The De Rosa Protos was my test vehicle for Campagnolo’s new Super Record 12-speed hydraulic disc brakes, and although the Protos is not a bike I’ve previously ridden, the disc brakes were a reassuring continuation from 2017’s release.
Campagnolo Super Record 12-speed hydraulic highlights
- Brake lever adjusts for long or short disc brake bite points
- Reach adjustable brake and shift levers
- Hollow carbon fibre crankset
- CULT ceramic bearings
Campagnolo Super Record 12-speed hydraulic ride impressions
Hydraulic brakes mean taller levers than the mechanical version, but the 8mm extra height is hardly noticeable and certainly not in functional terms.
In some ways, it makes for a better grip when holding the hoods and riding with your arms horizontal. Otherwise, the controls sit in the same place and feel identical — the upshift paddle is solid and not skeleton-like.
Thru-axles improve the alignment and efficiency of disc brakes and may also assist shifting performance to a small degree. Whether or not that had any bearing on my perception of Super Record’s gear shifting is impossible to say, but it did seem to be a little smoother in operation.
The Super Record levers maintain their distinctive cutouts, and both hydraulic levers are only 8mm taller than their rim brake counterparts Robin Wilmott / Immediate Media
In my opinion the shifting precision was virtually the same, which is excellent, but there was a silkiness of operation that made me visualise the system whirring away silently in an oil bath.
Snappy upshifts and multiple upshifts with no sprocket selection uncertainty are matched with rifle bolt-fast downshifts. As I climbed higher, the next dozen or so corners saw me yo-yo-ing on and off of the back as the wind gusted.
The new Super Record front mech includes some carbon fibre on the outer plate Robin Wilmott / Immediate Media
That externally braced hollow carbon crank looks stunning and I don’t doubt that it prevents any trace of chain-ring flex at the top of the power stroke.
Can I say that it helped me? Of course not. Although there will have been a benefit at some level and that will only increase for more powerful riders.
The new cranksets are fixed only from the left (non-drive) side, allowing the crank side to be fully enclosed Robin Wilmott / Immediate Media
A junction took me up a road that, in parts, was more off-road than tarmac, with countless rock falls and devastated sections.
Incessantly winding hairpins and gradients of 17 percent plus were a solid test for me and the drivetrain, especially at nearly 3,500 feet.
A steep ascent on my Super Record mechanical hydraulic disc-equipped De Rosa Protos Courtesy Campagnolo
Once over the top, the descent was welcome and a perfect reminder of how good Campy’s disc brakes are.
It was completely dry, but after the sound of rim brakes on carbon around me it was instantly noticeable how little sound the disc brakes make. The fact that the rotors have rounded edges is a comfort for anyone worried about rotor edges.
There are just two cassettes to choose from that are shared across both groupsets Robin Wilmott / Immediate Media
Personally, I’ve never had cause to worry, but it’s welcome and one less potential hazard.
Repeated heavy braking from up to 45mph into sharp hairpins felt equally consistent every time, with no fade, no squeals and no lack of power. My greatest challenge was remembering my brakes were on the opposite side to usual.
Otherwise, the consistency of Campy’s discs meant I could relax between corners and accurately pick out a braking point for each one.
Campagnolo’s disc brakes carry on from 2017’s launch, with their rounded disc rotor edges Robin Wilmott / Immediate Media
Campagnolo Super Record 12-speed pricing
Ergopower hydraulic controls: £479 / $580 / €537
Ergopower controls: £445 / $540 / €498
Rear derailleur: £400 / $485 / €449
Front derailleur: £169 / $210 / €189
Ultra-Torque threaded cups: £23 / $35 / €26
Ultra-Torque press-fit cups: £23 / $35 / €26
Crankset UT Ti Carbon 12s: £859 / $1,035 / €963
Cassette 11-29, 11-32: £303–£317 / $395–$410 / €339–€355
Chain: £53 / $70 / €59
Hydraulic disc rotor: £47 / $65 / €53
Dual pivot brakes (pair): £349 / $425 / €391
Direct mount brake (single brake): £170 / $210 / €191
Disc complete (lowest): £2,861 / $3,450 / €3,202
Campagnolo Super Record 12-speed hydraulic early verdict
The rotor size-specific calipers have pad return springs, which are magnetic and extremely effective Robin Wilmott / Immediate Media
Super Record does feel like the pinnacle of Campagnolo’s mechanical groupsets, and in rim or disc brake form will not disappoint.
Some of its specific elements do cost, but if it’s ultimate performance you want, look no further.