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I come not praise Campagnolo, but to bury it

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I come not praise Campagnolo, but to bury it

Old 06-28-24, 01:56 PM
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I come not praise Campagnolo, but to bury it

Friends, Cyclists, lend me your ears.

Campagnolo was the state of the art in high end cycling for at least 50 years.

It now appears dead. For the second straight year, Campy is absent from the TDF. Given that the high market gravitates to what the pros ride and the lack of a competitive electronic group Campy is circling the drain.

Being of a certain age, I saved my paperboy money to have a bike with Campy Nuevo Record, the gold standard of the day.

But Campy stumbled on index shifting, then more recently in electronics. The name and brand loyalty allowed them to coast for 40 years. They are now at the bottom of the hill.

Long live Campagnolo
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Old 06-28-24, 04:30 PM
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if they stumbled, it was a very long slow stumble. They’re downfall from my perspective is a total lack of OEM builds. They did that to themselves.
bikes used to come with campy stock, and then they didn’t.
campy clearly focuses on the expensive segment of the market.

I am sure they know all this and have decided it's the route they want to go.
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Old 06-28-24, 06:20 PM
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My Name is Bruce and I'm a Campyholic. Long live Campagnolo.
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Old 06-28-24, 06:30 PM
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Is Campagnolo in 3rd now, or have they fallen behind Microshift also?
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Old 06-28-24, 06:50 PM
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You'll know Campagnolo is dead when they license the name to Walmart and the name starts appearing on bikes there.
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Old 06-28-24, 06:54 PM
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Show me proof
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Old 06-28-24, 07:45 PM
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I like Campy, but it has been Kool Aid for decades. Since at least the advent of Suntour Cyclone in 1974, there has been high quality, technologically superior alternatives to Campagnolo's racing level groups. Superbe, Dura Ace, Red and Mavic SSC all did some or all of what Campy did but better.

That is, they worked as well or better, but Campagnolo often looked MUCH better, more luxurious and exotic in form and function. They brought electronic and 13 speed to the market early. C-Record was easily the nicest looking bicycle component group of all time.

Shimano and SRAM are juggernauts because they are found on all kinds of bikes at all kinds of prices. How is a specialty road bike component company supposed to compete with such companies for sponsorship at the highest levels? And what does it really mean that they have been squeezed out of racing?

Like the looks of Campy? Want something less common? Why not get Campagnolo? Are you going to fail to be the fastest dentist on Strava because of it?
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Old 06-28-24, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
You'll know Campagnolo is dead when they license the name to Walmart and the name starts appearing on bikes there.
Doesn't Walmart sell Shimano equipped bikes also?
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Old 06-28-24, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
if they stumbled, it was a very long slow stumble. They’re downfall from my perspective is a total lack of OEM builds. They did that to themselves.
bikes used to come with campy stock, and then they didn’t.
campy clearly focuses on the expensive segment of the market.

I am sure they know all this and have decided it's the route they want to go.
I'm still surprised these are still in stock, and at this pricepoint:
https://www.excelsports.com/cervelo-...reless-bicycle
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Old 06-29-24, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Friends, Cyclists, lend me your ears.

Campagnolo was the state of the art in high end cycling for at least 50 years.

It now appears dead. For the second straight year, Campy is absent from the TDF. Given that the high market gravitates to what the pros ride and the lack of a competitive electronic group Campy is circling the drain.

Being of a certain age, I saved my paperboy money to have a bike with Campy Nuevo Record, the gold standard of the day.

But Campy stumbled on index shifting, then more recently in electronics. The name and brand loyalty allowed them to coast for 40 years. They are now at the bottom of the hill.

Long live Campagnolo
Although I am and always have been predominantly a technical guy, I used to have some involvement in Commercial (and have run a team in the past) so have some insight on this side of the business ...

To understand why Campagnolo are not at the TdF, nor yet, in the World Tour, you need to understand how team sponsorship works in the modern era.

The first thing to say, is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the quality or reliability of the equipment, nor rider preference - it is a straight commercial transaction.

Having said that, it's not entirely driven (amongst component makers, anyway) by who can (or feels they can justify) giving more material or cash to a team, either.

The main driver in the current market, is which bike manufacturers maintain significant OE contracts with which component makers and how they choose to flagship their products - hence, the bicycle brands that teams ride have significant influence on component uses by teams and this tendency has grown with the increasing size of team budgets.

Hence we have a situation where as recently as 2021 (with no significant shift in any of the main companies' component offerings in the interim), there were 4/18 WT teams on Campagnolo and in 2024 we have none (to correct you gently, there was a Campagnolo-equipped team in 2023 - AG2R La-Mondiale and 2025 team sponsorships are not fully declared yet) ... it's not down to tech, it's not down to who is or who is not being more innovative - it's largely down to bicycle makers looking at the bottom line and asking the "how much" question.

