the unbearably cool SSC Lego block rear derailleur and stare at the resulting beauty for a few hours....

Danny

Last edited by dannyg1; 11-24-07 at 03:49 PM.
dannyg1 is offline  
Old 11-23-07, 11:48 PM
  #2  
caterham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 680
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
i've no real disagreement with your observations- at least of those i'm familiar with, however (aside from the D-C 500's which are crappy by most any criteria) imo, you could pretty much flip -flop the results and characteristics of most of these brakes by simply swapping out the various brakepads and/or cable+housings -
ex: i really dislike most all of the modolo/mavic brakes as requiring way too much pressure to actuate, let alone stop and their dry performance isn't any better than their wet capabilities. Ditch the stock sintered pads and (depending on the specific model and which alternate pads/cables you select) they're nearly the equal of any of the brakesets on your list.

Last edited by caterham; 11-23-07 at 11:55 PM.
caterham is offline  
Old 11-23-07, 11:59 PM
  #3  
dannyg1 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,225
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
I might try swapping pads - say, between the Dia Compe Edge brakes and the Campagnolo Record's, just to see if the effect is all in the pads. I wrote this though, with the intention of reviewing each brake as a system and presenting my opinions based on experience with what you get when you buy 'x' brakes. There are also valid differences between brakes here from the same manufacturer, made in the same time period ( contrast the Dura Ace vs. 600 and the Edge vs. RGC's) and those differences make me comfortable in thinking that it isn't all in the pads.

Danny
dannyg1 is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 12:03 AM
  #4  
Wino Ryder
"Purgatory Central"
 
Wino Ryder's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: beautiful "Cypress Gardens" florida
Posts: 1,757
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post

Campagnolo Chorus Aero and Athena Aero
- These two versions seem to be almost exactly the same brake (the Chorus has a split follower arm and the Athena a top seated one), they certainly feel identical to me. These are really lovingly polished and provided that you like the shape, are some of the prettiest sidepulls ever made.


I think the split follower arm you speak of is the monoplaner brakes, which eventually trickled down to Athena in 1993. I agree, the Chorus/Athena aero-brakes are about the best looking brakes ever IMO.

These here are NOS Athena aero-brakes I polished on a buffer. They also stop good.

Wino Ryder is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 12:17 AM
  #5  
caterham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 680
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
i think your characterisations are pretty accurate on whole.I especially like your categorisation of "modulators" vs. clampers. Much of that quality is inherent - primarily due to the pivot geometries involved in both the calipers and levers as well as the rigidity of the calipers themselves.
I just wanted to point out that the designed-in absolute performance of your collection of brakesets are quite a bit closer to one another than one would expect provided that the pads and cables/housings are optimised by the end user for his application and preferred actuation feel.
caterham is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 12:24 AM
  #6  
redneckwes
Super Course fan
 
redneckwes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Lost on the windswept plains of the Great Black Swamp
Posts: 2,720
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I have some old Weinmanns...worth a mention as you will see them often on older bikes. Seem to have been standard fare on a lot of decent, and not-so-decent machines.
__________________
I have a white PX-10, a Green Dawes Galaxy and an Orange Falcon, now I'm done.
redneckwes is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 12:34 AM
  #7  
dannyg1 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,225
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts


This is over the top! I wonder if the main spring is interchangeable with the Super Record. If they are, you can mount a chrome plated one and take that one step farther.

Danny
dannyg1 is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 01:12 AM
  #8  
dannyg1 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,225
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by caterham View Post
I especially like your categorisation of "modulators" vs. clampers. Much of that quality is inherent - primarily due to the pivot geometries involved in both the calipers and levers as well as the rigidity of the calipers themselves.
It's true, that beyond what the users can report, is the engineers design intention. I can't pretend to understand the mathmatics involved in making these little moveable bridges or the troubles you'd come across machining them. With that said, I would've thought the rigidity of the arms was one of the defining characteristics of the final braking action because it seems so obvious (Especially when comparing the Super Record, which really springs forward under hard braking, vs something like the Dura Ace, which only moves a tad); but then along comes the Dia Compe Edge, which'll have you eating the dirt before you in an instant if you're not careful, and flexes a great deal under load. I'm not sure I really want to know why that is, but it surely is.


