The campy build. A+ Gorgeous, A+ light, and an A+ pain in the cheeks. Read on, for details...
Let's start with weight savings, because that is the number one most important thing, and I think everyone knows it.
Now before I begin, I have to admit that I wasn't able to weigh my old shifters for comparison, because they were transferred to another bike right along with the handlebars, tape, and cables. I really don't even have a good guess as to what the old Record shifters actually weigh, so for the purposes of this post, I shall just ignore that they even exist. OK? OK.
Bottom bracket cups:
- old Record 10 speed, english threaded - 45 g
- new Super Record, english threaded- 43 g
Cranks, 170mm with 39-53 chainrings:
- old Record 10 speed - 639 g
- new Super Record - 587 g
Cassette, with lockring:
- Chorus (?) 10 speed, 11-23 - 219 g
- Chorus 11 speed, 11-25 - 245
Rear derailleur, short cage:
- old Record 10 speed - 184 g
- new Super Record - 158 g
Front derailleur, braze-on
- old Centaur 10 speed - 92g
- new Record - 74g (Already chipped, from one rough shift. They were out of Chorus)
- Old Ritchey WCS 100mm x 17 deg - 118 g
- New Ritchey WCS 90mm x 6 deg - 109 g (daaamn!)
- Old Easton EC90 SLX3 40cm bars - 205 g
- New Ritchey WCS classic 40cm bars, aluminum - 235 g
So where did we come out, overall? Looking at just those components, we came out... 51g ahead.
Dang, tallying it all up is actually kind of depressing, because if feels like the number should be much bigger, right? It's not really apples to apples though, because I will, for race season, pop on a Record cassette for about 30g further savings. Also, I've now got the peace of mind that comes with aluminum handlebars, which is well worth a few grams to me. I've crashed so many (too many) times on my carbon Eastons, and the fact that they remained in one piece is a real testament to their toughness, but I'd be lying if I said I haven't spent a fair chunk of time wondering if the bars were going to come apart in the middle of some crit. So in the end, I came out ahead on weight, with a few added benefits as well. Not too shabby!
Now for the bad news...
As much as I'd love to say that it was, it wasn't all peaches and cream when it came to the actual installation. The 11 speed stuff doesn't strike me as super home-mechanic-friendly. For instance, there were some torx sizes that my little home kit didn't include, and there was some geometry involved that necessitated a longer T25 than I had. The T25 in question was the one for the shift-lever-to-handlebar-clamp-band-thing. Because the new style hoods are thicker, less stretchy, and tighter than the old ones, and because the screw head for the clamp was buried a substantial distance from either end of said hood, my little torx driver bit wasn't even close to reaching. A set of long L-shaped torx wrenches would probably have done the trick, but I do not own those, and I'd bet that a lot of other people don't either. The problem was eventually solved by stacking every extender I had between my wrench and the bit, but that's a sloppy way to be doing things. In that same vein, I was sad that the clamp band had to be totally detached for mounting, because, even loosened to the max, I couldn't slide the levers onto the bars with the band attached. On a modern shaped bar it probably would have worked out, but on the totally straight section of my traditional bend bars, the shifter wasn't havin' any of it. Another gripe was that both tunnels for the brake cable were blocked by something, and I had to poke them open with a paper clip, but I didn't figure that out until I had spent 30+ minutes convinced that I was losing my mind. Lastly, the torx driver size required for attaching the rear derailleur was much bigger than anything I had. There was an interface on the backside of the derailleur bolt for a T25, so I was able to use a tool from that side, but again, it was a sloppy and awkward way to do things.
To be fair, a shop would obviously have all the right tools and experience, and the plugged cable tunnels seem to be just an unlucky anomaly (haven't heard of the same issue from anyone else yet), but still, getting the shifters all worked out easily ate as much time as an entire build usually takes me.
Back to the good news!
This stuff works beautifully. I mean it's just amazing. I've got probably at least 500 miles on it now, and I am smitten as shit. The hoods are tremendously comfortable in my hands, with a long list of ways to hold them. The shifts have a nice hard "click-thud," with nothing left ambiguous. The bearings all feel exceptionally smooth and free-spinning, and while I would argue that bearing performance on a bike stand has little to do with real racing life, it still makes me feel better about the sum of money I have just spent. And the finish on everything is what you'd expect from a top tier group; blemish free and shiny. Oh so shiny. Shiny and Italian.
And that's what I think about that! I hope that folks find it interesting. I'm kind of perpetually saddened that Campagnolo doesn't feature more prominently in the American racing scene, because it really is such lovely, beautiful stuff. In addition, the lower tier Campy groupsets, in my experience, function every bit as well as their more expensive siblings, and are priced fairly competitively against their SRAM and Shimano counterparts. It would warm my heart so to see a bit less Ultegra and a bit more Chorus or Athena in this world, so on your next bike, consider Campy!