Decathlon, for instance, in owning the Van Rysel brand of bikes (which they are keen to leverage) displaced Campagnolo at AG2R by deposing the bike brand used in 2023, BMC, with whom Campagnolo had (and continue to have) a significant relationship.

There were similar stories with the change in control at Colnago (hence the move of UAE away from Campagnolo as Ernesto Colnago and Giuseppe Sarroni's roles within the team were changed) and at Canyon (Movistar), where Shimano and SRAM were seen as more cost-effective options by Canyon as the OE - take a look at relative currency exchange rates & how they have shifted since, say, 2020 across the EURO, USD and Yen and it's immediately clear why that should be the case. Campagnolo, with production centred in Europe, is priced in Euro. The fact that Fulcrum have also fallen away as a sponsor (no longer used by Bahrain-Victorious) is also accounted for in the same way - even though Fulcrum remain an important wheel supplier to several big bicycle brands, none of whom, though, are present in the WT.

A quick check on the websites of the ProTour teams will show that of the 18, 10 of them don't list their component suppliers (in terms of groupset) as a sponsor, or even a "partner" ... meaning that they are either buying the components at an advantageous rate, or they come "bundled" with the bike brand.

When the timing is right, Campagnolo will be back in the WT ...

Last edited by gfk_velo; 06-29-24 at 05:04 AM.
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Old 06-29-24, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat
Doesn't Walmart sell Shimano equipped bikes also?
I think that was the premise of his joke.
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Old 06-29-24, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
if they stumbled, it was a very long slow stumble. They’re downfall from my perspective is a total lack of OEM builds. They did that to themselves.
bikes used to come with campy stock, and then they didn’t.
campy clearly focuses on the expensive segment of the market.

I am sure they know all this and have decided it's the route they want to go.
Not really - there is an element of chicken-and-egg but OEM is far more complicated by who a company decides they want to sell to, who wants to buy what - company policy can also be driven by how to make the best use of the company's resources in any given set of circumstances.

The real change can actually be traced back to the early 1990s when bicycle frame production shifted in a significant way, to the Far East - OEM supply was still tenable at that stage because a lot of assembly was still taking place in local markets and pricing and delivery was still taking place in a currency that for Europe, especially, was also local - Lira then later, Euro.

However, as assembly shifted away from Europe, the US etc towards Asia in a bigger and bigger way and with increasing globailisation and decreasing market segmentation of models (still there but generally an OEM's offering now in term sof what models are offered where is pretty uniform across the world) it's been generally harder for European based companies with their production centres in Europe, to gain OEM supply.

That has been heavily driven by exchange rate shifts (take a look at Euro vs Yen and USD as examples, over the last 10 years) and increasingly, real and perceived risks to supply chains introduced by shipping - and by a creeping set of choices made about given those circumstances, brands need to utilise their resources.

Whilst it's true that the high-end market is less susceptible to those shifts than more utilitarian production, it's not immune and that is the basic nutcracker not just for Campagnolo but for other European brands, too, that are slowly fading from the OE supply chain.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes for challenger brands like MicroShift, Sensah, Ltwoo and WheelTop to make inroads in what is essentially now, an unstable supply situation ... with large parts of the industry very heavily dependant on two component manufacturers.

Last edited by gfk_velo; 06-29-24 at 05:22 AM.
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Old 06-29-24, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by gfk_velo

When the timing is right, Campagnolo will be back in the WT ...
There is no technical or commercial incentive for teams to use Campag at this point. Innovation is the other way to get into the pro peloton. I see a few teams using the Classified Powershift hub, which is primarily a performance led decision. Almost zero commercial incentive there.
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Old 06-29-24, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by gfk_velo
Although I am and always have been predominantly a technical guy, I used to have some involvement in Commercial (and have run a team in the past) so have some insight on this side of the business ...

To understand why Campagnolo are not at the TdF, nor yet, in the World Tour, you need to understand how team sponsorship works in the modern era.

The first thing to say, is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the quality or reliability of the equipment, nor rider preference ….

When the timing is right, Campagnolo will be back in the WT ...
Informative post, and I agree with almost all of it, except the last sentence.

I don’t see Campy reversing its long slow downward slide. To sell to their market, you need the credibility of racing( as well as what it does for product development from the real world testing and feedback)

So 1) Campy has no current street cred, 2) Their product has gone from best in the world to chasing Shimano and SRAM, 3) their customer base is dying, and 4) they don’t appear to have the financial resources of SRAM, let alone Shimano.

Its difficult to see how they catch up, or even keep up, or how they sell to a growing number of cyclists that don’t know or care that Campagnolo invented the quick release.
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Old 06-29-24, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by gfk_velo

The real change can actually be traced back to the early 1990s when bicycle frame production shifted in a significant way, to the Far East - OEM supply was still tenable at that stage because a lot of assembly was still taking place in local markets and pricing and delivery was still taking place in a currency that for Europe, especially, was also local - Lira then later, Euro.
.
This is the crux of the issue. Supply chain of components that need to get to asia in order to cost-effectively be hung on the frames, (that then need in turn have to be redistributed worldwide). So if bike makers can't make Campy work for their assembly and distribution models, how will Campy get back into the TdF etc?

