One year on from our first look at the fruits of Campagnolo’s Disc Brake Project, I was finally able to ride the finished product in early May, and my initial impressions are quite positive.
Campagnolo now has hydraulic road disc brakes covering four mechanical-shift and two electric-shift groupsets: Potenza, Chorus, Record and Super Record, plus Record EPS and Super Record EPS.
Campagnolo claims its new road disc brakes stop faster than Shimano and SRAM in the dry and the wet, with less hand force required.
Ergopower H11 carbon levers with two pad-engagement options
Ergopower H11 is the name given to the all-carbon levers that comprise the high-end of the range and are compatible with all of the above. Potenza will come with H0 alloy levers and, for now, Chorus EPS isn’t compatible because it uses different wiring.
Ergopower H11 maintains the current shift lever positions of both mechanical and EPS, and typical Campagnolo style, design and ergonomics. The greatest challenge for the engineers was squeezing in the hydraulic master cylinder, and the resulting levers are 8mm taller than the rim-brake originals.
Magura helped develop the hydraulic cylinder and oil flow system, since Campagnolo had no previous experience in that area. The cylinder was designed to be very small and use mineral oil, with a bleeding port situated vertically on top. (Shimano uses mineral oil; SRAM uses DOT fluid.)
The small hydraulic master cyclinder created for Campagnolo’s discs only increases the hood height by 8mm. Note the long and short reach adjuster. Robin Wilmott / Immediate Media
The extra 8mm hood height offers an additional hand position. The brake levers retain their familiar double curved profile, but now with a subtle outward curve in the lower part of the lever to help purchase when on the drops.
The brake levers have two settings for pad engagement. There is adjustment via a 2.5mm hex key socket on the inboard side of the lever body. A clearly marked two-position cam controls the long or short travel settings, with the long position allowing about half of the lever’s full travel before the pads engage.
The brake lever and long shift lever can also be adjusted for reach in tiny increments with easily accessible 2.5mm hex bolts.
Size-specific calipers, organic resin and claimed class-leading stoppage
Campagnolo believes that altering the spacing of a disc caliper with an adaptor isn’t mechanically secure or stable and adds unnecessary weight, and has therefore designed one forged aluminium caliper for 140mm rotors and another for 160mm rotors. They’re designed to fit every flat mount frameset currently available and mounting screws are available for the rear caliper in 19, 24, 29, 34, 39 and 44mm lengths.
The calipers have lightweight 22mm diameter pistons made from phenolic resin, which was chosen for its thermal insulation qualities to avoid heat transfer from the pads. There’s no mechanical pad spring, but the magnetic spring used delivers uniform performance over time and has a faster return speed, Campy claims.
Campagnolo offers separate calipers for 140mm or 160mm rotors to remove the need for adaptors. Robin Wilmott / Immediate Media
Campagnolo said one major reason its disc brakes took so long to release was refining the brake pads and to not compromise on safety. The resulting organic resin compound used is extremely heat resistant, with uniform and consistent braking, whatever the temperature and weather conditions, the company claims.
Campagnolo’s patented noise and vibration reducing system comprises a bonded layer on the back of each pad, giving purchase and an element of cushioning for the piston/pad interface.
The pads are mounted in steel and have been tested to exceed all current competition, Campagnolo claims, with smooth roll back to the optimum distance to avoid drag. Each pad has a small ramp to guide the rotor when fitting the wheel and a visible wear indicator, which when reached, gives an audible warning too.
One obvious change from last year’s prototypes are the disc rotors, which are now perfectly round rather than wavy and feature rounded edges that have been tested to not cut skin.