Campagnolo have officially launched the EPS electronic version of their Super Record 12 speed groupset, a year on from becoming the first to go 12 speed for road in 2018 with the release of mechanical Record and Super Record. At £4,108 in its hydraulic disc brake guise, we're also pretty sure that makes it the most expensive production groupset ever made.
First ride: Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12
Review: Campagnolo Record 12 speed disc groupset
Campagnolo first to launch 12 speed road groupsets
After plenty of teaser and spy shots of it on pro bikes over the last few months, this news won't exactly be surprising if you follow Campag-sponsored pro teams on social media such as Movistar and Lotto Soudal (see photo above, shared some time in January); but now we can officially reveal the ins and outs of Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12 speed. Unlike the mechanical versions last year when Campag introduced 12 speed at both Super Record and the second-tiered Record level, this time around it's just Super Record that is going electric initially; although we'd expect trickle-down to happen in the future.
Disregarding the electronics, the rest of the components work the same and look the same as mechanical Super Record, so we'll skim over them here - see our Record groupset review and 12 speed launch article from last year for detailed info on each component. It's the same two 11-29 and 11-32 12 speed cassette options, with Campagnolo saying there's no need for any closer ratios because the extra cog sandwiched in there makes it plenty tight enough for even the most discerning pro racers - the first seven sprockets go up in one tooth increments. The titanium axle chainset size options are 50/34, 52/36 and 53/39, and Campag have specced their CULT Ceramic bearings on the Super Record version which they claim are nine times more efficient than standard bearings. UV-blocking agents are added to the chainset to ensures the carbon maintains its integrity over time, and doesn't get damaged or discoloured by the sun.
The 12 speed chain has been made thinner to accommodate the cassette, which fits on the same hub as 11 speed campagnolo cassettes (so your pre-12 speed wheels with Campy hubs are still compatible). Despite being thinner, Campag say it's just as strong as their previous 11 speed chain.
The shifters have exactly the same shape, ergonomics and looks as the mechanical versions. The height difference between the disc brake shifters and rim brake is just 8mm, which means no discernible differences in ergonomics. The rim brakes are available in standard or direct-mount options, and the disc brake callipers and rotors are the same spec on all Campagnolo groupsets - "why compromise on something so important?" so said Campagnolo at the launch event. The disc brake shifters have a single cylinder design, the same left and right which makes for easier disc brake bleeding. Below is a breakdown of all the EPS-specific components...
Junction box - handlebar and downtube assembly now possible
Like Shimano Di2, there is now a Campagnolo EPS junction box that can replace a bar end on your handlebar, or be placed inside the downtube on some bike models. It's shown under the stem in the photo above and is pretty clean and tidy as it is, but bar end or downtube mounting further cleans up the cables and also allows the rider to see the charge status more easily. To check your battery charge, perform diagnostics and make fine derailleur adjustments you simply press the Mode button, which is located behind the thumb shift lever on both the left and right sides. To do more in-depth customisation with the MyCampy app, it's a long press of the Mode button.
Although it looks similar to 11 speed EPS the interface has been updated, with dual antennae internals that pick up Bluetooth Low Energy and ANT+ so it can communicate with almost every smart phone and head unit under the sun. Like 11 speed before it, all electronic parts of 12 speed EPS are waterproof to the IP67 international standard.
The new Version 4 battery power unit is slimmer than V3 for discreet integration yet a little bit longer than its predecessor, compatible with "nearly all" framesets according to Campag. They claimed 11 speed EPS could last somewhere in the region of 2000km on a single full charge, which was already industry-leading - and they've increased that by another 10% on the new version.
Shifting - customisable rapid changes all the way up and down the cassette
On the mechanical version of Super Record, you can perform five shifts back up the cassette with a single throw of the lever and three shifts down with a single press of the thumb shifter; whereas on the electronic version, it's possible to go all the way up or down by just holding down on either the thumb shifter or the lever. Campag claim the levers and shifters are responsive enough to stop at whichever cog you mean for it to stop at, but if it all feels a bit too robotic then you can customise how many single-click shifts you can perform in one go using the myCampy app.
