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Campagnolo Delta Brakes - The Greatest Worst Brake Ever

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Campagnolo Delta Brakes - The Greatest Worst Brake Ever

Old 08-10-19, 06:57 AM
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cb400bill
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Campagnolo Delta Brakes - The Greatest Worst Brake Ever

Bicycling Magazine has posted an article about the Delta brakes. I've always been smitten by their appearance but have never tried any.

THEY WERE A DESIGN MASTERPIECE AND A MECHANICAL NIGHTMARE. WHY WE CANíT STOP OBSESSING OVER THE DELTA BRAKE.

https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear...o-delta-brake/

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Old 08-10-19, 09:04 AM
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Those remind me of American Bandstand.

"It has a nice beat and you can dance to it."
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Old 08-10-19, 09:15 AM
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You don't buy deltas to stop your bicycle...

You buy them to have others stop theirs...
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Old 08-10-19, 09:43 AM
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Like Chief Dan George from Outlaw Josie Wales said about his rock candy: "... it's not for eating. It's just for looking through".
I had worked on a very few of those when the came out, when I worked in bike shop. They really were a pain to set up.
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Old 08-10-19, 09:58 AM
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"The Deltas seem to hit a particular sweet spot for a generation of people who were young and in love with bikes but, alas, lacking the means to fully indulge their pro-level passions. Now those kids are older, with a bit more money, and they look to assemble the dream bikes of yore, to be ridden at L’Eroica or, in some cases, not to be ridden at all."

Pretty much describes most of us vintage guys riding vintage bikes. I ride the bikes I could not afford when I was young.
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Old 08-10-19, 09:58 AM
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Only issue I have with my Deltas are the squealy Kool Stop pads.
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Old 08-10-19, 10:09 AM
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Not for me. I guess I'm one of the few that always thought they were ugly, from a purely design standpoint. They seem to work OK if set up correctly. I never tried them on a real ride, only test rides around the block. More aero I suppose, maybe. I'll stick with regular record.

While I should be one of the generation that likes these things, by the time delta brakes came out, I was already a retro snob MAFAC enthusiast...
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Old 08-10-19, 10:20 AM
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Campy seems to have borrowed heavily from the design Shimano used for their AX brakes circa 1982:

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Old 08-10-19, 10:40 AM
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Superficially Deltas were similar looking to Dura Ace AX, but mechanically very different. The delta brakes had a parallelogram mechanism inside, rather than a wedge and rollers. Modolo Kronos IIRC had the same sort of internal mechanism as Delta, and were roughly contemporary to Shimano AX - both preceded Delta.
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Old 08-10-19, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Not for me. I guess I'm one of the few that always thought they were ugly, from a purely design standpoint.
A big blobby parasite hanging off the bike.
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Old 08-10-19, 01:26 PM
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The article's author manages to misuse two words, howlers that would have been caught if publications still employed editors.
-de facto when he means de rigeur.
-nonplussed when he means unimpressed. At least he didn't stick a hyphen in.
-A cranky editor would probably have carped at "assemblage" and substituted "assembly" but the usage is not, strictly, incorrect, just pretentious here.

And, the article gives not the faintest hint about how the mechs actually worked. Just that they tickle some part of the brain that goes "coooollll"...at least in some people.

Meh. (to the article, not the brakes, since I don't know enough about the brakes to go meh.)
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Old 08-10-19, 02:53 PM
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You kinda earn your extra C&V stripes after you get to own, set up and ride Campy Delta brakes on your bike(s)......successfully.....
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Old 08-10-19, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Campy seems to have borrowed heavily from the design Shimano used for their AX brakes circa 1982:

But Campy was the one smart enough to complete the Delta design concept by providing the proper aero casings to the brake calipers at the right time in cycling history.....
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Old 08-10-19, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Spaghetti Legs View Post

Only issue I have with my Deltas are the squealy Kool Stop pads.
Squeakyness should be easy to fix as the Delta brake shoe holder incorporates a toe in adjustment feature at the anchor bolts. There are also a grub screws that can push at the back of the brake shoes so you have it contact the rim before the rest of the pad to avoid chattering.
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Old 08-10-19, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Campy seems to have borrowed heavily from the design Shimano used for their AX brakes circa 1982:

Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Superficially Deltas were similar looking to Dura Ace AX, but mechanically very different. The delta brakes had a parallelogram mechanism inside, rather than a wedge and rollers.
Correct. The Delta caliper articulation was completely different from the AX:
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Old 08-10-19, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
The article's author manages to misuse two words, howlers that would have been caught if publications still employed editors.
-de facto when he means de rigeur.
-nonplussed when he means unimpressed. At least he didn't stick a hyphen in.
-A cranky editor would probably have carped at "assemblage" and substituted "assembly" but the usage is not, strictly, incorrect, just pretentious here.

