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Campagnolo FINALLY launches electronic shifting system for high-end road bikes

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November 9, 2011

Campagnolo's Super Record EPS rear derailleur

Campagnolo's Super Record EPS rear derailleur

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For the past couple of years, the only major bicycle parts manufacturer to offer electronic gear shifting has been Shimano, with its Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain. That changed this Monday, however, as renowned Italian components-maker Campagnolo launched electronic versions of its two highest-end shifter/derailleur groups. The new products are called Record EPS and Super Record EPS, with the tacked-on acronym standing for Electronic Power Shift.

Campagnolo has been tinkering with powered shifting since 1992, when it first began work on an experimental system that incorporated electric motors on both derailleurs. The setup was revised six times over the following years, but never quite made it to the marketplace. EPS marks its latest incarnation, and the first time that it will be available for purchase.

The system consists of five parts: the Ergopower EPS shift levers (an electronic version of Campy's existing Ergopower levers), an electronic interface, a power unit, and the two derailleurs.

Processing for the system takes place in the centralized "thought center" - which is composed of the interface and the power unit - and not in the components themselves. It receives electronic impulses that are generated when the cyclist adjusts the Ergopower levers, processes those impulses into digital signals, then sends those to the actuators on the derailleurs. It also remains in contact with the derailleurs, receiving performance feedback from them and making adjustments as necessary.

Additionally, the interface keeps the rider informed of the charge level of the power unit, through an LED display. Power for the entire system is provided by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack - one charge should be good for approximately 1,552 to 2,029 kilometers (964 to 1,261 miles) of riding, depending on intensity of use. Should riders run out of juice on the road, a RIDE BACK HOME function will allow them to manually adjust the rear derailleur.

As with their non-electronic namesakes, Record EPS and Super Record EPS differ mainly in how they're made, and what they're made of. Super Record EPS uses more carbon fiber, for instance, and incorporates more weight-saving holes in its various parts. The result - the entire Super Record EPS group weighs in at 2,098 grams (74 oz), which is 86 grams lighter than Record EPS' 2,184-gram (77 oz) tonnage.

Campagnolo's Super Record EPS rear derailleur

So, why would anyone want electronic shifting? According to Campagnolo, lever movements will be smooth and consistent, with no gears requiring an extra "push" or more shift time. Multi-shifting will also be possible, wherein the rear derailleur will continuously shift up or down, as long as the lever is held in place. Additionally, as mentioned, the system will monitor the derailleurs and trim them as needed. Finally, riders won't have to get their drivetrains adjusted, to compensate for cable stretch - they will, however, have to keep the battery charged.

Prices for Record EPS and Super Record EPS have yet to be announced, but they doubtless will not be inexpensive. They should be available sometime next year.

Source: Bikeradar

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
13 Comments

What? No tire pressure monitors or air bags?

Joseph J Shimandle
9th November, 2011 @ 01:40 pm PST

Beautiful! And good to see Campy giving Shimano a run for its money. It will be worth buying just to keep this Italian David from disappearing under Japan's unstoppable Goliath. And them there's SRAM...

Kingsfield58
9th November, 2011 @ 04:53 pm PST

Dumb, Dumb, Dumb..... properly lubricated cables, and an indexing system is about as necessary as it gets.

Batteries, motors and a CPU on a bicycle gear changer......

And what do you do when the derailer and gears digest a stick and the chain jumps off the cassette and jams between the frame?

Manual shifting?

"Nooooooooooo - ain't got that no more have we."

Mr Stiffy
9th November, 2011 @ 04:59 pm PST

oh great, bikes are going the way that cars have, putting crap on that breaks because they can, must be why my cars are an'83 Audi URQ and a daily Driver of an '89 Audi Avant and my bike is a GT RTS 2 and yes everything works on fine on all of them..

