Like many here I bought my first good bikes in the ealy 70's, soon after the Campy brakes became widely available. I do remember them selling for the princely sum of $50 or more when most other brakes were less than $20, a complete Paramount or Cinelli Supercorsa was $500, and a PX-10 was under $200.
They were certainly the thing to have, and truly were more nicely finished than anything else available. But I have since used other SP brakes available at the time, and I have concluded the Campys really didn't work any better than Universal 68's or Weinmann 500's. Prettier without doubt, easier to get centered on initial installation, and might have had a small advantage in staying properly centered in operation. But once all three were properly set up, I think the Univerals and Weinmanns stopped at least as effectively.
I've heard it said that Campy SP's were the best regarded brakes of a generation more than anything because we all saw frequent photos of Eddy Merckx using them, just as the popularity of Mafac CP's a generation earlier was driven by photos of Anquetil using them. Probably a lot of truth in that.
Jerry Moos Big Spring, Texas
Stronglight49@aol.com wrote: In his top 5 component list, Dan Artley mentioned:
"...Campy sidepull brakes as revolutionizing good braking and control. A brake that unlike the Mafacs didn't need dedicated pivot posts on the frame. It may not be the best now, but at the time they came out, nothing else came close. ... Dan Artley in Parkton, MD "
First of all, I do not mean to contest his choice at all, but this does raise an interesting question in my mind.
Why were Campy brakes really that revolutionary?
Yes, like all Campy products were very well made, highly promoted, fairly quickly accepted by the pro teams, but were they revolutionary or significantly superior in design or effectiveness to other side-pull brakes of the late 1960s.
The Universal Super 68 comes to mind. Yes, those still had the sliding arm quick release linkage dating from 1950, and Campy's beautifully simple cam quick release lever was a significant improvement to other systems which come to mind. But, otherwise I can't see anything else unique about the Campy brake design which might distinguish it from perhaps the lowly Weinmann 500 series or probably a few other rather simple side-pull calipers already in use on lower range bikes which might account for improved overall performance. Let me qualify that by adding: "if compared using identical brake pads."
Campy was always extremely successful at promoting their products through their racing team sponsorships. Their products were indeed very beautifully finished. But, why did they command a fee of $50 as an option on a $350 Paramount? Were they really worth what might compare to a $500+ brake "option" if added to a high quality production bike today?
Could someone please explain just how these were significantly superior in design? Honestly folks, I'm not meaning to be argumentative, I'm just ignorant about these things and sincerely would like to know.
Still perfectly content with my Universal mod. 61...
BOB HANSON, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, USA
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