If somewhere a country excels in the manufacturing of high performance brakes, this is definitely Italy. Today, Brembo is the reference for racing and top end cars and motorcycles, while Campagnolo, which was the first fit for the Egli-Vincent with its famous disk brake actuated by cables, is one of the top choices for cycling.
But this domination started long time ago before the advent of the Japanese racing bikes, when the motorcycle racing teams or production racer builders used to select Italian brands for their performances. With the growing interest in Café Racers, numerous reproduction are now available on the market such the Oldani, Grimeca, Fontana and Ceriani, along with some innovative design using hydraulic command for the drum brakes… so let’s have a look.
Philippe Guyony © 2014
If the brakes of your Classic need some performance improvements, this is definitely not the solution!
The original Egli-Vincent front brakes were supplied by Campagnolo; if anyone had the idea to make a replica, they would likely sale like hot cakes.
The Campagnolo mechanical brakes are extremely rare to find on the market, but it is not impossible….
… however, beware of the counterfeits!
More seriously, here are the brakes available on the market as reproduction of the old 60s-70s racing brakes.
Gaetano Oldani Three models exist: Front 200mm and 230mm and Rear 200mm. “For a short time many famous pilots like Hailwood or Hartle use it on their Norton Manx. The 200mm was adopted by Mondial and Moto Morini.” The hub cast, brake shoes and shoe plates are in Magnesium, but these are not 4 cams but 2 cams. For 36 spokes rims only. Front 230 mm. (6.75 kg) | Euro 1.875,00 Front 200 mm. (4.9 kg) | Euro 1.625,00 Rear 200 mm. (5.425 kg), 7 sprocket | Euro 1.440,00 For more information see (1) (2)
Grimeca Front only, exist in 2 size: 180 and 230 mm The 180 mm is a double sided, two leading shoe, 2 cams while the 230mm is a genuine 4 cams. For 36 spokes rims. Available in Sand and Black color. Prices are much more affordable as being in aluminum casting | 420 and 590 Euros For more information see (1) (2)
Daniele Fontana The reference. Fontana started to manufacture his brakes in 1964 and sell these to private pilots and works. Soon the range included three excellent front brakes entirely made of magnesium and equipped with four shoes. The “large” Fontana is used on the official Triumph and BSA three-cylinder of the 750 Formula. The “midsize” had an effective diameter of 210 mm. and was designed for racing and sport bikes with engine displacement of 250/350 cc. The “small” Fontana was used on the other hand for smaller racers such the Motobi 175 or Morbidelli 125. All are designed for 36 spokes rims. Front “Small”: 3.3 kg and 170 mm effective diameter, 36 spokes | Euro 1,200 Front “Midsize”: 6.2 kg and 210 mm effective diameter, 36 spokes | Euro 1,625 Front “Large”: -.- kg and 250 mm effective diameter, 40 spokes | Euro 2,375 Rear “Midsize”: 5.6 kg and 210 mm effective diameter, 40 spokes, 7 sprocket | Euro 1,315 For more information see (1) (2)
Ceriani Exist in only 230 mm diameter, both front and back with two versions, one narrow and another wide. First one was suited to 250/350cc racing bikes such the Aermacchi Ala d’Oro while the wider one was fitted on Agostini’s MV three cylinders before being offered to the market. The Ceriani drum brakes were the finest ever produced; they were resistant of fading, highly efficient and free from problems of cracking of the cast iron inserts. The Hub cast in in aluminum, shoe plate in magnesium, for 36 spokes rims Front “Wide”: 230 mm effective diameter | Euro 1,500 Rear: 230 mm effective diameter, 7 sprocket | Euro 1,200
DB Brake Although the concept of the hydraulic drum is not new, this product works differently and is quite innovative. The external diameter is 300 mm and inside there are 2 discs with a diameter of 250 mm and 6 hydraulic cylinders 32 mm. They are used both for street bikes and racing. The aluminum version weights 8.5 kg and the magnesium one 7 kg. The performances are said to be like those of a modern motorcycle; the two central disks completely eliminate unsprang weight due to the gyroscopic effect | 1,600 Euro for the basic model (many colors available) For more information see (3)
Now you are prepared for high performance braking… © Joe Bar Team