Bill Bennett
9th November, 2011 @ 08:01 pm PST

"Italian David"? Kingsfield, I think you really need to re-check your history. There was a time not that long ago when Campy was the undisputed king of racing components and Shimano was a distant also-ran. The beginning of the end came around 1984 when Shimano introduced their redesigned Dura Ace, the first indexed shifting system that worked reliably and consistently, along with amazing durability, gorgeous finish and modern design. From there, Shimano kept up their drumbeat of continuous innovation. Campy was slow to respond, coasting on their laurels from years of unchanged Nuovo Record and Super Record designs, and their early systems didn't work as well, which is why Shimano came to dominate the market.

Stiffy, you remind me of the retro-grouches who said in the 1980s, "Who needs indexed shifting? A good cyclist feels his way through the gears." Maybe you didn't bother to read the sentence in the article: "Should riders run out of juice on the road, a RIDE BACK HOME function will allow them to manually adjust the rear derailleur." Manual shifting? Yes, they do have that. Maybe their engineers aren't quite as stupid as you think.

Gadgeteer
9th November, 2011 @ 11:24 pm PST

I had to stop and think whether the date of the article was April 1 as it is hard to take this seriously. A manual super record derailleur weighs 155 grams so this motorized unit with its battery weighs "only" 4 pounds more. NO racer or bicycling enthusiast is going to pay a premium to make their bike 4 pounds heavier.

Cyclists often pay hundreds of dollars for a component that will make their bike a few ounces lighter like the $215 Campagnolo carbon fiber seat post that provides a 4 oz. weight savings, or pay an extra couple thousand dollars for a carbon fiber bike that weighs 3 pounds less than the steel frame bike.

The direction in cycling innovation of late has been in making the bicycles more aerodynamic as the effort to overcome wind resistance goes up exponentially as the speed increases. Weight reduction reached a plateau years ago with the carbon fiber and titanium materials used for bike frames and components.

If the weight penalty was one pound instead of four pounds there might be a market for this product among wealthy senile cyclists. As it stands now this is a product that will quickly fade in oblivion.

Calson
10th November, 2011 @ 10:30 am PST

I am waiting for more word about the string drive bikes. The starting price is a few thousand dollars. If it works, the price should drop and will dominate the market.

Stewart Mitchell
10th November, 2011 @ 10:32 am PST

"....And the 2011 Rube Golberg Award goes to... (envelope, please...) Campagnolo!! Guys! C'mon up! Take a bow! "Obviously, the bikes of late have gotten just WAY to light and reliable. It used to be "Cocaine is Mother Nature's way of telling you you have too much money". Now Campagnolo can help you the same way. "...And if you call in the next three minutes..."

Burnerjack
10th November, 2011 @ 02:51 pm PST

Calson, read the article again. The ENTIRE GROUP weighs 2 kilos. That includes brakeset, crankset, bottom bracket, hubs, cassette, etc. Next time, don't be so quick on the keyboard to proclaim doom for something you don't know much about. As with Mr. Stiffy, why do so many Gizmag commenters think they're brilliant compared to professional engineers who actually get products onto the market year after year rather than just sitting at their keyboards and criticizing?

Gadgeteer
10th November, 2011 @ 03:28 pm PST

@ Gadgeteer

Well I am brilliant - I am just sick of the the high tech bullshit.

If I had my way the Tour of Frog Munchers, would be on old 200lb Chinese rickshaws, that have the aerodynamics of a drogue chute and have 2 really fat American tourists - who insist on stopping at every Mc Donalds along the way....

Mr Stiffy
10th November, 2011 @ 04:26 pm PST

I'm with you Mr Stiffy!

flibb
10th November, 2011 @ 10:59 pm PST

Wouldn't fat German tourists work as well?

William H Lanteigne
11th November, 2011 @ 06:51 am PST

So why would someone want an electric shifting bike? I mean, what's the point? You don't want *THAT* much exercise? Don't want to over-work that particular muscle group?

I guess I'm not the target market for this because to me, it seems like something else to break on you that will cost you gobs of money to get fixed.

I always hated shimano derailleurs because they were unnecessarily complicated. If you put a shimano next to a campy and the difference in moving parts was amazing. I instantly switched to campy and never had a derailleur issue ever again!

Ed
11th November, 2011 @ 04:20 pm PST
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