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Do certain levers work better with MAFAC Racers?

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Do certain levers work better with MAFAC Racers?

Old 11-05-13, 10:04 PM
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leicanthrope
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Do certain levers work better with MAFAC Racers?

Finally got a set of MAFAC Racers installed on my Motobecane, and adjusted so that they no longer sound like a pack of Nazghul on final approach. That took a while.

Anyhow, compared to the other C&V brakes I'm used to (which admittedly is a pretty small sample set), it seems like they require a bit more cable pull to achieve the same effect. Not huge, but noticeable. Were they designed for certain types of levers that naturally pull more cable, or is that just the way that they are? Should I be fine tuning the length of the straddle cable?
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Old 11-05-13, 10:17 PM
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IIRC, yes, they take more pull. I've seen non-Mafac levers used, I assume successfully, but I've always just migrated the original levers (which cost like $5-8 on ebay, by the way) along with the brakes.
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Old 11-06-13, 05:43 AM
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I have always used the MAFAC levers with the racers I have. Great setup when you get it right ! Both sets by the way came with the MAFAC safety levers and worked decently enough on their own when pulling from the tops.

I would look for a MAFAC set to go with the racers you have.
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Old 11-06-13, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by leicanthrope View Post
Should I be fine tuning the length of the straddle cable?
Yes.
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Old 11-06-13, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by peter_d View Post
Yes.
+1....the angle of the dangle is directly related to the force with which they meet the rim.
Draw yourself a picture of the cable force vectors and go from there. You'll figure it out.
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Old 11-06-13, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
+1....the angle of the dangle is directly related to the force with which they meet the rim.
Draw yourself a picture of the cable force vectors and go from there. You'll figure it out.
Dammit Jim, I'm a historian not a physicist.
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Old 11-06-13, 04:52 PM
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Old 11-06-13, 05:26 PM
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A shorter straddle cable increases leverage, i.e. increases the amount of cable pulled to reach a given amount of force on the rims. This also decreases the amount of force at the lever required to create the given amount of force on the rims. Therefore, I recommend making the straddle cable fairly short. I have mine set so that removing the straddle cable is rather difficult, which is inconvenient, but stopping well is more important to me than convenient wheel changes. I also have strong fingers.
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Old 11-06-13, 06:16 PM
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I used Diacompe levers with reasonable success on my MAFAC equipped Peugeot....

(love the Nazghul reference - it is so spot on)
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Old 11-07-13, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by markk900 View Post
I used Diacompe levers with reasonable success on my MAFAC equipped Peugeot....

For that matter I'm using Weinmann levers with my MAFAC Competitions (& KoolStop Salmon inserts). I would rate the braking on the bike in question as second best in my fleet, after the one with cantis. Disregard the Weinmann calipers in the first picture. They were a stopgap until I had time to fabric straddle cables for the Competitions.



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Old 11-07-13, 01:02 PM
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Do you feel that using the Weinmann levers provides better braking than the MAFAC levers?
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Old 11-07-13, 01:13 PM
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...it was a common swap years ago, not for performance reasons, but for the quick release feature in the levers.
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Old 11-07-13, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
Do you feel that using the Weinmann levers provides better braking than the MAFAC levers?
I have used both Weinmann and MAFAC levers the braking seems to be about the same.
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Old 11-07-13, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
Do you feel that using the Weinmann levers provides better braking than the MAFAC levers?
Unfortunately, I have no basis of comparison since I've never owned or ridden a bike equipped with MAFAC levers. However, since acquiring my Weinmann equipped Moto GJ new (not the bike pictured above) in 1978, I've found the ubiquitous Weinmann/Dia Compe brake levers to function well and be comfortable to use, both from the hoods and the drops. If I'm not mistaken, even my first entry level 10-speed had Dia Compe levers as well as brakes; [this was before I reached my full growth] and I don't recall any ergonomic issues with them.
Along with their price and availability in the used C&V marketplace, one of the reasons I selected Weinmann levers for the build pictured above is the availability of new Cane Creek hoods, at pretty friendly prices, ino the bargain.

[for the benefit of any newcomers to C&V, in the 1970's, Weinmann and Dia Compe brakes and levers were basically clones; hence my inclusion of Dia Compe in the discussion above].
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Old 11-07-13, 01:55 PM
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I have never used Weinmann/Dia Compe brakes or levers.
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Old 11-07-13, 02:04 PM
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MAFAC levers are of a sturdier design than Weinmann. The bolt is wrapped around by the band. With Weinmann, there is a nut that grabs onto two holes in the band. The MAFAC design is much more crash-worthy, and it breaks and comes loose far less often. Campagnolo usually uses the MAFAC design, too.
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Old 11-07-13, 02:29 PM
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Can't speak for Mafac, but Shimano Tricolor aero levers work wonderfully with Weinmann brakes. Tons of power, and modulation . Should yield similar results with Mafac. Function and form trumps period correct for me every time .
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Old 11-07-13, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
MAFAC levers are of a sturdier design than Weinmann. The bolt is wrapped around by the band. With Weinmann, there is a nut that grabs onto two holes in the band. The MAFAC design is much more crash-worthy, and it breaks and comes loose far less often. Campagnolo usually uses the MAFAC design, too.
+ 1 would agree the MAFAC levers have a studier design and slightly bettter finish. The reasom I have used Wienmans not necessarly my first choice on a couple of builds is they came attached to nice Moto french bar sets with stem bars and levers plus nearly NOS original faux leather covering nicely set up. So it was a bit of a no brainer attach cables and use.
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Old 11-07-13, 05:54 PM
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If I had a bike that came with Weinmann levers, I would ride it, too.

Then again, I removed the Weinmann calipers from my Super Course and put on MAFAC calipers. Love them.
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Old 11-07-13, 06:07 PM
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I can see that noglider I for one really like the dergree of adjustability on the MAFAC calipers, fully adjustable pads and straddle length which let a good mechanic really dial them to work good with the majoity of vintage levers.
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Old 11-07-13, 06:29 PM
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When I got my Grand Jubile the PO had replaced the original handlebar/stem/brake lever combo with a short-reach version from (I assume) a ladies' Mirage or something, with Weinmann levers in pretty poor shape. Instead of dealing with stripping the rubber sleeves off the bars I replaced everything, and installed a nice pair of Shimano 600 levers, which seem to work very well with the Mafac racers. I like the drilled look, too. Very solid levers.
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Old 11-07-13, 07:35 PM
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Heres the thing by properly adjusting both the stradle and brake posts a good set of MAFAC's with nice shoes can be set up to brake niceley better or as good as nearly any brake set with a wide varity of levers.
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Old 11-07-13, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...it was a common swap years ago, not for performance reasons, but for the quick release feature in the levers.
But Mafac did make a set of levers in the "half hood" era with a quick release feature.
I have a set.
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Old 11-07-13, 08:47 PM
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I usually find levers that are sprung to return to home, paired with calipers meant for unsprung levers, yields an abnormally high lever effort? Say THAT three times fast, haha. There only a couple of levers I have found to be too far from the drops for comfort as far as finger length goes, and those are early Mafacs, and first gen Dia Compe aero levers. For all out comfort vintage wise, Shimano late 80's to mid 90's aero levers, and Dia Compe non aero Weinmann knockoffs. It's like they were made for my hands!

I have two sets of Mafac Racers, and have not really used them on anything yet. Not sure why, but it seems the bikes I want to use them on all require shorter reach calipers.,,,,BD
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Old 11-07-13, 09:39 PM
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The style police will come after you if you use anything other than MAFAC levers with MAFAC brakes.
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