What's Cool In Road Cycling

Campagnolo Shocks 12 and Launches WTO Disco

Campagnolo Launch their tip-top Super Record 12 speed EPS Group as well as a new version of their range topping WTO Tubeless Aero Disc wheels in the hills of Girona Spain.

It’s not every day that someone hands you a full-on team bike, right in the same hills around Girona that the Movistar team are training on…  So that’s all of your mechanical excuses yanked out from under you before you ever turn a crank.

Then toss in former world Champ Alessandro Ballan and some members of the current Movistar team actually rolling in the group and you have that combination of no excuses tied to no possible way to match professional power.  But that’s all well and good as it does allow you to comfortably ride without any misconception of competition, while getting a leg over Campagnolo’s newly Launched Super Record EPS…

The heart of 12 speed remains the same here… A very good couple of cassette ratios (11-29 and 11-32) that both give you seamless single tooth jumps for the first 7 gears, where that close ratio really matters.

These cassettes are treated to add wear resistance and the top 6 gears are machined together in 3 gear clusters to max the stiffness and spread the load on the wheel freehub body. (And these 12 speeds fit on your current 11 speed Campy spacing…)

The Cranks are also unchanged and feature the 4 arm direct mount system for each chainring, which allows the rings to be stiffer as there is no long reach to the fasteners. This also allows ONE CRANK to hold 53-39, 52-36 and 50-34 ratios. (And these ratios each get custom machined tooth profiles, ramping and pick up points specific to each ratio.)

The rings also get a reinforcing brace that adds to big ring stiffness as well as looking absolutely beautiful.

And that beauty isn’t just skin deep… I’ve read a few misreports of the beautiful “clear coat” for these cranks and that’s not the case.  Campagnolo’s molding tech is so tight now that they can use UV resistant resin and have the cranks come straight from the mold with a finish that other manufacturers can’t match even with added sanding and clear coating. 

Motor power is at the heart of performance for the front and rear mechs. The EPS motors offer substantial torque to go along with their precision and shifting under load gave me absolutely no issues whatever.

The Rear mech looks more like it were put together by Ferrari’s Formula 1 team than it does a bike part and it’s function is improved across the board from the already very good EPS 11. The precision is here, and the full redesign features different geometry (that allows it to perform equally well for both the 29 and 32 ratio cassettes.

There is also a better return spring for the rear mech that damps vibes and chatter and ensures that position is maintained to improve the overall integrity.

The larger jockey wheels roll easier but the larger benefit here is the redesigned geometry that will not only wrap the chain further around the cassette but also bring the bottom jockey wheel closer to the cassette. All of this engages more teeth, spreading the power load over a larger surface area and putting less stress on the chain and cassette.

The jockey wheel tooth profiles are also different… larger teeth up top to maintain precision and more rounded and shorter profile down low to minimize drag, wear and noise when the chain line is pushed to limits.

The Front mech’s function is spot on, with a stiffer cage to take on the power in the front EPS motor.

The shifting here is also bang-on and the front mech self adjusts as you go up and down the cassette, never once giving a hint of sound or rub as I flubbed my gears in a hopeless attempt to stay within sight of our group (and the swarm of other pro’s that call this area home).

The levers are fairly close to the older ergonomics. The Disc levers…

… are a near identical match to the mechanical levers…

With the disc lever shape being so pleasing with that bit of extra real estate that I actually prefer the slight bulge as it gives me a few more hand placement options.

Campagnolo did put a bit of additional padding into the lever hoods, and this was a good thing on some of the rougher sections. It doesn’t make for a “fat” hood and it’s not “squishy”, it just gives a bit better vibe damping.

ONE LEVER – ONE ACTION (plus) is still the case with EPS. The brake lever brakes, the downshift lever downshifts and the up-shift lever upshifts… BUT

With the My Campy App, you can program a whole range of things…

Loads of options here to change the shifting character and make the lever switches do different things but I’ll give you one extreme example… I have a friend that has what I guess you could call a disability (though he simply kicks ass and I don’t even notice it) and only has one fully functional and normally proportioned arm. In his case, shifting has always been a hassle as he can’t reach and operate both levers. With My Campy and EPS, He can now program all of the shifting on one lever… Up and down shifting the rear end normally using the current levers AND operating the front derailleur with the Mode Button!  While this is an extreme example, there is A LOT of flexibility built into this system.

These levers are also adjustable for reach AND they’re also adjustable for modulation and free reach, effectively adjusting the modulation and brake force applied to the rotor through the squeeze of the lever.

The Power House?

The Power unit was already so long-lasting that you could go months without charging, but this gets a 10% extension in life. The unit also gets a little longer and is a bit more mounting friendly for both frames and seat-posts.

