The year that Valentino inherited the reigns of Campagnolo marked the beginning of the legendary Italian parts maker’s technological era-and the 11-speed Super Record group bears witness that the son of Tullio Campagnolo, the company’s larger-than-life founder, successfully forged together Campagnolo’s uncompromised dedication to professional racing with the most modern and innovative materials and manufacturing techniques available. Campagnolo guards its secrets by designing and manufacturing every aspect of its Super Record ensemble in-house. To this end, the company has built an extensive carbon fiber facility.
Valentino and Campagnolo understand that the margin between good and great is only achieved when state-of-the-art technology is expressed by people who are passionate about the sport of cycling. When asked about the motivation to completely redesign Campagnolo’s ten-speed Record Group and move up to eleven, Valentino replied: ‘We believe that it would give racers an advantage. We changed every part to increase shifting accuracy and we are confident that we exceeded the performance of ten-speed Record in all aspects-but ultimately, after you have experienced 11-speed Super Record, that is for you to decide.’
SUPER RECORD 11
Campagnolo includes a comprehensive list of components in the Super Record 11 Group. Some items are borrowed from its ten-speed Record ensemble, including internal and low-profile headsets, ProFit pedals, carbon seatpost, and a carbon water bottle cage. The meat of Super Record, however, is its re-sculpted ErgoPower Ultra-Shift control levers, its eleven-speed derailleurs Ultra Torque crankset and drivetrain componentry-and how Campagnolo integrates key peripherals (like the offset spoking of its Hyperon Carbon wheelset) to weave the benefits of 11-Speed into the racing bicycle.
ERGOPOWER ULTRA-SHIFT CONTROL LEVERS
Campagnolo re-sculpted the hoods of its ErgoPower to cause the braking fingers to line up with the downshift paddle, and also contact the brake lever blades in their most advantageous location for braking power. Under the comfortable hoods is a host of titanium parts, including the bar clamps, and molded-in housing channels that can route both shift and brake housings in front of the handlebar, or in the more-common brake housing in back and shift housing in front configuration. Special wedges are supplied that angle the control levers outward for larger hands.
SKELETON BRAKE CALIPERS
The name comes from the triangulated caliper arm design. Campagnolo calipers are among the most rigid and positive feeling brakes in the peloton, and the Super Record Skeleton’s ball bearing caliper pivot, combined with the revised leverage at the brake levers, are noticeably improved. Titanium hardware further minimizes weight, but Campagnolo doesn’t skimp on features that pro racers (and mechanics) require. Wrench flats are retained in the pivot bolts to positively center and secure the calipers to the frame and fork, and there is a micro-centering adjustment screw as well as a fine adjustment feature to set the tension of the brake return spring. The cable adjustment is large and easy to access from the cockpit. Like all modern Campagnolo brakes, the quick release feature is a sliding pin at the lever to allow a rider to open the brake pads without bending to reach for the caliper.
11-SPEED REAR DERAILLEUR
Campagnolo reports that the stiffness of its wide-body Super Record rear derailleur is 150 percent greater than the previous Record model. Showcased by a carbon fiber guide-plate on the jockey cage and a matching carbon outer parallelogram link, the 11-speed changer has reconfigured geometry to better track the narrowly spaced cassette sprockets. The pivot bolt is titanium, as are the main pivots in the parallelogram. The spring-loaded cable adjustment mirrors the design of the Skeleton brakes and is very precise- feeling. Campagnolo chose a composite material for the 11-tooth jockey pulleys that reduces noise and friction. The lower pulley spins on ceramic composite ball bearings, and the upper pulley on a special ceramic bushing. The standard short-cage derailleur can handle up to a 27-tooth cog. Campagnolo’s revised geometry and rigid mechanism can be credited with Super Record’s silent, quick-shifting performance.
Weight: 172-grams (short-cage version)
11-SPEED FRONT DERAILLEUR
Campagnolo’s engineers went wild on the Super Record 11’s front derailleur. Its outer plate is carbon fiber, the inner is aluminum, and there is mention of an anti-friction surface treatment. The forged aluminum ‘M-brace’ parallelogram body is stiffer in order to accelerate shifting, while the tail of the shifting mechanism is widened to facilitate crossover shifts when necessary. The modifications are effective, as Super Record’s front shifting feels instantaneous. Campagnolo redesigned the band clamp to protect carbon fiber seat tubes, while more securely fixing the mechanism to the frame. Campagnolo makes clamp-type derailleurs to fit 32- and 35-millimeter seat tubes.
Weight: 72-grams (braze-on type)
The star of Campagnolo’s eleven-speed show has to be the free-hub cassette. The largest six cogs are titanium and the five remaining are alloy steel. The titanium sprockets are bunched in threes and mounted to an aluminum carrier to save weight. Campagnolo revised the tooth profile and shifting gates on the eleven-speed cogs, which made a measurable improvement over their ten-speed Record shifting. The cogs are coated with an anti-wear treatment. For ten-speed owners, Camp?agnolo’s 11-speed system is compatible with previous freehub spline patterns (**correction: we previously stated it was not compatible). Eleven-cog Super Record cassettes are available in 11×23, 11×25, 12×25 and 12×27 and now a 12×29.
Weight: 177-grams (11 x 23)
Campagnolo’s 11-speed chain is reduced to 5.5 millimeters at its widest point in order to squeeze between all of those cassette sprockets. Hollow pins reduce its weight, and require a special, Campagnolo-designed ‘Ultra Link’ connector that uses a novel riveting tool. The chain’s outer plates are sculpted to miss adjoining sprocket teeth when the rider is cross-chained, and to facilitate shifting. Somehow, all of Campagnolo’s micro-engineering comes together, because it is possible to ride big-ring to small cog or vice versa in a pinch without hearing any unseemly vocalizations from the cogs or derailleurs.
