Italian component maestro Campagnolo has uncovered its latest generation of the venerated Super Record and Record groupsets - and they come with 12 speeds. Campagnolo’s latest Super Record groupsets will be available with rim or disc brakes, while an electronic setup is expected later this year.
Not content with sticking with an 11-speed cassette, the new groupsets have upped the ante with an additional sprocket, which is claimed to give more graduated shifting thanks to single tooth increments up the cassette all the way to the seventh sprocket.
Instead of bolting on an additional sprocket and forcing wheel designers to come up with new freehubs to accommodate the extra sprocket, Campag’s engineers challenged themselves with developing the 12-speed groups to run on existing 10 and 11-speed freehubs. As a result, upgrading to the new groupsets won’t require buying new wheels.
At the same time, the brand has also taken a wider approach in improving factors like ergonomics, shift smoothness and brake performance – ensuring those riders considering upgrading to the new 12-speed groupsets are getting more than just an extra sprocket for their money.
The latest Super Record and Record groupsets, which have a claimed 200g difference in weight, will be mechanical only until November 2018, when an electronic version of the Super Record gruppo should see the light of day.
What else do you need to know? Let’s break down both groupsets, starting from the top - otherwise, check out our first ride review of both the Record and Super Record gruppos (in rim and disc brake configurations) from the launch in Gran Canaria.
Mechanical Ergopower levers - refined design
Campag is famous for its Ergopower levers and the latest Super Record and Record 12-speed groupsets stick with the thumb lever and single paddle design. However, the shifter’s ergonomics have been updated, with brake levers that now arc outwards to help with access from the drops, with added reach adjustability over the previous generation. By the same token, the thumb paddles have been tweaked with a dropped lip – something Campagnolo claims will help riders access the shifter in all positions. Meanwhile, the hoods feature an updated design and the padding has been updated.
Otherwise, the shifter that sits behind the brake lever has also been enlarged over previous generations of Super Record and Record, while Campag’s PR man Joshua Riddle tells us it sits more tightly behind the brake lever for improved aero efficiency and aesthetics.
“We’ve also lowered the brake lever pivot so it’s now in line with the handlebar," says Riddle. “The aim here is to reduce the force required at the brake lever for the same brake power, improving efficiency."
Shift functionality remains the same in the right lever (which operates the rear derailleur), with three clicks achievable in the same press of the thumb to make multiple shifts down the cassette, and up to five clicks possible through the throw of the shift paddle.
Hydraulic Ergopower levers - same familiar setup
Alongside the mechanical levers, Campagnolo has also developed 12-speed Ergopowers to match up with its existing hydraulic disc brakes. These retain the same in-hand ergonomics and functionality of the mechanical levers, gaining only 8mm in height in order to house the hydraulic master cylinder, which is carried over from the H11 levers and positioned vertically for easier bleeding, according to Campagnolo
Meanwhile, users can still customise where the levers sit thanks to a hex bolt integrated into the bottom hole of the lever itself. The engagement time of pad to rotor can also be changed with another hex key adjustor on the inside of the unit.
Cables - 'new standards' in shifting
By Riddle’s own admission, cables aren’t exactly the most fashionable parts of a groupset, but he also says Campag has developed a new design that sets ‘new standards’ in shifting efficiency.
“There’s much less friction than before," he says, “and our tests have shown that they’re longer lasting than our competition, too." No prizes for guessing who that might be.
Front derailleur - three-piece design
Not happy with sticking with the previous Rev11+ design that utilised a compact lever arm, the new front derailleurs now feature a three-piece design that allows the derailleur to move the chain horizontally, rather than in a traditional arced movement. “This results in a more efficient shift," says Riddle."
At the same time, Campag clearly has one eye on the trend for running wider tyres, too - the cable grip bolt can now hold the cable at the front or the rear of the mounting. Run it in the front position, and the Italian brand says that the groupset will provide ample spacing for 32c tyres.
At the same time, to boost spacing inside the derailleur cage and reduce the potential for chain rub, the cage walls themselves have been thinned and reshaped. Super Record has a carbon outer shell, while Record makes do with lightweight alloy.
Rear derailleur - improved tooth engagement
The rear derailleur has also seen a complete overhaul of its internal workings to accommodate the 12-tooth cassettes, but there’s plenty more going on to make us sit up and take note.
Previous 11-speed groupsets have used Campagnolo’s ‘2D Embrace Technology’, which moved the rear derailleur upwards to improve chain-tooth engagement. This has been developed into a second-generation ‘3D’ version, which simultaneously moves the derailleur forwards to help it engage with an extra tooth.
