Re: [Classicrendezvous] History of Brake Calipers


From: "Russ Fitzgerald" <rfitzger@emeraldis.com>
To: <Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: Re: [Classicrendezvous] History of Brake Calipers
Date: Sun, 1 Oct 2000 23:30:45 -0400


Ken Toda writes, among other things -
>How about "Altenburger" Synchron, the double pivots side pull, how old are
>they? I remember seeing them at least 1966 in Japan.
>How late did they make brake set?. They are made in Germany, right?

Don't have any dates, but they lasted until at least 1973 or so. I've also seen Altenburger centerpulls in the trash bin at the LBS. Is it my perception, or did they, like Weinmann sidepulls, get relegated to cheaper and cheaper bikes as time passed? Someone had a full Altenburger equipped bike at the Cirque this year that was very nice - but my introduction to them was my first bike, an undistinguished West German "Brownie" with nutted hubs, an unspeakably hard track-style saddle and Simplex Prestige derailleurs. At the moment, the only bike I have with a set of those is a Sears 5-speed with upright bars, fenders, rack and the highest BB and the longest cranks I've ever seen on anything built before 1990 ...
>Mafac center pull is pretty old are'nt they? They always there as RACER,
>but later on Competition were added? , when? How late did they make theirs?

I bet Hilary Stone won't mind my dredging up his June 29 posting to the old list on Mafacs. The relevant passage was -

"The Racer brake was I think introduced in 1953 ­ there's an announcement in Cycling sometime that Autumn. This version incorporated small oil ports near the arm pivots. There are several variations upon the script, the earlier ones are lightly engraved with Dural Forge and Mafac. This lasted until at least the beginning of the 60s though the oil ports were dropped very quickly. But I couldn't really say when the later script with Racer stamped came in."

Now, my observation - I don't recall seeing the Competition on anything prior to 1970, and it may be later than that. I await Jerry Moos and Chuck Schmidt's comments. I guess Mafac lasted into the 80s, 'cause the Mafac LS sidepull came stock on certain Peugeots of those years.

It might be also be interesting to know if the brass-bushing Mafac Racers were still in production after the plastic, cheap, OEM versions came out. I've only had three of the brass-bushing versions with "Dural Forge" markings, and those went to David G., who, I'll bet, has some good comments on them as well.
>Someone, told me British GB made brake set, I guess I have to go to C-De ORO
>site to check it out. Did nay other OLD brake makers there?

As a matter of fact, the last time I looked our esteemed listmaster still had a certain late 50s Rudge with GB Sport sidepulls in his inner sanctum. The GBs that one features has Mafac-like half-hoods and cool finger ridges molded into the levers. I seem to recall Sheldon Brown mentioning GB Coureurs on something or another he has or has had ...

Russ Fitzgerald
Greenwood SC
rfitzger@emeraldis.com