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Everything you need to know about Campag’s brand new mid-range components

Campagnolo is launching a new 11-speed mechanical groupset called Potenza to sit below Super Record, Record and Chorus in its range hierarchy, designed to be a direct competitor to Shimano Ultegra, and we’ve been massively impressed by the performance.

Potenza is a mostly aluminium groupset and you get the option of low gears courtesy of an 11-32-tooth wide-ranging cassette. Existing Campagnolo components are designed for a maximum sprocket size of 29-tooth.

“Potenza is the Italian word for power, intensity and strength, and that’s what we try to bring to the groupset market,” said Joshua Riddle, Campagnolo’s Press Manager. “It’a s very powerful group that’s pegged right in the mid-range.”

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New group - 39.jpg

That’s mid-range in Campag’s terms, below Super Record, Record and Chorus, and above Athena and Veloce. Ultegra, which Campag says is Potenza’s biggest competitor, is Shimano’s second tier groupset.

“We started with the Revolution 11+ groupsets that we introduced last year [updated mechanical versions of Super Record, Record and Chorus] and we’ve trickled the technology down to every single Potenza component, so you get Tour-winning performance in a more accessible groupset,” said Joshua Riddle. 

“This is the top-end groupset in aluminium based products. It’s going to be pegged with Ultegra but with a little bit more soul!”

As well as being available aftermarket, Campag hopes that Potenza will be specced as original equipment on complete bikes. Shimano currently dominates that sphere with SRAM and Campagnolo far, far behind.

Let’s go through the components individually. The weights given here are Campagnolo’s own, we’ve not had the chance to put them on the scales ourselves.

We only have prices in Euros so far. The complete Potenza groupset with an 11-32-tooth cassette is €904.18 (which converts to £710 at today's exchange rate) while the groupset with a 12-27-tooth cassette is €852.53 (£669).

 

Ergopower shifters

€174.99

Weight 370g

The body of the Ergopower shifter is made from technopolymer reinforced with carbon-fibre while both of the shift levers are made from lightweight composite.

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New group - 29.jpg

The aluminium alloy brake lever is the same shape as that of Campag’s top-end groupsets although the front of the shifter body is more rounded, the idea being to offer more hand position options.

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New group - 28.jpg

The hoods are made from a natural and hypoallergenic silicon material. Compared to existing Campag options, there are very few lines and groves in the hoods. This is to allow water to move away very quickly so that grip isn’t compromised.

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New group - 35.jpg

If you fold the hoods back you can see what Campag calls its ‘Varicushion Technology’; this is something you’ll find on existing Campag products, but in a different form. Here, there’s a waffle-like structure to the inner surface that’s designed to add comfort.

Potenza uses Campag’s Power-Shift mechanism, like the existing Athena and Veloce groupsets. This means the long shift lever that sits behind the brake lever allows you to move up the cassette a maximum of three sprockets at a time, depending on how far you push it. 

For comparison, with Campag’s existing Ultra-Shift mechanism found on the Super Record, Record and Chorus mechanical groupsets, you can move up the cassette a maximum of five sprockets with one throw of the lever

The thumb lever allows you to move down the cassette one sprocket at a time. With Campag’s higher level mechanical groupsets you can move down the cassette more sprockets in one go; having the lever come out at a right angles to the shifter body allows the cable movement necessary for this. 

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New group - 30.jpg

The Potenza thumb lever sits at a much more acute angle to the shifter body – it’s a feature Campag has brought over from its EPS electronic shifters – so it’s not possible to move the cable enough for multiple shifts. The advantage is that the Potenza’s thumb lever is easier to operate, especially from the drops.

Campag says that when you use the thumb lever to move from the larger to the smaller chainring, the chain is initially in the optimal alignment for the smaller sprockets. 

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New group - 16.jpg

Click the lever a second time and it repositions the front derailleur further inboard for using the larger sprockets. Doing things in this way reduces the chance of throwing the chain off the inner chainring.

