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Campagnolo launches 12-speed Super Record EPS

14 Mar 2019

Page 1 of 2Campagnolo launches 12-speed Super Record EPS

Verdict:

Electronic shifting comes to the Italian brand’s top-tier groupset

In 2018 Campagnolo surprised the world by being the first of the big three groupset manufacturers to produce a 12-speed groupset for the road. Now in 2019, it has taken the next step by launching the electronic EPS version of Super Record.

Super Record EPS will be available in both rim brake and disc brake formats and, for now, only the top-tier groupset is getting the electronic treatment, with next-level-down Record remaining as mechanical 12-speed only.

As expected, the new EPS groupset maintains all the same features as the mechanical version of Super Record, combined with the electro-gizmology of the established 11-speed EPS set-up. That, however, doesn’t mean that the old electronic derailleurs and shifters have simply been bolted on to the new crankset and cassette.

The move to 12-speed has required a complete redesign of all components, with the aim of improving performance in all areas while still maintaining that recognisable ‘Campy feel’.

As Lorenzo Taxis, Campagnolo’s global marketing and communication director, puts it, ‘Everything is considered from scratch. The whole of our aim is to improve the rider experience in terms of ergonomics, performance, speed… everything.’

Crankset

The crankset for the new Super Record EPS is identical to the one on the mechanical version.

Made from hollow carbon fibre, it is exceptionally light (claimed 618g) and stiff, and comes with additional bracing on the outer chainring in areas of highest stress.

The four-arm, eight-bolt design means that chainrings can be swapped about to produce different combinations, while the bolt attachment points will always be in the optimum places to maintain mechanical efficiency.

The inner chainrings come with teeth shaped symmetrically to allow more extreme chain angles (eg small chainring to small sprocket) without undue grinding or wear and tear.

The axle is titanium for lightness, and the bearings are CULT ceramic, which Campagnolo claims are nine times more efficient than steel.

The shiny surface of the carbon cranks is purely down to the resin used, says Campagnolo, and there is no clear coat applied over the top – it just comes out of the mould like that. In addition, the resin contains UV blocking agents so the carbon won’t degrade in the sun over time, which is something that Camagnolo claims is not the case with some other brands.

In terms of sizing, the cranksets come in 53/39, 52/36 and 50/34 chainring combinations, with crank length options of 165mm, 170mm, 172.5mm and 175mm.

Levers

The hood and levers – which Campagnolo calls Ergopower – are again based on the shaping of the mechanical version, but incorporating the EPS electronics and buttons.

The hoods are shaped to be easier to handle than the old 11-speed version, making them slightly bulkier but still elegantly curved. The disc brake hoods are just 8mm taller than the rim brake version, despite having to include the master cylinder for the hydraulic system.

The hoods themselves now include vibration-absorbing material to reduce fatigue at the hands.

Other changes compared to 11-speed include more ergonomically shaped levers, to make them more accessible when on the hoods or in the drops. And the position of the levers can be adjusted to suit different hand sizes using an allen key, as can the stroke distance of the levers to suit braking preference.

As always with Campagnolo, the up-shifting is done via a paddle behind the brake lever, while the down-shifting is via a button on the inside of the hood. Not only have these buttons/levers been made slightly larger and more tactile for easy use, but they also now include ‘Multi-Dome’ technology.

This is basically a plastic pad inside the hood that ensures the traditional Campy ‘click’ remains in evidence. Apparently, the pro riders who tested early versions of the system complained that the electronic button press was too soft and quiet, so changes were made to give it some extra feedback and make it more obvious when a shift had taken place.

Command centre

At the heart of the EPS groupset is the command centre that uses both Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity.

A ‘mode’ button located discreetly behind the thumb shift lever activates diagnostics and allows the rider to perform certain functions on the fly, such as checking battery life and even making fine adjustments to the front and rear derailleur.

The whole system can be controlled from the MyCampy app, where button functions can be customised and adjustments can be made to the number of shifts provided at a lever push or the speed of shifting. By simply holding down the shift lever, the rear derailleur will scroll through 11 sprockets, all the way up and down the cassette.

The system will also connect to external devices such as phones and bike computers to provide a range of data for riders who like to know what their shifting habits say about them.

The V4 interface can be placed in a bar end or will slot into the down tube of compatible bike frames.

Battery

One of the significant changes compared to the 11-speed EPS is the battery.

Campagnolo says it is now longer in shape than before and 10% longer-lasting in terms of battery charge. In its tests, it managed to lose only half its power over three weeks of regular use, and in normal circumstances should only need recharging every month or two.