[/QUOTE] I just wanted to point out that the designed-in absolute performance of your collection of brakesets are quite a bit closer to one another than one would expect provided that the pads and cables/housings are optimised by the end user for his application and preferred actuation feel.[/QUOTE]

Test methodology is always worth a question because it's very difficult for an end user to dedicate lots of money to making a more perfect comparison. I'm guilty as charged in a number of ways, but can say that I am experienced as a bike mechanic and can set up a properly functional sidepull to maximum performance without trouble. Most of the brakes tested were tested with similar (mostly identical because I have a large stock and change out cables on new acquisitions almost always) new cable/housings and all are cut to proper length. I never run a caliper with its center bolts out of adjustment and know how to mechanically adjust spring tension on twin bolt sidepulls (of which the compared brakes all are) to identical performance F+R (A not so common talent). And I can do it on internally sprung SunTours/Dia RGC's as well (A truly uncommon talent).

I do admit that I neglected some important parameters:

- No attention paid to fork stiffness and the effect that has on the brakes as a full bike system.
- Not the same wheelset used between tested brakes
- Not the same bike.
- No measurement of actual stopping distances
- No testing of brakes with a control set of brake levers
- No attention paid to arm reach.
- Not all pads were new
- Variable degrees of wear on rims and pads.
- No real world measurement of actual clamping force.

I didn't do these things because my level of dedication to the testing was not about comparing the brakes to an absolute, it was about reporting on what I found when I ride a good long way and what left me feeling safe (or at least as confident as one can feel riding in NYC and Long Island). My experience is more varied than most, I'm pretty sure, and what I'm looking for now, is other peoples experience with things I haven't tried. For guidance in trying my next set of sidepulls.

Regards,
Danny
dannyg1 is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 01:14 AM
  #9  
dannyg1 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,225
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by redneckwes View Post
I have some old Weinmanns...worth a mention as you will see them often on older bikes. Seem to have been standard fare on a lot of decent, and not-so-decent machines.
Please do tell us how they are. I've never tried them, so really can't say.

Danny
dannyg1 is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 01:34 AM
  #10  
caterham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 680
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
i think you'll find even the best of the weinmann sidepulls giving the dia-compe AG500's a pretty good run for most worthless binder in class honours

Last edited by caterham; 11-24-07 at 01:40 AM.
caterham is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 08:47 AM
  #11  
redneckwes
Super Course fan
 
redneckwes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Lost on the windswept plains of the Great Black Swamp
Posts: 2,720
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by caterham View Post
i think you'll find even the best of the weinmann sidepulls giving the dia-compe AG500's a pretty good run for most worthless binder in class honours
I was about to say.... Just like the Dia-Compes that seem to be a direct copy of the Weinmanns.

But... I don't live near any hills, and I ride pretty slow too.

I will say, the Weimanns on my '80 Supercourse seem to work about as well as the Shimano sidepulls I put on my Trek 330. But for the most part, most of my bikes have centerpulls.
__________________
I have a white PX-10, a Green Dawes Galaxy and an Orange Falcon, now I'm done.
redneckwes is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 09:37 AM
  #12  
plodderslusk
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Norway
Posts: 1,400
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Weinmann 405 and 605 are horrible brakes. How they could go from making their really quite good centerpulls (and probably equally cheap) to these disasters is beyond my understanding.
plodderslusk is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 09:46 AM
  #13  
stronglight
Old Skeptic
 
stronglight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: New Mexico, USA
Posts: 1,044

Bikes: 19 road bikes & 1 Track bike

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I'm with Dannyg1 100% regarding the complexity of evaluating different brakes. It seems impossible to ever reach a truly objective comparison, so a seemingly simple question like this is really asking for trouble. _ For example, I could discuss the flawless performance of my personal, meticulously set up, Mafac center-pulls, which never even squeak... and then wait for the flurry of 100 posts from people telling me I'm simply WRONG, ... or that I just must be lying to them. _ Dannyg1's evaluation of his different brakes is definitely the most reasonable and balanced comparison of brakes I have seen presented so far... EVER !.

