Campagnolo Electronic to be called EPS

There's not just one groupset based on Electronic Power Shift launched today in Sicily but two...

by nick_rearden   November 7, 2011  

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After nearly twenty years of behind-the-scenes development, the Campagnolo electronically-actuated drivetrain has been launched today and it's called EPS for Electronic Power Shift meaning that the full name of the flagship groupset including the new technology and components will be Super Record EPS.

The surprise is that there will be two groups featuring EPS components; the pricier Super Record EPS we might have guessed but there will also be Record-level parts featuring the same composite bodies as Super Record but missing out on the titanium and ceramics hardware in parallel with the current, and continuing, mechanical Super Record and Record heirachy.

The new components consisting of EPS shift levers, front and rear gear mechanisms along with the combined battery pack and 'brain', have been trailed like no others in bike component marketing history. Towards the end of the two decades of development, we've had multiple chances to see the final of four generations of r&d kit, both in action with the  Campagnolo-sponsored Movistar pro team and stationary on their Pinarello bikes at the recent Eurobike show but the endowment of an official name finally signifies they're ready to roll out to the bike makers, if not the after-market yet. The groups will share unchanged non-electronic components - brakes, chainsets, cassettes — from the standard sets.

We expect Pinarello will be the first manufacturer to ship a production bike but you'd better have your finances in order if you plan on being first kid on the chain gang with EPS. There's going to be a hefty premium on the price of the standard and continuing Super Record groupset which currently stands somewhere around £1,500 - £1,600, with £1,200 for Record. Needless to say, it will take UK importers a week or two to confirm prices but we won't be surprised if it's £3,000 for Super Record EPS and £2,000 for Record EPS. In other words, Record EPS roughly comparable with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and Super Record EPS a hefty wedge more.

As we posted back in October when the launch date was announced, at one level it leaves Campagnolo looking like they're playing second fiddle to Shimano who have had three years in production to tweak their Dura-Ace Di2 top level group and futhermore launch a further set called Ultegra Di2 which is already shipping on production bikes. At another, it's given the Italian makers reputed for their old-school dependability plenty of time to let Shimano iron out the consumer issues to do with acceptance first.

Here's some detail we can share and we may as well start with the issue that everyone asks about; battery life. Campagnolo are claiming 1,552km life or 3.1months if you ride 500km per month, 1,841km/1.8 months if you ride a monthly 1,000km or, easiest to get your head around, a full month at the rate of 2,000km per month. The battery is good for 500 charges and is replaced in its entirety when the time comes. Meanwhile, there is a battery charge indicator that works like a traffic light with green, amber and red lights and a final audible alarm when charge dips to 6%.

The shift levers maintain the same principle as standard Ergopower; in other words there are separate buttons, or paddles really, for upshifting and downshifting with the big lever reserved purely for braking. Campagnolo reckon that the placement of the thumb shifter for upshifts is better positioned than the original mechanical version, though, to reach from the drops. They also say they've worked hard on the so-called 'multi-dome technology' which maintains the mechanical sensation and, get this, sound of shifting.

Talking of shifting, here's a kicker; by holding the shifter you'll be able to change multiple gears up to the full 11 in one go. That would take 1.5 seconds and you'll need to get used to the exact amount of time it takes for the one, two or whatever you want but that's where the mechanical 'feel' comes into play. The forums will be raging about this one; whether the Shimano 'clicks-for-the-number-of-shifts' you want or the Campagnolo 'press-and-hold' method is best. It will be just like the good old days in 1992, of Ergopower vs STI.

At 'under 2,100 grams', the Super Record EPS group would be roughly 200 grams lighter than Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 with Record EPS 'around 2,200 grams'.

The main thing is, in Britain at least, that the word 'Campy' as featured on the pre-production versions of EPS used by Team Movistar this season, won't be appearing on the final product. A nation breaths.

There's more detail on Campagnolo's EPS system following on here.

EPS Ergo levers keep their familiar roles

31 user comments

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i need a new Record chain, cassette and rings so i might as well just go the whole hog....

posted by VecchioJo [744 posts]
7th November 2011 - 23:27

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As far as I'm aware the RRP for Dura Ace Di2 is approx £3k but obviously this is just RRP and you can get it for a lot cheaper. So I'd expect the same for SR EPS.

