Considering switching to Campagnolo: A bunch of questions!

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
graeme_f_k
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by graeme_f_k

My advice runs contrary to a lot of tyhe advice above but it's based on many, many years of trying to get across a simple concept to people in the sphere of technical training - a system is a system. This has been increasingly the case for the last 10 years or so. A "Frankenbike" approach may *work* when trying to mix parts but Shimano, Campag and SRAM don't design this stuff on the back of an envelope on a wet Tuesday afternoon - everything is designed as an integrated whole and tested as such.

It's not voodoo - it's the industrial process of designing, testing, experience, warranty and all the rest that means that *if* you are investing in a product (and it is an investment), yes, sure you can try and second-guess the guys and girls that spent a lot of time and lot of R and D and sponsorship budget on getting the system to work as they designed it to - but in doing so you may be wasting a considerable percentage of that investment.

So - long story short, go Campag or go Shimano or go SRAM - but avoid the mix - you'll probably not be 100% satisfied and mixing and matching can become a very expensive set of failed experiemnts if you are not careful. One rider's "good enough" is another rider's "you must be bloody joking" ...
A Tech-Reps work is never done ...
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Lightweenie
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by Lightweenie

First of all, thanks everyone for the responses!

About the brakes, I was not aware that the pull ratios are different, so I guess they have to be replaced as well. I did some reading up on the Campagnolo-brake thread. I do like the clearance of the Chorus, and weight wise they are essentially the same. I am not sure if the ball bearings justify the Record price, but since I run 25mm tires and wide rims I think it will be Chorus too. Another thing is that I was stupid enough to stock two sets of red Campagnolo brakepads for shimano shoes, and I just noticed these are not compatible with Campagnolo shoes :-).

On the questions about why I want to run mix-and-match, I would like to clarify is this is supposed to be short term (except for the cassette). Also, it is not so much a financial issue for not simultaneously switching the whole groupset + BB + powermeter to Campagnolo, but more a matter of "philosophy": I don't feel comfortable with replacing new or perfectly functioning things - I prefer to buy quality parts and keep them until they break down (as is the case with my 7800 that accompanied me on three different frames since 2005). The plan would be to sell the stages PM, get some pedal based power meter and when the BB gives up replace the crankset as well - probably with SR due to weight and better bearings. I would then essentially be on a full Campagnolo groupset except of the cassette.

I have to admit though that messages about such a mix being perhaps "good enough" for one rider and "annoying" for another got me hesitating a bit since I am quite pedantic about having a quiet drivetrain... I will have to think a bit more about it.

Mr.Gib
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by Mr.Gib

My first advice is to give some serious thought to what graeme_f_k has to say. If you search all his posts on this forum there is lots of good info that can help with your decision.

Second, and this probably comes from graeme_f_k, is to be careful with chains. Chains with square edged outer plates can catch on Campy front derailleurs and do real damage. I think KMC is a problem. Sram Red and Shimano Dura Ace are safer. Campy best of course.

As for my experience, on one of my bikes I have full Record 11s with the exception of a Sram Red cassette (love the low weight). I know many people say that you don't have to use a Campy cassette but failure to do so will result in less then optimal shifting. The spacing is different and what it means is that if you are not using a Campy cassette you will have to choose which end of the cassette will have inferior shifting. I have chosen to accept poor shifting between the 11, 12, and 13 (pretty good) cogs. If I tune the shifting to work perfectly on the 11, 12, and 13, then it will overshift at the big end of the cassette - you get the idea. It's up to you to decide what you are will to put up with. It won't be perfect. It won't even be very good on certain cogs, and I am doubtful of any claims that it can be.

Campy brakes are very good. Cranks are also very good although I don't feel like SR is worth the price premium.

Final point, if you are going with Campy mechanical, make sure you are happy with the ergonomics of the shifters. Fact is you have to take your palm off the hoods activate the thumb button to upshift, and the swing of the shift lever for downshifts will also pull your hand part way off the lever. Everyone gets used to it, but it's definitely inferior as far as hand motion compared to other systems.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

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MayhemSWE
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by MayhemSWE

Lightweenie wrote:About the brakes, I was not aware that the pull ratios are different, so I guess they have to be replaced as well.

