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At Long-Last Campagnolo Launches Disc Brake Groupsets

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After months of only tacit details and spurious images whirling about the cycling industry, Campagnolo has at long-last cracked the lid on its latest disc brake equipped groupsets.

Indeed, Campagnolo finally announced today, the launch of its long-awaited Disc Brake component line. To wit:

“By placing more emphasis on maintaining integrity and ensuring Campagnolo quality and less priority on being “first to market” the Italian company has concentrated solely on quality while ignoring the calendar and accepting none of the compromises associated with working in haste. Extensive research and development as well as countless hours and kilometers by professional athletes were put into the Disc Brake Project and the time has come to show off the products that have earned the prestigious title of “Campagnolo Corretto”. While the Disk Brake Project doesn’t mark the company’s first foray into hydraulic stopping power, having developed performance solutions for motorcycles a few decades ago, the new cycling-specific project required an entirely new area comprised of both new talent and seasoned engineering veterans within the Campy Tech Lab. In a collaboration with Magura, this new and highly specialized engineering wing of the Italian Campagnolo facility set forth to apply Campagnolo engineering expertise to the German brand’s existing hydraulic braking technology in order to develop a road disk brake solution that is truly worthy of the Campagnolo brand name. Magura’s expertise in hydraulic functionality proved to be fundamental in terms of guaranteeing the best possible functionality while incorporating both Campagnolo designs and technical input. To meet standards of ergonomy, performance, reliability in addition to new design and safety aspects developed by the Campy Tech Lab, Campagnolo engineers spent months developing, prototyping and modifying version after version leading up to today’s finished product. Despite taking advantage of an industry icons hydraulic expertise, the Campagnolo engineering staff played a leading and active role in the development and modification of each and every single component within every piece of the Disc Brake Project range, making the new DB line a veritable Campagnolo product 100%. The Campagnolo performance standard is now available for disc brakes and no matter if you choose mechanical or electronic shifting, there is now a Campagnolo disc brake solution for your cycling needs.”

According to Campagnolo, their new disc brake system goes by the name of H11 and is available in both EPS and mechanical versions and comes complete with carbon fiber brake levers on both versions.

The mid-range offering comes by way of the Potenza 11 ergopower groupset, which comes equipped with aluminum brake levers and contains internals specifically designed for the Potenza’s 11-speed mechanical transmission.

Campagnolo’s ergopower as long been a respected leader in the industry for its  ergonomics, with the disc brake version being designed in such a way that both ergonomics and aesthetics remained as faithful to the design of the brand’s rim-brake groupsets as possible.

To house the hydraulic cylinder, the internals were completely redesigned to make room for the additional hardware. Yet, when compared to the company’s current rim brake system, the new disc brake versions are a mere 8mm taller, making this an excellent solution that requires zero modifications to work with Campagnolo’s current ergonomics.

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Not only were the ergonomics not compromised to make a disc brake specific ergopower, but they were also improved says Campagnolo. For example, the additional 8 mm, while discrete in stature, are just enough to offer an additional position atop the brake hoods, while the brake levers themselves maintained their standard double curve structure, albeit with a slightly modified shape to include an outward curve at the lower extremity in order to follow modern handlebar design.

In addition to the “static” ergonomics, the Campagnolo disc brake ergopower offers customizable ergonomics by using a simple 2.5mm allen key, wherein the Adjustable Modulation System, or AMS, offers two positions (long and short) which allows the rider to set his or her preferred free stroke. A separate dial commands reach adjustment and micro-settings allow the rider to choose down to the millimeter where he or she would like the initial lever position.

In addition, the master cylinder housed inside the command is universal across the entire range of Campagnolo disc brake ergopower models. The bleeding port is found at the top of the ergopower in order to ensure faster and more efficient bleeding operation and the system uses a non-toxic and environmentally friendly low viscosity mineral oil. Interaction with the transmission remains the same as both mechanic and electronic versions maintain the tried and true “one lever, one action” philosophy of control layout. As the moving parts of the transmission remain the same, so does the interaction to carry out shifting. The Ultra-Shift technology found in the mechanic version and Multishift technology on its EPS also allows the rider to shift multiple gears in one single action.