It looks great!

posted by iamelectron [108 posts]
7th November 2011 - 23:37

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Gotta be honest, that front mech looks ugly as hell. S'pose its got to be like that for all the gubbins inside, but Campag has always been about elegent minimalist design. It just doesnt fit......... Still want the lot though.

Life behind bars.

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posted by Graham Howell [55 posts]
8th November 2011 - 1:02

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Graham Howell wrote:
...that front mech looks ugly as hell...

Know what you're saying; I winced slightly myself. However, in its defense we're looking at it larger and in a lot more detail than you ever would in 'real life'. Well, maybe the first time you take it out of the box but you know what I mean. With the exception of the 1970s silver alloy and relieved chrome steel Super Record, I'm always a bit disappointed with front mechs and one of the reasons I guess you'll never see one used as a title shot. It's always the crankset or the rear mech. I often try and drop down the size of a front mech image to give a better sense of proportion with the rear; might have a go at that now...

Campagnolo Super Record.jpg

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
8th November 2011 - 10:21

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Still not sure what problem they're trying to solve with electronic gears. I've never been 170km into a 180km ride and thought "Man, if only my gears were even quieter and smoother." Seems like they are innovating just to make older systems redundant.

posted by kace19 [22 posts]
8th November 2011 - 10:39

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That's just groupset p0rn... Drooling

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3079 posts]
8th November 2011 - 10:40

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It's fascinating stuff, but it's so far removed from anything I want, need or can imagine buying that it doesn't seem remotely real. Smile

posted by BigDummy [284 posts]
8th November 2011 - 11:10

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BigDummy wrote:
It's fascinating stuff, but it's so far removed from anything I want, need or can imagine buying that it doesn't seem remotely real. Smile

The great majority of people would agree with you BD, I'm sure. The reason you *might* find it interesting though is that it could - but not necessarily - offer an insight into what bikes will be doing in ten years. The first indexed gears and bicycle disc brakes seemed alien (and I'm sure the Victorians said the same about the first modern-style 'safety' bicycles) but progress is progress and if nothing else this electrical-actuation malarkey could eventually help more cyclists make foolproof shifts on sub-£1,000 bikes. Personally, I won't be happy until the power is being provided by an on-board generator of some kind that stores power and also drives the lighting but that's just me thinking about my ideal city bike. Who'd have thought that a utility city bike would benefit from Giro d'Italia racing but that's exactly what's happening in another engineering area currently with the KERS technology in F1 car racing that will eventually lead to more efficient city motors.

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
8th November 2011 - 11:55

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Quote:
Campag has always been about elegent minimalist design

I'll give you elegant, but mounting semi-precious stones on brake calipers is hardly minimalist.

posted by finbar [86 posts]
8th November 2011 - 12:32

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I think it all looks wonderful, even the front mech. True bias, I suppose.

I'm guessing that EPS is the launch pad for the next speeds increase. 11 seems to have maxed it out with cable activation for Campagnolo. It will be much easier to accurately actuate a 12 speed cluster with EPS inside the limitations of 130mm O.L.D. And with the rumored 11 speed Di2 for 2013 my guess is that Campagnolo's next big move is 12 speed EPS, maybe for 2014.
(I sure would like a 11-25 12 speed block to get that missing 18 cog. Gimme more, always.)

posted by Valentino [16 posts]
8th November 2011 - 12:47

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EPS, eh? In my world that means either "encapsulated postscript" or something imaginary in Star Trek.

Nice groupset (although the front mech looks a bit clunky) but, not having a mechanic with a spare bike in a Skoda following me at all times, I'll stick with cables for now, thanks.

posted by JohnS [198 posts]
8th November 2011 - 12:50

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Campag mechanical Ergo Levers have always had the ability to sweep through several cogs at once, OK not the whole cassette but 3/4 cogs in one go. I have always found this a very useful feature that sets them apart from big S.

posted by Apple Tree [12 posts]
8th November 2011 - 13:08

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+1. Being able to change through several cogs with one sweep of the lever is a huge benefit, especially when riding somewhere really lumpy with short, steep descents and ascents.

posted by JohnS [198 posts]
8th November 2011 - 13:27

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JohnS wrote:
EPS, eh? In my world that means either "encapsulated postscript" or something imaginary in Star Trek.

First thing that came to my mind was "earnings per share." Sad, I know...