While today's Shimano brakes require significantly more wire pull than either Campagnolo or Sram, this change was introduced with Dura-Ace 7900 when all housing was moved underneath the bar tape. Unless I am entirely mistaken your older Dura-Ace 7800 brakes should however still work quite nicely with Campagnolo levers.

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silvalis
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by silvalis

Mr.Gib wrote:Final point, if you are going with Campy mechanical, make sure you are happy with the ergonomics of the shifters. Fact is you have to take your palm off the hoods activate the thumb button to upshift, and the swing of the shift lever for downshifts will also pull your hand part way off the lever. Everyone gets used to it, but it's definitely inferior as far as hand motion compared to other systems.


Hmm. I do lift my palm for the thumb button, but rarely lift for the shift lever for athena 11 and SR11 (2015). The only time I lift for the shift lever is when I try to sweep lots of clicks - 3 on the fd and 4 on the rd will make my palm lift. But that's no different to shimano/sram.
For veloce10 with the eps style button sometimes I can hit the thumb button without lifting. I have short fingers.

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silvalis
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by silvalis

Lightweenie wrote:but since I run 25mm tires and wide rims I think it will be Chorus too. Another thing is that I was stupid enough to stock two sets of red Campagnolo brakepads for shimano shoes, and I just noticed these are not compatible with Campagnolo shoes :-).


I think I read somewhere that Potenza skeletons fit shimano pads?

After that brake thread, i wound up with SR brakes. They clear my 25mm GP4000II on SL23 rims (measure 27 wide mounted) with reasonable clearance (at least 5mm, didnt measure) but could be better, so you shouldn't have an issue with wide rims on it. Tyre height might be a different issue. My pads a set a bit high on the slot though.

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Calnago
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by Calnago

Yes, agree with Graeme and others about the whole "system" mentality. To those who insist the mismatched stuff works "perfectly", I would suggest they've never experienced a perfectly tuned system in the first place.

The brakes deserve some mention as I just went through this very scenario with the latest of Campy levers and brakes. I'll start by saying that my rain bike, a 2014 Emonda SL is set up with all Campy Super Record, except for the brake calipers. I run full fenders on this bike with 25mm Continental tubulars on standard 20mm wide (outside) Ambrosio nemesis rims. The Campagnolo calipers just did not have enough clearance for that setup, although the frame itself was remarkably just fine, both under the fork crown and the rear brake bridge. So, I used a set of new Shimano 105 (5800) calipers due to the good clearance and perfect fit with the fenders as a "gotta at least try" effort. It worked very well. I'm using that setup to this day. So for a long time I thought Shimano calipers work just fine with Campy levers. Plus, you have double the "brake release" options as campy releases at the lever and shimano releases at the caliper. Using a Shimano lever with a campy caliper would leave you without any brake release at all, which would be a problem unless your tire width closely matched your brake track width.

Now, late last year I acquired a Trek Koppenberg and wanted to set it up with of course, all Campy, except I wanted to try some pretty big Vlanderen 27mm tires with Campy Bora rims. So I figured I'd try the newest Shimano 9100 brake calipers, since the mix seemed to work just fine on my rain bike. But it didn't work so well with this setup. The clearance of the new 9100 calipers was great, no issue there, but even setting the pads as close as I could without any brake rub during hard efforts, the levers would almost bottom out on the bars without excessive effort. It still braked, but the whole action wasn't very acceptable to me. I thought... How could that be since it works quite well on my rain bike. So here's the deal... The Shimano and Campy levers work differently in the nature of the cable pull. I'm not sure exactly which one does which at the moment, but one lever and caliper combo exerts most of the braking action later in the pull of the lever, and the other combo exerts most of the braking action closer to the beginning of the pull, if that makes sense. So why did it work on my rain bike and not the new setup....
A couple of reasons...

