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Interbike Tech: Campagnolo’s 2011 groups explained — and stand by for a Campy cyclocross group

  • By Lennard Zinn
  • Published Sep. 22, 2010
  • Updated Jan. 28, 2011 at 5:00 PM EDT

2011 Campagnolo road groups - Athena 11-speed lever

Campagnolo has been busy refining some groups and reinventing others. And Wednesday, it will be introducing a cyclocross group, so stay tuned for that.

All groups

In a departure from devoted front and rear brakes, all Campagnolo groups now offer the option of either dual-pivot brakes front and rear, or a lighter option (that used to be the standard), utilizing a lighter and weaker single-pivot rear brake. Also available on all groups is the option of lever hoods in red, white or black, as well as cable housings in those colors.

11-speed Chorus, Record and Super Record

The red “11” distinguishes 2011 11-speed groups from Chorus up. And all 11-speed levers except Athena get a new cam inside the left lever that shifts faster in front, as well as a changed ratchet providing more shifting crispness (both were noticeable on a test ride). Also new from Chorus and the more expensive groups is a redesigned brake shoe that is cutaway and hence lighter; it’s also easier to remove and replace pads. The groove interface with the pad is not as tight, so it slides in and out more easily, and it locks in with a spring-loaded clip that you pry up to release the pad for removal. The standard pad compound has been changed a bit for better wet performance, and the carbon-specific pads for Bora and Hyperon wheels now have a formulation with more cork in it.

The 11-speed chainrings now have eight shift positions with pins and special tooth profiles at each. This is up from six shift positions (and from fourbefore that). The chainring bolts no longer have a female nut on the backside. Instead, they thread directly into the inner chainring and are tightened with a Torx key.

Athena—entry-level 11-speed

Looking for 11-speed on a budget? Look no further.

The world’s only all-aluminum 11-speed rear derailleur clearly distinguishes the new Athena group. Athena options, obviously affecting price and weight, are brake-lever blades and crankarms in either carbon or aluminum.

Centaur repositioned

Centaur used to be positioned above Athena and used to be offered with a crank, brake-lever blades, and rear derailleur parallelogram plate in carbon fiber, as well as cutaway “Skeleton” brake calipers. Now, only the brake-lever blade comes with a carbon option, the other type being black aluminum, and the brake caliper arms are solid. Centaur and Veloce are the only 10-speed groups in the line and are the bottom two models from the “Wizards of Vicenza.”

The Centaur left arm attaches with a massive 14mm hex key. Got one of those on your multi-tool?

The Centaur crank, in a foreshadowing of what we can expect to find in the new cyclocross group, has a robust external-bearing crankset with a full-length spindle integrated with the right crank. The right bearing is pressed onto the spindle, like all Campagnolo Ultra-Torque cranks, but the left bearing is pressed into the external cup, same as Campy’s competitors. The attachment of the left arm is unique in that the bolt accepts a huge 14mm hex key and has no cap over it, so the arm is not self-extracting. Campagnolo has not yet introduced the crank puller required, but one is coming.

Super Record

The flagship Campagnolo group got lighter and better-performing. The rear derailleur is now fully carbon fiber – the upper and lower knuckles as well as the parallelogram plates and jockey wheel cage are now carbon. The carbon in the knuckles has been formed under extremely high pressure, making a carbon part that acts like it is forged, it is so dense. The mounting bolt is now aluminum rather than titanium, and it tightens by means of a Torx key. Aluminum cage pins, titanium springs and cable-fixing bolt, and cutaway jockey wheels with CULT ceramic bearings round out the package.

The Super Record crank

The Super Record crank has a bigger hollow inside with a slightly changed outer profile, thus shaving some weight. The spindle is now oversized titanium rather than steel. It retains the same shape and tooth profile of its Hirth joint that joins the two spindle stubs in the center of the bottom bracket. The spindle is held together with a titanium fixing bolt, and Campagnolo specifies that it be installed bone dry (no Ti-Prep) and tightened to 60N-m of torque. The company claims that the titanium-in-titanium threads will not gall if this procedure is followed.

Stay tuned for details on the Campagnolo cyclocross group Wednesday.

Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn.

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Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (www.zinncycles.com), a former U.S. national team rider and author of numerous books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” – now available also on DVD, and “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance,” as well as “Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes” and “Zinn’s Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists.”Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Zinn’s column appears here each Tuesday.

FILED UNDER: Bikes and Tech / Cyclocross / Interbike TAGS: / / /

Lennard Zinn

Lennard Zinn

Our longtime technical writer joined VeloNews in 1987. He is also a framebuilder, a former U.S. National Team rider, and author of many bicycle books, including Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance and Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, as well as Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes and Zinn's Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Colorado College. Readers can send brief technical questions to Ask LZ.

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