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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:10 am 
Pumpy's Bear
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I've been reflecting - despite the best efforts of other manufacturers Campag held sway up to and including the 80s - beautiful, impeccable palmeres, idiosyncratic, Italian. Then.....

The 90s were not a good decade for Campag. Super Record was long gone, replaced by C-Record which portrayed all the bland beauty of Brad Pitt. Despite the demise of Suntour (has there been a prettier group than Superbe Pro?), Shimano held sway with the dominance of Lance and the prevelance of STIs in the pro peleton.

But with 11 speed and Ultra Torque, are Campag regaining some ground or even forging on a la Apple? Did they lose it then get it back on their own terms? Or did Campag never lose the plot and always remain dear to the cognescenti with Johnny-Come-Latelies adopting Shimano?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:46 am 
Gold Trader
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Aesthetically (for me) Campag lost it with C-Record and didn't find it again until Ergo levers shrank down to the size of the version that ran through till this year.

But the new Ergo levers are pig-ugly. And 11-speed? Pointless for anyone but the intended market. The new rear mech and skeleton brakes... what were they thinking about? Gold Shamal wheel? So much for good taste.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:06 am 
Gold Trader
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Maybe it is because I 'discovered' Campag in the late 1980's but I really like C-Record. I actually have an incredible soft spot for c1990 Athena.

I think asthetically you have to go a long way to beat new DuraAce.

If you mean technology then Shimano have had the upper hand since 1994.

If you mean beauty then Campagnolo held sway until the made everything out of carbon.


IMHO :wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:22 am 
Old School Grand Master
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It was all downhill after the Cambio Corsa:

http://www.tuttobici.us/catalogs/leaflet40s.pdf

Pah, call yourselves retro?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:28 am 
King of the Skip Monkeys
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:D

I'm a VERY late convert to Campag and from my perspective - its the Bang & Olufsen of cycling, form over function.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:31 am 
Gold Trader
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@ one-eyed-jim

Is this your ideal RetroBike meet? :wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:46 am 
BoTM Winner / retrobike rider
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IMO Campag, sorry Ed, Campagnolo always has been the most aesthetically pleasing of kit across the full spectrum of groups however my only criticism is the rather distasteful 'printed logos' on the more recent stuff. A trained eye could always tell an Athena mech from a Chorus etc. It just seems the printed logos are purely marketed at those who need to prove they can afford Record...


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:15 am 
Old School Grand Master
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ededwards wrote:
I've been reflecting - despite the best efforts of other manufacturers Campag held sway up to and including the 80s - beautiful, impeccable palmeres, idiosyncratic, Italian. Then.....

The 90s were not a good decade for Campag. Super Record was long gone, replaced by C-Record which portrayed all the bland beauty of Brad Pitt. Despite the demise of Suntour (has there been a prettier group than Superbe Pro?), Shimano held sway with the dominance of Lance and the prevelance of STIs in the pro peleton.

For what it's worth, I disagree as well. Campag earned its dominance in the sixties and early seventies by producing beautiful parts of the highest quality. They carved out such a niche that with a few exceptions they had the top rung entirely to themselves. A few French companies continued to do their own thing, as French companies will, but nearly every other manufacturer earned its bread and butter making Campag rip-offs. That holds true right up to the first Shimano XT large-flange hubs - beefy copies of Record.

But, objectively, was Super Record so wonderful? The bearings and finish were of the highest quality, but sealing was pretty much non-existant (we don't ride in the rain, do we?), pedal cages couldn't be changed, and the cranks had a fatigue fault that went uncorrected for fifteen years. If it defined a period, it was through lack of real competition. By 1980 it looks primitive.

Things began to change in the eighties as technology, and increased competition from Shimano, Suntour, and Mavic began to enter the picture. C-Record is a real step up in refinement from Super Record. Compare the lovely Delta brake with the cheesy Cobalto - a Record caliper with a blue plastic "jewel" glued to the pivot bolt! C-Record cranks are beautifully finished front and rear, and finally did away with the fatigue-prone spider junction. Cassette hubs arrived. Headsets finally got o-ring seals and grease injection. The pedals got better and better, culminating in the beautiful TBS with a sealed cartridge axle. And indexing ... well, let's not talk about that.

Campag didn't skimp on the lower groups either. Remember those lovely big art-deco Triomphe pedals? Or the Monoplanar brakes?

Superbe Pro, I agree, was lovely by the late eighties, but never had much impact on the European peleton. Mavic were doing good things in the eighties, but didn't really hit their stride (in my view) until the mid nineties, by which time their lack of a viable STI/Ergo competitor made them a marginal choice. Shimano cracked indexed gears, but they really didn't make anything classy for road bikes until the 7700 group - and their first TdF victories with Armstrong in 1999 after a decade dominated by Campag (five years of Indurain, then Riis, Ulrich and Pantani).

After that, well, who cares? I stop at 9-speed.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:17 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Stick Legs wrote:
Is this your ideal RetroBike meet? :wink:

No, this is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyz5d3entBw

:wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:06 pm 
Pumpy's Bear
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MadCowKev wrote:
IMO Campag, sorry Ed, Campagnolo ...

It's ok Kev, Campag is a perfectly acceptable abbreviation it's ******* Campy that I hate :twisted: . I've said it before but it is worth repeating; would The Cannibal or The Badger have ever ridden Campy? I think not.

And one-eyed-jim, definitely agree with you about the plethora of Campag copies even into the 80s (I have an old Dura Ace rear mech - actually fitted to the Gazelle Cross Trophy - that is visually VERY similar to Nuovo Record but thankfully allows a few more teeth at the rear than "for racing only" Campag). I'd totally disagree about Dura Ace though, the last good looking group that they made was 7400 and the new stuff is really hideous (my opinion only of course and absolutely about form rather than function).

Mavic is an interesting case really, particularly attractive looking rear mech and brake calipers, and way ahead with Zap and Mektronic although the reliability issues put paid to those.

I must confess that I have always been a bit mix and match with groupsets and on the basis of looks alone and not worrying about period correctness or compatability issues (actually none of the latter with friction shifting) this is what I'd go with:

Campag Super Record rear and front mechs
Campag Super Record small flange hubs with MA40s (would go with GP4s but tubs)
Dura Ace 7400 chainset
Suntour Superbe Pro brake calipers (or Campag Deltas, tough call this one)
Dura Ace 7400 aero brake levers
Simplex downtube shifters
Cinelli bars (66-44) and 1A stem
Rolls on a Super Record seatpost (if there was a long enough one :roll: )

An idiosyncratic choice but interested whether others would pick and mix or go down the groupset route.


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