Monday, July 21, 2008

Ten Speeds Are So 2008

Edited by James Huang

Campagnolo will apparently make the jump to an 11-speed cassette for its top three groups which will now include a modern revival of the Super Record nameplate. According to unconfirmed rumors, that extra cog will be squeezed into the same space as the current 10-speed setups.

While this means likely backwards compatibility with existing hubs and wheelsets, it does signal narrower cog spacing and chain widths and a likely subtle adjustment in chainring spacing as well as yet another shifter and derailleur ‘standard' that will surely create some headaches on the retail level. The new chain is also supposedly just 5.5mm wide which raises the obvious concerns regarding drivetrain wear although we all said the same thing when 10-speed was debuted, too. We'll reserve judgment here until we're able to try it ourselves and, for now, will just hope that Campagnolo engineers have done their homework.

There is also speculation on the new lever shape and we can only imagine that it might resemble the curvaceous prototypes we spotted at the Ronde van Vlaanderen back in April. The current shape admittedly works well for most but is getting long in the tooth nonetheless so we won't be surprised to see something new here.

Much as Campagnolo did back in the day with the original Super Record group, the new version is said to feature some performance-enhancing material upgrades. The current Record group is already rife with titanium hardware but Super Record will likely be fitted with ceramic bearings across the board, including the bottom bracket bearings (which still use the current Ultra-Torque system as far as we know), hubs and derailleur pulleys. With Record pricing already at stratospheric levels, one can only imagine how far into the ionosphere Super Record will go.

Those ceramic bearings are also rumored to find their way into updated Bora and Hyperon wheelsets and it sounds as if Campagnolo will (thankfully) jump on the road tubeless bandwagon with two options for 2009. Other groups from Centaur down are also said to be wholly redesigned. Pic 1; prototype super record brifter. Pic 2; prototype electronic rear derailleur

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