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BUYER'S GUIDE

Your complete guide to Campagnolo road bike groupsets

Everything you need to know to make the right buying decision if you want a drivetrain from the Italian component maestros

Campagnolo, based in Vicenza, Italy, is arguably the most prestigious of the three major road bike groupset manufacturers – the other two being Shimano and SRAM. Established back in 1933, it’s a company with an unrivalled heritage, with riders from Gino Bartali to Vincenzo Nibali having won countless top-level races using Campagnolo components.

Campagnolo groupsets aren’t specced as original equipment on bikes as widely as components from either Shimano or SRAM because it mostly caters to the mid and high levels of the cycling market.

Campagnolo groupsets

Campagnolo has slimmed down its range in recent years, and currently offers one tier of electronic road groupset – Super Record Wireless – and three tiers of mechanical road groupsets – Super Record, Record and Chorus. These are all 12-speed, with rim and disc brake options for the mechanical groupsets, and Campag also offers its 13-speed Ekar groupset for gravel riding (disc brake only). Older groupsets, such as Campag's wired 12-speed electronic Super Record and 11-speed Centaur entry-level groupset, are still widely available to buy at some UK retailers, but no longer listed on the official Campagnolo website. 

Campagnolo's groupsets are following the global cycling tech trends, and we're increasingly seeing the brand focusing on disc-brake-only groupsets. If you're curious about the developments, below are some significant ones from recent years. 

In 2017 Campagnolo announced a mid-range 11-speed groupset, Centaur. Centaur was intended to compete directly with Shimano's 105 mechanical groupset, but never really made significant inroads in the area where 105 dominated, namely parts specced as original equipment by bike manufacturers. It's now discontinued.  

In 2018, Campagnolo announced that the next incarnation of the top-level Record and Super Record mechanical groupsets would, for the first time on road bikes, offer 12 sprockets — Campagnolo calls it 12x2 — followed up with an announcement of a 12-speed electronic version of Super Record. In 2019 Campag unveiled a 12-speed version of its third-tier Chorus groupset.

In 2020 Campag took things up a notch again, introducing the first gravel-specific groupset – Campagnolo Ekar – with a 1x13 setup. The gravel groupset also introduced a small 9-tooth cog in the wide-range cassette that was designed specifically around a brand-new N3W freehub.

In 2023, the first wireless Campagnolo groupset saw daylight, when the brand launched the top-of-the-range Super Record Wireless

The 2023 Campagnolo groupset range

Campagnolo Ekar 13-speed

2021 Campagnolo ekar groupset

RRP: £1,473

Buy now for £1,149.00

Let's kick off with Campagnolo's latest baby, the remarkable Ekar gravel bike groupset, which Campagnolo says is the lightest gravel groupset you can buy.

2021 Campagnolo Ekar 13-speed gravel groupset - montage.jpg

With Ekar, Campagnolo has blended a host of technical innovations into a tour de force groupset that it's fair to say is currently one of the best single-chainring systems around and lightweight at 2,385g, as well. 

campagnolo ekar sprockets

The heart of Ekar is a 13-speed cassette available in three versions, two of which have a tiny 9-tooth smallest sprocket: 9-36, 9-42, and 10-44. Going to 13 sprockets allows Campagnolo to keep the gaps between them reasonably small, while achieving the range and especially the low gears necessary for gravel riding. Having just one chainring keeps shifting simple.

Campagnolo N3W freehub body with adapter

Just as Shimano and SRAM have come up with new freehub body shapes to handle small sprockets, so Campagnolo has introduced the N3W freehub body. It stands for Next 3 Ways and denotes a freehub body that's 4.4mm shorter than Campagnolo's previous body but has the same spline shape. The shorter length allows the nine- and ten-tooth sprockets to hang off the end. The clever bit is that the N3W body is compatible with previous Campagnolo 10, 11- and 12-speed cassettes with an adapter that slots on to the end.

campagnolo ekar c13 chain

To work with the narrow sprocket spacing of the Ekar cassette there's an Ekar 13-speed chain which is 0.25mm narrower than Campagnolo's 12-speed chains. You can join it either with a snap-off connector pin or a C-Link, Campagnolo's version of the ubiquitous two-part joining link.

2021 Campagnolo Ekar 13-speed gravel groupset - rear mech.jpg

To shift the chain across that huge sprocket range, the Ekar rear derailleur incorporates a feature Campagnolo calls a 2D parallelogram trajectory that keeps the top jockey close to the sprockets, whether it's on that tiny 9-toother or the 44-tooth sprocket. A clutch helps stop the chain from bouncing around on rough terrain and can be locked out for easy wheel removal.