Weight: 242-grams (114 links)
Traditionally, the showcase of every Campagnolo component ensemble is the crankset, and Super Record 11’s follows suit. The carbon crankarm and spider are molded, using a high-pressure process. The omnidirectional ‘confetti’ carbon material is used, which give the arms their unique appearance. The crank is very similar to the Record version, and also uses the innovative ‘Hirth’ joint-a splined interface in the hollow-bottom-bracket axle midway between the right and left arms that allows for a single Allen fixing bolt. The Hirth junction facilitates a narrower crank design at the center of the spider, which adds a significant amount of ankle clearance. The Super Record bottom bracket is an external type with ‘CULT’ (ceramic, ultimate level technology) ceramic composite bearings that are only compatible with Ultra-Torque crank axles. Much effort went into the Super Record chainrings, which have a manipulated tooth profile in addition to machined ramps and shifting pins to ensure that shifts occur on demand. The hard-anodized high-strength aluminum chainrings are fixed with conventional aluminum bolts. Shifting ‘gates’ are configured on the largest chainring with two sections for upshifting and a pair for downshifting. Campagnolo offers the Super Record Ultra-Torque conventional-size crankset in 170, 172.5, 175, 177.5, and 180 millimeter arm lengths and with either 39-52 or 39-53 chainring combinations. The compact version of Campagnolo’s Super Record crankset has 34- to 50-tooth chainrings and is offered with 170, 172.5 and 175-millimeter arms.
Weight: 640-grams (compact)
The founder of Campagnolo competed on a single-speed road bike. Later, when Campagnolo’s three-cog freewheels and crude derailleurs appeared at the Tour de France, they were banned, along with a handful of other gear-changers, as an unfair advantage. After riding Campagnolo’s eleven-speed Super Record, the same might be said.
There is no question that Super Record 11 is intended specifically for competition. There is little need for such closely spaced cassette gearing unless a rider is in close contact with others and performing on the razor’s edge of his anaerobic maximum. At such time, Campagnolo’s eleven-cog cassette becomes a micro-adjustment device which allows the competitor to perfectly match his desired cadence and watt output with the pace that the peloton has set for any given moment. Eleven speed furthers the racer’s advantage by allowing him to push the pace in smaller increments, thus forcing a following competitor to respond to the subtle attack in an unsuitable gear range. Of course, such gamesmanship cannot be effective unless the drivetrain responds instantly and reliably, and such is the magic of Super Record 11.
ERGOPOWER ULTRA-SHIFT CONTROL LEVERS
Ergopower/Ultra-Shift controls are the command centers of Super Record 11. The re-sculpted grips are comfortable from a wide variety of hand positions, and the shape and position of the carbon lever blades allow the fingers to grasp and modulate the brake consistently from the hoods or when down in the drops. Braking feels firm at the lever, and stopping forces are powerful. The pad material generates feedback to the point that one can discriminate between various brands of wheels-sensitivity which greatly enhances descending.
Shifts require a minimal effort, yet there is a defined increment between gear selections that telegraphs exactly when and how many shifts have occurred. Ultra-Shift performs at its peak when riding on the grips; this is the position where road racers spend the most time. On the grips, the thumb is in contact with the up-shift lever and the index and ring fingers fall naturally on the downshift paddle. Super Record 11’s carbon downshift paddle hinges in two planes so it can effortlessly follow the arc of your hand as you call for a gear change. With a maximum of three consecutive downshifts and five consecutive upshifts, there will be few, if any, times when a rider will be caught in the wrong gear and unable to respond to an attack. In the drops, the downshift paddle remains ergonomically in contact with the fingers, but the upshift button is not as easily accessible by the thumb. With practice, the thumb can find its way to the button in a somewhat intuitive manner.
What will surprise most first-time Super Record riders is how silent the transmission is, even when shifting under high-watt efforts. The new rear changer moves across the hybrid titanium and steel cassette sprockets with a subdued; ‘pluck, pluck, pluck…’ and special composite derailleur pulleys run whisper quiet. Front shifting is even less dramatic. We found it possible to shift to almost every crossover gear selection without causing the front derailleur to grind on the chain. The Ergopower lever has a fine-adjustment feature that will silence the extreme crossover options.
Those familiar with the rigid power transfer of Campagnolo’s carbon fiber Record crankset will find the performance of Super Record exactly the same. The high-pressure hollow-formed carbon fiber arms and spider do not creak or transmit unwanted sound from the drivetrain, and the narrow profile afforded by Campagnolo’s two-piece Ultra-Torque bottom bracket arrangement clears just about any shoe or cleat position. While on the subject, Super Record 11’s largest chainring has four shifting sectors-two facilitate upshifts and two for downshifts. Perhaps this was the reason for the silent, quick shifting response from the front derailleur.
YES, YOU NEED THIS
Campagnolo packs a lot of technology into its Super Record 11 ensemble, and much of it deserves mention, but the beauty of Super Record 11 is that, once it is assembled onto a racing bicycle, the components evaporate from the rider’s awareness and become an extension of both body and bicycle. The controls are easy and intuitive to operate and shifting almost happens by itself. Is Super Record 11 perfection? No, but it is dangerously close. We noticed a slightly perceptible lag when shifting across the middle three cassette cogs that could not be adjusted out, and all Campagnolo Ultra-Shift users must adapt to the upshift button in the aero hand position. Once again, Campagnolo anticipates the requirements of professional racers-and Super Record 11 is more than one click ahead of the peloton.