Campag-heirarchy vs Shimano?

by adeyho   November 4, 2008  

I have just come back to the dark side from the mud, In the past I have only used Shimano road kit, however my new road aquisition has Campag kit and i think I am converted
I am now curious as to the heirarchy of Campag kit and how it equates to Shimano(Moose did tell me once but it was dark and cold and I have forgotten!)

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In terms of who makes what, it's something like this:

Campag: Super Record, Record, Chorus, Centaur, Veloce

Shimano: Dura Ace Di2, Dura Ace, Ultegra SL, Ultegra, 105, Tiagra, Sora

SRAM: Red, Force, Rival

In terms of what beats what, it's a very different story. Super Record is surely the wishlist groupset right now - 11 speeds, lovely components. Functionally better than Record though? Certainly you're paying a lot for the Super tag, whichever way you look at it. Di2 is a technical marvel, but a lot of reviews (we haven't had it to test yet) are suggesting that it's been rushed out a bit, and certainly there are some big questions, the biggest being: why isn't it wireless? Mechanical Dura Ace, which we have had to try, is very, very good. Is it better than Record? Take sides now! Is it better than Red? Again, we haven't had a fully Red equipped bike on long term yet but I have ridden it, and it's an excellent system - very intuitive when you get used to it. However, we did speak to one pro using Red who reckons it's a bit of a pain to keep in trim - and they should know, because they put in about 1,000 miles a week...

Further down the ranges Campy and Shimano can fight it out at each price point, and SRAM are a real player too. My personal opinion? Campag's top end kit edges it performance wise, Shimano's middle order groupsets (105, Tiagra) are better value.

Who's going to make the definitive list we can all argue over? Devil


Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7804 posts]
4th November 2008 - 11:02


 Campag V Shimano

This is how one legendary bike tester* who was neutral on the subject used to rank 'em back in the day… Based on an unscientific combination of price, performance and perceived desirability.

Campag Record

                                     Shimano Dura Ace

Campag Chorus         

                                      Shimano Ultegra

Campag Centaur

                                        Shimano 105

Campag Veloce

Campag Mirage      Shimano Tiagra

                                     Shimano Sora

Campag Xeon (guessing on this one - cos I've never seen it)

I would say that all three of Shimano's top groups have moved up a bit in the last couple of years, so that these days it comes down to which method of shiting you prefer. On a rational level there isn't much in it between Campag Record and Dura Ace 7900. The latest Dura Ace is very Campagesque in look, and feel and ironically the latest Centaur levers look like an older version of Dura Ace.

SRAM complicates things a bit, if you go on aftermarket price that puts Red up their with Super Record, Rival out ahead of Dura Ace and Force… erm somewhere around Ultegra level, but as cyclists don't seem to calculate the desirability of something on price alone, or dare i say it, even performance - your guess is as good as mine.

* So that means it's not me! 


Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
4th November 2008 - 11:44

1 Like

I think as with bike frames, wheels etc, you make some kind of emotional connection with the groupset you decide on, and then try to rationalise it with perceived performance benefits over its competition.

I have ridden both a fair bit, and for me Dura Ace is my favoured option. Campag has all that racing heritage, uses lots of exotic materials and is very pretty. But for me it is clunkier feeling than Dura Ace, and I don't find the brakes as smooth and light feeling. Dura Ace is a good price for the quality of equipment you get, I think you pay a lot for the materials of Campag, which I don't think actually add anything to it's function.

I liked the fact that Shimano held out from using carbon just for the sake of it on things like cranks etc, it's not lighter in most applications and is much more susceptible to damage. It's a shame the new Dura Ace uses carbon brake levers, as this is such an easily damaged item, I've seen so many chips on Campag brake levers, and that would really annoy me.

Shimano have been responsible for so many of the major leaps in groupset efficiency over the years, ie, indexed shifting, external bb's (works on road bikes anyway)etc, and I will continue to use it for years to come

11 speed holds no interest to me, 10 speed is more than enough, and to be honest I was more happy with 9, more robust and less need to be so precise in trim.

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [688 posts]
4th November 2008 - 11:58


I used to have a definite preference for Campag, but my last bike came with Ultegra SL and I'd be loathe to go back now. I like the lever action, it's easy to use and it's durable.

Mind you, I'm not going to say no to 11 gears - continuous drive would be even better or maybe an eng… Okay maybe that's going a bit too far.

On a bike somewhere…

thebikeboy's picture

posted by thebikeboy [138 posts]
4th November 2008 - 12:18

1 Like

That makes sense cheers

the Planet X carbon with dura ace is looking good for £949

posted by adeyho [16 posts]
4th November 2008 - 13:54


Having used both to a reasonable degree, I'm firmly in the Shimano camp, with it feeling lighter on the shifting, yet still more positive. Dura-ace is super-sweet, and 11spd? Do I need it - not even close.

It comes down to heritage - on an italian frame, it probably wouldn't look right with shimano hanging off it, and the coffee-shop afficionado's would have a fit, but I'm selling my campag equipped colnago, and keeping my two shimano bikes...

posted by the-yorkshire-p... [180 posts]
5th November 2008 - 10:31


I've used both too and I'm firmly in the Campag camp. I think you get a more positive shift and they take less fettling. I also prefer the method of changing which seems more intuitive and is light, but not too light so less chance of mis-shifts.

Darned if I do…

Mr Sock's picture

posted by Mr Sock [153 posts]
5th November 2008 - 23:05


Bagged myself a campag chorus 11 speed goupset on ebay for 597 sheets Smile

just need to find a nice steel colnago frame now B)

posted by adeyho [16 posts]
12th November 2008 - 13:22


one of these?

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7804 posts]
12th November 2008 - 14:23