Campag's Multi-Dome technology carries over from 11 speed EPS, which is a set of aluminium domes encased in the shifters which allow for an optimised operating force. It means that even though the shifting is electric (the levers don't move when you touch them and the thumb paddle movement is pretty subtle), it still has a mechanical-like clicking feeling when you touch them which prevents unintentional shifts. The shifters can be altered with just a hex key to make them more comfortable for small hands, and Campag say they have improved the ergonomics on the 12 speed Super Record shifters.
One thing Campag reiterated this year is that theirs is the only groupset system of the big three which is truly 'one lever, one action' - by this they mean that both thumb shifters and both levers each do a separate job, and the brakes just brake and nothing else. They say that even for the simplest of souls like myself, this means riders are less likely to get confused with their commands.
Campag claim the motors on their new front mech are the strongest on the market, allowing you to shift fluidly under extremely heavy loads without issue. The thinner cage has an aluminium inner and carbon outer, with a carbon upper body and titanium fixing bolt. The chain is automatically centred when you shift up or down chainrings, which keeps it friction-free. Campag say the cage is precise and strong enough to deal with extreme angles, even if you happen to go rogue and cross-chain every now and then.
The rear derailleur uses the same 45° trajectory angle of the mechanical version, optimised for the 11-29 and 11-32 cassette sizes. The electronic version mimics the Embrace technology of the mechanical Super Record, which increases chain wrap over each single sprocket in individual shifting positions. Campag say the Embrace tech leads to better power transfer and reduced wear and tear on the transmission, with the chain positioning itself vertically closer to the cassette. The jockey wheels have a large 12-tooth design to further increase efficiency, and the rear derailleur cage is 72.5mm long.
Lots, but you knew that. The full groupset RRP's are (wait for it)... £4,108 for the disc brake version and £3,800 for rim brake (mechanical versions of Super Record come in at £2,831 for disc brake and £2,551 for rim). It's quite a bit more than the recently launched SRAM Red AXS 12 speed groupset, which is £3,349 for the top level 12 speed disc brake version and £3,794 with a power meter included. EPS disc brake is even more than the Ultimate Performance version of Rotor's new 1x13 groupset, which is £3,999 with a power meter included.
Of course we expect the majority of customers will be buying new EPS on a bike, and we were pleasantly surprised by some of the price points of mechanical Record and Super Record builds from the likes of Canyon. The Canyon Ultimate we reviewed with 12-speed Record and Campag's Bora carbon race wheels came in at £5,099, which is a lot of money but relatively good value considering the spec. Still, if you're just looking to upgrade your gruppo then those prices might be pretty difficult to swallow.
While they were tight-lipped on the possibility of 12-speed tech for those of us with lighter wallets, Campagnolo did tell us that spreading the new 12 speed tech across their range is a natural progression; and while its first move has been up the pricing scale, we have our suspicions that this announcement won't be the last we'll hear from Campag this year.
The EPS groupsets weigh in at 2,255g and 2,505g for rim and disc brake versions respectively - 182g and 214g heavier than the mechanical groupsets. The weight of the rim brake EPS groupset as claimed is a mere gram heavier than SRAM Red AXS rim brake for 2x, and 13g lighter in its disc brake guise; however SRAM win the weight wars if you plump for their Aero chainset version, which comes in at 2,052g and 2,343g for rim and disc brakes respectively.
To compare to the previous 11 speed versions of EPS (sorry, lots of numbers to digest here) it weighed in at 2,108g for rim brakes and 2,413g for disc; so the new 12 speed gruppo is a little heavier.
Super Record EPS 12 speed will be landing with UK distributors at the end of March, so you'll be able to pre-order it pretty much straight away. We also expect to see off-the-peg bikes on sale with 12 speed EPS builds in the second quarter of 2019.
We were also lucky enough to head out to the official press launch in Girona a couple of weeks ago, check out our first ride report here.
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