What's Cool In Road Cycling

Eurobike’16 #5: Campagnolo & Bianchi

Campagnolo and Bianchi are two top Italian iconic component and bike manufacturers and so a visit to their Eurobike stands was a must. Erin Berard takes a look at the new Campagnolo Potenza Groupset and Zonda wheels. Then there is the beauty of the Bianchi Oltre XR4 CV and Aquila CV TT/Triathlon bikes to drool over.

 

Eurobike would not be complete without a visit to legendary Campagnolo. 2017 marks yet another historic milestone for Campagnolo as it enters the world of road disc wheels.

The Zonda disc brake wheelset is not only more reactive compared to the rim brake version but is also 25g lighter than its closest competitor. The new disc brake version of the Zonda features an asymmetric rim profile (26-28mm) allowing for the better balancing of spoke tensions between the drive and non-drive side. Its milled rim machining enables the reduction of peripheral weight of the rim making the wheel more reactive – something some riders will notice when accelerating. It also benefits from Campy’s advanced features found on rim brake models, such as RDB – Rim Dynamic Balance (balancing of gasket weight with similar weight on the exact opposite side) and MoMag (external rim profile free of holes).

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The Zonda’s spokes are another feature Campy feels really sets them apart. The wheelset uses 21 spokes in stainless steel with their exclusive Mega-G3 spoke lacing pattern (7 sets of 3) to balance the spoke tensions on both sides of the wheel.

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Previously only applied to the rear wheel, this good looking spoke pattern now benefits the front wheel as well and compensates for the extreme forces applied to only the brake side of the wheel. Additionally, black anodized self-locking nipples outside the rim make maintenance easy.

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The aluminum hub features cup and cone bearings (offering easy adjustment, reduced bearing play, and optimal contact angle), new adjusting locking with micro-setting tech (preventing creation of any play) and two different rotor interfaces (6 bolt and AFS). The front hub is compatible with both thru axle and quick-release-style forks. The rear hub is offered with a choice of 142mm thru axle style or 135mm quick release types. This pair weigh in at 1675g (Clincher), available in 2017.

 

Next on display was the Potenza Gruppo, announced earlier this year on PEZ, but shiny and on display at Eurobike was an all silver polish version. Ultimate Italian style… meaning strength or power in Italian, Potenza 11 fits between Athena and the higher end components of the Chorus, Record and Super Record series.

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Here’s a quick overview of the key features:

Shifters: Fast and precise, the Potenza 11’s Power-Shift™ multi-shifting technology allowing you to upshift up to 3 gears at a time or downshift by one with just a single action. The internal mechanism underlying the Power-Shift function has been modified and improved for not only increased performance but also durability. Ergopower™ shifters maintain the fantastic ergonomics of the entire Campagnolo 11 speed line, including the easy to find under load down-shift lever (ideal for uphill sprints). Better yet, hypoallergenic silicone material hoods offer even better grip and comfort.

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Crankset: Featuring new chainrings with differentiated number of pins depending on the chainring combination allows for optimum engagement of the chain. Constructed from hollow forged aluminum, the Potenza crankset offers high performance at light weight. The left crank includes a built-in extractor, so there is no longer a need for a special tool during removal. With Campagnolo’s Power Torque axle, you have the choice of switching between standard and compact chainrings.

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Front Derailleur: Redesigned inner and outer plates and derailleur body results in reduced weight, enhanced stiffness, and precise shifting.

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Rear Derailleur: The Potenza 11 groupset delivers top-end performance, technology and versatility with its medium cage that works flawlessly with the new 11-32 cassette. Two derailleurs will be available at the same price. The upper body is made from ultra-light techno polymer reinforced with glass fiber while embrace technology allows for better drivetrain function. Enjoy the capability of upshifting up to 3 gears at a time.

Direct Mount Brakes:  Solid structure of the front and rear brake shoe levers allows for better aerodynamic performance. The easy assembly system does not require additional parts to make fast adjustments thanks to easy accessibility and streamlined orientation of screws.

