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Why did the high end French bikes...

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Why did the high end French bikes...

Old 05-13-10, 04:43 PM
  #26  
JML
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Je me rends.

I do like Carnac shoes, Mavic rims, and tools from LFA and Facom. noglider, I remember Robert's perpetual smile; some of us used to try and get him to either drop the accent or make it thicker. I swear it got more pronounced when he would expound the virtues of a Motobecane...

Which shop did you work in? When I was in law school, and in practice there, I used to make the rounds of the Fuji place on Mass. Ave., International, Laughing Alley, and Belmont Wheelworks. My perception was that the Japanese bikes got most people in the store, they left with low- to mid-range Japanese bikes, and if they got into cycling, they went to the top-end stuff from Italy or custom shops, with a sprinkling of high-end Japanese bikes like the top Fuji and Miyatas.
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Old 05-13-10, 04:57 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by JML View Post
Late 1970s to mid 1980s, east coast, US, planet earth, milky way galaxy, ...

And I confess. I had to take far too many years of French in school to like anything from France except for beautiful women.
Then your premise that high end French bikes came with centerpull brakes is not accurate at all during the time period you just stated.
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Old 05-13-10, 06:43 PM
  #28  
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The really high-end French bikes (Herse, Singer) had centerpulls (because they have more stopping power, period) mounted to braze-on bosses rather than with the center mount. Stiffer and maybe lighter too.
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Old 05-13-10, 08:30 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
Dont forget Universal centerpulls. Thats what my Motobecane Le Champion came with. Thats what came on Cinelli Super Corsa's as well. I still think Mafac, Universal, and Weinmann made great centerpull brakes.
And CLB, for that matter. And Altenburger and Weinmann also had dual-pivot brakes back in the 70s.
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Old 05-13-10, 08:37 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by JML View Post
If memory serves me well, in the US, there were relatively few high-end French bikes brought into the US during the bike boom years, because of who was bringing them in, the standard French oddities on frames and components that would (and still do) drive people nuts, and the price. Before that period center-pulls were the brakes of choice, except for Campy Record. Then when side-pulls based on the Campy Record design became the mainstream in Japanese-sourced bikes.
FWIW, the first "Dura-Ace" branded component from Shimano was a brake set. A centerpull brake set.
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Old 05-13-10, 08:45 PM
  #31  
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The name of that brakeset got downgraded to Tourney when Shimano decided to use the Dura Ace name for their flagship component line. Those copies of Weinmann 610's were never part of that line. The first real Dura Ace brakes were beautiful sidepulls. I bought a set the first time I laid eyes on them and I still have them.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/shimano1973/pages/da7.html
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Old 05-13-10, 09:08 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
cheaper. Other than Campagnolo Record, there were no side pulls available before the '80s that would actually stop you. And Campagnolo Record wasn't all that great either.
exaggeration again.

I've lived with a good quality '60s lightweight bike commuting in a big city for a few years, and it had Weinmann sidepulls. If it couldn't stop me I'd have been dead before starting college.
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Old 05-13-10, 09:14 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I don't see what's so weird about French components or French bikes. Every company -- let alone country -- had its own approaches to design and construction. So-called French threads are rightly called metric. It was reasonable to assume that metric was going to take over the world. It didn't happen, but one might have expected it to. And the French weren't particularly strident in creating their own standards. The world wasn't as small as it is now. Every country had its own standards, and it wasn't necessarily from overblown national pride.

JML, thanks for the reminder about Robert of Bicycle Exchange. I had forgotten all about him. I thought he was suave. He did appear to be a good salesman, and he appeared to enjoy his job.

I worked at the bike shop at the other end of Massachusetts Ave. We sold Peugeots. My memory shows lots of French bikes in the Boston area in the late 70's and early 80's, so I'm surprised to see you say they were rare. Also, while it's true that most French brand bikes in the US had French parts, Motobecane got smart early on. They equipped their bikes with good stuff for the price, stuff that the public liked. At the low end, it was Japanese made. At the high end, it was Campagnolo. There were European parts sprinkled in here and there, but just the good stuff, like Super Champion rims and Weinmann brakes. To me, Motobecane was a very hip bike, and the colors and graphics were compelling. But having owned two Motobecanes and three Peugeots, I have to say I prefer the ride quality of the Peugeots. I sold a Motobecane Le Champion because I didn't like its handling. I replaced it with a Peugeot PX10.
Tom, actually we are just about the only country not based on the SI system (aka metric). And most of our industrial work is done in metric, if the company sells internationally.
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Old 05-13-10, 09:55 PM
  #34  
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From what I see here the UO8 and it's variants were very big sellers during the boom and a good source tells me that no-one here sold French bikes in the 50's and 60's.. I suspect any earlier models came from the east or were shipped in privately.

