Mafac Criterium Brakes – One finger operation?

A recent purchase (thanks Lorenzo!) was this set of Mafac Criterium cantilever brakes. The complete set even includes the braze-on frame bosses. Probably 1960’s but difficult to date because Mafac made these brakes for a very long period of time. Steve Griffith’s useful article on Mafac can be found here . I love the packaging and was amused at Mafac’s claim that ‘un doigt suffit!’ – one finger is sufficent! On the side of the box is an illustration of a cyclist charging down a mountain side with the same caption. Anyone who is familiar with these brakes knows that they do indeed work well when properly adjusted, but I do not recommend one finger operation if you want to stop in a hurry! The packaging shows them coupled to Mafac cyclotouriste or guidonnet brake levers. Its useful to note that Koolstop now make four stud brake rubbers for these brakes, with the same appearance as the originals. They are available in salmon or black colours, the salmon ones being of a slightly softer compound recommended for wet conditions. A nice feature is that when fitted they have no visible branding on them, so they are suitable for period restorations. Although not inexpensive, both types offer a substantial improvement over hard old stock Mafac rubbers.

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