I think for any objective evaluation of even NOS brakes of any age, you would really need to level the playing field by installing the exact same brake pads on each brakeset being compared, and probably also use the same brake levers, too... uh... and then also mount them on the same bikes and use the same rims, in comparable condition, toss on new identical cables and housings... and also ride in the same road and weather conditions.

I have to say this because I continually hear from different people how their experiences of the exact same brakes are totally the opposite. Sometimes this is because one is experiencing an old abused neglected brakeset with terrible 30 year old worn-down glazed-over pads with rusted cables and broken housings who assumes these brakes always sucked, while another is using flawless new brakes of the same model. But, there are really so many variables to consider, I find it hard to believe either extreme coming from any other rider.

And, there are always the "apologists"... (typically for early Campy Record brakes) who cannot accept that there could possibly have been superior brakes from anyone, let alone cheaper ones... So, yet another subjective issue to throw into the overall "perception" of how great a set of brakes is. Ultimately, maybe it would also require completely masked brakes or a blindfolded rider to get untainted opinions on brake performance. And, better use several riders to reach an overall consensus - like some auto magazines do for evaluating a group of cars being compared.

Then there is also the consideration of longevity or continued superior performance, since a set of brakes can also degrade rapidly, if poorly designed. The truly beautiful early Campy Record "Delta" (semi-center-pull) brakes comes to mind, since there were always issues because of the maintenance required and the need to keep the complex mechanisms very clean and well lubricated.

When we get into comparing modern dual-pivot brakes with the "Power Brakes" feel versus the harder pull on older single-pivot style side-pull brakes, this REALLY polarizes peoples perceptions. In fact, if you want to see the mechanics at your LBS slit their wrists in despair, this is always a fun subject to raise.

It's all so complicated it simply boggles the mind. Danny, thanks for sharing your very well considered findings - and also for cautioning everyone on how difficult it would be to achieve true performane objectivity. _ Your evaluations are actually MUCH more meaningful... to me, at least. -- BRAVO!

Bob
stronglight is offline  
Likes For stronglight:
Old 11-24-07, 11:00 AM
  #14  
stronglight
Old Skeptic
 
stronglight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: New Mexico, USA
Posts: 1,044

Bikes: 19 road bikes & 1 Track bike

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by plodderslusk View Post
Weinmann 405 and 605 are horrible brakes. How they could go from making their really quite good centerpulls (and probably equally cheap) to these disasters is beyond my understanding.
Do you mean that yours work badly? Or what exactly do you think is wrong with them?
stronglight is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 11:06 AM
  #15  
Dave Mayer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,967
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 730 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 96 Times in 62 Posts
I've ridden most of these. My favorite: Dura Ace 7402s. Like the 7400s but with the lighter springs. The last and best of the Shimano single-pivots. I use these as the rear brake on my good bikes. These are solid brakes - not as powerful as dual-pivots, but close.

They have ball bearing assembly between the pivot arms, and the finish and hardware is an upgrade from also very good 600 and 105 single pivots. The stopping power comes from caliper arms that are longer than any other single-pivot brake that I've come across. From my rough measurements, the arms on these are about 20% longer than standard, which should means more leverage and braking power.

The 7402's are heavier than the 105s due to the longer caliper arms, and also the fact that the brake arms are thicker.
Dave Mayer is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 11:57 AM
  #16  
dbakl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 5,767

Bikes: Cinelli, Paramount, Raleigh, Carlton, Zeus, Gemniani, Frejus, Legnano, Pinarello, Falcon