A first click of the finger lever will move the front derailleur outboard only slightly so the chain stays on the small chainring, but putting it back into the best position for using the smaller sprockets.

A second and third click of the lever will move the chain up to the big chainring for optimal chain alignment for all sprockets. 

It’s much simpler than it sounds!

Campag says that you can run the chain from the small chainring to the smallest sprocket and from the large chainring to the largest sprocket if you like. It’ll work fine, although it won’t be particularly efficient.

 

Front derailleur

​€65.62

Weight 94g

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New group - 37.jpg

The front derailleur body has a die-cast aluminium body and a one-piece steel cage. 

Campag says that technology from its high-end groupsets has inspired the rod design to reduce the range of motion and force necessary for upshifts and to help shifting under load. It claims that upshifts are considerably better than those of other mid-range groupsets and previous generation Campag groups.… naturally! We wouldn’t expect Campag to say anything else.

 

Rear derailleur

​€145.82

Weight 211g

Campag says that both the design and performance of the Potenza rear derailleur are similar to those of Super Record, Record and Chorus.

The upper and lower bodies are made from reinforced technopolymer while the outer and inner plates are forged aluminium. The jockey wheels run on bushings. The travel limit screws are easy to reach, positioned on the back of the upper body.

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New group - 38.jpg

The rear derailleur uses what Campag calls Embrace Technology which already exists in its higher end groupsets. What’s that?

“The top end performance rear derailleur engages additional teeth ensuring better power transfer and less wear on consumable parts,” says Campag.

Like Shimano and SRAM, Campag is now offering different sized rear derailleurs in its Potenza groupset. The short cage (55cm) version is for use with standard cassettes (up to 29-tooth) and the medium cage (72.5mm) model can handle Campag’s new 11-32-tooth cassette.

 

Chainset

​​€227.01

Weight 754g

The Potenza chainset features hollow forged aluminium cranks, hard anodised aluminium chainrings and a steel axle.

New group   - 27.jpg

New group - 27.jpg

It’s built to Campagnolo’s existing four arm spider design with unequal spacing between those arms. The thought here, as it is with similar designs from Shimano, is to provide rigidity in the areas where shifting takes place under high load while saving weight by not using a fifth arm.

The chainset is available in 53/39, 52/36 and 50/34-tooth options, all of which use exactly the same cranks – the chainrings are interchangeable.

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New group - 33.jpg

The chainset uses Campag’s Power Torque axle design. This is the same as you’ll find on Athena and Veloce, Campag’s most affordable groupsets. In this system the axle is fixed to the driveside crank, and the non-driveside crank fits to serrations at the other end. 

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New group - 34.jpg

One new feature is that the Potenza design incorporates an internal crank extractor to make maintenance easier. 

Campag reckons that aside from the Power Torque axle and the materials used, the Potenza chainset is very similar to Super Record in terms of design and performance.

The bottom bracket cups (from ​€23.59) weigh 69g and the chain (€41.01), which is the existing Chorus chain, is 235g.

 

Brakes

€58.33 (pair)

Weight 321g
The groupset has its own ‘Potenza’ branded dual rim brakes, dual pivot front and rear. They use skeleton arms (they contain holes to save weight) that are a familiar Campagnolo feature. 

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New group - 32.jpg

These look very much like Campag’s existing skeleton brakes used for the Athena groupset and they have exactly the same published weight.

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New group - 31.jpg

 

Cassette

​From €116.20

Weight 249g
Campag Potenza marks a new step for Campagnolo in that it offers an 11-32-tooth cassette for lower gearing than has been available up until now.

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New group - 41.jpg

It’s one of a range of new cassettes labelled ‘Campagnolo 11’. If you don’t want a range that wide you can opt for 11-25, 11-27, 11-29 or 12-27.

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New group - 43.jpg

Aside from the 11-32 version, these cassettes are compatible with other Campagnolo 11-speed systems.

