Both sets of brakes are wide-profile cantilevers from Shimano. One set is from the early '80s Deore group (some might remember that as the "deer head" set), designated as MC-70. They were one of the top choices for touring and mountain bikes from '83 through about '86. Understand that mountain bikes were still in their infancy, touring bikes were all the rage, and there wasn't nearly as much difference between mountain and touring bike components at the time.
The other set is from the next generation Deore group -- the MT-60 group, which featured Shimano's first indexing mountain bike derailleur. To be more exact, mine are marked MT-62, though the main difference was in the shifters (changed from 6-speed to 7-speed indexing) while the brakes are pretty much the same as far as I can tell.
Looking at the older vs. newer brakes (yes, old vs. new is all relative when they're all in the neighborhood of 30 years old), you can see some similarities and some differences:
|On the top are Shimano MT-62 cantilevers from the later '80s. Just below them are a pair of MC-70 cantis from about 1983.|
|That's a handy feature that makes centering the brakes much easier. Unfortunately, it is missing from the earlier generation brakes.|
Ultimately, I've decided to go with the newer MT-62 brakes, which I'll be pairing up with a nice set of Dia Compe road levers. I slightly prefer the styling of the older MC-70 brakes, but the "like-new" cosmetics of the newer set, along with easier setup that comes from adjustable spring tension makes them hard to beat.
More to come. . .