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Campagnolo Ekar - any opinions?

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Campagnolo Ekar - any opinions?

Old 07-14-21, 10:16 AM
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Caliwild
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Campagnolo Ekar - any opinions?

Hey gang,

Does anyone have any real-world experience with the Campy Ekar groupset? I've read a bunch of reviews but don't know anyone that has actually ridden it. I just picked up a Santa Cruz Stigmata frameset and my bike shop has a both Shimano GRX 810 and Campy Ekar in stock. Leaning toward GRX since it costs a bit less and is pretty much Ultegra (which I love). Ekar is lighter and looks prettier though... Decisions, decisions. Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-14-21, 10:28 AM
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With Campy, sometimes you have to sacrifice accuracy and reliability in order to have the very best.

I kid, I kid, I have Potenza on my gravel bike but sometimes it can be moody. I still love it thought, it just feels good.

Not direct experience but my good riding buddy who is also the manager at my LBS has installed a few Ekar setups and has high praise for it, sounds like the customers are happy too.

I recently had to make this decision and for the type of riding I do I went with the 2x GRX group--I just didn't want to sacrifice the range with a 1x system. HOWEVER, if I was to go 1x I'd want Ekar because with the 9-42 13-speed cassette that pretty much takes care of the range. Of course you're also looking at $250 every time you want to replace a cassette but since it's Campy you probably know that.

TBH you'll probably be happy with either though.
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Old 07-14-21, 02:59 PM
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I’ve got 3 Campagnolo bikes right now, and I almost went Ekar on my T-Lab build, but also bailed on it and went with SRAM AXS both for 2x and wireless. If 1x was in the cards, I’d be all over Ekar.
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Old 07-14-21, 04:15 PM
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Thanks, guys. I think I may just go with the GRX groupset but with an Easton crankset. I have Campy 11 speed Record on a road bike and love it but feel like Shimano may work better on this bike (and my budget!). I'm thinking I'd rather go with GRX and use the money I save to go with a carbon wheelset (the new Zipp 303 looks good). I'll let know know how it goes... PS: I saw the Ekar cranks in person and they DO look sexy...
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Old 07-14-21, 06:00 PM
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I haven't ridden Ekar - but I was pretty close to buying it for a gravel build when it came out. I have SRAM Rival 1x11 with an Easton crankset with swappable chainrings on my gravel bike. If you are going to ride a lot of road or relatively flat miles, I think the Ekar cassettes give you a bit of the best of both worlds with close ratio gears for most of the smaller cogs and a few larger ones for the hills. However, as it turns out, for the type of riding I'm doing (mostly very hilly trails), I'm probably better off with the SRAM because I can run smaller chainrings and wider-range cassettes and there are more third-party compatible options. Right now, I'm running Wolf Tooth chainrings and e-Thirteen cassettes. I don't think I could run as low gearing or as wide a range with Ekar. I still always love Campy though and run it on my road bike.
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Old 07-14-21, 08:15 PM
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Ekar- rocking hoods that only a mother could love.
...the thumb lever redesign is legitimately neat.
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Old 07-14-21, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Ekar- rocking hoods that only a mother could love.
...the thumb lever redesign is legitimately neat.
I don't think the hoods look any worse than any other hydraulic hoods (better IMO), and the reviews say they are super comfortable and have good grip. I don't love the feel of my SRAM hoods, and the hoods and levers get slippery when wet. I also think the separate thumb lever is a superior design. I hate accidental downshifts with double-tap, and you can downshift multiple gears at a time with Campy. Can't do it with SRAM.
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Old 07-14-21, 11:35 PM
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Tullio, is that you?
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Old 07-19-21, 12:02 PM
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OK, decided on the GRX with Easton cranks... Now I have to decide on wheels...
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Old 07-19-21, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mattcalifornia View Post
I hate accidental downshifts with double-tap, and you can downshift multiple gears at a time with Campy. Can't do it with SRAM.
er, you can’t do that with Ekar either? The thumb lever only shifts 1 cog at a time.
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Old 07-19-21, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by C9H13N View Post
er, you can’t do that with Ekar either? The thumb lever only shifts 1 cog at a time.
wow - you're right! looks like they did that intentionally to avoid accidental multiple downshifts on bumpy terrain. That's different than Campy road systems. I'm not sure that change was really necessary. I've never accidentally downshifted by resting on the thumb lever, and the new thumb lever design would seem to make it even less likely.
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Old 07-20-21, 04:05 PM
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I use the Ekar build on my gravel bike which I use as a road endurance bike (for comfort). It works really well and I don't miss a front chainring. The range (9x42) is perfect for me and I'm usually around the mid gears.

PROS: light weight; negates the need for a front derailleur

CONS: if the H/L adjustments get out of whack, it's challenging to get it adjusted properly (had to go to my LBS, twice); there is a bit of a bump on the handlebar that is a bit annoying but can be covered up with tape.

I also use Shimano di2 on my other road bike and program it for auto shifts between the two front cogs so it's like I have one long gear range which is essentially what Ekar provides. Not having to think about shifting the front cog is a gamechanger for me (besides potentailly having the chain come off during extreme shifting which happens to me frequently because I forget what gear I'm in).

I highly recommend Ekar and believe that the 1X set is the wave of the future. But that's me...

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Old 08-19-21, 10:53 AM
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Sneak peek of the final product...

OK, the bike is almost ready... the bike shop sent me a few sneak peek photos before I pick it up. Getting excited!




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Old 08-19-21, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Caliwild View Post
OK, the bike is almost ready... the bike shop sent me a few sneak peek photos before I pick it up. Getting excited!




Nice looking bike. Waiting for my Lauf True Grit with SRAM eTap Force AXS (XPLR - whatever that means). Will post pics.
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Old 08-19-21, 01:13 PM
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What chain is that? It looks awesome with the green paint and tan-wall tires.
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Old 08-20-21, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
What chain is that? It looks awesome with the green paint and tan-wall tires.
Thanks! It's the KMC X11SL-Ti chain: https://www.competitivecyclist.com/k...-ti-gold-chain
Since the frame has gold accents and is pretty much a British Racing Green, I figured a gold chain would look appropriate.
I went with the Zipp 303S wheelset with matching Zipp Tangente Course G40 tires...
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Old 09-08-21, 10:37 AM
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Update

Some photos from the maiden voyage... So far, I am loving the feel of the frame. Definitely feels more like a road bike and less like a gravel bike (which is a good thing IMO). Handles quickly, doesn't feel sluggish but yet somehow still feels very comfortable. Have 700x40c tires on there now but definitely has room for chunkier rubber. The Easton crankset is playing very well with the GRX and the XT brake rotors feel great. The green paint looks amazing under the sunlight. So far so good!





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Old 09-08-21, 04:51 PM
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Beautiful bike and good choice. Campy is fantastic until you need to find a shop that can work on it. Many of the repairs require special tools that shops do not want to invest in.

Last edited by dwmckee; 09-08-21 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 09-08-21, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
Beautiful bike and good choice. Campy is fantastic until you need to find a shop that can work on it. Many of the repairs require special tools that shops do not want to invest in.
Thank you! For this build I think it was just a function over form thing. I have Campy Record 11 speed on another bike and it's amazing.
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Old 09-09-21, 08:38 AM
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Looks great, now go get it dirty!
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