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There's more to life than Japanese components — here are some great bikes with Italy's finest

Italian brand Campagnolo has enjoyed a loyal following since it was established back in 1933, but its appearance is increasingly rare on road bikes as many big bike brands commonly favour Shimano and SRAM when speccing new bikes.

It’s still possible to cut through the Shimano domination and find bikes that are equipped with Campagnolo, but such bikes are getting harder to find. So we’ve done the search for you and rounded up a nice selection of 10 road bikes built around the Italian groupset covering a wide band of price points.

>>Read more: Your complete guide to Campagnolo road bike groupsets

The Campagnolo option

For many people, there is no brand more synonymous with the heritage and prestige of cycle racing than Campagnolo, the company founded by a man who invented the humble quick release skewer. Campagnolo has long been an innovative company bringing some of the lightest and advanced components to market - it invented the rear derailleur system as we know it today.

>>Read more: Campagnolo Super Record Road Groupset review

Over the years Campagnolo is increasingly found more on very expensive showstopper road bikes, with Shimano cleaning up at the more cost-conscious price points. This is down to the Japanese company offering a wider range of competitively priced groupsets and the economies of scales working in its favour, it’s able to provide good deals for large bike companies selling bikes in huge numbers.

To cut the decline of Campagnolo support the company launched the new Potenza groupset last year, aimed at the mid-range market dominated by Shimano’s Ultegra offering, but it does look like you’re still paying a premium to have Campagnolo on your bike.

That could be set to change, though. Campagnolo recently launched a new groupset, Centaur, aimed at the riders who currently use Shimano 105. If Campagnolo can get the pricing right for bike manufacturers, we might see more Campagnolo-equipped bikes in the 2018 model year.

Tifosi CK7 Centaur — £1149.99

2018_tifosi_ck7_centaur.jpg

2018_tifosi_ck7_centaur.jpg

The Tifosi line of bikes belongs to UK Campagnolo importer Chicken Cyclekit, so it's no surprise to find a number of Campagnolo-equipped bikes in the range. With the Campagnolo's 105 rival components, Centaur, this is the entry-level bike in the range. It's set up as an audax/light touring all-rounder, with Miche wheels and chainset, and not only does it have clearance for mudguards, Tifosi bungs a set in so you won't get a wet bum.

Find a Tifosi dealer

Bianchi Impulso Centaur — £1,355.07

2018_bianchi_impulso_centaur.jpg

2018_bianchi_impulso_centaur.jpg

Bianchi’s Impulso uses an aluminium frame with triple butted and hydroformed tube shapes with mudguard and rack eyelets, with a carbon fibre fork and is built with Campagnolo’s Centaur 11-speed groupset.

Find a Bianchi dealer

B'Twin Ultra 920 CF Potenza — £1,999

2018 B'Twin Ultra 920 CF Potenza.jpg

2018 B'Twin Ultra 920 CF Potenza.jpg

Campagnolo fans who want a reasonably priced bike on an excellent frame should take a serious look at this bike from sports superstore chain Decathlon. This bike might well be the machine that brings Campagnolo back to mainstream awareness just by getting the name in front of everyone who wanders round a Decathlon store.

De Rosa Idol Potenza — £3,250

2018 De Rosa Idol Caliper Potenza.jpg

2018 De Rosa Idol Caliper Potenza.jpg

The De Rosa Idol is a quick and energetic gran fondo/sportive bike that rides a lot like a full-on race bike. If you're after a lively performer, it's well worth a look. The Idol is available in various builds including one with a Campagnolo Potenza groupset and Fulcrum wheels.

Read our review of the De Rosa Idol
Find a De Rosa dealer

Condor Cycles Italia RC — £3,646.26

Condor Italia RC frame, fork and headset

Condor Italia RC frame, fork and headset

London-based Condor Cycles lets you spec any Campagnolo groupset, and using its bike builder we’ve picked an Italia RC aluminium frame with a Campagnolo Chorus Carbon 11-speed groupset and topped it off with Bora One 35 Clincher carbon wheels.

