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  1. #1
    shedding fat dgasmd's Avatar
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    Campy component question

    Pardon my ignorance, but why are Campy components better and more expensive than others? Define better before replying please. Are they mechanically more sound, better construction material, bullet proof, bent light and time on sight or what? I just want to know why is it that someone would cough up the kind of moolah they cost vs other cheaper priced components. I can understand if it is just to make the buyer feel like they got better when in reality they got nothing different than brand X. Sort of like getting a Mercedes vs getting a KIA?
    Arguing with ignorant people is an exercise in futility. They will bring you down to their level and once there they will beat you with their overwhelming experience.

  2. #2
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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    First off, if you know where to look, Campagnolo parts are not that much more expensive than Shimano. A full 105 group can be had for approx $500. A full Campagnolo Veloce group can be had for about the same price. It's generally agreed that 105 is on the same level as Veloce, even though there are three groups above Veloce vs two. This based on weight and fit/finish.

    Secondly, Campy groups have some features which Shimano does not offer. Multiple shifts moving down the cassette, Carbon fiber weight savings, esp in the cranks.

    Thridly, do a search, there has been extensive Shimano vs Campagnolo debates raging from the dawn of BF's. With the 2007 Campagnolo groups on the market now, some of the lower groups are losing the multiple downshift (still have 2 at a go vs a BUNCH, which is STILL better than Shimano) and the new Ultra-Torque crank is a large step forward in terms of functional design from their older square taper. I love the square taper design, think it works just fine, but am looking forward to checking out the new stuff too.

  3. #3
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    Ability to trim the front deraileur on the Campy brifters is also very very nice.

    However, I find getting to the thumb shift button a bunch awkward when in the drops
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  4. #4
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    Also, historically anyway, Campy parts have often been rebuildable.
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    Campy Ergo brifters are rebuildable while Shimano STI's are not.

    Campy front shifting is ratcheted more than indexed so it is more tolerant of set-up and crank variations.

    Campy is more expensive, level for level than Shimano with Record significantly more than Dura Ace.

    Campy uses carbon in all kinds of places, often more for bling than utility.

    Shimano (and Sun Tour prior to them) has been the innovator for decades and Campy has been playing catch-up, often waiting for Shimano's patents to expire before introducing equivalent components.

    Campy values aesthetics more than Shimano does and their components are truly attractive.

    The debate of C vs S is endless.

  6. #6
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    Campy Ergo brifters are rebuildable while Shimano STI's are not.
    This seems like the major place where Campy has a *functional* advantage over Shimano: you can rebuild Ergo brifters, or upgrade them from 8->9->10 speeds, for the cost of a $20 kit rather than buying a whole new brifter.

    For all the other components, it seems that Shimano has the edge in terms of interchangeability and functionality. More companies make Shimano-compatible wheels, cassettes, etc. Shimano doesn't gratuitously screw up the bolt pattern on their chainrings to make them incompatible with everyone else's. With Shimano, you can mix-and-match mountain and road components as you need.

    But I find the dang campy brifters/brake levers more comfortable and they're rebuildable... RRRGGH! Maybe SRAM will get it right by combining the advantages of Campy and Shimano... SRAM cassettes are compatible with Shimano wheels already, and some of their mountain shifters and derailers work with the corresponding Shimano parts.
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  7. #7
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    campagnolo components are more expensive because;
    1: the US has a massive budget defecit, and the value of the dollar has dropped against the teuro
    2: people love to charge extra for a "premium brand experience". in england, campagnolo xenon and mirage are both cheaper than tiagra, with only sora a few notes cheaper. yet campagnolo equipped bikes are still generally more pricey. it's infuriating!

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    In my 35 years experience of having had the good fortune to put thousands of miles on both Campy (Nuovo & Super Record and Record) and Shimano (Dura Ace, both road & track, including 10 Pitch, before and after indexing), I can say that Campy has always had better bearings/bushings and choices of materials, is easier to set up and service, doesn't change often, has been more innovative where it counts, is extremely reliable, and is by far better looking. The cost of a Record gruppo for a cyclist who pedals thousands of miles per year, year after year, is an excellent investment, and as to the passion of bicycling, you'll never get tired of hearing everyone who sees your bike say, "Wow, Campy Record!"

