Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie

Did you know that a swarm of bees, hornets, or wasps are collectively called a "Bike"? Yep, just stick around with ol’ Euro Freddie, and you too can acquire an attractive factoid personality.

And do you know what the objects in the photo above are? Why they are simply the bee's knees, for they are the first production disc brakes to ever be made. Can you make out the script stamped across their body: CAMPAGNOLO !!!

Tullio Campagnolo began manufacturing these mechanical disc brakes back in 1963, along with an internal wheel version for the Lambretta TV scooter. But the version above was created (along with its lever, disc and hub counterparts), for racing motorcycles, and Ducati and Vincent motorbikes of that period were often outfitted with them - as the mechanical binders were sold as an aftermarket upgrade for those bike’s OEM drum brakes.

Amazingly, Campagnolo disc brakes also found themselves as OEM on the four corners of the fabled De Tomaso Vellalunga, arguably the world's first exotic mid-engine "Supercar". But at this point the market had shifted to hydraulics, and Campagnolo would soon abandon motorsport brakes altogether, leaving hydraulic discs to other Italian manufacturers such as Brembo and Formula.

This bit of engineering history is interesting though, especially in light of the current news regarding disc brakes being introduced into the professional cycling peloton by the UCI, where Campagnolo is catching a lot of flak for being the last of the big three parts manufacturers to produce a disc brake... Again! A big Valentine’s Campy caliper squeeze to all of my Eagle readers  -Euro Freddie.

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