That's a really good story, but the LS2s on my 1978 Motobecane Team Champion seem to stop about as well as Campy NRs (which isn't all that great compared to modern dual pivots). I suspect the story is apocryphal (meaning it ain't true, but it sure makes a heck of an entertaining tale). I also have a pair of less expensive LC4 Mafac sidepulls. These do have pads with unusually small contact area, so there may have been some problems with these in hilly terrain, though changing out the brake shoes and pads should solve this. Given adequate pads, with hands on the drops, you'd think pro riders would all have adequate hand strength to get the required braking with any brake, as long as the calipers didn't deflect badly under loading. Still, the image of one rider clinging to another's saddle on a 100 kph Alpine descent is amusing to contemplate.
Jerry "still a Mafac fan" Moos
Stephen Spielman wrote:
> 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