 

Overall

Campag’s claimed weight for the complete Potenza groupset is 2,303g. 

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New group - 23.jpg

It’s made entirely within the EU, mostly in Campag’s own factory in Romania. It’ll be available in both black and silver finishes, and bar-end shifters will be available for triathlon/time trial bikes, although we didn’t see those.

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New group - 2.jpg

When will it be available? Campag doesn’t have an exact date sorted yet, but it’ll be soon. We’ll give you details when we have them.

 

First Ride

I had the chance to use the new Campagnolo Potenza groupset on one dry 2:30hrs ride in Gran Canaria. That’s long enough to get acquainted with a groupset, although obviously not long enough for a full scale review, still less to make any comments on durability.

New group 2 - 4.jpg

New group 2 - 4.jpg

I used a 50/34-tooth compact chainset and an 11-32-tooth cassette.

Initial impressions of the Potenza’s performance are very good. It’s a little heavier than Campag’s higher end groupsets – that’s always the way – and it’s arguably not quite as attractive to look at, but you’d be hard-pressed to notice much difference in performance.

New group 2 - 3.jpg

New group 2 - 3.jpg

The biggest functional distinction you’re likely to notice is between Potenza’s Power-Shift system and the Ultra-Shift design of the higher level groupsets. 

If you ride Chorus, for example, you can move up the cassette a maximum of five sprockets at a time compared with Potenza’s three, and with Potenza you can shift down the cassette only one sprocket per push.

Really, though, that’s not a biggie. In real life you don’t often need to shift five gears at once. Even when you do, pushing the lever more than once is hardly the most onerous task in the world. 

New group 2 - 2.jpg

New group 2 - 2.jpg

The shifting performance is very good. You notice that most when moving from the small chainring up to the large one. It takes very little effort at the lever and changes are very quick. 

I tried to test Potenza’s limits by shifting up to the large chainring under as much load as possible – we had some steep climbs on our ride – and it worked just fine; no hesitation, no labouring, just smooth changes throughout. I don’t think it even noticed!  

It’s the same at the rear. The system didn’t mind whether I was going up or down the cassette, seated or standing, it hit the spot quickly every time. That’s all you want.

The 32-tooth sprocket on the cassette is a new one for Campagnolo, and it works exactly as you’d expect. You get a smaller gear than with a 29. That’s it!

New group 2 - 1.jpg

New group 2 - 1.jpg

One other feature you’ll notice is the shape of the Ergopower shifters. The tops are far more rounded than on other Campagnolo designs. I think this is a real improvement.

Most often when you’re using the hoods you’ll rest your hands in the depression in the middle but I sometimes like to hold the top section and keep my forearms parallel to the ground. This new shape provides a really comfortable position if you want to do that.

The EPS-style thumb lever, as found on Athena and Veloce, is really good too. I find it much easier to change gear from the drops with this lever compared to the more sticky-out thumb lever on higher end Campag shifters, and I know that many other people find the same thing. 

Campag knows this – that’s why it uses this design on EPS – it just can’t offer you multiple shifts down the cassette of a mechanical system with a lever of this kind.

It’s hard to judge the chainset stiffness on an unfamiliar bike but it felt solid enough to me, and the brakes worked very well indeed. We had completely dry conditions so I didn’t get the chance to try our wet weather braking, but the bite and the power felt good on our long and meandering descents. 

At this point, I’ve got nothing negative to say about Campagnolo Potenza. It performed beautifully on my test ride. The caveat is that it was a single outing, but early impressions are that Campag is on to a winner here.

www.campagnolo.com

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

29 comments

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honesty [75 posts] 1 year ago
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Out of interest, is the medium cage rear compatible with other campagnolo groupsets?

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STATO [535 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I like the name but dont know why they felt the need to create another group, and what has happened to Centaur? is this its replacement or was that Athena?   I love campagnolo and its on all 3 of my drop-bar bikes, but 'Potenza' is not equivalent to Ultegra, not with its all alu and 'composite' (plastic) bits in the derrailieur.

