Italian cycling component maker Campagnolo has enjoyed a loyal following since it was established back in 1933, but its components are increasingly rare on road bikes as many big bike brands commonly favour Shimano and SRAM when speccing new bikes. Nevertheless, Campagnolo's reputation for durability and style makes a Campagnolo-equipped bike well worth a look.
The company with the richest heritage in cycling, Campagnolo introduced the quick release skewer, the modern parallelogram rear derailleur, the groupset and a host of other innovations from its long-standing base in Vicenza, Italy
Campagnolo has long been in the vanguard of the move to increase the number of gears on our bikes; its Super Record, Record and Chorus groupsets include the only 12-speed mechanical shifting available
Campagnolo components haven't been common on mass-produced bikes for many years, but many bike makers equip a handful of super-prestige models with the top Campagnolo groupsets
From most to least expensive Campagnolo groupsets go: Super Record, Record, Chorus (all 12-speed), Ekar, Potenza, Centaur (both 11-speed), and Veloce (10-speed). Super Record and Record are available with EPS electronic shifting
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 road bikes built around the Italian groupsets covering a wide band of price points.
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 quick release skewer. Campagnolo has long been an innovative company bringing some of the lightest and advanced components to market, and Campagnolo also invented the rear derailleur as we know it today.
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 scale working in its favour, it’s able to provide good deals for large bike companies selling bikes in huge numbers.
To try and combat the decline of Campagnolo support the company launched the Potenza groupset, aimed at the mid-range market dominated by Shimano’s Ultegra, but it did look like you were still paying a premium to have Campagnolo on your bike.
In the next stage of the fightback, Campagnolo launched the Centaur groupset, aimed at the riders who currently use Shimano 105. Campagnolo components are still not what you'd call common, but with Potenza and Centaur there are a few more Campagnolo-equipped models on offer than a few years ago. Even though Campagnolo quietly dropped Potenza from the range last year you can still find bikes with it on sale.
A short while ago Campagnolo roared into the gravel bike sector with the 13-speed Ekar groupset which boasts a big gear range combined with single-chainring simplicity and has properly stood the dirt-road community on its ear. It's a very impressive achievement.
Bike manufacturers have been quick to offer Ekar-equipped bikes so we've kicked off with a few of them.
One of the cheapest bikes you can buy with Campagnolo's 1x13 Ekar groupset, the Cavazzo boasts a carbon-fibre frame in a configuration that's halfway between endurance road bike and fast gravel bike.
Specialized introduced a whole raft of improvements to their Diverge gravel bike platform for 2021 so it's only fitting they should offer a version with the Ekar groupset. You get the 9-42 cassette for the widest gear range available from a non-electronic 1X bike, and Specialized's own Roval carbon fibre wheels.
At a slightly less stratospheric price, here's UK company Orro Bikes' Ekar-equipped rig, the Terra C Ekar. It gets the Rapid Red 3 wheels from Campagnolo sister brand Fulcrum, 38mm tyres from Vredestein and Deda's flared gravel bike handlebar.
If money is no object, and it really needs to be for this bike, the Specialissima is Bianchi’s flagship full carbon race bike and is outfitted here with the top-of-the-range electronic Super Record 12-speed groupset. This latest version of the Specialissima has internally-routed cables and disc brakes (there's no rim-braked complete bike, though you can still buy a rim-brake-compatible bare frame); it's a dramatic modernisation of a previously very conservative bike.
One of Italy's most famous bike brands, Cinelli is known for striking design, though the Superstar here really only nods to that with its colourful stripes. We suspect that painting the Toray 700 carbon fibre frame in a riot of colours might have looked a bit odd with the black Potenza components.
Sport megastore chain Decathlon is known for great-value midrange bikes but it's maybe not the place you'd expect to find a Campagnolo-equipped bike. The Van Rysel Ultra CF Potenza confounds expectations with an excellent carbon fibre frame and full Potenza groupset including the chainset which many brands swap out for a cheaper model. The wheels are Campagnolo Zondas and it rolls on Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance tyres. It's a very tidy package for the money.
The latest version of the legendary Dogma with Campagnolo's top electronic groupset, and the renowned Shamal wheels. You don't really need both kidneys.
The GTR Team is Wilier's all-rounder frame, suitable for racing or just for long days exploring the lanes. It's clad here in a Chorus groupset and Campagnolo Calima wheels. Wilier offers a substantial range of Campagnolo-equipped bikes, as you might expect from a company whose very name celebrates Italian liberation.
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.
London-based Condor Cycles lets you spec any Campagnolo groupset, and using their bike builder we picked an Italia RC aluminium frame with a Campagnolo Chorus 12-speed groupset and topped it off with Bora One 35 Clincher carbon wheels plus a selection of other mostly Italian goodies.
The Aeroad CFR is German company Canyon’s lightest aero frame and is available in a wide range of builds, including this full Campagnolo Super Record EPS version. It's not exactly cheap, but at a claimed 7.32kg it's light for a disc-braked aero bike. If weight's your entire priority, check out the Ultimate CFR Disc EPS at a claimed 6.29kg.
Colnago’s C64 is a custom build option so you can build it with any parts you like. We got stuck into the bike builder at Bespoke Cycling to put together this dream build with Bora Ultra wheels, Enve bars and stem and a full Super Record EPS groupset, but with mechanical Super Record and more modest components you could knock four grand off that and still have an amazing bike.
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John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.