Campy Super Record Wireless launched earlier today. Mark V has something to say about the group. What he said to me is shared below.
I’m always amazed at how the bike industry’s rollouts bury answers to the questions and instead bang on brand-specific word salads and the usual platitudes of technological progress.
The actually relevant info I read.
Campy Super Record is Wireless
It’s wireless. The levers communicate shifting commands wirelessly. Both derailleurs operate wirelessly within the system (à la SRAM AXS). Whereas Shimano’s latest 12s Di2 relies on a central battery with physical connections to both derailleurs talking wireless to the levers, Campagnolo’s new system requires both derailleurs to have a separate (though identical) battery to provide power, each of which has nicely incorporates an LED charge level indicator. Apparently, the batteries will charge on or off the bike, but details on the charging device(s) are a bit thin (non-existent). It will suit the “fully-integrated” carbon bicycles designs created by industrial designers who hate the visual existence of housing and hoses (and apparently have no idea how cable shifters work).
Complimenting the wireless system (or rather necessitated by), a new smartphone app will interact & adjust the new wireless Super-Record EPS drivetrain. I have strong opinions on the Shimano and SRAM apps, so I’m keen (fearful?) to see how Campagnolo’s software compares.
Based on the proprietary “N3W”-freehub/cassette standard introduced by Campagnolo’s Ekar 1×13 gravel groupset, the new cassette ranges require one to re-think chainring combinations. Instead of an 11-tooth first position cog, the new 2×12 cassettes have a 10-tooth start, with options of 10-25, 10-27, and 10-29. It means the previous paradigm of 53/39, 52/36, and 50/34 chainring combinations (as paired with 11-tooth start cassettes) needed to revamp.
Campy has made a grouppo similar to what SRAM has done with their AXS 2×12 road offerings. Whereas SRAM has gone with 50/37, 48/32, and 46/33 to roughly replace a time trialer’s 54/42, road racer’s 53/39, and the ever versatile “compact road” 50/34, Campagnolo has chosen 50/ 34, 48/32, and 45-29. In context, a 48×10 ring & cog combination equates to a gear ratio roughly comparable to a 53×11.
The rest of the press release makes the typical effort to portray a variety of refinements to the rest of the system as if it were a big deal. If the new disc brake calipers have massive pad clearance but still modulate? Then maybe their claims are noteworthy. To be sure, it’s very likely that Campagnolo has made some noticeable improvements, but that’s expected. No need to guild the lily with nonsense marketing slogans, though that’s par for the course. I’m likely too jaded after decades in the industry to relay these PR releases with the expected wide-eyed enthusiasm, but I like to keep it real or get bribed. And Campagnolo didn’t lead with dollar signs.
The most relevant detail after the above revelations is Campagnolo’s first change in shifting ergonomics since the intro of the first Record “Ergopower” integrated brake/shift lever in the early 1990s. The brifter used cable-mechanics for both shift and braking functions.
The new Super-Record EPS lever drops the “thumb button” and instead has a pair of shift buttons mounted on and slightly behind the brake blade. A design identical to Shimano’s Di2 road levers. Perhaps one could also note that Campagnolo is not offering a cable-brake (rim brake) option, only hydraulic levers for flatmount disc calipers.
It’s disc brake or die from here on out, baby.
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