OTOH, there are brands that list a campy equipped model - eg. Bianchi and Wilier. What would make a team choose to ride an SRAM, DuraAce or Campy version of their bikes? Or could even any individual rider choose to opt for a Campy equipped bike if the component maker wasn't a direct team sponsor?
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Old 06-29-24, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene

OTOH, there are brands that list a campy equipped model - eg. Bianchi and Wilier. What would make a team choose to ride an SRAM, DuraAce or Campy version of their bikes? Or could even any individual rider choose to opt for a Campy equipped bike if the component maker wasn't a direct team sponsor?
I doubt that most pro riders would have a strong preference for any particular groupset and teams would prefer all their riders to be using the same gear.
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Old 06-29-24, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene
This is the crux of the issue. Supply chain of components that need to get to asia in order to cost-effectively be hung on the frames, (that then need in turn have to be redistributed worldwide). So if bike makers can't make Campy work for their assembly and distribution models, how will Campy get back into the TdF etc?

OTOH, there are brands that list a campy equipped model - eg. Bianchi and Wilier. What would make a team choose to ride an SRAM, DuraAce or Campy version of their bikes? Or could even any individual rider choose to opt for a Campy equipped bike if the component maker wasn't a direct team sponsor?
Campy could simply sponsor a team directly, teaming up with a similarly boutique frame maker. The result would not be selling 100,000 Treks with Super Record, but it could lead to a Campagnolo boom in the semi-custom market.

Rolex is not going away, no matter how many Casios and Seikos get sold. Campy needs to figure out how to be perceived like Rolex.
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Old 06-29-24, 10:08 AM
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I have Campy 10-speed on my bikes. Good group. Maybe I should buy a few more cassettes to last me until I stop riding.
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Old 06-29-24, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
Campy could simply sponsor a team directly, teaming up with a similarly boutique frame maker. The result would not be selling 100,000 Treks with Super Record, but it could lead to a Campagnolo boom in the semi-custom market.
.
Is this correct? I thought, but could well be wrong, that any entered bikes had to be pretty much stock and available for sale to the general public?
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Old 06-29-24, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene
Is this correct? I thought, but could well be wrong, that any entered bikes had to be pretty much stock and available for sale to the general public?
Given that boutique frame makers sell almost exclusively to the public, why would there be a problem?
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Old 06-29-24, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene
Is this correct? I thought, but could well be wrong, that any entered bikes had to be pretty much stock and available for sale to the general public?
They have to be available, but not as complete bikes.

30 years ago there really weren't any "complete bikes" with C-Record, Mavic SSC or Dura Ace. If you wanted a DA Trek you bought a 2000 frameset and a Matrix/DA build kit. Pro level groups coming pre-spec'd on production bikes took awhile to become common.
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Old 06-29-24, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
They have to be available, but not as complete bikes.

30 years ago there really weren't any "complete bikes" with C-Record, Mavic SSC or Dura Ace. If you wanted a DA Trek you bought a 2000 frameset and a Matrix/DA build kit. Pro level groups coming pre-spec'd on production bikes took awhile to become common.
Ahh, ok. Though I imagine the frame makers have a say, even if the component maker could in theory be different? Eg. Trek might be sponsor, and Shimano might not be, but could Trek stipulate they don't want the team riding with a groupset that Trek doesn't hang on any of it's completes?
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Old 06-29-24, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene
Ahh, ok. Though I imagine the frame makers have a say, even if the component maker could in theory be different? Eg. Trek might be sponsor, and Shimano might not be, but could Trek stipulate they don't want the team riding with a groupset that Trek doesn't hang on any of it's completes?
It's a contract which has nothing to do with the UCI. Trek can put whatever they want in that contract. Including whether the wheels are going to remain Bontrager carbons or not.

Not so long ago a Cervelo sponsored team shockingly swapped the SRAM Red off their bikes for Dura Ace. But Cervelo sold R5 frames with either group, so it probably wasn't an issue for them.


In the '80s, I would assume component companies were more directly involved with lobbying teams to ride this or that. But that was when pro bikes weren't sold as anything but framesets. La Vie Claire was synonymous with Look frames and pedals, and Shimano looked for a big win for a long time before a Giro and then much later TdF. And I'm sure Lemond's underfunded ADR team in 1989 was riding Mavic because Mavic made it worth their while - not because Italian Bottecchia preferred French components on their frames.

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Old 06-29-24, 04:09 PM
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Rumors of Campy’s “death” (OP’s words) are greatly exaggerated. I believe they will be around as a niche/boutique brand for the foreseeable future. Just because no TDF team is using them does not mean they are irrelevant.

That’s like saying Ti frames are dead because the pro’s don’t ride them.
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Old 06-29-24, 04:51 PM
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