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Inside the Campy Factory

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Inside the Campy Factory

Old 11-03-11, 10:29 PM
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Inside the Campy Factory

I've heard and seen first hand the attraction to Campy, but I never really understood it until I read this article from Bicycling. It's long, but it's a great read into what makes Campagnolo really tick and the history behind the brand.

https://www.bicycling.com/news/featur...es/italian-job

After reading this, I know what group will be going on the Colnago I've had my eye on...

PSA: I searched and didn't see this posted before. If it's a rehash, credit to the original poster, mods please lock, delete, and nuke into oblivion.
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Old 11-03-11, 11:12 PM
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i grew up around campy, built my 3 current bikes with campy (including a sscx bike), i built my wifes bike up with campy, and after reading that i still feel the need to go out and buy more campagnolo just to do my part.
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Old 11-03-11, 11:33 PM
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thanks for posting this! Great read!
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Old 11-03-11, 11:34 PM
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The only thing that really keeps me from campy since shimano is on par in price now is the wheels not being compatible.
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Old 11-04-11, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Christobevii3
The only thing that really keeps me from campy since shimano is on par in price now is the wheels not being compatible.
Most any wheel worth buying has an option for a campagnolo freehub.
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Old 11-04-11, 06:29 AM
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when I first started riding seriously Campagnolo was the only high end option.. I rode and raced on campy for years. When DA sis 6 speed came out, I made the switch, rode Shimano for 20 years and just a few years back went back to Campy on 1 bike.. Just finished this year upgrading all of my bikes but 1 to Campy 10 speed..
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Old 11-04-11, 07:39 AM
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I luv the company I luv their stuff I just do not think they can hold on very long...Kinda like GM in the 80's vs. Japan.....cost are to high quality is the same, not cutting edge. Great story, great stuff just is to costly.
It is like buying a Jag vs. Infinity....both look awsome go fast and are cool, the jag is perhaps cooler, but cost more and will break.
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Old 11-04-11, 08:18 AM
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campy is all i ride.

just bought an 11-speed record upgrade for my incoming Ti bike. cant wait.

if you know how to shop, campy can be had cheaper than shimano/sram, easily. for example, i got my record-11 levers cheaper than i would be able to get DA or RED levers anywhere, brand new.
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Old 11-04-11, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog
I luv the company I luv their stuff I just do not think they can hold on very long...Kinda like GM in the 80's vs. Japan.....cost are to high quality is the same, not cutting edge. Great story, great stuff just is to costly.
It is like buying a Jag vs. Infinity....both look awsome go fast and are cool, the jag is perhaps cooler, but cost more and will break.
That's a myth.

Do some price shopping. It's more expensive than Sram but lasts MUCH longer; A much better long term value.
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Old 11-04-11, 09:06 AM
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As an Ebay shopper, it appears to me that Campy stuff retains its value better than the other two as well. Collectors really covet older Campy a lot more than any other make. So long as it stays a family business that stays focused on excellence, and doesn't do anything stupid, they could go on a long time. If it becomes an investment by outsiders it'll die. 5 Campy bikes at my house, but an SRAM and a couple of Shimanos as well. The SRAM shifters sure make a lot of mechanical noise, so I wonder if they'll last.
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Old 11-04-11, 09:23 AM
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Great article! Makes me glad I still love Campy!
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Old 11-04-11, 10:50 AM
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The article is kind of a biased puff piece. There were many statements the author made in that article that made the company Campagnolo, or its president Valentino Campagnolo, sound pretty suspect in both reasoning and motivation behind its decision making and I really would've like to hear more of a critical analysis of some of these statements. But like I said the author is really only interested in putting Campagnolo on a pedestal and not really writing a neutral piece of literature.

Red wine is served in the lunch room.
No wonder it took them so long to develop an electronic group.
"It was a forced decision," he told me. When he took over the company in 1983, he said, "I didn't have any special strategy. I didn't have any special management skills in how to handle the company outside of Italy."
At least he admits it.
The airplane giant Boeing recently learned this lesson the hard way.
I don't even know where to begin on how impossible it is to compare Boeing's outsourcing with Campagnolo's in house manufacturing. Completely incompatible.
In 2007, the component company FSA ran a series of ads in cycling magazines (including this one) in which it claimed to make the world's lightest crankset: 633 grams, compared with the Super Record crankset, which weighed 652 grams....And now the U.S. branch of FSA—based in Mukilteo, Washington, a sleepy town north of Seattle—was claiming its cranks were better?
So basically FSA claims that it makes a lighter crank and Campagnolo wastes a huge amount of money and other people's time on a frivolous lawsuit that they end up losing.
Last year the company introduced the Super Record groupset...But fixing the new chain required a special, $299 tool—the most expensive chain tool ever produced.
Granted the price for this tool has come down, but it's still a $150 + tool.

