Having what appears at first glance a seemingly conservative attitude, Campagnolo underlined that it will rely on the good old mechanical shifting in the season to come, releasing the updated versions of the Super Record, Record and Chorus groupsets for 2015.
But Campagnolo is only apparently reluctant to adopt new technology, because even if it doesn’t relate too much to electronical shifting, other new developments, like the longer arm of the front derailleur, the 4-arm crank spider or the extensive use of carbon, are very present. So, after pro riders finished testing the new products, Campagnolo finally released them, along with a brief and to-the-point presentation of the new features.
The front derailleur benefited a lot from the upgrade that resulted from the Squadre Corsa 2014 programme, but we dare say that the main improvement, a longer arm that makes shifting smoother and easier, wasn’t quite rocket science to begin with.
Campagnolo also claims to have made the rear derailleur work better by modifying it so it wraps more chain around it. Thus, not only is durability increased, says the manufacturer, but sending the chain and derailleur up a 29-tooth cog is as easy as when it engages a 23-tooth one.
The levers haven’t been too strongly modified, which is good news since they already were two fine pieces of Italian craftsmanship, only the left one, responsible for the front derailleur, gaining an extra, intermediate position for situations like when the chain has an almost diagonal posture. This prevents the chain from having contact with the derailleur’s carbon cage, and damaging it, and also acts like a buffer area when downshifting from the big chainring, lowering the chain gradually to the small chainring’s level. More or less necessary, grip and comfort were enhanced thanks to the hypoallergenic silicone that was used in manufacturing the hoods.
No doubt about it, the crankset gets all the attention, marking a change in Campagnolo’s paradigm, the company now embracing the 4-arm spider. It’s something that Shimano initially engineered, but the Italian brand claims to have taken it to a higher level, using 8 bolts for keeping the rings in place, and making them stiffer. Noteworthy is also the extensive compatibility with standard and Compact chainrings, which allows a generous number of possible combinations.
At first glance, Campagnolo’s innovations aren’t that many, and, honestly speaking, aren’t that innovative, since at least 2 of the main upgrades already had their pioneers. Campagnolo didn’t mention anything about weight, neither. But, even given these circumstances, it’s hard to disregard the Italian brand’s new products, even more so that manufacturing a performant groupset doesn’t necessarily imply it featuring revolutionary and never-seen-before technologies. The really good part of the upgrades is that they will feature for all 3 sets, and this means you don’t have to buy a top-notch line of components in order to enjoy a fine user experience. However, it remains to be seen how costly will this experience turn out…