1) Rim width: The Nemesis rims are relatively narrow at 20mm versus 24.2mm for the new Boras at the brake track. This means that at a starting point, the brake pads have to be set up significantly farther apart using the Boras versus the Nemesis. If you have wider rims than the Boras, that difference would be even greater.

2) "Stiffness" of the rim: How much does the rim move laterally at the brake tracks. My Nemesis wheels are very stout, 32 DT Swiss Competition spokes, 3x both sides. This means that I could set the brake pads quite close to the rim surface with no rub under heavy stress.

So, if you are going to use a Campy lever/ Shimano caliper setup, your best chance of an acceptable result will be if you are using a stiff narrow rim. With a wide rim, the combination of the Campy lever with a shimano caliper will require a long pull of the lever, so long that you might bottom out the lever against the bars before it really takes a good hold. It's not a good feeling when you're bombing down a steep descent and there's a T at the bottom with a stop sign, and you can't quite grab enough brake to stop as quick as you might like. That's the stuff of bad dreams, like when you're trying to run from the boogie man but your legs won't move. Or clowns, clowns frighten me too :) .

Discouraged with the setup, I put the Super Record calipers back on, and they worked fine, except they just didn't really have adequate clearance for the larger 27mm Vlanderen tires. It was barely enough. I suppose I could have rode like that, and I did for awhile, but I never liked the absolute minimal clearance. I had heard rumors that the Chorus calipers had a bit more clearance, like a couple of millimeters or so. This was all I would need to be completely happy. But it was hard to confirm. I talked to Campy North America and they said nope, they're the same. That should have been the official word, but there were posts I found on the internet that differed from what Campy NA were telling me. I started a thread on WW to ask and still got differing opinions as to whether they did or did not have more clearance. At that point I knew the only way I'd know for sure would be to get a set and try them. So I ordered some. As I was waiting, I contacted Graeme and he was kind enough to confirm with Campy Italy that the specs were indeed slightly different. And once I received the brakes, that was all confirmed. The Chorus calipers do in fact have slightly more clearance than either Record or Super Record calipers. So all is now good. The 27mm tire experiment was just that in the end, and I've decided that for me, on the road, 25mm and 24mm tubulars are my go to tires with the new Boras. The 27's just feel too much like balloons. Great if you're "gravel grinding" I suppose, but on decent pavement... no thanks.


Re: Chains... I decided long ago that the chain is so important that I always use the chain provided by the manufacturer of the group I'm working with. I spent endless hours once trying to figure out why the chain I was using on a triple crank XTR touring setup would always fall off the big ring when even slightly crossed. It wasn't a Shimano chain... and the chamfers on the plates were just different enough that it didn't play well with the XTR rings when presented with a less than relatively straight chainline. Switched to a Shimano chain and all worked perfectly.

As Graeme states... these groups are designed as "Systems"... if you start mixing things, then the result may or not be acceptable, but in my experience it's never better than if the whole thing was set up with parts designed and intended to play well together, as a system.

As to ergonomics, well I suppose that's a personal thing. I absolutely love the ergonomics of Campy levers, thumb shifter and all. I really dislike when the braking action and shifting action is tied to one lever. I have a friend that builds customs and pretty much uses Shimano exclusively, but longs for the feel of the Campy levers. He was asking me how we could get the Campy levers to work on his mechanical Shimano equipped bike. So, to each his own...
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Hellgate
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by Hellgate

Geez... way too much over thinking here. Just buy an SR group and be happy. Shamal wheels are a nice add too.

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Mr.Gib
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by Mr.Gib

silvalis wrote:
Mr.Gib wrote:Final point, if you are going with Campy mechanical, make sure you are happy with the ergonomics of the shifters. Fact is you have to take your palm off the hoods activate the thumb button to upshift, and the swing of the shift lever for downshifts will also pull your hand part way off the lever. Everyone gets used to it, but it's definitely inferior as far as hand motion compared to other systems.


