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Icons of cycling: Mafac Racer brakes

Icons of cycling: Mafac Racer brakes

We take a look at the brakes that changed cycling Photo: Chris Catchpole The French made some frightful faux pas in their days of making cycle components: the AVA ‘death’ stem was prone to suddenly snapping; the plastic Simplex derailleurs were awful; but the Mafac Racer brakes were simply magnifique.

Un doigt suffit! (one finger’s enough) was the slogan that accompanied Mafac’s legendary brakes when they were introduced in 1952.

The company — Manufacture Arvernoise de Freins et Accessoires pour Cycles — had made one-finger braking possible for the first time in cycling’s history, but that was far from the Racer’s sole quality.

Mafac Racer brakes were unusually perfect for many cycling disciplines and types of bicycle. In an extraordinarily long life that spanned four decades, with production ceasing in the early 1980s, the revolutionary centre-pull won the Tour de France multiple times.

Learn how to set-up your brakes at home

Before 1968, when Campagnolo’s first Record caliper was launched, Mafac Racers were a common sight in the pro peloton and its compact, aerodynamic profile made it the caliper of choice for the mid-century equipment-fanatic British time triallist.The Racer was not only extremely versatile but also highly adjustable. The length of the […]

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