Up here, raleigh and CCm were number one until the 70's and the late seventies and eighties brought us the second wave of boomers from Japan although Sekine bicycles were manufactured under license in Manitoba.

Just had one dropped off tonight and in comparing it to my Peugeot it was a much better fitted out bike although it shares the entry level steel wheels, albeit on Shimano hubs and not Normandy.
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Old 05-13-10, 10:00 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
And CLB, for that matter. And Altenburger and Weinmann also had dual-pivot brakes back in the 70s.
Altenburger invented the dual pivot concept and would agree the first Dura Ace branded component were the center pulls although they were not sold as a high end part and have seen them on some rather ordinary bikes... but they do work quite well.
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Old 05-13-10, 10:54 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Chombi View Post
Maybe because like most of the time, the French has a hard time deciding which side to take on things??.......


sorry, this made me laugh. please continue with the convo like nothing happened.
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Old 05-14-10, 09:00 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
I cordially disagree...my Suntour Superbs are at least as effective, I think more effective, than my campy record calipers.
That ain't sayin' much... MAFACs always had more stopping power than Campys (were talking orders of magnitude here) and excellent modulation. They just weren't as pretty.

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Old 05-14-10, 09:06 AM
  #38  
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I agree. Mafacs are ugly and rather cheap looking, but they work great. I have them on three bikes and one of them isn't even French.
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Old 05-14-10, 09:11 AM
  #39  
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Pretty is a relative thing... I think the Racers on my old Pug look wonderful.

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Old 05-14-10, 09:11 AM
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Huh?



In all fairness, this was the first year the PY10 came with sidepulls; originals were Mafac LS.

I like Mafacs on other non-French machines too, you know:



That said, Mafac's centerpulls were amongst the most powerful calipers available, until Campagnolo developed their Record sidepulls (and even then, Mafac braking power may be arguably stronger). Why change a winning formula?

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Old 05-14-10, 09:56 AM
  #41  
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[QUOTE=Sixty Fiver;10811068]Pretty is a relative thing... I think the Racers on my old Pug look wonderful.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I find the Competitions slightly less offensive.
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Old 05-14-10, 09:59 AM
  #42  
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Mafacs also save a bit of weight, since if you have Mafacs you don't need a bell.
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Old 05-14-10, 10:04 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Mafacs also save a bit of weight, since if you have Mafacs you don't need a bell.
Good point.
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Old 05-14-10, 10:32 AM
  #44  
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thats nice to know. I was attributing the racket to my less than perfect wheel truing skills

personally I like the look of Mafac Racers. It was the first vintage bike part that I saw and said "I've got to get a set of those"
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Old 05-14-10, 10:38 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by dashuaigeh View Post


sorry, this made me laugh. please continue with the convo like nothing happened.
If you like that, then you would probably like the story as to why French Army officer's pants are brown.

Originally Posted by bobbycorno View Post
That ain't sayin' much... MAFACs always had more stopping power than Campys (were talking orders of magnitude here) and excellent modulation. They just weren't as pretty.

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Or as quiet, for the most part.
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Old 05-14-10, 10:44 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
If you like that, then you would probably like the story as to why French Army officer's pants are brown.
Then you gotta tell the story of the French Military salute in WWII (Both Hands UP!)

...ok that does it for me, I was just waiting for the french jokes to start.
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Old 05-14-10, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
Or as quiet, for the most part.
Mafac Racers: The Choice of Ninja Commuters Everywhere!

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Old 05-14-10, 12:05 PM
  #48  
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Dia Compe made very pretty centerpulls in the mid-1908s. Allegedly based on the Mafac.

These are being offered for sale.

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Old 05-14-10, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Mafacs also save a bit of weight, since if you have Mafacs you don't need a bell.
Only when you run the stock pads and have Rigida dimpled rims... then your bike sounds like a dive bomber when you hit the brakes.

With Kool Stops and alloy wheels there is no squealing... my 1957 PLX has Mafac cantis and getting these to be quiet is a challenge although their braking power is rather excellent.
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Old 05-14-10, 12:37 PM
  #50  
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High end French bikes used MAFAC centerpulls for some of the same reasons custom frame builders such as Peter Weigleand Curt Goodrich put NOS MAFAC centerpulls on their custom Randonneurs. They can accomadate wide tires and fenders, and, with the right pads, they stop. I have long reach Weinmann 750 s on a 650 B conversion. Dia Comp copies of the 750 are still available. If I could get a set of MAFAC raids I'd use them.
Paul Components make a nice machined centerpull, but it is a little pricey. There are also rumors of a new machined, long reach Dia Comp brake set.
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