Read our review of the Campagnolo Chorus groupset

Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 PRO — £3,949

2018 Canyon ultimate cf slx 9 pro.jpg

2018 Canyon ultimate cf slx 9 pro.jpg

The Ultimate CF SLX is German company Canyon’s lightest model and is available in a wide range of builds, including this full Campagnolo Record version. Let’s not forget Campagnolo also makes a range of wheels, and Canyon specs the Shamal Mille model, helping to produce a claimed complete bike weight of 6.4kg.

Read our review of the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX

Wilier Zero7 Chorus — £4,900

2018 Wilier Zero7 Chorus.jpg

2018 Wilier Zero7 Chorus.jpg

The Zero7 is Wilier's 799g superlight frame, clad here in a Chorus groupset and Campagnolo Khamsin wheels. Wilier offers a substantial range of Campagnolo-equipped bikes, as you might expect from a company whose very name celebrates Italian liberation.

Read more: Wilier updates Zero7

Cipollini NK1K — £6,494.99

Cipollini nk1k black gold.jpg

Cipollini nk1k black gold.jpg

As readers have pointed out, no overview of Campagnolo-equipped bikes is complete without a Cipollini. You can get the great Italian sprinter's top model with a variety of Campagnolo groupsets, but you're going to need deep pockets.

Read our review of the Cipollini NK1K

Colnago C60 Campagnolo Super Record EPS — from £9,659.89

COLNAGO-C60-PLWH-1600x1085.jpg

COLNAGO-C60-PLWH-1600x1085.jpg

Colnago’s C60 is a custom build option so you can build it with any parts you like. Using the customiser on the ubyk website we specced Campagnolo’s Super Record EPS, with Campagnolo Bullet wheels and some nice finishing kit, and the price came out at £9,659.89. There’s a raft of paint job options with the C60 including the subtle Italia designs and the more outlandish Art-Decor colours.

Read our review of the Colnago C60

Pinarello Dogma F10 — £6,838.29

2018 Pinarello Dogma F10 Super Record.jpeg

2018 Pinarello Dogma F10 Super Record.jpeg

The legendary Dogma with Campagnolo's top mechanical groupset, and the renowned Bora wheels. You don't really need both kidneys.

Bianchi Specialissima Super Record EPS — £11,022

2018 bianchi specialissima super record eps.jpg

2018 bianchi specialissima super record eps.jpg

If money is no object, and it really needs to be for this bike, the Specialissima is Bianchi’s latest full carbon race bike and is outfitted with the top-of-the-range Super Record EPS groupset with electronic gear shifting.

Read our review of the Bianchi Specialissima

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As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.

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You can also find further guides on our sister sites off.road.cc and ebiketips.

Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

46 comments

Avatar
tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Dodgy-ass list with no Cipollini on it enlightened

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Vili Er [290 posts] 1 year ago
7 likes

A heck of a lot of Campagnolo users have bikes built from the frame up, so their absence off the shelf really doesn’t mean anything in terms of popularity.

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Rapha Nadal [834 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

What a bizarre article.

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curdins [60 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

Are people who select components, wheels and frames individually a dying breed? Is it too difficult to do these days? This is like a return to the era of buying a complete bike from your mum's Littlewoods catalogue, or getting it from Halfords. But on this website, and at these prices? You're surely talking about people who know exactly what they want, and will pay these prices - for a fully custom-spec bike. Maybe not ... but it's an opportunity missed.

Avatar
Simmo72 [697 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes
curdins wrote:

Are people who select components, wheels and frames individually a dying breed? Is it too difficult to do these days? This is like a return to the era of buying a complete bike from your mum's Littlewoods catalogue, or getting it from Halfords. But on this website, and at these prices? You're surely talking about people who know exactly what they want, and will pay these prices - for a fully custom-spec bike. Maybe not ... but it's an opportunity missed.

I guess Ribble-esque is the modern day version but little else.  I agree, I choose from the frame up, taking my time, picking up bits here and there, some new, some second hand and ending up with what I want.  Its the "I want it now" society, no patience....christ I sound like my Dad more and more.  