    But, in the final analysis, for "most" of us, including me, any bike besides a coaster brake cruiser or three speed commuter and the components on them is difficult to impossible to justify, so don't even try. Just be happy there's so much cool stuff to want and remember it's the motor and fun loving attitude that matter the most.

  9. #9
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    A major factor in my decision to go campy was the looks. I think shimano hoods are just ugly. They almost look like tumors on a handlebar, I can't see them comfortable. The campy stuff is very nice in that regard.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member erader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cuda2k
    First off, if you know where to look, Campagnolo parts are not that much more expensive than Shimano. A full 105 group can be had for approx $500. A full Campagnolo Veloce group can be had for about the same price. It's generally agreed that 105 is on the same level as Veloce, even though there are three groups above Veloce vs two. This based on weight and fit/finish.

    Secondly, Campy groups have some features which Shimano does not offer. Multiple shifts moving down the cassette, Carbon fiber weight savings, esp in the cranks.

    Thridly, do a search, there has been extensive Shimano vs Campagnolo debates raging from the dawn of BF's. With the 2007 Campagnolo groups on the market now, some of the lower groups are losing the multiple downshift (still have 2 at a go vs a BUNCH, which is STILL better than Shimano) and the new Ultra-Torque crank is a large step forward in terms of functional design from their older square taper. I love the square taper design, think it works just fine, but am looking forward to checking out the new stuff too.
    even when shimano offered more campy was more expensive. alot of this has to to with the yen's value in relationship to the dollar and the dollar and yen value compared to the euro.

    ed rader

  11. #11
    Senior Member erader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acorn_user
    campagnolo components are more expensive because;
    1: the US has a massive budget defecit, and the value of the dollar has dropped against the teuro
    2: people love to charge extra for a "premium brand experience". in england, campagnolo xenon and mirage are both cheaper than tiagra, with only sora a few notes cheaper. yet campagnolo equipped bikes are still generally more pricey. it's infuriating!
    campy was expensive in relationship to shimano even before the uniter racked up the massive deficits. but the yen has been weak for quite awhile so currency value is a big factor.

    ed rader

  12. #12
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    When Shimano is breaking, Campagnolo is breaking in......

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    Quote Originally Posted by gruppo
    I can say that Campy has always had better bearings/bushings and choices of materials, is easier to set up and service, doesn't change often, has been more innovative where it counts, is extremely reliable, and is by far better looking.
    I have always preferred Campy but the other competitors (Shimano, SunTour, Huret, Sachs, SRAM, Look etc) have brought much more innovation than Campy has. Campy sat nice and pretty for decades. Although alot of the technology had been sitting around as good ideas. Most of the features we take for granted were refined by someone other than Campy. Look did the clipless pedal. Shimano index shifting really made Campy have to step up and start engineering again. Dual pivot was introduced by Shimano. It was very easy to find bikes with all Campy and Superbe brakes. Record cranks had a problem of breaking for awhile. Not alot of people rode the Campy SR headsets because the races were too soft and did not last. All in all, the aftermarket flourished under the Campy reign because they did not do the things that riders wanted to do. Design lighter weight components that looked good. I saw plenty who drilled out the Campy levers and chainrings.

    The Campy generally last longer (at least in the upper end). But there are plenty of people who buy Shimano, save a few bucks and when the Shimano breaks in 5-10 years, have enough money to buy the latest and greatest parts. Meanwhile, who here can say they have ever upgraded or repaired their Campy in a way that would not have been possible with Shimano? I would bet not many.
    Last edited by masiman; 10-02-06 at 06:23 AM.