My main issue with Campy is serviceability. Very few techs in America are familiar with Campagnolo. Also, sometimes the parts are tough to get (although not usually). Have you ever tried to deal with a warranty issue with Campy? I haven't, but I can't imagine that it's very easy given the 5 North American employees. Why should I care if Campy lasts longer when SRAM customer service is so awesome that they immediately send me a replacement part for any issue I have? Not that I'm convinced that Campy lasts any longer, I've seen people have way more issues with Campy components (mostly shifters and cranks) than with Shimano or even SRAM, which is impressive because I know so few people that use Campy.
I could go on and on but I've already wasted too much time.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by wkg
The article is kind of a biased puff piece. There were many statements the author made in that article that made the company Campagnolo, or its president Valentino Campagnolo, sound pretty suspect in both reasoning and motivation behind its decision making and I really would've like to hear more of a critical analysis of some of these statements. But like I said the author is really only interested in putting Campagnolo on a pedestal and not really writing a neutral piece of literature.

No wonder it took them so long to develop an electronic group.
At least he admits it.
I don't even know where to begin on how impossible it is to compare Boeing's outsourcing with Campagnolo's in house manufacturing. Completely incompatible.
So basically FSA claims that it makes a lighter crank and Campagnolo wastes a huge amount of money and other people's time on a frivolous lawsuit that they end up losing.
Granted the price for this tool has come down, but it's still a $150 + tool.

My main issue with Campy is serviceability. Very few techs in America are familiar with Campagnolo. Also, sometimes the parts are tough to get (although not usually). Have you ever tried to deal with a warranty issue with Campy? I haven't, but I can't imagine that it's very easy given the 5 North American employees. Why should I care if Campy lasts longer when SRAM customer service is so awesome that they immediately send me a replacement part for any issue I have? Not that I'm convinced that Campy lasts any longer, I've seen people have way more issues with Campy components (mostly shifters and cranks) than with Shimano or even SRAM, which is impressive because I know so few people that use Campy.
I could go on and on but I've already wasted too much time.
Yes you did. So you like other groupsets. It's not like you are going to change the Campagnolo users' minds.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by wkg
The article is kind of a biased puff piece. There were many statements the author made in that article that made the company Campagnolo, or its president Valentino Campagnolo, sound pretty suspect in both reasoning and motivation behind its decision making and I really would've like to hear more of a critical analysis of some of these statements. But like I said the author is really only interested in putting Campagnolo on a pedestal and not really writing a neutral piece of literature.

No wonder it took them so long to develop an electronic group.
At least he admits it.
I don't even know where to begin on how impossible it is to compare Boeing's outsourcing with Campagnolo's in house manufacturing. Completely incompatible.
So basically FSA claims that it makes a lighter crank and Campagnolo wastes a huge amount of money and other people's time on a frivolous lawsuit that they end up losing.
Granted the price for this tool has come down, but it's still a $150 + tool.

My main issue with Campy is serviceability. Very few techs in America are familiar with Campagnolo. Also, sometimes the parts are tough to get (although not usually). Have you ever tried to deal with a warranty issue with Campy? I haven't, but I can't imagine that it's very easy given the 5 North American employees. Why should I care if Campy lasts longer when SRAM customer service is so awesome that they immediately send me a replacement part for any issue I have? Not that I'm convinced that Campy lasts any longer, I've seen people have way more issues with Campy components (mostly shifters and cranks) than with Shimano or even SRAM, which is impressive because I know so few people that use Campy.
I could go on and on but I've already wasted too much time.
With an argument like that, I'll state that I've been using SRAM Red since it came out in 2008. In fact, I have SRAM Red (or a mix of SRAM Red) on 3 bikes.

Since then I built up another bike with Campagnolo 11 (mostly SR/Record with Chorus Cassette and KMC X11SL chain).

Campagnolo 11 is superior in every way it's not even funny.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:11 AM
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And the $150 chain tool, it's for closers.