Hmm. I do lift my palm for the thumb button, but rarely lift for the shift lever for athena 11 and SR11 (2015). The only time I lift for the shift lever is when I try to sweep lots of clicks - 3 on the fd and 4 on the rd will make my palm lift. But that's no different to shimano/sram.


The big difference with Campy is that the shift lever is in line with the handlebar drop. With Shimano and Sram the lever sits outboard. Even if the lever sweep was equal on all three systems, the starting point of the Campy lever significantly more inboard necessitating more supination or rolling of the wrist/forearm to affect the shift, so much so that even though the palm may not break contact with the hood, it will still have to slide some distance laterally. For Sram this movement is essentially nil, and Shimano nearly as good. We have some terrain around here that demands constant shifting. When I ride my Campy equipped bike my hands take more of a beating compared to when I ride my Sram or Shimano equipped bikes. Fingers are fine but my palms get a bit sore.

One of my regular groups has several Campy users and I have been watching. We are all doing the same thing. In fact with my long fingers my hand action is less than most.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

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silvalis
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by silvalis

Mr.Gib wrote:
The big difference with Campy is that the shift lever is in line with the handlebar drop. With Shimano and Sram the lever sits outboard. Even if the lever sweep was equal on all three systems, the starting point of the Campy lever significantly more inboard necessitating more supination or rolling of the wrist/forearm to affect the shift, so much so that even though the palm may not break contact with the hood, it will still have to slide some distance laterally. For Sram this movement is essentially nil, and Shimano nearly as good. We have some terrain around here that demands constant shifting. When I ride my Campy equipped bike my hands take more of a beating compared to when I ride my Sram or Shimano equipped bikes. Fingers are fine but my palms get a bit sore.

One of my regular groups has several Campy users and I have been watching. We are all doing the same thing. In fact with my long fingers my hand action is less than most.


engagement point on a campy upstroke is no different to where the sram upstroke starts. Shimano is different of course.

Probably also depends on your bars? I've always set my hoods up with slight inwards tilt, in line with the flare on my drops. With sram/shimano the lever blades are slightly angled from the shifter whereas campy is not, or at least nowhere near as much
Last edited by silvalis on Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:28 am, edited 3 times in total.

vertr
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by vertr

Multebear wrote:Next thing, Campy sure is nice and looks bling. But you´ll quicly learn that selling and buying wheels will be far harder, since not many riders use campy. So you´ll find yourself missing a lot of good deals on gear, because you're limited to campy (both new and used)


You can use shimano/sram 11 speed cassettes just fine with Campy.

Mr.Gib
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by Mr.Gib

silvalis wrote:engagement point on a campy upstroke is no different to where the sram upstroke starts.


Sorry this is flat out wrong. I just visited my bike room and compared. With Sram the click comes before the lever has fully passed the drops of the bars. With Campy the click doesn't happen until the lever is well past the bars - at least an inch. The two are not even close. FWIW all my bars are the same.

(Just talking about rear shifting of course.)
Last edited by Mr.Gib on Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

AJS914
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by AJS914

To the OP, just go all the way. Campagnolo parts are simply beautiful and have a jewelry like aesthetic that Shimano just can't match. The skeleton brakes are beautiful and the crankset is the crown jewel of the grouppo. Go for it.

ntb1001
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by ntb1001

AJS914 wrote:To the OP, just go all the way. Campagnolo parts are simply beautiful and have a jewelry like aesthetic that Shimano just can't match. The skeleton brakes are beautiful and the crankset is the crown jewel of the grouppo. Go for it.
I have the same comments...

Campagnolo is just beautiful....nothing else like it.

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Lightweenie
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by Lightweenie

Just wanted to give a short update: I suddently had an epiphany on what the shifting issue I have had with my 7800 (and could not resolve for months despite many attempts) was, so now it is working perfectly again. With that in mind I will postpone the switch a bit. The plan is to ride it for 1-2 seasons until the BB is toast, and then switch to a complete (except for the cassette) campagnolo groupset. Probably all chorus except for a SuperRecord crankset - but lets see.

Thanks again for all contributions, this has been a very instructive thread for me.

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