“This extra tooth engagement gives not only better power transfer, but will also prolong the life of the components," says Riddle.
Prices and availability
Mechanical Record: £1,750.06 (available from June 2018)
Mechanical Record Disc Brake: £2,138.27 (available from July 2018)
Mechanical Super Record: £2,603.05 (available from May 2018)
Mechanical Super Record Disc Brake: £2,856.29 (available from June/July 2018)
EPS Super Record: £TBC (available from November 2018)
EPS Super Record Disc Brake: £TBC (available from November 2018)
Larger pulley wheels – now featuring 12 teeth each – are said to further improve power transfer as well as ensure drivetrain precision and reliability even when running a chain-crossed 34-11t gear ratio. Once again, cage walls have been thinned but without apparently losing rigidity in the construction.
There will only be one size of rear derailleur thanks in part to the option of only two cassettes across the groupsets (11-29t, 11-32t, see below). Handily, Campagnolo has made sure that the hanger system can run directly or indirectly, so for direct-mount frames, all you need to do is remove the hanger piece. The cage in the Super Record version is carbon, while Record’s is alloy.
“We’ve also incorporated a new return spring mechanism in the rear derailleur itself," explains Riddle. “This spring helps to absorb vibrations, and maintain shift performance on rougher roads." The new rear derailleur is only a claimed 3g heavier than the previous 11-speed model.
Cassettes - two options with single tooth increments
Two cassettes will be available - 11-29t and 11-32t – and these will boast single tooth increments from the smallest 11t sprocket up to 17t. Campag says the extra sprocket reduces the need for more cassette options, with pros now opting for a wider-ranging cassette.
“We’ve also achieved total compatibility with 11-speed freehubs," says Riddle. “The sprockets are thinner and the spacing between each cog is narrower, so users won’t need to buy a new wheelset with their groupset either."
Despite the necessary thinning of the sprockets, the cassette’s longevity is claimed to be maintained thanks to a new production method that now sees an anodised coating applied.
Chainset - carbon fibre design
Both Super Record and Record are renowned for their carbon designs, nowhere more so than in the distinctive chainsets. The four-arm layout remains, albeit smoothed for claims of (marginally) improved aero efficiency. The shininess of the finish is down to the type of resin Campag uses. There’s no lacquer coating here.
“Within the construction, we’ve included a UV blocking agent to protect the carbon from sun damage," says Riddle, “while we’ve also tweaked the unidirectional carbon
Full groupset weights
Mechanical Record: 2,213g
Mechanical Record Disc Brake: 2,453g
Mechanical Super Record: 2,041g
Mechanical Super Record Disc Brake: 2,323g
EPS Super Record: TBC
EPS Super Record Disc Brake: TBC
The chainset is where the biggest differences between Super Record and Record appear: Super Record’s crankset is hollow instead of solid for reduced weight, while it also uses Cult ceramic bearings (said to be nine times more efficient that steel bearings), instead of USB ceramic bearings (two times more efficient than standard bearings). Super Record also benefits from a carbon strengthening brace that partially connects the spider at the chainrings for improved power transfer.
Speaking of chainrings, those are connected via an eight bolt system that optimises the fit of each chainring to the cranks, maximising stiffness. Consequently, one crankset fits all chainrings, with options for compact, semi-compact and standard rings.
Crank length availability has expanded to include a 165mm option alongside 170, 172.5 and 175mm, while the rings have been redesigned to run with the new front derailleur. The inner ring teeth are symmetrically designed to reduce friction when cross-chaining, according to Campag, yet with optimised shift zones to smooth shifting wherever the rider is in the pedal stroke.
Chain - thinner and lighter
The chain has been narrowed to run smoothly with the thinner 12 sprockets, with a lighter construction to boot. Campagnolo tells us that it’s been stress-tested to the same longevity standards seen with 11-speed rivals.
Brakes - rim and disc brake options
Campagnolo has also redesigned the Super Record and Record rim brake calipers, with both available in either traditional or direct mount format. The shell of the front caliper has been smoothed for a smoother profile in the wind, while the internal spacing now accommodates 28c tyres.
They also make use of bearings instead of standard bushings to ensure smooth application of braking force, while the direct mount calipers also feature a bracing arm aimed at reducing stress applied to the frame and seatstays.
We got hands-on with the new mechanical Super Record and Record groupsets at the launch in Gran Canaria - you can read our full first ride review here.