[Classicrendezvous] A Piece of Brake Folklore


Date: Tue, 03 Oct 2000 10:23:35 -0400
From: Stephen Spielman <sspielman@goeaston.net>
To: "Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org" <Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: [Classicrendezvous] A Piece of Brake Folklore

The current discussion of brake history has reminded me of a little piece of brake related folklore. The products of Mafac have been mentioned and it involves one of them. As most of the subscribers of this list are well aware, Mafac is a name almost exclusively associated with centerpull brakes. However, in the period of the late 70's to early 80's, Mafac made a last ditch effort to get with the by then current fashion of producing sidepull products- the ill-fated LS1 and LS2. It was a sad case of "too little too late" and Mafac went the way of the dodo...but that is another story. In any event, these Mafac sidepulls were not noted for their extraordinary stopping power. Several professional teams in Europe at the time were supplied with these brakes on their team bikes. In honour of their sponsorship agreements, most retianed the brakes. Normally, the lack of power did not present a problem, but in the mountains, the brakes proved horribly inadequate. It became a common practice for Mafac equipped riders to approach another rider at the beginning of a descent, and grab onto that rider's saddle. The code word simply became "Mafac"....and the other rider then knew that he would be doing the braking for both of them on the descent....

-Steve Spielman- in currently fair to partly cloudy Maryland