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Mafac vs Zeus brakes ?

Old 11-20-19, 06:53 AM
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Mafac vs Zeus brakes ?

The Mafac are from France the Zeus from Spain, what do you think about both, for road bike with center mount ?reach near 50mm front.
Thank,s
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Old 11-20-19, 07:03 AM
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I cannot comment on Zeus brakes, but I am a big fan of Mafac centerpulls. They provide excellent stopping power and have a great feel with new pads and fresh cables and housing. The lever reach is on the large side, so they may not be the best choice for those with smaller hands/short fingers.
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Old 11-20-19, 07:11 AM
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Are you looking at specific MAFAC and Zeus models? Functionally, they'll all work to stop your bike. Depending on the specific model, Zeus tend to have a better finish. Zeus also tend to be shorter reach than MAFAC. But really, we need to know models to be more specific.
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Old 11-20-19, 09:54 AM
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Zeus centre-pull brakes tend to follow the Universal/Weinmann school of design, unlike the MAFAC, which are much more adjustable. The greater adjustments of MAFAC means the brakes can be finely tuned in the hands of a knowledgeable mechanic but in the hands of a novice it can also lead to deterioration of performance. The Zeus are much simpler and somewhat mistakeproof, leading to more consistent performance in the hands of a novice mechanic.

MAFAC centre-pull have always had a reputation as good stoppers but I've always credited much of this due to the larger contact area of the OEM pads. Modern pads and housing tend to be a great equalizers when it comes to C&V brake performance. When it comes to these old centre-pull, I also find that rider preference has as much to do with lever ergonomics as actual brake performance. You really should do extended tests with both, to decide which is your preference.
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Old 11-20-19, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Are you looking at specific MAFAC and Zeus models? Functionally, they'll all work to stop your bike. Depending on the specific model, Zeus tend to have a better finish. Zeus also tend to be shorter reach than MAFAC. But really, we need to know models to be more specific.
For sure ,
Zeus 2000 or super alfa71
Mafac with short reach caliper arms
some Mafac are adjustable
both work with Campy delta levers?
Gran compe 450 is also good option ?

Last edited by brooklyn6640; 11-20-19 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 11-20-19, 11:21 AM
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I like the Super Alfa 71, but just switched over from a Zeus sidepull and don’t have many miles with these as yet.
edit: Never had a prob with MAFAC either. The bad pic doesn't show the bit 'o color on the Alfa's.

edit for better pics



Last edited by Wildwood; 11-20-19 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 11-20-19, 01:24 PM
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Many thank,s guys, but if you have 3 brakes on the table , you can leave the shop with only 1 in the bag , witch one ?
Zeus super alfa 71
Gran compe 450
Mafac competition ( if this one is short reach )
Also what is the diference between these two: Zeus 2000 vs Super alfa 71 ? I think the 2000 is the latest versions.
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Old 11-20-19, 01:38 PM
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MAFAC brake reach numbers I've found online. From my own experience: yes, the Competitions have a shorter minimum reach than the Racers. I have had to find me Competitions in the past, as the Racers I had wouldn't fit my Gitane TdF forks.

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Old 11-20-19, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by brooklyn6640 View Post
Many thank,s guys, but if you have 3 brakes on the table , you can leave the shop with only 1 in the bag , witch one ?
Zeus super alfa 71
Gran compe 450
Mafac competition ( if this one is short reach )
Also what is the diference between these two: Zeus 2000 vs Super alfa 71 ? I think the 2000 is the latest versions.


I'm also running MAFAC Competition on a Follis.
The stopping power is probably more related to pads, so I would budget for new rubber and choose the one that matches the levers, or best fits on the bike. What bike is it going on, or did I miss that bit?
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Old 11-20-19, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
I'm also running MAFAC Competition on a Follis.
The stopping power is probably more related to pads, so I would budget for new rubber and choose the one that matches the levers, or best fits on the bike. What bike is it going on, or did I miss that bit?
Hi for sure with new rubber, the lers : the Campy delat levers stay on the handlebar and the bike is Tommasini tecno with threaded fork.For now with ahead stem and Mavic SSC brakes.
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Old 11-20-19, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
MAFAC brake reach numbers I've found online. From my own experience: yes, the Competitions have a shorter minimum reach than the Racers. I have had to find me Competitions in the past, as the Racers I had wouldn't fit my Gitane TdF forks.

I know this. hard to find the 2000 short reach, the same for competition.
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Old 11-20-19, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by brooklyn6640 View Post
The Mafac are from France the Zeus from Spain, what do you think about both, for road bike with center mount ?reach near 50mm front.
Thank,s
It think your main issue is that at 50mm, you are in between short and medium reach. Some medium reach brakes will just work with 50mm, as will some short reach. It's really best to not have brakes that need to be adjusted at the very limits of travel. Good have a bit of flexibility for different rims, pad wear, etc.

MAFAC in short reach are pretty damn rare, but they do exist, as shown in that useful chart posted by non-fixie. Zeus 2000 brakes, while less common in general, were quite often seen in short reach, at least IME. I don't have the numbers for them.

In a way, Gran Compe GC450 brakes might be most ideal. They have a MAFAC like pad adjustment, and 40-52 reach.
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Old 11-20-19, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by brooklyn6640 View Post
I know this. hard to find the 2000 short reach, the same for competition.
Top Tip: look for old rusty Gitanes in the classifieds. The Tour de France models (or Racing Team, as they were called in Europe - from 1974 anyway) had very short fork blades, which meant that only a short reach brake would fit. The odds are pretty good that if you find one, you've got your brakes.

