Campagnolo will soon launch a Super Record groupset with wireless shifting, and we have the photos and documentation to prove it.
If you want a licence to use a wireless system in the US, you need to obtain one from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and that’s exactly what Campagnolo has done.
> Your complete guide to Campagnolo groupsets
Campagnolo has provided the FCC with a user manual for “Ergopower controls_WL_Campagnolo_Rev” and various other documents, although many of these have been granted short-term confidentiality so we can’t check them out.
We can, though, check out some photos that haven’t been made confidential (we’ve no idea why Campagnolo North America hasn’t requested this; pictures of this kind are usually confidential prior to the launch of a product).
The photos aren’t great quality but you can see that we were right when we told you last month that Campagnolo is ditching its distinctive thumb levers.
You can see from the pictures that the new Campagnolo Super Record wireless groupset replaces the thumb lever with a second finger-operated shift lever that sits behind the brake lever – so you get two shift levers while the brake lever is used only for braking. This sticks to Campagnolo’s ‘one lever-one action’ ethos (which is at least partly based on the fact that Shimano has patents tying up other options).
Although harder to make out, it looks like we were right that there are buttons on the inner face of the shifter body in the position where the thumb lever used to be. There are two buttons there with a small LED just in front of them (which is more easily visible
This is a big step because the thumb lever has been a key characteristic of Campagnolo shift systems for years. The brand could have ditched the design when introducing EPS (Electronic Power Shift) but wanted to retain some of the look and feel of a mechanical system, but it has clearly changed its mind now.
The hood shape looks rounder – less angular – than on existing Super Record, although you’re in as good a position as we are to make a judgement on that. When viewed from above, the hoods curve slightly inwards towards the centre of the bike.
According to the patent we’ve seen, the upper control lever is for upshifts and lower control lever is for downshifts – although we’d bet good money that’s customisable in the accompanying app.
Campagnolo also said in its patent that it intends for you to use your forefinger for the upper lever and your middle finger for the lower one. As you can see from the pictures, they’ve left a small gap between the levers so you’re less likely to hit the wrong one or push them both at the same time. The surfaces look to have been made tactile too.
According to the patent, the buttons on the inner (called the ‘proximal’) faces of the shift body “are in charge of, for example, issuing commands to electronics of controlled equipment, in particular to the electronics of the front derailleur in the case of the left control device shown, of the [rear] gearshift in the case of the right control device”.
We can’t make out from the photos if they’re slight bumps or small depressions (we leaning towards the latter). We do know from the patent that they’re positioned there “so as to be easily accessed by the cyclist’s thumb, and in a position to be visible to the cyclist.”
In other words, it looks like you can move both derailleurs in each direction with your thumbs using these buttons when you’re riding with your hands on the hoods.
The more prominent marking in front of these buttons is a ‘luminous indicator’ – presumably an LED although we’re not sure what it indicates – perhaps the chainring you’re currently or the battery level. We’re guessing on this.
We know from the patent that “the control device may comprise a coaxial cable having an antenna function for wireless communication with one or more pieces of equipment controlled by the control device and/or with other electronic devices.”
In other words, the shifter will be able to communicate wirelessly with the rest of the system and also with things like bike computers and apps. If that was ever in any doubt – and it really wasn’t – that’s the whole point of this FCC documentation.
What else can we learn from the pictures? We can see that each shifter is powered by a coin cell, but we’d have expected that anyway, and that’s what was shown in the patent.
It’s a CR 2032 3V cell judging by both the printing on the shifter body and a picture that's with the FCC.
The product code on the lever body is EP23-SRD12XXX. We take that to mean Ergopower 2023 (Ergopower is Campagnolo’s control system), Super Record disc 12-speed – but don’t sue us if it turns out to be 13-speed. This is road.cc, not Bletchley Park.
> Is a 13-speed Campagnolo road groupset on the way?
The FCC documents cover only the shifters, not the derailleurs, so we can't tell you for sure whether Campag plans to use an internal battery that powers both derailleurs (like Shimano), or batteries attached to each derailleur (like SRAM). It certainly has patents for derailleurs with their own batteries.
When looking at patents, we’re never entirely sure whether a finished product will ever materialise. Loads of patents are applied for – and granted to – products that never make it to market. However, Campagnolo would never have applied for a licence from the FCC if a wireless version of Super Record wasn’t going to be launched. Over the past few months, this one has moved from feasible and through probable to become a cast iron certainty.
So when will we see wireless Campagnolo Super Record launched? Hang on a sec, we didn’t say we know everything. At any other time, we’d say a launch around the Giro d’Italia (starts on 6th May 2023) or the Tour de France (starts 1st July 2023) would make the most sense. However, with a massive amount of disruption to the supply chain since the start of Covid-19, who knows? We’ve seen launches at some very odd times over the past couple of years.
Confidentiality for the user manual has been granted for 180 days which takes us up to September. All that said, we’d still suggest a launch sometime between now and July is most likely.
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