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Shimano 600 center-pull brakes?

Old 10-22-22, 09:21 PM
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Muffins
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Shimano 600 center-pull brakes?

Hi friends, a week ago I bought an '83 Lotus Classique from its original owner, supposedly it had been sitting in an attic for a few decades. It's gorgeous but needs some work.
Anyhow, the seller mentioned that he had asked the dealership to forgo the stock shimano 600 arabesque side-pull brakes, and instead had a set of Shimano 600 AX center-pull brakes installed. The levers are also "aero" style which I don't think was the norm at the time.

So, as a novice to this hobby, what is the advantage of this braking system? Would I be able to fit wider tires than with side-pulls? Also, I've seen a couple examples for sale on eBay for $200- are people actually paying that kind of money for these, or are those ebay vendors off their rocker?
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Old 10-23-22, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Muffins
Hi friends, a week ago I bought an '83 Lotus Classique from its original owner, supposedly it had been sitting in an attic for a few decades. It's gorgeous but needs some work.
Anyhow, the seller mentioned that he had asked the dealership to forgo the stock shimano 600 arabesque side-pull brakes, and instead had a set of Shimano 600 AX center-pull brakes installed. The levers are also "aero" style which I don't think was the norm at the time.

So, as a novice to this hobby, what is the advantage of this braking system? Would I be able to fit wider tires than with side-pulls? Also, I've seen a couple examples for sale on eBay for $200- are people actually paying that kind of money for these, or are those ebay vendors off their rocker?
Good Morning and welcome to the forums.

these brakes? The whole group was supposed to aero dynamic or something. Some people love them a lot dont. Id remove them and put some 600 EX (side pulls) on the bike.

you need to look at sold listings on eBay to get an actual value.


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Old 10-23-22, 07:55 AM
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I have the Dura Ace AX versions on my '83 Lotus Super Pro Aero. I believe the 600 AX are the same, size-wise, and just lack the better finish and some other bits which make the DA version ever so slightly less heavy.



While I've read that some have found the braking to be less than adequate, that has not been my experience--- but--- I live and ride in a flat seacoast area, so YMMV and my braking needs could be significantly less than yours.

I'm running two different sets of wheels on my Lotus. The picture above is with 23mm Vittoria Corsa Speed tires. Below it is wearing the wheelset and the tires are Vittoria 25mm Rallys. As you can see, there's little room to spare. While I've not tried, I don't believe Schwalbe One 28mm tubular tires would fit.

Kool Stop does/did make replacement brake pads. That's what I'm running. Kool Stop bicycle brake blocks pads refill Shimano AX Adamas - SALMON

Finally, finding hoods for the AX aero brake levers is very costly. Other models don't fit well. You will notice above mine are made from thick goatskin leather. I made them along with the bar sleeves.

We look forward to seeing pictures of your Lotus Classique.
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Old 10-23-22, 08:10 AM
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Aero brake levers are vintage correct for these calipers. My recollection from my Dura-Ace set is that there is not a lot of clearance. Most equivalent reach side-pull calipers will provide greater lateral tyre clearance. The pad height adjustment is achieved by raising or lowering the whole caliper via a oblong hole for the mounting bolt, which reduces vertical clearance at longer reach settings. Braking performance was mediocre but that's primarily due to the small pad surface area. The brake pads themselves are dedicated to the AX series, as the holders are integral with the arms. I'm not sure that are any existing pads that are drop-in replacements. Back in the day, we used to carve our own from bigger pads, to get better stopping power. On the plus side they're relatively light and, in my opinion, are little pieces of jewellery. Personally, I prefer them over Campagnolo Delta or any of the other centre-pull, aero designs.
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Old 10-23-22, 10:58 PM
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Alright, I guess I'll stick with them for now, at least until I find time to see how they hold up to some hills. The fact that pads and brake hoods are hard to find kinda sucks, mine appear to be 40 years old and should probably be replaced...
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Old 10-23-22, 11:04 PM
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Keep them; they are weird and unusual. Dunno about sourcing fresh brake pads for something like that?

Being able to stop is overrated anyway. Just ask anyone who rides a brakeless fixie.
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Old 10-23-22, 11:18 PM
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And Pastorbob that bike is really cool
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Old 10-24-22, 03:16 AM
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I just checked sold item prices for them. $49.99, $75 and an unknown number from a $200 ask. So I am going to guess the calipers and levers together are worth just shy of $100?

Pastor Bob can likely tell you whether or not to descend a mountain via his experience with the repadded DA version.

if you want larger clearance, the Shimano Tourney/DuraAce centerpulls are fine choices.
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