Low to mid end section of the bike market is on its knees.  The volume has dropped as golfers return to golf and so on.  Top end is still strong but saturated.  We'll see a lot of brands go over the next few years, the numbers aren't there anymore.

Campag/Shimano....I still think a lot comes down to which shifters fit your hands the best, thats the real reason I have never got on with the Japanense offerings and stayed on campag.

 

 

 

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dampjumper [17 posts] 1 year ago
6 likes

Agree, Campag suits me better mostly because I have a woman's hands!!! (on account of being a woman) and the levers are nice and compact.

I find the Tifosi Gran Fondo a lovely Campag-equipped off-the-shelf bike at a decent price.

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Huw Watkins [159 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes
Simmo72 wrote:

Campag/Shimano....I still think a lot comes down to which shifters fit your hands the best, thats the real reason I have never got on with the Japanense offerings and stayed on campag.

 

That's a very practical reason but for me the emotional argument holds / held sway.

When I was a spindly junior pressing my nose up against the window at Tony Mills' Dauphin Cycles 30 years ago, his Pinarellos, Colnagos and De Rosas were always kitted out in Campagnolo - as were most of the bikes in Winning magazine.  Campag came with a romance and history that Shimano and Suntour couldn't muster.  

In addition, J D Whiskers would sell you any Campag spare you needed from years past.

But that was then.  I'm currently on a Cannondale SuperSix with Chorus and a Scott something with Centaur but I think they'll be my last Campag bikes.  The Centaur's original Powertorque BB was a dreadful piece of ill-conceived  rubbish, replacement spokes for my Bullet 50 wheels were unobtainable in the UK last summer and the rear mechs are always requiring 1/2 a turn this way or that to keep the shifting slick.  I cannot swap my Zondas and Bullets over without adding / substracting a full turn on the barrel adjuster.

Requests for help  / advice to  Campagnolo through their website have gone unanswered.

My next good bike will have SRAM eTAP.

 

 

Avatar
Duncann [1320 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
curdins wrote:

Are people who select components, wheels and frames individually a dying breed? Is it too difficult to do these days? This is like a return to the era of buying a complete bike from your mum's Littlewoods catalogue, or getting it from Halfords. But on this website, and at these prices? You're surely talking about people who know exactly what they want, and will pay these prices - for a fully custom-spec bike. Maybe not ... but it's an opportunity missed.

You're probably right about most road.cc readers but I suspect that there's these days a huge market of wealthy MAMILs who've no idea how a barrel adjuster works but have heard that Campag is soul of cycling (available at a premium).

This article probably belongs more in Esquire - but I do fancy that Ribble.... 

Avatar
crazy-legs [1003 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

This is going back a few years now but the relatively few Campag equipped bikes we sold in the shop never went down well. Compared to Shimano, they were overpriced, under-specced and the shifting was awful; clunky and stiff compared to the nice slick clicks of Shimano.

Occasionally we'd get one of the classic Campag nerds in, waxing lyrical about how Shimano wears out, Campag wears in (a thoroughly annoying and utterly bollocks phrase that makes me want to beat the person with a chainset...) and how you can buy any replacement part for Campag and everything was rebuildable blah blah.

I'm sure you probably could but by the time Campag had bothered to get back in touch, find the grommet for the thingy and ship it to you at extortionate cost, you could have bought half a Shimano groupset and ridden it for a month!

Now they are just woefully behind the times having spent too long trading on their name and reputation than actually innovating much. Shimano and SRAM electronic groupset are better and cleverer and Campag STILL don't have a production disc brake.

Avatar
nadsta [192 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Campag Centaur front chaInring 1500kms and sawtoothed/needed replacing

Fulcrum carbon quattros DB 2016 model 1800 kms, never jetwashed, a couple of wet rides, front hub bearings seized solid mid ride today  

I'll stick to Shimano and SRAM for now

Avatar
Anyone seen my ... [32 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

When I asked Ken Downing from JE James in Rotherham whether I should spec my then shiny new C50 with Record or Dura-Ace he replied, 'It's like this son, if tha wants Dura-Ace, tha can come and put it on thi-sen'.... Still going strong.