2021 Campagnolo Ekar 13-speed gravel groupset - crank.jpg

The single-ring carbon fibre Ekar chainset is available with 38, 40, 42 and 44-tooth chainrings and in 165, 170, 172.5 and 175mm lengths. You can change the chainring with the cranks on the bike for easy tweaking of gearing. A new axle and bottom bracket design that Campagnolo calls ProTech means the Ultra-Torque style semi-axles are joined with a single bolt while the outboard bearings are protected from the elements by multiple seals.

2021 Campagnolo Ekar 13-speed gravel groupset - shifter 2.jpg

The Ergopower shift/brake levers can shift up to three sprockets at a time when moving up the cassette, and single jumps when shifting to smaller sprockets. A new C-shaped upshift lever makes it easier to reach from drops or tops.

On the braking side, the Ergopower levers' hydraulic cylinders actuate calipers with a new external shape but internals shared with other Campagnolo disc brakes. Campagnolo says the DB310 organic pads have improved wear resistance as well as high stopping power.

Buy if: You want the most advanced 1X system around

We're really impressed with Ekar and we could carry on about it at great length. In fact we already have:

> Read our full review of the Campagnolo Ekar 13-speed groupset

Campagnolo Super Record Wireless

Campagnolo Super Record Wireless May 2023

RRP: £4,499

This wireless groupset is Campagnolo's latest addition to the range, and it replaces the fourth iteration of the wired Super Record EPS groupset.

The launch of Super Record Wireless is quite a departure from the rest of the Campagnolo range, because the famous thumb shifters are gone, replaced by paddles that shift both up and down behind the brake levers. Of course, there are also no shifting wires for the first time on a Campag groupset as the name suggests. 

This means the shifters have been fully re-designed, resulting in a sleek but ergonomic shape and shifting technology quite akin to that of Shimano Di2 - and the functions of the levers are of course fully customisable. 

The shifters are powered by coin batteries, and the front and rear derailleurs each get their juice from re-chargeable batteries that are not interchangeable. The batteries detach from the derailleurs and can be charged either on or off the bike with a cable. 

2023 Campag super record wireless shifters

Super Record Wireless also introduces new gearing ratios, with four chainring options: 50-34, 48-32 and 45-29, and four crank lengths: 165, 170, 172.5 and 175mm. The Q-factor has also widened compared to Super Record EPS, now measuring 147.5mm.

2023 Campagnolo Super Record Wireless shifters

Super Record Wireless is utilising Campagnolo's N3W freehub technology, and the compatible cassettes are available with 10-25t, 10-27t and 10-29t options. The wireless groupset is the first time we've seen a modern Campagnolo cassette with a 10-tooth smallest cog.

2023 Campagnolo Super Record Wireless hero

Because this is a top-of-the-range groupset, it comes with premium materials, and a premium price. The axle on the carbon crankset is made of titanium, and features a dust-proof PRO-TECH patented external protective seal. The bolt circle diameter (BCD) of the chainrings has been changed, with the chainring bolts now having a circle diameter of 121/88 - meaning that the previous Super Record chainrings will be incompatible with this modernised groupset. 

Buy if: You want the best of the best and are not afraid of the price. 

> Read all about the launch of Campagnolo Super Record Wireless

Campagnolo Record  and Super Record 12-speed 

campag_cassette_2.jpg

RRPs
Campagnolo Record, rim brakes: £1,750
Campagnolo Record, disc brakes: £2,138
Campagnolo Super Record, rim brakes: £2,615
Campagnolo Super Record, disc brakes: £2,856

Market prices
Buy Campagnolo Record with rim brakes from £1,592.99

Buy Campagnolo Record with disc brakes for £1,699.00
Buy Campagnolo Super Record with rim brakes from £2,199.99

Buy Campagnolo Super Record with disc brakes for £1,999.99

In the spring of 2018, Campagnolo became the first bike component manufacturer to launch a groupset for road bikes with 12 sprockets and double chainrings. It took a year for SRAM to catch up, and Shimano finally went 12-speed for road in the summer of 2021.

