Being a campy fan for years – and the new bike is Shimano I thought I would give the unbiased comparison after a 4 hour ride.
Campy set up is a triple veloce – circa 1995
Crank – 52/42/32 cassette 13/25 9 spd
Shimano Ultegra set up is a triple,
FSA mega carbon crank 53/39/30 cassette 12/25 10 spd + DA rear derailleur
Lever appearance – I like the hidden cable that campy has – it’s cleaner: C+1
Operation: Campy’s shifting seems more intuitive – but this may be a training issue. With campy you imagine the chain moving in the direction your swinging the lever. With Shimano you imagine that the inside lever drops teeth and the outside lever adds teeth: Prefer Campy now but I know I will get use to Shimano: Neutral
My older veloce can dump cassette gears three at a time, the Shimano gets only one per swing. I understand though that on new Campy you only get this with Chorus or Record so I will rate this as Neutral.
Breaking and shifting – can easily be done with both but Shimano requires a little more technique, swinging the break lever while simultaneously down shifting is a little more difficult then breaking with one finger and downshifting with the other: C+1
Hood comfort. Not sure about this one, both were fine. I could stand and drive the pedals with the hand on the hoods equally as well.
Shifting action: I am dealing with well-worn campy components vs. new Shimano and Veloce vs. Ultegra/DA (not really fair)
Cassette chain skipping & noise, the Shimano had none, the campy sometimes needs a little finesse on the levers to stop the little noises but no skipping: S+1
Quickness of shifting: Both are very good: Neutral. One thing to note – With the Shimano I could not get into the 25 when in the 53 CR – this limited me to 9 in this case. Not a biggy because I try never to carry that much cross over.
Crank chain skipping & noise, when shifting to the center ring the Shimano would sometimes drop the chain a little high and it would not engage the teeth. Could be the FSA crankset though. I will need to be conscious of this. Both require moderate adjustment in the middle CR depending on chain cross to prevent front chain from rubbing front DR. Both quickly make the transition from CR to CR. If the crankset were Shimano I would give this to Campy but I will stay Neutral on this one.
Maintenance: One of the big digs I hear on Shimano (mostly from campy lovers) is that you cannot fix them. The one time I tried to fix my campy I found that although it could be rebuilt they no longer made the parts. It was an EBAY adventure to find them. So I don’t buy this argument. It doesn’t matter if you can’t easily get parts.
Conclusion: I prefer campy just slightly more but the fact that most bike manufacturers use Shimano parts makes it a much better deal. My new bike would have had to be a custom build to get campy which would not have allowed me to get the end of season – get it out of the warehouse price. S+1. This evens them up!
Hope this helps anyone trying to decide.