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Campagnolo overhauls and reintroduces its famous Centaur groupset

11 May 2017

Page 1 of 2Campagnolo overhauls and reintroduces its famous Centaur groupset

Verdict:

The new Campagnolo Centaur replaces Veloce at the entry-level of the brand's range

Homogeneity served as the stimulus for the reintroduction Campagnolo’s Centaur name. This renovated groupset usurps Veloce at the entry-level of Campagnolo’s road performance range, meaning from late May, 11-speed functionality is now attainable across all 5 tiers of Campagnolo’s mechanical groupsets.

‘The new Centaur brings a degree of uniformity to our range,’ says Josh Riddle, global press manager for Campagnolo.

‘All of our mechanical performance groupsets now have the same functionality. Our continued commitment into the research and development of mechanical shifting has allowed a trickle-down effect, meaning attributes from our flagship designs permeate the entire range.’

Visually this rationale is most evident in Centaur’s chainset - Campagnolo’s classic five-arm spider has now been universally discarded in favour of the sleeker four-arm design already used higher up in the range.

Riddle explains that this allows for an independent bolt circle diameter which, he claims, when coupled with Campagnolo’s ‘Ultra-Torque’ axle, increases the chainset’s structural integrity.

The crankset accepts all chainring combinations, but only mid-compact (52-36) and compact (50-34) pairings will be available at Centaur level because Campagnolo reasons that the type of rider to use a standard combination (53-39) will not be seeking to invest in an entry-level groupset.

The iconic ergonomics of the Campagnolo Ergopower levers have also been preserved with a ‘carbon fibre-reinforced technolopolymer’ used to keep costs low.

The only difference in design comes as an update to the thumbshifter. That adopts an EPS-style lever which means it doesn’t have the ‘Powershift’ function to dump down the cassette but arguably seems easier to reach from the drops.

The 11-speed update necessitated a rethink of Campagnolo’s entry-level derailleur designs. The front is now almost indistinguishable from the brand’s higher-end offerings (differing only in material), while the rear uses a simplified version of Campagnolo’s ‘Embrace’ action - which is an expensive addition that minutely trims the derailleur for each sprocket.

The Centaur derailleur compromises, with Campagnolo having determined the fixed angle to best suit all sprockets.

It is worth noting also that the same derailleur can accept up to a 32-tooth sprocket with no need to change cage size, which is not something Campagnolo’s competitors can offer.

As a complete package, this new release from Campagnolo amounts to a groupset strikingly similar to the Italian brand’s tier-higher Potenza, with the main difference being a small increase in weight caused by some cheaper materials used.

It was well documented that Potenza was released as a direct competitor to Shimano Ultegra, so it follows that Centaur will be competing head-to-head with Shimano 105.

Indeed, Campagnolo has directly compared Centaur with a ‘competitor’s offering at the same tier’ in weight, with the Italian brand claiming that Centaur’s 2471g trumps 105 by up to 50g.

Aiming your entry-level at a competitor’s mid-tier is a bold move but from the experience of a first ride, it does not seem unreasonable...

UK RRP: £539.33

Head through to the next page to read our first ride review

Page 1 of 2Campagnolo overhauls and reintroduces its famous Centaur groupset

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