Campagnolo launches new Chorus 12-speed groupset

Rim and disc brake options, plus gravel-friendly gearing

Campagnolo Chorus 12-speed groupset road bike

Hot on the heels of Super Record EPS, Campagnolo has debuted an all-new Chorus groupset at February’s Girona launch, bringing its 12-speed shifting below Record level.

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Benefiting from extensive trickle-down from the latest Super Record- and Record-level technology, Chorus 12-speed will be available with mechanical rim brakes or hydraulic disc brakes, and a range of gearing options.

As you might expect, Chorus uses different materials to bring it in at a far more wallet-friendly price. However, it is said to share its senior siblings’ crisp shifting feel and durability.

Chorus 12-speed Ergopower levers specs and details

The mechanical-only Chorus Ergopower levers have the same familiar ergonomics for their cable or hydraulic brakes as Record or Super Record, but with redesigned internals from the previous generation of Chorus.

The double-curved aluminium brake lever’s pivot has been repositioned, which Campagnolo claims results in more braking force with less effort. The shape of the levers now also has an outward slant for a more natural feel.

The hydraulic disc levers’ internal parts are the same as the latest Record and Super Record levers, and identical on both sides, which is claimed to make for simpler construction and repair.

Chorus 12-speed rim brake levers
Front view of the new Chorus 12-speed rim brake levers, showing their ergonomic shaping
Courtesy Campagnolo

The lever reach is customisable and now includes a smaller hand setting. However, the brake bite-point adjustment system (AMS) doesn’t appear on the Chorus levers.

Instead, the bite-point is set between the AMS system’s long or short positions. Both of the mechanical shift levers are larger than before, with the upshift lever smoothly blending into the brake lever, and the inboard downshift lever at 90 degrees to the hoods.

Campagnolo’s Ultrashift mechanism allows downshifts of up to five sprockets, and up to three when upshifting, with only one movement. Campagnolo also claims that its new cables and housing will last at least twice as long as the competition.

Chorus 12-speed derailleurs and cassettes specs and details

The front derailleur is all aluminium and steel, with a thin cage design to help clearance. It has half-click trim settings on either side of its centralised positions for each ring.

As with Super Record, the Chorus rear mech only has one cage length, with thinner construction to improve the clearances around the spokes when in the largest sprocket.

Larger jockey wheels and Campy’s 3D Embrace technology are claimed to result in greater chain efficiency through increased wrap at the sprockets. The upper body is formed from Technopolymer plastic reinforced with long-strand carbon fibres. The derailleur is available with standard or direct-mount hangers.

It’s claimed that upshifts have eliminated any shift lever freestroke, meaning any lever movement will cause an immediate derailleur reaction. The Chorus rear mech is optimised for 11-29 and 11-32 cassettes, but Campagnolo also offers an 11-34 option, still with single-tooth jumps across the first seven smallest sprockets.

Since the mech design matches that of Super Record, you could, in theory, run the 11-34 cassette with the premier groupset too. All three cassettes have aluminium spacers and a chemical treatment on the surface of the sprockets that is claimed to improve durability. It maintains a similar look to Campy’s loftier offerings, albeit with less machining.

Chorus 12-speed crankset and chain specs and details

Chorus crankset solid carbon-fibre cranks
The Chorus crankset has solid (not hollow) carbon-fibre cranks and four arms
Courtesy Campagnolo

Chorus gets an all-carbon-fibre crankset, using a new lay-up and Campy’s proprietary resin finish. The claimed weight for a 172.5mm crank with the smallest ring sizes and two bearings is 718g.

Q-Factor has been kept at 145.5mm. The cranks retain the Ultra-Torque steel axle, which is fixed from the non-drive side with a hex key. The four-arm spider design has individual bolt circles for each ring, giving 112mm and 145mm BCDs.

The chainring options are 52/36, 50/34 and a gravel-friendly 48/32. These rings are hard anodised rings made from the same material as Campy’s high-end groupsets.

The cranks come in 165mm, 170mm, 172.5mm and 175mm lengths, and the dedicated Chorus 12-speed chain is said to engage quicker and be just as durable as the previous 11-speed option.

Chorus 12-speed brakes and disc rotors

There are three braking options for Chorus customers.

The traditional centre bolt rim brake calipers feature an improved skeleton design and now have clearance for 28mm tyres when mounted on 17- or 19-mm wide rims.

Direct-mount rim brake calipers now feature an integrated frame brace, and rounding out the trio is Campy’s hydraulic disc calipers, which are identical to those used with Record and Super Record.

The disc callipers are flat mount and specific to 140mm or 160mm disc rotors. Likewise, there is a specific caliper for for front or rear fitment.

Made from forged aluminium, they contain 22mm pistons, magnetic and mechanical return springs, and Campy’s updated organic resin brake pads with added wings for more heat dissipation, visible wear indicators and chamfered lower edge to speed wheel entry.

Campagnolo's disc rotor
Available in 140mm and 160mm sizes, Campy’s calipers are specific to the rotor size
Robin Wilmott / Immediate Media

Campy’s 140mm and 160mm disc rotors continue with their rounded edges. The rotors mount using the AFS centrelock standard and feature a new steel spider floating design for maximum heat dissipation.

First impressions, pricing and availability

Having 12-speed shifting at a more accessible price-point can only be a good thing. Having options for rim or disc braking is essential, but in offering 48/32 chainrings and an 11-34 cassette alongside conventional road sizes, Campagnolo is clearly looking to attract customers from the expanding all-road and gravel market, where those gear ratios are a personal favourite.

Aluminium levers give away very little to carbon fibre in mass, but offer more rugged construction and, assuming Campy’s usual performance and durability are maintained, it’ll be interesting to see how well received this new Chorus groupset is.

Availability of Chorus is expected to be mid-summer 2019.

Prices for a complete Chorus 12-speed disc groupset, including 50/34 crankset and 11-34 cassette: £1,597 / €1,819 / US$1,837

Complete Chorus 12-speed groupset, including dual pivot rim brakes, 50/34 crankset and 11-34 cassette: £1,120 / €1,275 / US$1,288

Chorus 12-speed Weights

A Chorus 12-speed disc groupset, including 172.5mm 48/32 crankset with bearings, BB86 bottom bracket, 11-29 cassette plus 140mm calipers and rotors, is claimed to weigh 2,576g.

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Its rim brake equivalent, with the same drivetrain but dual-pivot skeleton brakes, comes in at 2,333g. Direct mount brakes only add another 36g.