Campagnolo says, “loyal Campagnolo riders who choose to ride disc brakes will immediately adjust to the new groupset as shifting input has not been altered in any way. The ergopower is capable of offering a fantastic and surefooted grip, offering control no matter what position your hands may find themselves in during the ride. However, great controls must be connected to equally potent and reliable brakes to offer fantastic performance.”

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The forged aluminum Campagnolo disc brake calipers were designed in a flat mount configuration in order to be compatible with all flat mount frames and forks currently available, without the need for any converter or adaptor. Moreover, the lack of adaptors make for increased rigidity and improved aesthetics without superfluous material. Also, by offering 160mm front and both 160 and 140mm calipers for the rear, cyclists may choose the perfect configuration for their frame.

Furthermore, the calipers themselves are mounted using only two screws with several screw length options available to ensure perfect compatibility with any frame.

By using only two screws, Campagnolo was able to eliminate the need for additional fasteners, thus reducing weight and offering a stronger construction with easy access for inspecting and servicing the hardware.

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The lightweight and powerful 22mm pistons are made from phenolic resin, chosen for its thermal insulation qualities, to provide ample power transfer from lever to pad, wherein the design of the brake incorporates a magnetic spring on the pistons which eliminates the need for mechanical springs between the pads and guarantees a faster return as well.

“The roll-back, or return, ensures smooth and efficient pedaling while not braking and the 0,4mm-0,6mm distance”, says Campagnolo.  

According to Campagnolo, the most critical part of braking performance occurs at the contact points, so they were keen to design their pad/rotor interface in such a way as not to sacrifice anything in terms of reliability and safety. In addition, the organic resin pad compound is extremely resistant to heat and provides uniform and consistent braking performance despite varied temperature or climatic conditions, so a pad capable of performing under extremely elevated temperatures must be mounted to an equally resistant frame in order to ensure the unit retains its integrity under al riding conditions. Therefore, the frame of the disc brakes are made of steel in order to ensure optimum composure.

Aside from performance and safety, maintenance was also an important factor in the design, as a visible wear indicator was included in the pad construction. Also, wheel changes are also simplified as the special design on the Campagnolo disc brake pad is shaped in a way that guides the disc into position.

Additionally, Camapgnolo recognized that a disc brake system cannot be complete without equally high performance rotors. Therefore, when it came developing professional grade disc rotors, the key was to develop safety alongside performance, incorporating maximum resistance to heat. So, the AFS compatible Campagnolo rotors were given rounded external edges that not only dissipate heat in a safe and uniform manner, but are able to guarantee performance in situations of high heat that can compromise disc brakes. 

Also, as the geometries and spacing found on disc brake frames differ considerably, the design of the groupset’s “chainline” must take these differences into account in order to ensure optimum compatibility. Therefore, Campagnolo engineers  developed the H11 crankset to match perfectly with Super Record, Record and Chorus groupsets, as well as the new Potenza crankset to ensure crisp, clean and precise shifting across all groupsets that’s on par with their traditional caliper brake counterparts. 

Campagnolo adds, “This new crankset design, in both H11 and Potenza 11 versions, ensures excellent precision for 142mm rear spacing and does so without altering the Q factor.”

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Lastly, Campagnolo claims its new disc brake groupsets sets a new performance standard as it decelerates at anywhere from 23% to 26% faster during wet conditions, and anywhere from 4% to 55% faster in dry conditions, while requiring less hand force than mechanical brakes. To wit:

“It achieves this performance while assuring complete safety and the system is fully capable of withstanding heat and maintaining performance in situations that cause failure in certain models of the competition. The Campagnolo disc brake components offer not only extreme performance, Campagnolo reliability and cutting edge technology in a race winning package but do so in an industry leading lightweight construction.”

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Road disc will become available in the aftermarket at the end of May/early June, with the first offering in Potenza. 

Pricing starts at $1,610 for Potenza disc brake. Chorus disc brake will retail for $2,135. Record disc brake is $2,385. Super Record disc brake is $2,610. H11 will also be offered on Campy’s electronic groupsets, with Super Record EPS disc brake retailing for $4,230 and Record EPS disc brake for $3,835.

 

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