For the 12-speed systems Campagnolo announced all-new chainsets, front and rear derailleurs, rim and disc brakes, and shift/brake levers. The 12-speed kit is compatible with older 11-speed Campag wheels and frames, so if you're still running 11-speed Campagnolo and want to upgrade to its latest, 12-speed mechanical groupsets, the option is there. That means Campagnolo crammed 12 sprockets into the space previously occupied by 11 with this groupset launch, and made the chain appropriately thinner.

campag_12_super_record_crankset.jpg

There are just three cassette options: 11-29, 11-32 and 11-34. The gaps between gears are small, so Campagnolo reasons you might as well have an emergency bail-out gear or two. Racing cyclists have long chosen smooth gear transitions instead of gear range, but when you have 12 sprockets you no longer need to make that choice.

There’s also just one rear derailleur, rather than the usual pair of derailleurs for narrow- and wide-range sprockets. The chainsets are available in four crank lengths (165mm, 170mm, 172.5mm and 175mm) and three chainring combinations (50/34, 53/39 and 52/36).

There are many more clever details to the 12-speed Record and Super Record groups, like adjustable brake lever reach, magnetic ‘springs’ in the disc brake calipers and a rear derailleur design that more accurately tracks the sprockets than previous iterations of Record and Super Record.

Buy if: You're a Campagnolo fan and prefer the feel of a mechanical groupset

Read all about the 12-speed Campagnolo Record and Super Record mechanical groupsets.

Campagnolo Chorus 12-speed

Chorus-white

RRPs
Chorus 12-speed, rim brakes: £1,120
Chorus 12-speed, disc brakes: £1,597

Market prices
Buy Campagnolo Chorus, rim brakes: from £999.99
Buy Campagnolo Chorus, disc brakes: from £1,199.99

Campagnolo's Chorus groupset, which is now technically the 'entry-level' road gruppo in its latest range, trickles the 12-sprocket transmission of Super Record and Record down to a level where a few more of us might just be able to afford it. And in a welcome move for us ordinary mortals, Chorus 12 saw the introduction of a 48/32 chainset and 11-34 cassette for a wider gear range than Campagnolo ever previously offered.

CH-guarnitura-2020

The components look very similar to the 12-speed mechanical Super Record and Record parts, with differences in materials allowing for lower prices. The disc brake calipers and rotors are the same as those on Campagnolo's more expensive groupsets. 

As well as the 48/32 chainset, there's a traditional 50/34 compact and a 52/36 semi-compact, but no 53/39 option.

CH-cambio-2020

Where the Record and Super Record derailleurs shave weight and drive up the price with extensive use of carbon fibre and titanium, the Chorus front derailleur is steel and aluminium, and the rear derailleur has some carbon fibre-reinforced polymer parts, but is mostly aluminium and steel. As with Record 12 and Super Record 12, there's just one derailleur for all the available cassette options.

Casette options are 11-29 and 11-32 that were introduced with the Record 12 groupsets, plus that 11-34. All three cassettes have the same range across the seven smallest sprockets, and a 19-toother in the next position. From there they go 21/23/26/29, 22/25/28/32 and 22/25/29/34.

Sprocket25-29-34-2020

The Chorus 12-speed chain has solid pins instead of the Super record chain's hollow pins. That adds a few grams; Campagnolo says it's 13g heavier.

The dual-pivot Chorus Skeleton rim brakes look very similar to the previous version, but are actually slightly heavier (318g v 302g) which implies they've been beefed up a touch for better stopping. Chorus 12-speed uses the same disc brake calipers as Record and Super Record, but the disc rotors are steel. 

There's still no electronic version of Chorus yet, but Campagnolo told us it was inevitable when the latest mechanical Chorus was revealed in 2019.

Buy if: You want a value-for-money 12-speed groupset.

> Read more about Campagnolo Chorus here

Retired Campagnolo groupsets

Campagnolo components tend to persist in the retail channel long after they've been replaced in the range by new models - although that is not always the case. Campagnolo's durability is legendary too, so you may well encounter older Campag parts on second-hand bikes. Here's a mini-guide to more recent superseded Campagnolo groupsets.

Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12-speed (v4)

Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12-speed

RRPs
Super Record EPS 12-speed, rim brakes: £3,800
Super Record EPS 12-speed, disc brakes: £4,108

This 2018 model used to be Campagnolo's top electronic gruppo - until the wireless version replaced it in May 2023. Hot on the heels of SRAM's wireless 12-speed eTap AXS electronic groupset, the Super Record EPS came in disc and rim brake versions and held the crown for the most expensive production groupset you could buy at over £4,000.  

campagnolo super record 12 crankset

Most of the groupset's features are shared with the mechanical 12-speed Super Record groupset, such as the identical chainsets and cassettes.

