I reckon there were 5 versions of Superbe/Superbe Pro calipers, introduced from '76 through '86 (off-topic; last-gen hidden-spring calipers). Breaks down like this:
Version 1/'76-'78: These look to me like upscale Dia-Compe 500G calipers. Same '70s Campy Record-esque shape/profile arms, with a nicer qr than the 500G (but not yet micro-adjustable).
The levers in '76/'77 had unrelieved lever blades and a big honkin' cable adjusting barrel on top. The very pretty relieved-blade model, sans adjuster, appeared in '78. Note: there are two versions of the relieved lever, with the first having total parts interchangeability with Campy NR/SR. I've pirated some internals (mounting nuts, mounting bands, pivot pins) for Campy levers. The later version changed from an 8mm mounting nut to a 5mm allen key mounting nut. Neither the mounting nuts or bands from these will interchange with Campy NR/SR. Bodies/pivot pins are probably still OK
Version 2/'79: Transition to new aero/smoother arm profile, conical/aero locknuts i/o rounded, microadjust qr. Similar to long-lived Dia-Compe 400/500(?)/Royal Gran Compe calipers. I don't think I've ever seen these, and I'm not sure if many actually made it to market in Japan or the US.
Version 3/'80-'83: Superbe Pro introduction. Same calipers and levers as V2, but red shoes and red adjusting barrel o-ring. These are the most common in my experience, and mighty pretty. I remember the shoes stopping very nicely compared with previous SunTour/D-C rubber. Arms marked "Superbe" throughout production despite being considered Superbe Pro-level.
Note: Superbe Pro from '80-'83 was a small subset of components, some with plainer Superbe counterparts and some without. Superbe Pro parts were Rder/Fder/Brakeset/Pedal/Headset/Dropouts. Only the dropouts were labelled "Superbe Pro," with everything else confusingly labelled only "Superbe." The Spb Pro rder/fder were mostly identical to Spb except for some lighter alloy bits. Spb Pro pedal was the cool & light sealed-bearing pedal w/replaceable cages, vs a nice Mikashima-sourced Campy-copy Spb model. There was no Spb-level brakeset offered, only the Spb Pro.
Version 4/'84: Skating dangerously off-topic. Calipers return to black shoes and aduster ring, new chevron-chanelled shoe design, new non-relieved lever blade. Still labelled Superbe, not a radical departure from V3. At this point many of the other components changed drastically, and many started wearing the "Superbe Pro" badge. But we're passing our timeline here.....
V5/'86: Fuhgeddaboutit! Email me off-list if you have questions here.
Most period Superbe OE spec was on Japan-built bikes, and mostly Japanese brands. Campy was still strong at the high end, and even when Euro brands were sourcing entry- and mid-level bikes in Japan with Japanese components, their high-end bikes were still Euro-sourced and Campy-equipped. Trek, Centurion/WSI, Nishiki and some of the other US brands had a smattering of Superbe spec on high-end models.
If you're outfitting a Japanese-equipped classic bike, the Spb/Spb Pro and high-end Dia-Compe equivalents offer some nice stopping for pretty reasonable prices. Very clean, even NIB sets seldom go over $80 or so on ebay. Pivot bolts/washers and springs will interchange nicely with Campy NR/SR, too. They'll work fine on a Euro-equipped bike as well, if you can deal with mixing and matching.
Paul Brodek Hillsdale, NJ
On Mon, 30 Jun 2003 17:22:46 -0600, "mitch harris"
>Searched the archive and didn't find this answer. I bought a pair of Superbe
>brakes to replace Weinman brakes on a Gitane in 1977 (the Gitane was NOS
>from the early 70s). How long before 1977 were the Superbe brakes available
>(standard reach Superbe with exposed springs or the Superbe Pro with hidden
> [much snipped]
>Utah Co. UT
Paul C. Brodek
Hillsdale, N.J. U.S.A.