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mookie [5 posts] 1 year ago
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complete weight 2,3 kg including cassette? 

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Bassett [2 posts] 1 year ago
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If this rear mech is usable with the other 11s groupsets people already have it will be very good news.

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ajmarshal1 [417 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
STATO wrote:

I like the name but dont know why they felt the need to create another group, and what has happened to Centaur? is this its replacement or was that Athena?   I love campagnolo and its on all 3 of my drop-bar bikes, but 'Potenza' is not equivalent to Ultegra, not with its all alu and 'composite' (plastic) bits in the derrailieur.

 

Centaur was discontinued ages ago, Potenza is the Athena replacement.  As for not being equivalent to Ultegra due to it being all alu and with 'plastic' bits, the only part of Ultegra that isn't Alu are the levers and they're 55g heavier anyway so what's the point other than aesthetics? Even that's arguable as they're both matt black?  Potenza and Ultegra are in the same weight ballpark, same performance ballpark.

The Veloce and Athena rear mechs have had the same polymer in them and I've never seen one fail.  I can't say the same for 105 and Ultegra rear mechs. Don't be fooled by materials.

The only dissapointing bit I find about Potenza is that that four arm crank won't look as good in silver on older, modern classic frames.  Time to stock up on silver Athena cranks.

Avatar
ajmarshal1 [417 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
mookie wrote:

complete weight 2,3 kg including cassette? 

 

2303g with an 11-27.

Ultegra is 2294g with an 11-25.

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Dr Mcr [8 posts] 1 year ago
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Always good to see new product news coming out of Campagnolo. A quick question about the My Campy App - It seems like an eternity since they announced it, but I still can't find it in the App Store. Given they have announced the new Shamal, Potenza group and given an update on disk brakes, I wonder if they mentioned the App too?

The announcement of Potenza doesn't surprise me. There seemed to be a gap opening between Chorus and Athena when Chorus was given the big update, including 4 arm spider . Given Athena's elegant name, I wonder if the groupsets medium term roadmap is to position it as the option for classic bikes.  Maybe Veloce will be the next to be updated at some point next year, giving it the modern 4-arm crank design.

I have carbon Athena on my current bike (not the elegant polished aluminium), but if I was buying a bike in the same category now, I would be looking for it to come with Potenza groupset, if I was struggling to pay the jump in costs to Chorus. 

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PaulBox [664 posts] 1 year ago
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ajmarshal1 wrote:

Centaur was discontinued ages ago, Potenza is the Athena replacement.

?

"That’s mid-range in Campag’s terms, below Super Record, Record and Chorus, and above Athena and Veloce."

 

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il sole [78 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

nice name...I like it very much... surely anyone buying a £2-3k sportive bike would prefer to say that it came with 'potenza' rather than 'ultegra'??!!!

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ajmarshal1 [417 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
PaulBox wrote:
ajmarshal1 wrote:

Centaur was discontinued ages ago, Potenza is the Athena replacement.

?

"That’s mid-range in Campag’s terms, below Super Record, Record and Chorus, and above Athena and Veloce."

 

 

Athena is being discontinued at the end of the year, Potenza replaces it in the line up.  It isn't 'above' Athena in the line up as Athena is going.

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fukawitribe [1929 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Looks cracking to me - and i'm pleasantly surprised by the price... maybe I can now afford a Campag groupset and with that cassette + bigger range coping derailleur out back as standard really, really, really want one. Lovely stuff.

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bikeandy61 [538 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

No problem with this group, I just can't see why Campy need 3 groupsets above "Ultegra" level. Surely streamlining to two or maybe one could lead to lower prices. It must have a cost implication to produce three groups that must have tiny incremental differences.