This groupset features a junction box that can replace a bar end on your handlebar, or be placed inside the downtube on some bike models, tidying up the cabling and allowing the rider to see the charge status more easily. 

Campagnolo said the Super Record EPS front derailleur had the most powerful motor of any electronic front derailleur at launch. Out back, the rear derailleur replicates the mechanical version's 45-degree movement along the sprockets, 12-tooth jockey wheels and increased wrap around the sprockets, which Campagnolo calls 3D Embrace.

Campagnolo new components 2017 2 - 8.jpg

Super Record EPS v4 uses the same disc brake calipers Campagnolo announced in 2017. Campagnolo was the last of the big three component manufacturers to announce and ship disc brakes, but waiting paid off as all Campag groupsets with disc brakes since seem to have avoided problems like the reliability issues of SRAM's early discs, or the ugliness of Shimano's first-generation levers. Launching the brakes, Campagnolo marketing and communications director Lorenzo Taxis said: “We are the last company in the peloton to launch disc brakes, so we need to be the best.”

 

Super Record EPS v4 is discontinued and isn't available to buy online as a complete groupset at the time of writing; however, you might be able to get good deals on full bikes equipped with this iteration of Super Record, and there are still individual components available with some retailers. 

Buy if: You want electronic Campagnolo shifting but don't mind wires

Read more: Campagnolo launches Super Record EPS 12 Speed groupset

Campagnolo Centaur 11-speed

RRPs: Black £539.33 Silver £571.10

Buy Campagnolo Centaur from £499.99

Campagnolo Centaur group.jpg

Centaur – Campagnolo's attempt at a Shimano 105 killer – was gradually beginning to appear on bikes a few years ago, but it's now been quietly dropped from Campag's range. One criticism we heard at launch was that the black finish of the parts weren't the prettiest. Here's a look at the silver versions, which cost a bit more but we suspect will appeal more to old-school Campagnolo fans.

Campagnolo Centaur chainset silver

To suit the kind of riders this groupset is aimed at, just 50/34 and 52/36 sizes are offered. The cranks use the two-part Ultra-Torque axle previously only seen on high-end Campagnolo cranks.

Campagnolo Centaur Ergopowers silver

The Centaur ErgoPower units follow the same overall design pattern as Campagnolo's other midrange brake/shift levers, with a dropped inboard lever so you can shift from the drops.

Campagnolo Centaur 11-32 sprockets

Centaur came with Campagnolo's first 11-speed 11-32 cassette, providing a bigger gear range for riders who want more help on hills.

Buy if: You want the most affordable Campagnolo groupset currently available to buy

tifosi_ss26_disc_potenza_-_crank.jpg
RIP Potenza, it was brief but fun!

Because of the legendary durability of Campagnolo groupsets as we referenced earlier, you might still find parts and even full gruppos second-hand from even further back in Campagnolo's recent history:

Campagnolo Super Record EPS 11-speed and Super Record mechanical 11-speed, Campagnolo Potenza 11-speed, Campagnolo Chorus EPS 11-speed and Campagnolo Veloce 10-speed can all still be found and come highly recommended by us; so if you're a Campagnolo fan and can't stretch to the latest and greatest the Italians have to offer, you won't be disappointed with a bike dressed with any of these groupsets. Just be aware that spare parts will be harder to come by, and potentially quite expensive...

For more info go to www.campagnolo.com

Explore the complete archive of groupset reviews on road.cc

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Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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5 comments

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Julien1A | 5 months ago
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Campagnolo Centaur is back on Campagnolo website for 2024!

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matthewn5 replied to Julien1A | 3 months ago
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bobrayner | 1 year ago
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What is the new Super Record BCD? Is it the same as the new BCD they invented for Ekar, or is it yet another incompatible one?

A lot of people on the internet will gripe about price, but it is what it is, Campagnolo have high operating costs and the only way for them to keep on selling groupsets longer-term is to charge a lot of money for them and rely on the prestige brand history.

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Jack Sexty replied to bobrayner | 1 year ago
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121/88 for new Super Record. I think the outer for Ekar is 123 so not compatible with that or previous Super Record either. 

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matthewn5 replied to Jack Sexty | 1 year ago
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The BCD changed only to accommodate the smaller chainrings on the latest chainsets. I presume as it's 12 speed, you could use an older chainset if you still wanted huge time trial gear ratios like 53x9?

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