  14. #14
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyt
    When Shimano is breaking, Campagnolo is breaking in......
    As a lifetime mechanic, I've seen no evidence to support that conclusion. Yes their hubs are nice, but the rest of it just seems clunky. Slow to innovate, Campy has thrown a lot of carbon bits at cyclists which are generally shorter lived than a cold-forged AL counterpart.

    And didn't Tullio himself design the brake QR that allows you to open the pads slightly in the event of a wobbly rim? For the sake of a few grams, Campy relocated the QR into the lever, but should you need to use it while on a ride, your levers aren't where they should be. Of course, Campy expects that you'll simply raise the appropriate arm and the team car will pull up and replace the wheel... The square taper BB was "over" a decade ago, but the big C finally got up off and is delivering for 07 a new BB and crank interface...

    The real issue of why I no longer care for parts made by the Wizards of Vicenza is that they do nothing for the cause of cycling in the US. I have never seen them at any bike advocacy events, especially the Bike Summit in DC. Kozo Shimano had a 20 minute chat w/ the Prez about the needs of cyclists in this country. Where were the Campy kids? At interbike, the Shimano (and SRAM) booths were staffed with plenty of product engineers who could explain everything about the parts-why they chose to do X over Y, etc. At Campy, most all the parts are in glass cases with an attactive olive-skinned woman sitting at a table giving out catalogs. Puhleeeze! Enough of the mystique.

    I could ramble on about my anecdotal experiences, but I'll just put it this way. When shopping for a car, do the words dependable and cost effective come to mind when considering Italian cars, or Japanese cars?

  15. #15
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    Reliability is the big issue for me. I've ridden Campy for 50 years and never broken a part. I rode Shimano for three years and broke 6 parts. Mystique or quality? I'll let you decide.

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    Senior Member Morgie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgasmd
    I can understand if it is just to make the buyer feel like they got better when in reality they got nothing different than brand X. Sort of like getting a Mercedes vs getting a KIA?

    Hold on a minute! you actually think the only difference between owning a Mercedes and a Kia is the "feeling" the owner/driver gets? LOL!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgie
    Hold on a minute! you actually think the only difference between owning a Mercedes and a Kia is the "feeling" the owner/driver gets? LOL!!!
    No, there is another difference. The Kia will be more reliable.

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    Senior Member Morgie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    No, there is another difference. The Kia will be more reliable.

    Worldwide there a millions of 15+ yr old benz still driving around and running strong... I don't think kia can claim that.

    I'm not saying Kia doesn't make a good car, I LOVE JAP CARS, but Mercedes Benz vs. Kia, come on!!

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    My feeling is that it's more like a Mercedes vs Toyota. (Kia is Korean.)
    The thing that frustates me about Campy stuff is the lack of compatability with 3rd party brands. You can buy other brands of chains that are compatible with Shimano, but no one is compatible with Campy.
    I had a small piece of my rear Campy derailleur break a few months back, and the LBS was able to replace it, but the cost of the part was about the cost of a lower-end Shimano derailleur. You want a 3-year-old derailleur with a brand-new flidget, or a brand-new derailleur??
    Try taking apart a Campy rear hub one time, and have the little pawls and springs go everywhere, and then tell me it's a better design than the Shimano.

  20. #20
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgie
    Worldwide there a millions of 15+ yr old benz still driving around and running strong... I don't think kia can claim that.

    I'm not saying Kia doesn't make a good car, I LOVE JAP CARS, but Mercedes Benz vs. Kia, come on!!
    But you are comparing a 15+ YO car.....I drive an 18 YO BMW, but would not trade it for a new one.

    The build quality advantage once enjoyed by the Europeans has been superceded by their apparent love of techno-wizardry. Given a choice of new KIA or new Mercedes....the KIA, at least in the arena of simplicity is a no-brainer. Especially if you work on your own...

    Anecdotal evidence from riders, while interesting, doesn't change the fact that after being in business for over 100 years, the company still doesn't see fit to do much of anything to contribute to cycling, at least in the US. And the bullheaded refusal to adopt industry standards when it comes to things like cassette splines and crank bolt patterns makes the case even clearer.