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CygnusX1 [461 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

No problem with this group, I just can't see why Campy need 3 groupsets above "Ultegra" level. /quote]

Campy? Are you American? If not, then its Campag, please. 

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surly_by_name [524 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Why does anyone buy the Campag marketing line that puts Chorus ahead of Ultegra? Even when I owned a Campag (Chorus) equipped bike I found it hard to swallow the nonsense that all Campag groupsets were somehow inherently better because they were made by Campag.

Whatever the marketing department say, Record*=Dura Ace= Red; Chorus=Ultegra=Force;  Potenza=105=Rival.

Super Record is just record with some extra carbon and a few stickers. Like buying a Ford Fiesta ST with a metallic purple paint job and a carbon spoiler. Doesn't improve performance, just says a lot about the driver.

And that crankset (specifically the spider and rings) is minging.

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surly_by_name [524 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes
CygnusX1 wrote:

Campy? Are you American? If not, then its Campag, please. 

I've been on the receiving end of this (I think uniquely British) pretentiousness concerning the use of "Campy" previously. Accordingly, I was interested to read (in the article about Campag's new disc brakes) that "[a]ll of the prototype brakes and wheels are currently marked ‘Campy Tech Lab’. This is the name that Campagnolo gives to the division within its R&D department comprising 50 people who are developing products in association with sponsored athletes and teams." Someone should let the chaps/women at the Campyag Tech Lab know they are embarrassing themselves. Or maybe they are American.

Avatar
ajmarshal1 [417 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
surly_by_name wrote:

Why does anyone buy the Campag marketing line that puts Chorus ahead of Ultegra? Even when I owned a Campag (Chorus) equipped bike I found it hard to swallow the nonsense that all Campag groupsets were somehow inherently better because they were made by Campag.

Whatever the marketing department say, Record*=Dura Ace= Red; Chorus=Ultegra=Force;  Potenza=105=Rival.

Super Record is just record with some extra carbon and a few stickers. Like buying a Ford Fiesta ST with a metallic purple paint job and a carbon spoiler. Doesn't improve performance, just says a lot about the driver.

And that crankset (specifically the spider and rings) is minging.

 

Without engaging this old argument again:

This is of course only my opinion, however I own both, I also own Force 22.  Everything about Chorus 2015 11 is above and beyond those two, weight aside it is far closer to Dura Ace than it is Ultegra.

Record and Super Record are simply bike jewelry and I cannot tell the difference at all between them and 2015 chorus from a performance perspective.  Swap out the casettes and Record and Chorus are practically one and the same.  Agree with your assesment of Super Record. I'll never pay for anything over Chorus again in Campagnolos line up, but I personally see it as being superior to Ultegra in every way.

 

 

Avatar
davel [1478 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
surly_by_name wrote:
CygnusX1 wrote:

Campy? Are you American? If not, then its Campag, please. 

I've been on the receiving end of this (I think uniquely British) pretentiousness concerning the use of "Campy" previously. Accordingly, I was interested to read (in the article about Campag's new disc brakes) that "[a]ll of the prototype brakes and wheels are currently marked ‘Campy Tech Lab’. This is the name that Campagnolo gives to the division within its R&D department comprising 50 people who are developing products in association with sponsored athletes and teams." Someone should let the chaps/women at the Campyag Tech Lab know they are embarrassing themselves. Or maybe they are American.

They've been Campy Tech Lab for years, haven't they?

Seems like it; awful name, for me it always conjures up images of Kenneth Williams in a white coat going 'oooh, look at the size of his bearings'.

Avatar
TheDoctor [231 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
surly_by_name wrote:

Super Record is just record with some extra carbon and a few stickers. Like buying a Ford Fiesta ST with a metallic purple paint job and a carbon spoiler. Doesn't improve performance, just says a lot about the driver.

As your having a rant at least get it right, super record = record + more titanium, carbon and ceramic bearings! And as for chorus only being equal to ultegra, chorus is way better than that !