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Give me the early Campagnolos. I like grabbing a couple handfuls of levers, squeezing like hell and praying I'm gonna slow, just like on my Harley!
dbakl is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 02:47 PM
  #17  
plodderslusk
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Norway
Posts: 1,400
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by stronglight View Post
Do you mean that yours work badly? Or what exactly do you think is wrong with them?
They came on mid/lowend roadbikes that at least seemingly were meant to be used like a road bike, as fast as possible. Compared to my experience with Dura Ace, Record and Mavics from the eighties they are weak and do not have the same braking effect as the better vintage sidepulls.
plodderslusk is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 02:59 PM
  #18  
MajorA
Prodigal road guy
 
MajorA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Eugene. Oregon
Posts: 416

Bikes: '72 Bob Jackson; '82 Austro-Daimler Starleicht; '85 Scapin; '80 Peugeot PKN-10; '81 Trek 610; '87 Hunter Corsa; '72 Italvega and '75 Motobecane Grand Jubillee frames built into freewheel singlespeeds.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by plodderslusk View Post
Weinmann 405 and 605 are horrible brakes. How they could go from making their really quite good centerpulls (and probably equally cheap) to these disasters is beyond my understanding.
+1,000.

That said, nobody has put in the good word yet for Shimano 105 SLR's from about '87. I have this vague memory that Sheldon Brown calls them some of the best sidepulls ever made, and I tend to agree .... I've got '70's Nuovo Record, '82 Dura Ace, and non-SLR Shimano 600 to compare them to, and those 105's are just great brakes. Easy to adjust, work when wet and filthy, never fail. In fact, the entire 105 gruppo from 1987 is kind of like the AK-47 of road groups from that era. Simple, a good value, idiot proof, and always gets the job done.
MajorA is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 03:20 PM
  #19  
dannyg1 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,225
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by MajorA View Post
+1,000.

That said, nobody has put in the good word yet for Shimano 105 SLR's from about '87. I have this vague memory that Sheldon Brown calls them some of the best sidepulls ever made, and I tend to agree .... I've got '70's Nuovo Record, '82 Dura Ace, and non-SLR Shimano 600 to compare them to, and those 105's are just great brakes. Easy to adjust, work when wet and filthy, never fail. In fact, the entire 105 gruppo from 1987 is kind of like the AK-47 of road groups from that era. Simple, a good value, idiot proof, and always gets the job done.
I did actually, just buy a set of 600 SLR's (and want a set of Dura Ace 7402 SLR's) because of that reputation.

The story that I read/heard was that the President of Shimano showed up to the 87 (I'll use your date as I don't know what year it was either) Interbike show, with a full Dura Ace bike as always. Only difference was that this bike had 105 SLR brakes on it; 105 having just been redesigned for that year, and said President claimed that they were so much better than the then current DA brakes, that he had to have them on his top build.

The 600 SLR brakes are definitely in for the next round, just not as the legendary 105's.

Danny

Last edited by dannyg1; 11-24-07 at 08:28 PM.
dannyg1 is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 03:32 PM
  #20  
dannyg1 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,225
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
I've ridden most of these. My favorite: Dura Ace 7402s. Like the 7400s but with the lighter springs. The last and best of the Shimano single-pivots. -snip
They have ball bearing assembly between the pivot arms, and the finish and hardware is an upgrade from also very good 600 and 105 single pivots. The stopping power comes from caliper arms that are longer than any other single-pivot brake that I've come across. -snip The 7402's are heavier than the 105s due to the longer caliper arms, and also the fact that the brake arms are thicker.
Thanks Dave,

This is the kind of info I was looking for exactly. I've been trying to find a clean set of these for a while but it hasn't been easy. Soon enough, I'll have some to add to the pile and do the circuit once over.

I do find it hard to fathom a remarkable performance increase on the 7401's, but I work in an environment where I experience this same sense of disbelief, only to have the ceiling absolutely shattered by the next great thing. I'm excited to try this brake.

Danny
dannyg1 is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 03:42 PM
  #21  
dannyg1 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,225
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by stronglight View Post
I'm with Dannyg1 100% regarding the complexity of evaluating different brakes. It seems impossible to ever reach a truly objective comparison, so a seemingly simple question like this is really asking for trouble. _ For example, I could discuss the flawless performance of my personal, meticulously set up, Mafac center-pulls, which never even squeak... and then wait for the flurry of 100 posts from people telling me I'm simply WRONG, ... or that I just must be lying to them. _ Dannyg1's evaluation of his different brakes is definitely the most reasonable and balanced comparison of brakes I have seen presented so far... EVER !.

