I think you and Ted have it right about Campy. Like most things Campy, they were designed for racers, and racers really don't want to stop the bike completely and quickly, but only the slow the bike by a carefully controlled amount. I think this is precisely what is meant by "modulation". When you consider it, racers never touch the brakes in a sprint as it means certain defeat. And even in the peleton out on the road, one rarely has time to completely stop in reaction to an incident in front, and even if one could, the guy just behind would then pile into you. So what the racer wants is a brake that won't stop the bike, but will slow it by exactly the amount desired.
Besides very precisely machined pivots, Campy accomplished this through hard pads, which prevented quick complete stops, but avoided the pads "catching" on the rims during moderate slowing. I haven't had a new pair of Weinmann pads in many years, but I'm pretty sure they were softer than Campy when new, even though Weinmann pads can become literally hard as rock with age.
I alway replace hardened, worn or missing Weinmann pads with Malthauser, which are very definitely softer than Campy. And it's nice the Malthausers are close to the same color as the original Weinmann pads. I've never installed Malthauser pads in Campy brakes, but I feel sure they would greatly improve the Campys' ability to actually stop the bike, if that is the objective. Probably wouldn't "modulate" as well in the peleton, but then there aren't a lot of Campy NR brakes in use in the peleton these days. I know there are some Kool Stop pads available for Campy NR brakes that look like the Malthauser pads, but in black. I understand these are a different compound though, and don't stop as well. Anyone used these black replacement pads?
Jerry Moos Big Spring, Texas
Barb & Dan Artley <email@example.com> wrote: Even though I'm a Campy sidepull snob, I worked on so many gaspipe bikes with Weinman, then Diacompe centerpulls, safety levers, etc., I really don't remember having trouble setting up Weinmans at all. Because the bridging plate would rock, you'd tighten it down, then balance it with your thumb or a punch on one side to even out the two arms with the rim. Set the pad even with the rim while holding it against the rim and tighten with a Y socket wrench, then use a small adjustable to toe in the arms. I'd reverse the nut and bolt on the cable cradle so the brake cable would run behind the bracket and wouldn't trap the bridging cable to allow for easy quick release. Viola! If the brake got off center while riding, you just slid the cable cradle to one side until the brakes opened up. Friction would hold it there.
Sidepulls you just tightened up and it would twist the whole caliper against the rim on one side. Again the Y wrench on the outside centerbolt nut and another on the fixing bolt, and balancing pressure on both wrenches so the centerbolt nut wouldn't turn on it's own, gently ease the caliper back to center. I don't remember ever having to use a punch on a sidepull and I never hit the spring. I just didn't want to offset the natural balance of the spring, though I've never had a really good reason why.
We liked the Weinman's much better than the diacompes in the shop. Centerpull caliper pads had to be set much tighter than sidepulls because leverage wouldn't allow the brake to open up as much for the same lever pull. Most of those gas pipe bikes had steel rims that just couldn't be trued that perfectly. Weinman levers sat a bit farther from the bar, and all those cheap brakes flexed a lot (maybe we were just snobs for Weinman before I knew Campy's, but we felt the Diacompes flexed more than Weinman). We had to set up many bikes with safety levers which reduced the distance between lever and bar even more. With safety levers, Diacompes would hit the handle bar before you really had good solid braking. As good as you could get it, I still felt bad about some of those bikes leaving the shop.
Back in the early 70's, the shop saying was that centerpulls were always
better than sidepulls. They really did stop well, and to my thinking
were easier to set up well than sidepulls. But before Campy brakes for
me, my optimized Weinman 500's were a pretty stinking good brake. I
still own them:
And one more thing, I agree with Ted about Campy pads and racers using them for speed control rather than stopping. On hot day's those Campy pads would make you work pretty hard sometimes. And they'd pick up a small stone easily and just grind them into the rim till you pulled the wheel out and pried the stone out of the pad. I was an immediate convert to Mathauser's, even though it would be hard to get the squeal out of them on some days. They seemed to like a bit of brake dust or some kind of grime on them to work optimally.
Happy trails, and I'll see many of you in Westminster tomorrow.
Dan Artley in Cold, Cold Parkton, MD (Think I'll go for a ride if it don't rain!)
As Fred has pointed out, the socket will do the trick to center a set of
However, there is nothing like the following for fine tuning once the fixing nut has been cinched down:
For those who wish to use this advanced technique, locate the punch on the caliper spring right next to the centerbolt fitting and give it a tap. This can be very useful when a rondella dentata (aka Campagnolo toothed washer) is "indexed" into grooves in the crown or brake bridge boss that aren't ideally aligned for centering the caliper. Sometimes percussive maintenance is the right approach.
Charlie "and you get to use a hammer!" Young
Honey Brook, PA