 

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vonhelmet [844 posts] 1 year ago
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That chainset is grotesque.

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fukawitribe [1929 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
TheDoctor wrote:

And as for chorus only being equal to ultegra, chorus is way better than that !

The groupsets you like are always way better than the ones you don't - it's like, a scientific fact and everything.

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TheDoctor [231 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
fukawitribe wrote:
TheDoctor wrote:

And as for chorus only being equal to ultegra, chorus is way better than that !

The groupsets you like are always way better than the ones you don't - it's like, a scientific fact and everything.

Well I have Dura Ace and Chorus on two of my bikes, they are pretty much equivalent, So youd be saying Ultegra is better than both of those then??

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Windydog [72 posts] 1 year ago
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Never really understood the "class" system on these groupsets.  Own both Shimano and Campag.   At the same price point, they are different, not better or worse and subject to rank for prestige sake.  Can't they all just be ranked by weight, and have done with it.

Not an aesthetic fan of this Potenza chainset though, rest looks lovely. And happily substitute with my Ultegra equipped bike.  

Avatar
fukawitribe [1929 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
TheDoctor wrote:
fukawitribe wrote:
TheDoctor wrote:

And as for chorus only being equal to ultegra, chorus is way better than that !

The groupsets you like are always way better than the ones you don't - it's like, a scientific fact and everything.

Well I have Dura Ace and Chorus on two of my bikes, they are pretty much equivalent, So youd be saying Ultegra is better than both of those then??

Nope, just that it's a pretty silly argument - I mean what, precisely, does "chorus is way better" actually mean and how do you go about testing it ? You like it much more than current Ultegra ?.. fine, up to you, that's all just tickety-boo (I mean, you have used them both for a while I presume), others have said the opposite - no surprise there, different folk like different groupset, which versions of each we're talking about and so on and so on. Whatever, life's too short, enjoy.

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700c [1136 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
surly_by_name wrote:

Whatever the marketing department say, Record*=Dura Ace= Red; Chorus=Ultegra=Force;  Potenza=105=Rival.

Well you're comparing three different brands' approach to a product solution. In so far that you can draw comparisons, Potenza = Ultegra in terms of weight, and apparently that's the rival product/ customer & market segment they're pitching against. Someone who's tested both would have to say how equal they are in performance but most likely it'll be decided by aesthetics and personal preference anyway.

It certainly matches Ultegra in the 'crankset ugliness' stakes!!

I don't particularly buy the assertion that chorus = dura ace and by definition record is better than anything shimano, but it sure as hell winds the Shimano fan boys up.

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matthewn5 [1032 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Horrible news that Athena is being dropped for this.

What will we do for a classic shiny silver groupset now?? Heavy old Veloce? Never!

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fukawitribe [1929 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
matthewn5 wrote:

Horrible news that Athena is being dropped for this.

What will we do for a classic shiny silver groupset now?? Heavy old Veloce? Never!

Get the silver Potenza ?

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colin french [1 post] 1 year ago
0 likes

Will the chainset alone work on 9 and 10 speed?

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WolfieSmith [1380 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I love Campag. Started with it and I've never left - but all the name changes are annoying. There was nothing wrong with the name order they had. The Athena has always looked very cheap and nasty compared with the Record  and what I have. I have a 2009 carbon Centaur group set which was apparently the previous year's Chorus rebadged when they upgraded Chorus. Like Trigger's broom I'm on my second chain set, cassette and third jockey wheels but it's still going strong and in chrome and carbon throughout so looking very nice with the Royce hubs. 

At one point two years ago I thought I'd save up for 11 speed EPS but I'm now looking at the price of cabled 10 speed Record and thinking why bother going electric? As for Super Record? I'll just lose a couple of lbs and save the cash.

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ArAr [6 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Centaur was discontinued end of 2015. It was in Campagnolo's 2014 catalogue as a complete groupset.

Has Campy announced that it will discontinue Athena?