The interfaces get updates here as well, starting with a refined standard stem mount…

There is now an internal wire bar-end option that is much cleaner than the standard stem box…

AND there is a frame box for companies willing to design the opening for EPS integration that is perhaps the cleanest installation of all…

All go, but ready to slow…

The Brakes for Super Record EPS come in both rim (single post and direct mount) and disc. For this round, we’ll concentrate on the discs as Campagnolo have made some running changes that will also trickle down to their other group tiers…

The calipers are forged Aluminum housings and that remains the same, but there are some tweaks with the internals and pads that up the game (and I think Campy’s discs were already class-leading).

The first change is the addition of a mechanical Spring to what was a Magnetic return (when you let off the brakes, pulling the pads away from the rotors).

The old magnetic-only return was smooth and has run well, but Campagnolo listened to the public and there were those that wanted a more positive push back. The only difference I feel is a very slightly more positive return at the levers.

This return position (the gap between the pads and the rotor) is also the current best in industry at 0.4 MM clearance. That’s a small amount, but a big deal as rotor rub is such a giant (and pervasive) pain in the ass with disc set up.

Another change is that Campy have changed the shape of the pad carrier backing plate, using a steel unit with some slight arches that are both more rigid, heat resistant and heat shedding.

The pad itself has visible wear indicators and also gets a ramped shape that makes wheel changes faster and less likely to cause damage.

The brake tweaks are not big but, as I mentioned, they were already class leading and Campy have the ability to make a couple of steps that improve the ease of use and function of already VERY good kit.

The overall impression is an exceptionally accurate and well functioning group.  The tactile feedback with Campy is more substantial than both SRAM and Shimano and while there are still wires here, the precision and refinement of the total system is very good.  The lever actions, adjustability, and programmability all make for excellent performance worthy of the Super Record title.  The cranks are stiff and the available ranges plug into all but the most extreme scenarios.  The updated battery life and thinner size should make for easier installations and the optional interface units also clean things up considerably.   Campagnolo already had a disc brake with class leading modulation and silence and they added to that with better spacing/pad separation and lever feel. This is all what you’d expect out of a Campagnolo group with the tip of the spear title of Super Record.  Campagnolo has always said that Super Record doesn’t have a level rival at SRAM or Shimano and this latest group has that special look and feel.

WTO Go 45 and Disc
Campy launched WTO wheels last year and this year, they add a 45mm depth pair AND Disc compatibility

As a refresher, WTO (Wind Tunnel Optimized) are Campagnolo’s next gen wheel tech, going a step beyond the already bedrock solid / light and aero Bora’s… This is a more aero profile, designed to maximize efficiency with today’s must have performance profile tires at 25 and 28mm.

Right off the bat, these are just beautiful wheels.

And again, like their stable mates (The SR EPS Cranks, front and rear derailleurs), Campagnolo pop these straight out of the mold and this isn’t a clear coat!

I know I’m harping a little here, but it actually speaks to the quality of the part and production process. Campagnolo have dialed in their molding pressures, temps and resin flow to the same degree that a lot of Formula 1 teams have (actually, Campy’s parts are cleaner and have a better surface finish than a lot of what F1 does). Campagnolo also use a UV resistant resin for the wheels and don’t require the same coating that others do… even a lot of the matte finish wheels out there get a coating for smoothness and UV resisting.

Point is… This is VERY high quality materials and molding to produce a finish like this…

You’ll notice no brake surface here, as these are disc hoops… Campy also to a rim brake version that gets their full monty of brake track tech as well, and just like Campy’s Bora’s (along with Campy’s brake pads) the Rim brake versions stopping power and modulation are at the top of the pile along with hoops like Zipp’s newest NSW rim brake wheels.

You’ll also note, no spoke holes…

These are tubeless ready wheels with a brake track that I’ve heard is very easy to seat a bead to. The design of the bead hooks and rim bed allow for easy bead movement into the hook and good retention once there.

The rims themselves are also not drilled…

The holes here are molded in…

The hubs are Campy’s own and roll on CULT Ceramics. Campy claim very low drag, but as I don’t fly around the world with a research lab in my pack, all I can do is say that they spin (and spin and spin) for a VERY long time…

The production set of 60 depth wheels that I’ve played with spin longer than every other wheel in the house and by a good bit. None of that is science (and a spinning wheel isn’t a loaded / weighted system) but these are very tight, no-slop hubs yet they seem to be more loose than everything else I own. And if their durability is anything like Bora’s, these are YEARS-LONG performers that won’t shy from hard use.

At some point, I hope to have a set of these under me rolling round. Till then, I’ll just lust after them like most everyone else.

Both the EPS and WTO sets should be available shortly.

For more on these products you can hit Campagnolo at: https://www.campagnolo.com/US/en

Have Fun,

Charles Manantan
[email protected]

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