 

Avatar
bikerdavecycling [77 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

2 things harming Campag at the min imo.

1) Not having disc brakes, not even mechanical ones. They've lost any market share immediately for any disc bike sales.
2) Not producing a sub-Veloce groupset. If they did, people buying their first bike might buy a Campag equipped one. Then as they upgrade, continue to buy Campag. As it is, they'll get Sram or Shimano, then as they upgrade, likely stick with what they are used to.

It is a shame. Turn up at almost any race/sportive now and it's identikit bikes all over. That's not just the groupset manufacturers fault, but in essence, buy a £1k bike and everything comes with 105 and always 172.5 chainset, no matter what height your are....

My next bike probably will have 105 on it. I want Campag and discs (cx/winter bike) but far more expensive to build from scratch when I can get a deal on the complete bike..

Avatar
Alessandro [171 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
nadsta wrote:

Campag Centaur front chaInring 1500kms and sawtoothed/needed replacing

Fulcrum carbon quattros DB 2016 model 1800 kms, never jetwashed, a couple of wet rides, front hub bearings seized solid mid ride today  

I'll stick to Shimano and SRAM for now

I guess there are always going to be isolated examples of things going wrong but the bike I now use as my winter hack is Campag (as is my fancy bike) and the Veloce front mech now has almost 30,000km on it with no issues. I finally had to replace the upgraded Euru wheels towards the end of last year because the rims had worn but that was after more than 20,000km and they were never once trued. A lot of the other bits on the bike have been replaced over the years as I've upgraded them but the rear mech has more than 23,000km and although one of the ratchets in the shifter went a couple of years ago, I sent it back to Campag and they repaired it free of charge.

 

As I say, there will always be examples of good and bad experiences but I felt compelled to add my experience for some balance. 

 

From a purely aesthetic perspective, I could never imagine sticking Shimano or SRAM on one of my bikes - the horns that come out of the tops of the shifters are perhaps one of the most ugly pieces of componentry in cycling. 

Avatar
crazy-legs [1003 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Anyone seen my Cervelo wrote:

When I asked Ken Downing from JE James in Rotherham whether I should spec my then shiny new C50 with Record or Dura-Ace he replied, 'It's like this son, if tha wants Dura-Ace, tha can come and put it on thi-sen'.... Still going strong.

A friend bought a steel Pinarello frame from a local independent retailer (again, this is going back a few years) and he asked them whether he should spec it with Campag or Shimano.

The mechanic paused then said "well, if you want it to look nice, Campag. If you want it to work, Shimano".

 3

I don't deny that the top end stuff is actually OK - pretty much like the endless Canon vs Nikon debates on photography forums; they both work perfectly well and it comes down to what the user prefers. Same in cycling - SRAM, Shimano and Campag all work fine, just use what you get on with!

But Campag have really lost the market share because they don't do entry level - or back when they did it was so awful compared to entry-level Shimano that no bike company would ever spec it. And if it's not on the first road bike you buy, you'll stick with what you've got when it comes to upgrading / replacing ie Shimano.

 

 

Avatar
Socrates [16 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Still using Campag Racing Triple that I bought for my Cannondale touring bike 23 years ago. Works better now, I think.

Avatar
nadsta [192 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Valbrona wrote:

Look, Numpties just do not get Campagnolo.