The battery is thin enough to be compatible with nearly all framesets, and is held securely in place in the seat tube by one of two different adaptors.

Front derailleur

As with the mechanical 12-speed groupset, the front derailleur uses a thin cage design to ensure crisp shifting without chain rub. The inner portion is made of aluminium, while the outer part is carbon fibre, as is the body of the derailleur that houses the motor (and, for good measure, the retaining bolt is made of titanium).

Campagnolo claims that its derailleur motors are the most powerful of all the electronic groupsets on the market, and that it is capable of making clean shifts from the small ring to the big even under significant loads.

The action of the front derailleur incorporates a double-pivot so that the movement is more sideways than simply rotating around a fixed point. And the EPS cunningly overshifts slightly to ensure that the chain is properly engaged on the chainring before moving back into a position that prevents chain rub on the mech cage.

Rear derailleur

The rear derailleur is a one-size-fits-all unit that can cope with different cassette ranges thanks to larger 12-tooth jockey wheels. It means that users can switch between different gearing options without having to worry about changing the chain length.

As with the mechanical version, the rear mech incorporates Campagnolo’s Embrace technology. This allows the system to adjust automatically both upwards and forwards so that the upper jockey wheel is as close as possible to the sprocket, meaning more chain is wrapped around the sprocket more of the time.

This added engagement is not only mechanically efficient, it also helps protect the teeth of the sprockets and the chain, so both should last longer.

The rear mech body is a mixture of aluminium and carbon, and the unit weighs in at a respectable (claimed) 234g. A versatile hanger allows for both traditional and direct mounting, and thanks to cables being soldered into each component, the whole system is claimed to be waterproof – something else that Campagnolo says is unique to its groupset.

Cassette

The 12th sprocket is the big story of the Super Record cassette, but perhaps more impressive is the fact that Campagnolo has managed to squeeze it in while maintaining the same hub body spacing as the previous 11-speed. Thus, it is not necessary to invest in a new set of wheels when upgrading from 11-speed to 12-speed.

There are only two cassette options available: 11-29t and 11-32t. This, according to Campagnolo, provides all the range of gearing anyone could want, while ensuring minimal jumps between gears. The first seven sprockets on the cassette increase by only one-tooth increments, making for smooth gear changing.

To fit in the extra sprocket, each of them has to be thinner and the space between them has been reduced, but Campagnolo insists that new surface treatments mean they are just as long-lasting as before.

The largest three sprockets have been machined from steel as a single piece (a ‘triplet’), as have the next three sprockets, which helps with stiffness. After that, the sprockets are machined individually, with spacers made from aluminium to ensure perfect alignment.

Chain

It goes without saying that the chain has to be thinner to accommodate the 12th sprocket. The material itself is thinner, as is the space between the link plates.

Despite this, Campagnolo claims the new chain maintains the exact same durability of its 11-speed predecessor while being quicker to engage and having the added benefit of being lighter – 228g (claimed).

Brakes

On the rim brake version of Super Record EPS, the traditional skeleton brakes that Campagnolo were known for have been filled in slightly in the name of aesthetics and aerodynamics. Ultimately, though, they function the same and will accommodate up to 28mm tyres.

A direct mount rim brake is available and it incorporates a special brace that stiffens the set-up and prevents the seatstays flexing under braking load.

Campagnolo claims the cabling and housing for its rim brakes is both super-smooth and more durable than the competition.

The disc brakes come in both 140mm and 160mm options and have smooth, round edges for reasons of safety (no jagged edges to saw through limbs). Campagnolo is also especially keen to emphasise the heat resistance of the brakes, with discs that can withstand extreme temperatures and new organic resin brake pads that improve wear life.

A new blend of both spring and magnetic roll-back (0.4mm) ensures there is no lag or drag on the brakes.

Overall

Ultimately, the new Super Record EPS is Campagnolo’s newest and bestest groupset – the one where no expense has been spared, no corner has been cut, and no opportunity missed to shed weight and fine-tune performance.

The company claims that the entire disc brake version of the groupset weighs in at 2,505g, while the rim brake version comes in at 2,255g (which makes it approximately 214g heavier than the equivalent mechanical rim brake groupset).

As for money, we are still waiting on confirmation of prices for complete groupsets, however the top-end, best-of-everything price for the mechanical 12-speed Super Record was £2,856, so you can expect the EPS version to be north of that.

Cyclist was fortunate to be present at the recent launch of the new Super Record EPS groupset in Girona, Spain, so click through to page two to read our first impressions of how it performed.

Price: 
TBC

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Page 1 of 2Campagnolo launches 12-speed Super Record EPS