I think for any objective evaluation of even NOS brakes of any age, you would really need to level the playing field by installing the exact same brake pads on each brakeset being compared, and probably also use the same brake levers, too... uh... and then also mount them on the same bikes and use the same rims, in comparable condition, toss on new identical cables and housings... and also ride in the same road and weather conditions.

I have to say this because I continually hear from different people how their experiences of the exact same brakes are totally the opposite. Sometimes this is because one is experiencing an old abused neglected brakeset with terrible 30 year old worn-down glazed-over pads with rusted cables and broken housings who assumes these brakes always sucked, while another is using flawless new brakes of the same model. But, there are really so many variables to consider, I find it hard to believe either extreme coming from any other rider.

And, there are always the "apologists"... (typically for early Campy Record brakes) who cannot accept that there could possibly have been superior brakes from anyone, let alone cheaper ones... So, yet another subjective issue to throw into the overall "perception" of how great a set of brakes is. Ultimately, maybe it would also require completely masked brakes or a blindfolded rider to get untainted opinions on brake performance. And, better use several riders to reach an overall consensus - like some auto magazines do for evaluating a group of cars being compared.

Then there is also the consideration of longevity or continued superior performance, since a set of brakes can also degrade rapidly, if poorly designed. The truly beautiful early Campy Record "Delta" (semi-center-pull) brakes comes to mind, since there were always issues because of the maintenance required and the need to keep the complex mechanisms very clean and well lubricated.

When we get into comparing modern dual-pivot brakes with the "Power Brakes" feel versus the harder pull on older single-pivot style side-pull brakes, this REALLY polarizes peoples perceptions. In fact, if you want to see the mechanics at your LBS slit their wrists in despair, this is always a fun subject to raise.

It's all so complicated it simply boggles the mind. Danny, thanks for sharing your very well considered findings - and also for cautioning everyone on how difficult it would be to achieve true performane objectivity. _ Your evaluations are actually MUCH more meaningful... to me, at least. -- BRAVO!

Bob
Thanks Bob!

It's nice, after some hard thinking, to end up with someone appreciative enough of it to respond with a 'Bravo!'. You've made my day!

There is a mish-mosh of reviews, buried in threads all over this site, of the various brakes I've tested. I wanted to be able to find useful information on the subject in one thread and so I made this. If there are any other people out there like me, who just have to try one of everything (just so one knows...) they'll have their plan plainly laid out for them.

Really thanks!

Regards,
Danny
dannyg1 is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 04:20 PM
  #22  
Kommisar89
Bottecchia fan
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 3,508

Bikes: 1959 Bottecchia Milano-Sanremo (frame), 1966 Bottecchia Professional (frame), 1971 Bottecchia Professional (frame), 1973 Bottecchia Gran Turismo, 1974 Bottecchia Special, 1977 Bottecchia Special (frame), 1974 Peugeot UO-8

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by dbakl View Post
Give me the early Campagnolos. I like grabbing a couple handfuls of levers, squeezing like hell and praying I'm gonna slow, just like on my Harley!
Ahhh...someone who truely understands vintage cycling.
__________________
1959 Bottecchia Milano-Sanremo(frame), 1966 Bottecchia Professional (frame), 1971 Bottecchia Professional (frame),
1973 Bottecchia Gran Turismo, 1974 Bottecchia Special, 1977 Bottecchia Special (frame),
1974 Peugeot UO-8, 1988 Panasonic PT-3500, 2002 Bianchi Veloce, 2004 Bianchi Pista
Kommisar89 is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 07:12 PM
  #23  
stronglight
Old Skeptic
 
stronglight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: New Mexico, USA
Posts: 1,044

Bikes: 19 road bikes & 1 Track bike

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
I've ridden most of these. My favorite: Dura Ace 7402s. Like the 7400s but with the lighter springs. The last and best of the Shimano single-pivots. I use these as the rear brake on my good bikes. These are solid brakes - not as powerful as dual-pivots, but close...
The 7402s get my vote for best single pivots, too. I really can't think of anthing to improve on them. Sounds like you had the same idea as Campagnolo with their combination of single-pivot rear & double-pivot front.

