Shimano's SL440s have been the only dedicated flat barred road shifters on the market to date. Now Campag have their own; the Ergopower FBs from the Veloce grouppo, for those who favour the Italian way but prefer the comfort of a flat barred set-up.
Designed to work with a 10-speed rear mech and road cassette, we were immediately impressed by how crisp and lightly they shifted. At first, the finger triggers felt too hidden under the brake levers, especially with thick gloves on. But as long as you slide your index fingers along, then pull, it's not a problem.
The thumb trigger is responsive, changes quickly and needs little pressure. Like Campag's standard road levers, you can shift in clusters of gears - up to four at a time both up and down.
The brake levers are easily adjusted for smaller hands and are long enough for three fingers. One small point is that we'd have preferred to have had separate levers and pods rather than one integrated system - in case something goes wrong or gets damaged.
The real design glitch, however, is that you have to remove the whole unit to replace the gear cable, as you can't feed it through when it's on the bars - so we recommend using easy to remove lock-on grips. Calliper and Cantilever versions are also available.