Searching for the perfect niche to square-off with Shimano’s popular Ultegra, Campagnolo unveiled its new 11-speed Potenza mechanical groupset today.
“Potenza is the Italian word for power, intensity and strength, and that’s what we try to bring to the groupset market,” said Joshua Riddle, Campagnolo’s Press Manager. “It’a s very powerful group that’s pegged right in the mid-range.”
“We started with the Revolution 11+ groupsets that we introduced last year [updated mechanical versions of Super Record, Record and Chorus] and we’ve trickled the technology down to every single Potenza component, so you get Tour-winning performance in a more accessible groupset,” Riddle added.
“This is the top-end groupset in aluminium based products. It’s going to be pegged with Ultegra but with a little bit more soul!”
Campy lovers will rejoice, knowing that the new Potenza shares many of the attributes as its more expensive siblings, albeit sans the carbon fiber and flashy markings.
The Potenza groupset is made primarily from aluminum, and features a black anodized finished throughout.
The rear derailleur utilizes what Campagnolo calls “embrace technology”, which limits the rotation of the rear derailleur and moves it closer to the cassette, thus always engaging the chain with one or two more teeth on the cassette, to yield better power transfer and less wear on the chain and cassette.
But, perhaps even more importantly, the rear derailleur has been designed to accommodate larger cassettes ranging from 29t to 32t – based on the option of either a short or long cage.
The Potenza front derailleur features a similar shape to the higher end Campagnolo groupsets. However, it partakes of a mix of both aluminum and a one piece steel cage, probably as a way of keeping costs down.
But looks aside, Campagnolo says the front derailleur offers the same shifting performance as its more expensive groupos, and it trumps Ultegra in terms of smooth shfting.
To wit, “Potenza offers 10 per cent smoother shifting fluidity compared to Shimano Ultegra.”
As far as the shifters are concerned, they too are made from aluminum, and featured a new rounded profile for added comfort.
However, Campagnolo says, the real attributes lie under the hood, with revamped internal mechanisms that reduce the amount of effort required in going from the inner chainring to the outer chainring.
The shifters also inherit the same multi shift function as the upper level groupsets, which allows gears to be shifted up to three at a time.
At the heart of the Potenza groupset lies a new crankset, which Campagnolo claims is the stiffest on the market.
Aside from the obvious difference that the Potenza crankset is made from forged aluminum, aesthetically there’s little that sets it apart from the more expensive Campagnolo groupsets.
Indeed, it features the same four-arm spider design as its more expensive siblings, Super Record, Record, and Chorus, to include the same selection of chainring configurations of – 53/39t, 52/36t and 50/34t.
In addition, the Potenza crankset gets the same steel Power Torque + axle, along with a new internal mechanism that makes for easier removal.
Going back to the issue of cassettes, the Potenza offers a selection that ranges between 11-25, 11-27t, 11-29t, 12-27th, and with the large cage rear derailleur, 11-32t. Moreover, with the exception of the 11-32t, which requires a long cage rear derailleur, they’re compatible with the rest of the Campagnolo groupsets.
When it comes to braking, the Potenza brakes offer the same classic Campagnolo design that Campy adherents have come to admire over the years; namely, their trademark skeleton structure.
In addition, Campagnolo has also developed a new brake compound, which they say results in better braking performance and decreased rim and pad wear.
As far as availability and pricing are concerned, Campagnolo says the Potenza will be ready “fairly soon”. However, they have yet to provide exact details on pricing.
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