 

My first race bike in 1984 had Campag Nuovo Record throughout and the groupset was fine. But these days I'll leave changing front chainrings every 1500kms to numpties thanks

Avatar
Rapha Nadal [834 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

AST1986 wrote:

nadsta wrote:

Campag Centaur front chaInring 1500kms and sawtoothed/needed replacing

Fulcrum carbon quattros DB 2016 model 1800 kms, never jetwashed, a couple of wet rides, front hub bearings seized solid mid ride today  

I'll stick to Shimano and SRAM for now

I guess there are always going to be isolated examples of things going wrong but the bike I now use as my winter hack is Campag (as is my fancy bike) and the Veloce front mech now has almost 30,000km on it with no issues. I finally had to replace the upgraded Euru wheels towards the end of last year because the rims had worn but that was after more than 20,000km and they were never once trued. A lot of the other bits on the bike have been replaced over the years as I've upgraded them but the rear mech has more than 23,000km and although one of the ratchets in the shifter went a couple of years ago, I sent it back to Campag and they repaired it free of charge.

 

As I say, there will always be examples of good and bad experiences but I felt compelled to add my experience for some balance. 

 

From a purely aesthetic perspective, I could never imagine sticking Shimano or SRAM on one of my bikes - the horns that come out of the tops of the shifters are perhaps one of the most ugly pieces of componentry in cycling. 

I run a 2nd hand Record c/set on my winter bike - probably 10,000km on it when purchased (for a very low price!) and I've put another 30,000 odd km into it.  Still works fine with very little wear showing.  Had the same thing happen as you to an old Veloce shifter & Campag/Velotech just fixed it without a quibble.  But, as you say, each has their own experiences and not all are as good as ours!

Avatar
LastBoyScout [441 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

For my last bike, I wanted something Italian, built up with Campag. After much searching around, I couldn't get the spec I wanted "off the peg" and a custom build (by a bike shop) was way out of budget - looked at Bianchi, Willier, De Rosa and a few others and very nearly bought a Fondriest.

Eventually, after a set of happy coincidences, I bought a frame and built it up myself with mostly Chorus and a couple of other bits (concessions on price/availability at the time) and Campag wheels.

The ONLY concession is Ultegra pedals, which is because Campag ones are crap and for compatibility with my other bikes. They don't look out of place and you can't see them when you're riding, anyway.

I love it and it gets many admiring comments.

Only problem I've had with it is the left shifter, which has had to be repaired twice - once when my FiL somehow jammed the cable in it and again after the internals came loose and it wouldn't stay on the big ring, which is apparently a common problem with them.

At least it was repairable - when I snapped something in the internals of my Ultegra shifters due to a seized front mech, I had to buy a whole new shifter!

Yes, the shifters are clunky and industrial compared to the very slick shifting of my Ultegra ones, but some people prefer that and may even call it "positive".

Avatar
anvar [2 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes
unconstituted wrote:

Dodgy-ass list with no Cipollini on it enlightened

Enough said, here you go:

Avatar
tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Beautiful stuff anvar!

Love to see more pics of her in the wild.  That thing is immense, congrats laugh

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Huw Watkins [159 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Cannondale with Chorus - perhaps the last bike with Campag for me....

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Rapha Nadal [834 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Why? i'm sure the Campag will outlast the Cracknfail

Avatar
Duncann [1320 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
LastBoyScout wrote:

Only problem I've had with it is the left shifter, which has had to be repaired twice - once when my FiL somehow jammed the cable in it and again after the internals came loose and it wouldn't stay on the big ring, which is apparently a common problem with them.

At least it was repairable - when I snapped something in the internals of my Ultegra shifters due to a seized front mech, I had to buy a whole new shifter!

Yes, the shifters are clunky and industrial compared to the very slick shifting of my Ultegra ones, but some people prefer that and may even call it "positive".

I've had the left shifter problem too - eventually took it apart, looked at it, couldn't figure out the problem, put it back together and it worked! Not sure whether that's a recommendation or not...

Both plastic Veloce levers snapped - replaced one but switched to older metal bladed shifters anyway. Might eventually repair the second plastic one.

I also like the "positive" shifting feel - puts me in mind of an old-fashioned railway signal box with those 1.5m long levers sprouting from the floor... thunk!

 

Avatar
bottechia [6 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Greipel's Chin wrote:

A heck of a lot of Campagnolo users have bikes built from the frame up, so their absence off the shelf really doesn’t mean anything in terms of popularity.

 

This is exactly right.