    As a mechanic, one call to SRAM or Shimano usually gets an answer. Campy doesn't even try to make it easy.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by erader
    campy was expensive in relationship to shimano even before the uniter racked up the massive deficits. but the yen has been weak for quite awhile so currency value is a big factor.

    ed rader
    Thanks for the info. I have not been here long. I remember all the US international students in Austria running off and weeping every time they got a grant cheque from the home. It was pretty dispiriting. Now I am earning a few dollars, they really aren't worth much in England.

    Given that info, I bet the distribution and "premium" thing is pushing the price up. We have a Shimano importer in the UK, rather than a direct distro from Shimano. The same applies to Campagnolo. But the prices are pretty even, although there are big differences in terms of shifters and derailleurs. (And US prices for Shimano, and especially bikes, are a lot lower than UK prices!)

    Incidentally, it was Altenberger, not Shimano that did the dual pivot. I like the small euro/japanese makers. One day, I will have a bike with a Miche Racing Group, Rudelli Headset and Royce hubs

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    Quote Originally Posted by acorn_user
    Incidentally, it was Altenberger, not Shimano that did the dual pivot. I like the small euro/japanese makers. One day, I will have a bike with a Miche Racing Group, Rudelli Headset and Royce hubs
    My post did not say Shimano invented dual pivot but refined them. Yes it was Altenberger who did it if Sheldon is correct. I am not quite old enough to know that particular history. I should have stated that the innovations mentioned were not necessarily invented by but brought to the masses by the mentioned companies. My apologies if that was not clear. I have no knowledge of who the progenitor is of any of the technologies I mentioned. Only the company that I estimate made the technology reliable, usable, widely available and widely bought by the cycling community.

  23. #23
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    I have to say I'm mostly impressed with this thread. Or at least not too unimpressed. This is why I like the mechanic's forum - people try to answer with contentful posts (most of the time), giving reasons for what they say, so discussion can actually go somewhere. In the road forum, the OP probably would have initiated a flame war (not necessarily against himself, but between rival factions).

    (As for myself, I ride Shimano and shimano-compatible stuff, mainly because it's somewhat cheaper and there are much more options where compatibility between parts are concerned. But if I were building up a new bike from scratch and buying the parts new, I might well go with Campy.)

  24. #24
    Senior Member Morgie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWise1
    But you are comparing a 15+ YO car.....I drive an 18 YO BMW, but would not trade it for a new one.

    The build quality advantage once enjoyed by the Europeans has been superceded by their apparent love of techno-wizardry. Given a choice of new KIA or new Mercedes....the KIA, at least in the arena of simplicity is a no-brainer. Especially if you work on your own...

    Anecdotal evidence from riders, while interesting, doesn't change the fact that after being in business for over 100 years, the company still doesn't see fit to do much of anything to contribute to cycling, at least in the US. And the bullheaded refusal to adopt industry standards when it comes to things like cassette splines and crank bolt patterns makes the case even clearer.

    As a mechanic, one call to SRAM or Shimano usually gets an answer. Campy doesn't even try to make it easy.
    I have Shimano parts all over my bike... I was just trying to say that I dont think the Kia v. Mercedes comparison was a good one... maybe H2 v. Tahoe/suburban or Subaru WRX v. Audi would have been better, but IMO if you can afford a benz and your options are Benz or Kia you should go Benz. Personaily I wouldn't buy either becuase are other options in real life.

    Sorry for mistaking Kia for Japenese, And for hi-jacking the thread...

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgie
    Worldwide there a millions of 15+ yr old benz still driving around and running strong... I don't think kia can claim that.
    Bad analogy. 15 years ago Kia wasn't in the market so there are no 15 year old Kias running around anywhere. That's like saying there are some 40 year old 1957 Plymouths still running around so they must have been a superior car. They were the worst cars Chrysler (or any one else) ever built.

    As to the 15 year old Benzs still running around, take a look at their shop records before praising them too much.

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