For longer reach brakes (49-57 mm), I guess the 6400 series was the last of the higher quality Shimanos made in a single pivot style.

On my bikes with a higher fork & bridge I often use the modern dual-pivot Shimano BR-R600 or else the Tektro copies of those which happen to have an even nicer polished finish, although they do lack the pivot bushing plate with the tiny bearings. But, for half the price and a better shine I can live with those just fine. I'll even give the Tektros extra credit, simply because the painted logo over the anodizing easily removes with acetone.
stronglight is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 07:29 PM
  #24  
Old Fat Guy
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 5,280
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I feel left out, I rode Dura Ace AX exclusively for so long, I really don't know what brakes are for.

Are they actually supposed to stop you? Why would you need to stop?
Old Fat Guy is offline  
Old 11-24-07, 07:44 PM
  #25  
Road Fan
Senior Member
 
Road Fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 14,838

Bikes: 1980 Masi, 1984 Mondonico, 1984 Trek 610, 1980 Woodrup Giro, 2005 Mondonico Futura Leggera ELOS, 1967 PX10E, 1971 Peugeot UO-8

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1052 Post(s)
Liked 113 Times in 100 Posts
Originally Posted by dannyg1 View Post
Thanks Bob!

It's nice, after some hard thinking, to end up with someone appreciative enough of it to respond with a 'Bravo!'. You've made my day!

There is a mish-mosh of reviews, buried in threads all over this site, of the various brakes I've tested. I wanted to be able to find useful information on the subject in one thread and so I made this. If there are any other people out there like me, who just have to try one of everything (just so one knows...) they'll have their plan plainly laid out for them.

Really thanks!

Regards,
Danny
I want to echo the Bravo, because I agree this is a very difficult comparison to make, and you've taken a very even-handed shot at doing this. Hats off to you, and kudos!

But I've worked intensively with 2 single-pivot brake systems in the past few years, my Shimano 600 6207-series (2 sets) and the famous Campy NR/SR systems (also 2 sets). After carefully rebuilding the calipers with new lubes, new RIGID cable sets with lined housings, fully dressed and ferruled housing ends, and relatively new original pads on each, I still think my 6207s require a lot more hand force both to stop and to modulate. I find the classic Campy's to work better in both respects. Perhaps after years of riding Weinman centerpulls and sidepulls I've build strong hands and trained my self to expect a hard squeeze, but I still think the 6207s are poor, well below the Campys. I've never owned a set of modern dual-pivots, so maybe my prejudices are not properly trained by the modern.

I think that both my sets of calipers had properly set pivot bolts, with no visible or feelable caliper play, when I clamp the brake and flex the fork by pushing the bike. The bikes were different, but both have pretty stiff forks. My Campy installations (on a Masi) use Campy levers and the Shimano (on a Trek 610) started with its original levers, then were changed to Modolo levers to interface properly with the Modolo housings and cables I switched to. Both calipers are medium length, with nutted mounts. But I found similar impressions with short calipers on a pair of different bikes. I replaced the Campy pads with Campy pads after all the fine-tuning, and that did not change teh brake's behavior.

On both bikes I use vintage anodized rims: MA40s on the Trek and Wolber tubular rims from circa 1980 on the Masi.

I made a big improvement in the Shimano with all the fine-tunign, and IMO made them acceptable. But I think they are still below the Campys.

??

Road Fan

I do not mean to be the apologist for Campy or the naysayer, just trying to describe my experiment and my assessment of the results.

I think my results are valid, and that Danny's results are valid. But what's different? I wish I knew!

Is it the cables? Too bad if so, it's one heck of a lot of work to "blueprint" the cables on every brake set.
Road Fan is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.