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Dia-Compe cantilever brakes don't appear to have a date code, but supposedly the 981, 983, 986 brakes were first introduced in 1981, 1983, 1986, etc.
Following Ben's lead - I checked three sets of Dia-Compe G calipers and all have the four-digit date code on the back of one of the arms.
As the wear on a vintage bike increases, the greater the likelihood components are not original, either through replacement of worn parts or through component swaps.
Swaps can take place early in the life of a bike as the proud new owner upgrades to new or used components of higher quality.
Unfortunately, many of these are coded, and require some additional knowledge to understand the code.
I have a set of Dia-Compe mountain levers where if you pull the lever all the way, a piece of the lever is exposed, which has a clock-type date code.
Especially useful, and challenging to sort out and verify, was the Shimano code.
Also gathered on this page are date codes decoded and generously provided by others.
The two sets of Dia-Compe brake lever bodies I checked had the four-number date code stamped inside the lever body (I couldn't find any markings on the levers themselves).
However, a Gran Compe set of calipers had no markings. For example, 1182 means the 11th week of the year 1982.
[Atom] [Brooks] [Campagnolo] [Dia-Compe and Weinmann] [Huret] [Maillard] [Normandy] [Nitto] [SR (Sakae)] [Sachs-Huret] [Shimano] [Strong] [Sansin] [Sunshine] [Sun Tour (Maeda)] [Sugino] [Tange] [Williams] [Dancing Chain] [Saddles]The date of manufacture of a bicycle's components can often be used to determine the date of manufacture of the bike itself.