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [8004 posts]
8th November 2011 - 14:13

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Here are some from the facebook thread:

Everybody Prefers Shimano
Extortionately Priced Shifters!
Eternally Problematic System
Effectively Pointless Stuff
Electicians Probably Smiling
Eradicates Poor Setup?
Envious Praise Shimano?
Eventually Parallels Shimano
Even Pipped Sram

keep 'em coming. a pair of socks for the one we like best!

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7311 posts]
8th November 2011 - 15:00

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more from twitter...

Extremely Pretentious Shifting
Extra Passing Speed
expensive psychological support
Extended Payment Scheme
even prettier shifters
Expensive Posing System
Electronic; Pretty; Sucks
Engineers Prefer Shimano
Enjoy Pie Stops

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7311 posts]
8th November 2011 - 15:14

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Evermore Pricey Sh*t... Think its about time to stop now.

Life behind bars.

Graham Howell's picture

posted by Graham Howell [55 posts]
8th November 2011 - 16:12

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I can see what you mean Nick. Front mechs arent all that much of a selling point.
Think there might be a market out there for a whole "redesigning of the wheel" so to speak...

Life behind bars.

Graham Howell's picture

posted by Graham Howell [55 posts]
8th November 2011 - 16:27

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Although I'm a campag fan through and through, I have to say the shimano offering is more streamlined and the campag one is going to be very expensive!

posted by Karbon Kev [670 posts]
8th November 2011 - 17:24

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Oh yes that's Lush!!!

posted by Wookster [58 posts]
8th November 2011 - 19:30

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Will Colnago use EPS on their EPS frameset or could that be too confusing?

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [412 posts]
9th November 2011 - 12:54

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Colnago don't produce an EPS now, it's an EPQ .....

posted by Karbon Kev [670 posts]
9th November 2011 - 16:18

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Two words: Italian electrics

posted by iane [5 posts]
9th November 2011 - 16:44

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How about:

Every
Penny
Spent .... to buy this new system! Rolling On The Floor Wink

Argy's picture

posted by Argy [147 posts]
9th November 2011 - 17:46

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i wonder if SRAM is going to join this party? wish shimano or campy would bring Di2 to 105/Athena (or make it a bit cheaper) so the average joe can have them. perhaps a few years down the line, you might get Di2 for Sora, no more mechanical groupsets!

posted by usernameforme [49 posts]
9th November 2011 - 23:30

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So far SRAM's response seems to be confined to bringing out Red in another colour… they are surely going to have to do better than that?

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4135 posts]
9th November 2011 - 23:46

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Maybe EPS is like a country of origin mark!? (Euro problematic State)

THE ONLY WAY IS BIKE

posted by lushmiester [156 posts]
10th November 2011 - 0:00

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tony_farrelly wrote:
So far SRAM's response seems to be confined to bringing out Red in another colour…

Harsh, Tone; they've done TWO colours in addition to red Red; yellow AND black. I'd have thought that would be enough technological progress for anyone Smile

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
10th November 2011 - 0:40

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The 'is it really necessary and do I really need it?" brigade probably asked the same thing of the iPad. I know it's a one trick luxury compared with an iPad but if I can ever afford Record then I'd definitely wouldn't buy it in cable form anymore.

I was praying Campag would come up with something lovely and they have. Can't wait to buy one. Clink. There was my first pound going in the kitty. Only £2999 to go... : (

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1055 posts]
10th November 2011 - 16:44

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Couple of comments on the poor italians there. I'm surprised no one's come up with the old joke about only having a reverse gear!

Looking at the Italian minster on the news last night, dressed like a prince in front of the golden backdrop of Rome I thought - those poor buggers!

How could I possibly help that poor struggling country of fools. I then thought about what I own from Italy that has to work all the time: 2 Condor bikes both made in Italy, three sets of Campagnolo and a dive jacket and dive regs made by Scubapro of er...Italy.

Meanwhile back in the UK we have perhaps 3 struggling frame makers who don't have their frames made in China, an expensive clothing company and a firm that makes leather saddles. And the Italians make better coffee than us.

I could weep...

-- That was an address on behalf of the Italian Marketing Board --

Can I have my free Italian built,( e.g: probably faulty and rubbish) Super Record EPS now please??

Crying

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1055 posts]
10th November 2011 - 17:01

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