Campagnolo moves to 11 speed

By James Huang, Technical editor | Wednesday, June 4, 2008 6.03pm

Campagnolo's official launch of its 2009 product line is still a few weeks away but a rash of leaked information already has our mouths watering for what's to come.

First, the big news: Campagnolo will apparently make the jump to an 11-speed cassette for its top three groups which will now include a modern revival of the Super Record nameplate. According to unconfirmed rumours, that extra cog will be squeezed into the same space as the current 10-speed setups.

While this means likely backwards compatibility with existing hubs and wheelsets, it does signal narrower cog spacing and chain widths, and probably a subtle adjustment in chainring spacing, as well as yet another shifter and derailleur 'standard' that will surely create some headaches on the retail level. The new chain is also supposedly just 5.5mm wide which raises the obvious concerns regarding drivetrain wear, although we all said the same thing when 10-speed was debuted, too.  

We're curious what tullio would think of an 11-speed cassette.: we're curious what tullio would think of an 11-speed cassette.

What would Tullio think?

We'll reserve judgment here until we're able to try it ourselves and, for now, will just hope that Campagnolo engineers have done their homework.

There is also speculation on the new lever shape and we can only imagine that it might resemble the curvaceous prototypes we spotted at the Tour of Flanders back in April. The current shape admittedly works well for most but is getting long in the tooth so we won't be surprised to see something new here.

The shape of (campy) things to come in 2009?: the shape of (campy) things to come in 2009?

Much as Campagnolo did back in the day with the original Super Record group, the new version is said to feature some performance-enhancing material upgrades. The current Record group is already rife with titanium hardware but Super Record will likely be fitted with ceramic bearings across the board, including the bottom bracket bearings (which still use the current Ultra-Torque system as far as we know), hubs and derailleur pulleys. With Record pricing already at stratospheric levels, one can only imagine how far into the ionosphere Super Record will go.

Those ceramic bearings are also rumoured to find their way into updated Bora and Hyperon wheelsets and it sounds as if Campagnolo will jump on the road tubeless bandwagon with two options for 2009. Other groups from Centaur down are also said to be wholly redesigned.

Check back soon for exclusive photos on BikeRadar.

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