Choose your frame - then choose your Gruppo and wheels - this is the historically othodox way to arrive at your ideal bike. I think Campagnolo is a choice of belief not a choice based on comparison of small differences.

 

Avatar
Prosper0 [131 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Ultrashift. Enough said. 

Avatar
Vili Er [290 posts] 1 year ago
9 likes
crazy-legs wrote:

Now they are just woefully behind the times having spent too long trading on their name and reputation than actually innovating much. Shimano and SRAM electronic groupset are better and cleverer and Campag STILL don't have a production disc brake.

 

Total nonsense. That 'new' feature Shimano have just released where you can customise Di2? Campagnolo did that over a year ago with V3 EPS. The EPS system is so well designed (and unrushed to release unlike Di2 and its subsequent bugs) that Campagnolo haven't had to make a single modification/upgrade to the shifters or front and rear mech. As for disk brakes - it's a well known fact that Campagnolo users are all excellent cyclists so discs are not required.

Avatar
hardgrit [48 posts] 1 year ago
6 likes

Choice is easy.............Just ride Campy and know you are superior to anyone who isn't  1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avatar
hardgrit [48 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
bikerdavecycling wrote:

2 things harming Campag at the min imo. 1) Not having disc brakes, not even mechanical ones. They've lost any market share immediately for any disc bike sales. 2) Not producing a sub-Veloce groupset. If they did, people buying their first bike might buy a Campag equipped one. Then as they upgrade, continue to buy Campag. As it is, they'll get Sram or Shimano, then as they upgrade, likely stick with what they are used to. It is a shame. Turn up at almost any race/sportive now and it's identikit bikes all over. That's not just the groupset manufacturers fault, but in essence, buy a £1k bike and everything comes with 105 and always 172.5 chainset, no matter what height your are.... My next bike probably will have 105 on it. I want Campag and discs (cx/winter bike) but far more expensive to build from scratch when I can get a deal on the complete bike..

 

 

I run campag chorus with bb7 disc brakes.............

Avatar
thesaladdays [125 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
bikerdavecycling wrote:

2) Not producing a sub-Veloce groupset. If they did, people buying their first bike might buy a Campag equipped one. Then as they upgrade, continue to buy Campag. As it is, they'll get Sram or Shimano, then as they upgrade, likely stick with what they are used to. It is a shame.

Interesting, my experience was the opposite of this.  Started out on entry-level Shimano (Claris), I was so fed up with how crap it was, having to fiddle with indexing from the very beginning, it was a constant hassle.  When I noticed a Veloce-equipped Bianchi Impulso discounted by over £400 (clearance, the shop only had 2 left) I quickly leapt at the opportunity.

Used it for commuting, probably did 6000km in the year that followed and I've not had to adjust it once, just keeps going and going.  Comfortable, crisp shifting, feels incredibly dependable and I'm not planning on switching back.  Still have the Claris-equipped Jamis, but haven't touched it since and no desire to do so.

So I understand what you're saying, but that logic can backfire too, I couldn't get away from Shimano fast enough.

Avatar
Rapha Nadal [834 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
hardgrit]</p>

<p>[quote=bikerdavecycling

wrote:

2 things harming Campag at the min imo. 1) Not having disc brakes, not even mechanical ones. They've lost any market share immediately for any disc bike sales. 2) Not producing a sub-Veloce groupset. If they did, people buying their first bike might buy a Campag equipped one. Then as they upgrade, continue to buy Campag. As it is, they'll get Sram or Shimano, then as they upgrade, likely stick with what they are used to. It is a shame. Turn up at almost any race/sportive now and it's identikit bikes all over. That's not just the groupset manufacturers fault, but in essence, buy a £1k bike and everything comes with 105 and always 172.5 chainset, no matter what height your are.... My next bike probably will have 105 on it. I want Campag and discs (cx/winter bike) but far more expensive to build from scratch when I can get a deal on the complete bike..

 

 

I run campag chorus with bb7 disc brakes.............

[/quote

Yeah, but Campag don't make BB7's.

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