My Rivendell does not screech at all. Mafac Competition centerpulls on brazed-on pivots, MA-2 rims, Matthauser mtb pads on the front and Mafac pads on the rear. The bike has seen quite a few miles in the rain, so the pads are nicely worn in.
My 1976 Singer sport-touring doesn't squeal either. Mafac 2000 with Matthauser mtb pads (no brazed-on pivots, but standard mounting), Mavic MA-40 rims.
My ca. 1954 Alex Singer squeals a lot since I put new Mafac pads on. Mafac Racer, brazed-on pivots, but the pads need wearing in, and I don't ride it in the rain, so this will take a while.
The same Mafac pads do squeal on our Herse tandem (the one for PBP), despite a few hours of rainy riding. But the cantilevers on that bike have some play, and the brakes only squeal during very hard application. It is possible that this will go away as the pads wear more, or that it is due to the play in the brake.
So I'd try Matthauser pads, and then ride in the rain a lot. Or try to adjust the toe-in by filing the washers underneat the pads, or by filing the pads themselves.
Even when they squeal, the Mafacs brake well. I once did have a
no-name pad melt when I applied the brakes hard on a
cantilever-equipped bike. A car disregarded a yield sign, one front
pad melted, the brake dove under the rim, I careened onto the
sidewalk before coming to a shaken stop using the rear brake alone,
which gladly did not melt - not an experience I would like to repeat.
And, worst of all to classic bike lovers, the entire rear rim side
was covered with gunk! ; )
Jan Heine, Seattle
Vintage Bicycle Quarterly
>Does changing the pads eliminate the intolerable screeching of the
>Mafacs? I've tried different rims but to no avail.
>In a message dated 3/31/2004 8:48:50 PM Eastern Standard Time,
>In my experience, a well set up Mafac centerpull, preferably on
>brazed-on pivots (but not necessarily so) exceeds a Mafac cantilever
>in feel and brake performance. I don't own dual pivots, but from the
>little I have used them, they cannot compete with the Mafac
>centerpulls for feel and modulation. And the brake power of the
>centerpulls is more than enough.
>Of course, for any brake to work well, you need good pads (Matthauser
>canti pads work great), good, well-lubed cables and careful assembly
>and set-up. Not to forget decent rims (not chromed steel). Bike-boom
>bikes with Mafac centerpulls lacked all of these factors, and so a
>very good brake got a bad reputation.
>Just back from intervals on my Mafac centerpull-equipped Rivendell -
>on a 10% hill with numerous turns, which that ends in a stop sign at
>Weinmanns work well, too. I once rode a fully chromed Ren=E9 Herse with
>internal cables and all the options. On the way home, I stopped at
>the health food store to get some groceries, and the guy selling the
>homeless paper had the same brakes on his junkyard bike as the Herse:
>Weinmann 610 centerpulls! I like the idea that one of the cheapest
>and one of the most expensive bikes in town share at least one part.
>I didn't ask how his brakes worked with kinked cable housing, chromed
>steel rims and upturned handlebars.
>Jan Heine, Seattle
>Vintage Bicycle Quarterly