Re: [CR]Ballila brakes?

(Example: Framebuilding)

From: <Bikerdaver@aol.com>
Subject: Re: [CR]Ballila brakes?
To: heine@mindspring.com, classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2002 18:23:17 EST

Jan- You post some interesting queries. I will do my best to answer them based solely on my own personal experience. I think they are pronounced [ba-yee-la]. I have seem three different models. The earliest design, from sometime in the 40s, that I have seen was a side-pull model that had what I would call "humungeous" reach calipers. These ancient buggers on a late 40s Aguila looked cheap, but I understood that they were high-quality standards from that period. The levers that came with these looked equally cheap and were minimalist designs that looked very much like Universal levers, but used cloth handlebar tape instead of rubber hoods. The other design I saw was apparently from the late 50s to the early/mid 60s. These came on a high-end early 60s Frejus. These had a center-pull caliper that again looked a lot like early Universal center-pulls. However, the brake levers were totally different. These were a very beefy model that incorporated the "oldest" quick release I have ever seen on a pair of levers. There maybe older ones, but I have not seen them. These came with nice rubber "hoods" that were a whole lot comfier than the cloth tape approach. These early "hoods" did not cover the barrel adjusters. As an aside I should mention that I once saw a late 60s add for these brakes with an English female racer as their spokes-person. If I had the add, I could spell her name correctly, but I think it was something like Beryl Beesum(??), [other folks, please correct me]. In any case, the third and presumably latest made design I saw was on an early 70s Coppi. These center-pull calipers looked like a cross between the Universal 61s and a Weinmann center-pull model. They looked higher quality than the older Universal design, but not as cheap looking as the Weinmanns, (pardons to the weinmann aficionados). The same could not be said of the levers them selves. They looked like lower end Universals, but sans the adjuster barrel. The hoods that came with these were half as thick as Universal hoods that fried up after 2 or 3 seasons of use. From what I understand, Ballila is no more, but I believe BC at Renaissance has some nice sets with the higher-quality brake levers available on his website. In my experience, this particular brakeset is probably the highest quality center-pulls ever to come out of Italy. Cheers, Dave Anderson Cut Bank MT

In a message dated 12/4/02 11:47:23 AM PST, heine@mindspring.com writes:
       Ballila centerpull brakes - when used and are they good? I've seen them on cheap bikes, but were they originally used on top-level bikes, or did those only use Universal? Were there different models? Anybody got some levers for these?