BTW, and FWIW, when I rebuilt my own early seventies TdF many years ago I didn't have MAFAC's or other center-pull calipers that would fit, so I used Weinmann 605 side-pulls as placeholders. They're still there.

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Old 11-20-19, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
Top Tip: look for old rusty Gitanes in the classifieds. The Tour de France models (or Racing Team, as they were called in Europe - from 1974 anyway) had very short fork blades, which meant that only a short reach brake would fit. The odds are pretty good that if you find one, you've got your brakes.

BTW, and FWIW, when I rebuilt my own early seventies TdF many years ago I didn't have MAFAC's or other center-pull calipers that would fit, so I used Weinmann 605 side-pulls as placeholders. They're still there.

Thank,s but just measured from the bike with the Mavic on , and I read 48/49 to 51mm
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Old 11-20-19, 04:41 PM
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With the modern look, Italian flair, pretty in black = Modolo, with many black caliper offerings. If you MUST change.

I might like the bike more than I already do - with a nice driveside side pic (full bike),

But given the existing choices, then Zeus for your Espana, or Basque-ness (as Zeus), or Catalan-ian. Always root for the home team - proudly!
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Old 11-20-19, 05:05 PM
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I happen to like MAFAC Racer brakes a lot, but I started working on bikes in the 1970s, so I'm used to all the quirks. I now volunteer at a bike coop, and people there have less experience than I do. One person mentioned what a huge pain it was to adjust Weinmann center-pull brakes. Ha, I bet he wouldn't enjoy setting up some MAFACs.

MAFAC levers are nice and tough, but they're not so comfortable, so you may want to pair the calipers with something else.

Long ago, a friend had a Zeus bike with Zeus 2000 center-pull brakes. They're gorgeous. We never figured out why the brakes didn't stop very well. They were set up right. We changed the pads to Mathauser (Kool Stop predecessor), and even that didn't help. But others find that they work fine, so I don't know.
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Old 11-20-19, 05:09 PM
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Also I have these Campy , tried last year with the original pads , I say 60% of the power of the record TI Campy, maybe with koolstop new pads the score goes up.
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Old 11-20-19, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by brooklyn6640 View Post
Also I have these Campy , tried last year with the original pads , I say 60% of the power of the record TI Campy, maybe with koolstop new pads the score goes up.

Those are effectively the same as regular Campy NR/SR. If they are the original pads undoubtedly they are dried up by now. You might like them better with new pads. Personally I think salmon pads ruin Campy SR/NR sidepulls. They lose the fine control, which is kind of the point of those brakes. FWIW, the official campy black pads are still available new.

Any center pull is going to feel more familiar if you are used to modern dual pivot brakes. Sidepulls require more hand force, but ultimately they will stop you just as fast. Set up does make a difference.
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Old 11-20-19, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by brooklyn6640 View Post
Many thank,s guys, but if you have 3 brakes on the table , you can leave the shop with only 1 in the bag , witch one ?
Zeus super alfa 71
Gran compe 450
Mafac competition ( if this one is short reach )
Also what is the diference between these two: Zeus 2000 vs Super alfa 71 ? I think the 2000 is the latest versions.
Gran Compe 450, FTW. I also like the Zeus 2000, but they've been out of production for three decades and may be hard to find, and expensive if you do find them. The salient difference between the Zeus 2000 and Super Alfa is the finish is much better on the 2000:


Last edited by JohnDThompson; 11-20-19 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 11-20-19, 08:12 PM
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If still in the running,
here is the MAFAC Competition
in short reach config

pads bottom out on 700c wheel,
but on a touring bike
with clearance for 32/33mm cyclocross tires.







Hey - trade ya even for those Campy ones above, if you want the Competitions!
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Old 11-21-19, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
With the modern look, Italian flair, pretty in black = Modolo, with many black caliper offerings. If you MUST change.

I might like the bike more than I already do - with a nice driveside side pic (full bike),

But given the existing choices, then Zeus for your Espana, or Basque-ness (as Zeus), or Catalan-ian. Always root for the home team - proudly!
Here, It is not by national nostalgia, only for a different look.

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Old 11-21-19, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by johndthompson View Post
gran compe 450, ftw. I also like the zeus 2000, but they've been out of production for three decades and may be hard to find, and expensive if you do find them. The salient difference between the zeus 2000 and super alfa is the finish is much better on the 2000:

[img]http://www.os2.dhs.org/~john/zeus-2000-calipers.jpg
ftw ????'
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Old 11-21-19, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Those are effectively the same as regular Campy NR/SR. If they are the original pads undoubtedly they are dried up by now. You might like them better with new pads. Personally I think salmon pads ruin Campy SR/NR sidepulls. They lose the fine control, which is kind of the point of those brakes. FWIW, the official campy black pads are still available new.

Any center pull is going to feel more familiar if you are used to modern dual pivot brakes. Sidepulls require more hand force, but ultimately they will stop you just as fast. Set up does make a difference.
Hi please explain to me:
Personally I think salmon pads ruin Campy SR/NR sidepulls. They lose the fine control, which is kind of the point of those brakes. FWIW,
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Old 11-21-19, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by brooklyn6640 View Post
ftw ????'


For The Win
(i assume)


Thanks for the pic. Most excellent.
Personally, I would find a 'more vintage' frame for a pair of centerpull brakes and leave the Tommasini as pictured.

Ride On!
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Old 11-21-19, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
For The Win
(i assume)


Thanks for the pic. Most excellent.
Personally, I would find a 'more vintage' frame for a pair of centerpull brakes and leave the Tommasini as pictured.

Ride On!
Hi the frame is brand new direct from factory , but the style is classic .
Steel frame tecno TOMMASINI bikes
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