Hi, my name is Thomas and I love Campagnolo, which probably makes this the most biased article you’ll ever read about the subject of drivetrains. We just got a brand-new closeout of some choice Italian parts that are about to drop on our website shortly (so keep an eye out), and I got to thinking how few brands in cycling inspire such a devoted following in cycling as Campy.
I have ridden Campy on my personal bikes for years and could probably spend hours waxing philosophic about the heritage, the soul of cycling, the fact that it’s handmade in Italy, why Tullio Campagnolo deserves sainthood, etc… But at the end of the day none of that is really a reason to love a product the way so many love Campagnolo. The reason to love Campagnolo is because it performs like nothing else out there. The first time you ride a bike hung with Campagnolo (preferably something Italian, like our Ciocc San Cristobal), it’s like a revelation in how a bike can shift. And, thanks to our new Campagnolo Close Out on Bike Nashbar, you too can share in the joy on Campy ownership.
Shop for Campagnolo on Bike Nashbar
I’m going to come right out and say it: Campy has engineered the mechanical shift gruppo into an art form. No joke. The shifters themselves are immaculately designed, and the feel of the hoods in your hands makes the bike feel like it was custom made for you. Not to mention that the ErgoShift levers give you the ability to shift up 3 cogs or slam down 5 cogs in a single shift. That means that when the hill hits a super steep pitch, you can tailor your shift to get the optimum cadence. Then when you get to the top, you can dump almost half the cassette in one go to get your descent off to a great start.
2. Shift Feel
You might think that all bikes shift the same, and to some degree you’d be right. But there’s something special about the way that a Campagnolo shifter feels when you press the lever. The engagement is instantaneous: you push the lever, within a few millimeters of lever movement there is a “click”, and the gear shifts. And that click is oh so satisfying. Solid, distinct, and it lets you know in no uncertain terms that that chain is about to move. And as a bonus, you get a distinctive “click” for each cog. So when you go to dump half the cassette in a single shift, as we discussed above, you get 5 distinct clicks to let you know exactly how many cogs you’ll be moving across.
Ride a Campy bike, and the only noise you’ll ever hear when you shift is the sound of your friends’ labored breathing as you leave them behind. Because of the precision of the cable movement engineered into the Campagnolo shift action, there are no thunks, clanks, grinds, or stutters when you shift. You just push the lever, and feel more or less resistance in the pedals without any fuss. It’s that easy.
4. The Crank
The crank is a thing of beauty, and is one of the easiest to install I’ve ever used. The hirth joint design, and the novel idea of placing the bearings on the crank arms instead of the BB cups makes them very easy to service, and incredibly stiff when pedaling.
I promised myself I wouldn’t do this, but I can’t help myself. Few things will elevate a bike from a tool into a work of art like a full Campy group. The graceful flowing lines, the carefully sculpted attention to detail, and excessive doses of carbon fiber can turn almost any bike into an object of envy and desire.