And, the article gives not the faintest hint about how the mechs actually worked. Just that they tickle some part of the brain that goes "coooollll"...at least in some people.

Meh. (to the article, not the brakes, since I don't know enough about the brakes to go meh.)
So basically the same as most other internet articles from a relatively well-known internet-based news sources.

-Kurt
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Old 08-10-19, 03:58 PM
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They're just plain ugly.

Until you put 'em next to the Weinmann version, I suppose. Then they're half decent. But who's gonna ride around with a spare Weinmann brake caliper hanging from their bars? That'd just be silly.

So we end up back at just plain ugly. Thank god they don't work well or I might have a dilemma.
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Old 08-10-19, 04:19 PM
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I agree worst brake ever! Send all the ones you're not using to me for proper disposal
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Old 08-10-19, 04:21 PM
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What a stone pain to set up, and just too heavy IMHO. I subscribe to a engineering discipline of "Simple Elegance", and these just go against that in every way form and fashion.

They do look swoopie, and are Campagnolo's typical finish quality, but I never took to them.

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Old 08-10-19, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
A big blobby parasite hanging off the bike.
Stop beating around the bush, tell us what you really think about them

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Old 08-10-19, 05:29 PM
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The entire Corsa Record group was set aside by the racer set. Styling excess. (although it did set the industry design direction soon enough)


The Delta brakes were fussy. Often one had to use narrow tires. Guys were training on 25's and 28's- the bigger tire often a problem. Esp the Specialized Turbo with the raised center rib.


A poor choice to set up with the first version traditional/aero levers. Traditional routing was best.





I own a lot of bikes, none with Deltas.





(the last version with the pair of pivots at the bottom of the mechanism - either side of the cable pinch bolt was best of the bunch)





Campagnolo went in the wrong direction with the Corsa Record- it cost them dearly- they were going High Style - should have left that to the 50th anniv set, and Shimano was upping the style and revolutionizing the shifting, better pedals (before Look arrived), index 6, then 7, freehub returned, then 8 with integrated brake shifting... Did not hurt that Shimano did much development while the Suntour patent was still active, releasing the 7400 series soon after it expired. Smart, cunning.


From patent applications, Campagnolo was still looking for a patent-able alternative. lots of dead ends. Lets bypass the SGR pedal...


Campagnolo did present a bolt hole circle that allowed a 39t inner ring.. then saddled it with an odd BCD 135mm and one chainring bolt having an inverted counterbore for the C Record.
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Old 08-10-19, 05:53 PM
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Having had both, I can tell you the Campy stop a bit better. However, the rear Campy can get scratched up fairly quickly,
just by being ridden, if that matters. I still have a set of the 600AX that I've taken to several swap meets, with no interest
whatsoever from buyers. None, zero, nil, zilch.

Both the DA/600 AX and the Campy are rather a pain to set up. You just need 3 hands. Of great assistance was my
"third hand" caliper tool, from bikenashbar around 1982.
Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Campy seems to have
borrowed heavily from the design Shimano used for their AX brakes circa 1982:

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Old 08-10-19, 07:36 PM
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Shimano's Delta style AX just looks a bit too mechanical, bordering on crude to be a top of the line brakeset for the time it was sold. If they only cleaned up the design a bit, especially at the back plate area and cable adjusters. They would have most likely sold more of it and it might have made the brakeset more popular with C&Vers as a result.....

Last edited by Chombi1; 08-10-19 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 08-10-19, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Shimano's Delta style AX just looks a bit too mechanical, bordering on crude to be a top of the line brakeset for the time it was sold. If they only cleaned up the design a bit, especially at the back plate area and cable adjusters. They would have most likely sold more of it and it might have made the brakeset more popular with C&Vers as a result.....
the earlier image from steel-vintage is for those not well versed in esoteric Shimano, the 600AX. The Dura-Ace was all cast alloy but as Chombi mentioned, not top tier finished.
From a mechanical design perspective, they should have been a winner.
(actually I think they were a near mechanical copy of a brake set out of Seattle that ran a small advert in the early 70's Bicycling! magazines).
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Old 08-10-19, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Squeakyness should be easy to fix as the Delta brake shoe holder incorporates a toe in adjustment feature at the anchor bolts. There are also a grub screws that can push at the back of the brake shoes so you have it contact the rim before the rest of the pad to avoid chattering.
not at the onset, the "grub" screws came later. The curved washers were around early. The spacer washers to help with rim width were not included, optional but order able.
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