Cassette: Features a new lightweight spider design with a triple sprocket and 8 single sprockets with aluminum spacers.

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Chain: The Potenza groupset uses a Chorus level chain, with a 5.5mm thickness that uses new materials and a special anti-friction treatment to improve fluidity.

Potenza is available now, priced around $800.

 

Campy fans can get ready for a new line of lifestyle gear based on the company’s historical legacy, including the official Campy winged wheel logo created in 1942 and borrowing from former advertising campaigns such as the 1970’s popular “Campagnolo spoken here.”

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Campy history buffs will enjoy the special touches and mementos throughout, including the tag on the polo shirt which tells the story of Tullio Campagnolo’s invention in 1927 of the galletti automatici… automated wingnuts or, as we now know it, the quick release.

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Wine openers feature an exact replica of the chain ring bolts and the same impressive quality componentry as Campy group sets designed for hour record attempts during the 1970’s.

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Check out Campy water bottles, workshop aprons, notebooks, cycling caps, and shields (signs) coming soon to a store near you soon. Visit www.campagnolo.com for more details.

 

BIANCHI
After following the launch of Bianchi’s new Oltre XR4 CV aero bike with Team LottoNL-Jumbo during the Mont Ventoux Stage 12 of this year’s Tour de France, it was time to check out it out in person. Arriving at the Bianchi booth’s ‘death star’ looking graphics gave the impression of entering a set of Star Wars…what were all these Countervail diagrams anyway?

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The Oltre XR4 CV replaces the Oltre XR2 and features Bianchi’s new Countervail Vibration-Cancelling Composite Technology. “Countervail” is tech speak for the special kind of viscoelastic carbon material within the frame’s carbon fibre architecture which Bianchi claims helps cancel up to 80 percent of road vibrations (compared to their standard frame), reduce fatigue, and deliver a smoother and more comfortable ride.

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Increased rider comfort means you can maintain an aero position for longer and a smoother ride means more control at faster speeds. Sure enough, this is space age… Reading the fine print, we spotted the four letters spelling NASA… Countervail has been put to the test and proven in the “extreme conditions of NASA aerospace operations.”

While the Oltre XR4 is Bianchi’s first racing-aero bike offering this space-tested CV, the company already offers it across their other bike line-ups: Infinito CV Endurance, Aquila CV Time-Trial & Triathlon, Specialissima CV Racing/Climbing, and Methanol CV MTB.

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The Oltre XR4 may offer many of the same aerodynamic features and basic frame geometry of its XR2 predecessor yet that’s where the similarities end and you’re now flying down the road thanks to a +20 watt power gain (claims Bianchi). The bike has undergone an extensive list of R&D and performance testing including wind tunnel, racing/feedback by LottoNL-Jumbo pro riders, CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) to predict drag, and something new borrowed from F1 Racing called Flow Visualization. (All you need to know is that they “flew” fluorescent paint over the frame and fork and analyzed trace patterns… serious business.)

Other impressive aero features include a tapered aero headtube that is integrated with an aero handlebar and headset, with two different handlebar top cups for Vision Metron 5D handlebars or conventional stems. The fork has been inspired by the Aquila CV TT/Triathlon bike with a bladed, bent shape and narrow front surface to reduce drag. An unexpected nice surprise is the internal cable routing for mechanical and electronic groupsets. The integrated aero seatpost features a hidden seatpost clamp.

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Interested yet? Models are available with Super Record, Super Record EPS, Chorus, Dura Ace (+MIX and Di2), Ultegra Di2, and Red eTAP gruppos. Even though we’ve talked about the trend of road disc brakes at Eurobike this year, there are no disc brakes on this model, only direct mount rim brakes.

You will have your choice of five colors (grey and red, black and yellow, celeste, celeste and black, and black and celeste) and seven different sizes: 47, 50, 53, 55, 57, 59 and 61 cm. A size 55 weighs 980g. Available now, visit www.bianchi.com for more information.

 

Read PEZ’s Eurobike 2016 coverage:
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Round 4
Round 5

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