I went with second prize and used a KMC chain, which does not require a special chain tool and I just use pliers to undo the quick-link when I travel with my bike.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:16 AM
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If the demand for Campagnolo'stop- level $2,500 carbon-fiber groupset, the Super Record, exploded tenfold, the company couldn't simply hire 10 times as many skilled machinists and ramp up production. Those machinists don't exist. "Highly qualified machinists know their worth," says Upham, "and they won't sell their labor cheap."
As a machinist myself, this makes me smile.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by wkg
No wonder it took them so long to develop an electronic group
Campagnolo was testing near production quality electronic groups in the pro circut back when di2 was in very crude rnd stages. Just because you can't buy it doesn't mean it hasent existed for years. Campagnolo didn't have the cashflow to make a zap/mektronic type mistake in an unknown market. Di2 has proven the markets viability and you will see a group soon.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by wkg
The article is kind of a biased puff piece. There were many statements the author made in that article that made the company Campagnolo, or its president Valentino Campagnolo, sound pretty suspect in both reasoning and motivation...
This, combined with the rest of your post, is so ironic it's painful to read.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:21 AM
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Red wine is served in the lunch room.
No wonder it took them so long to develop an electronic group.
First of, this is pretty common in more places than you'll imagine in Europe at large. I visited a hospital in Switzerland, which sends a current wine cellar list to patients rooms daily for their daily selection along with lunch. This is not for VIP patients, but for regular patients. So, a part maker in Italy having wine in the lunch room in my mind is equated to Dr. Pepper being offered in the vending machine at the GM plant.


Last year the company introduced the Super Record groupset...But fixing the new chain required a special, $299 tool—the most expensive chain tool ever produced.
Granted the price for this tool has come down, but it's still a $150 + tool.
This is bull**** at best. I bought a 11 Sp Super Record group 3-4 months after it was available. My first chain was put on by a LBS that does no more than 10% of their work on Campagnolo. They already had a tool. I bought my own 1-2 months later for $125. The problem you and most people have is that they limit themselves to buying at the overpriced rates your LBS want to set, and then get upset because stuff they really like or want costs too much. Look around!!

My main issue with Campy is serviceability. Very few techs in America are familiar with Campagnolo. Also, sometimes the parts are tough to get (although not usually). Have you ever tried to deal with a warranty issue with Campy? I haven't, but I can't imagine that it's very easy given the 5 North American employees. Why should I care if Campy lasts longer when SRAM customer service is so awesome that they immediately send me a replacement part for any issue I have? Not that I'm convinced that Campy lasts any longer, I've seen people have way more issues with Campy components (mostly shifters and cranks) than with Shimano or even SRAM, which is impressive because I know so few people that use Campy.
Although I have never had to use the warranty, I have been using Campagnolo for years. Stuff simply works, works right the first time, and works forever. Simple as that. Most shops worth anything have someone that knows how to work on Campagnolo stuff. There are tons of shops that are "Campagnolo approved centers" that bother sending their mechanics to learn from the horse's mouth how to use and service their stuff properly rather than learning on the go with disposable stuff like the other makers. Besides, Campagnolo is the only of the main 3 that has service kits to replace just about any part from the pin to a chain to the internals of a briefter. Plenty of stuff on the web to show even the most inept mechanic on how to do it too.

As far as pricing goes, when 11 Sp came out, I bought my kit for the equivalent of a DA kit online. Sure, the LBS prices were several hundred more, but that was the same for DA and Red. Most shops make more by selling Shimano and SRAM, their availability and supply is quicker, and ordering is simple because these companies have a catering mentality and way of doing business.

Campagnolo is a small company and will remain so forever. They will never and have never tried to compete with the other 2 in the same volume level. They have a niche, will always have a niche, and will always in the end be several grades above the other 2. However, in the end, all 3 work. Oh, and don't tell me about how many tours of this and that was won on each because the truth is that if you gave a fixed gear to a PRO, they likely wold win just the same!!!!
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Old 11-04-11, 11:30 AM
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I gvet sick of the "campy is overpriced" argument. Bought from the UK campagnolo is very reasonable. If you look at the labor input costs I would argue that shimano and sram are overpriced.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by wkg
The article is kind of a biased puff piece. There were many statements the author made in that article that made the company Campagnolo, or its president Valentino Campagnolo, sound pretty suspect in both reasoning and motivation behind its decision making and I really would've like to hear more of a critical analysis of some of these statements. But like I said the author is really only interested in putting Campagnolo on a pedestal and not really writing a neutral piece of literature.
Of course it's fluffy, it's BICYCLING.

Having run a Campagnolo Service Center and having met many of the people quoted in the article and having worked in the Campagnolo booths at Interbike, Taipei and Shanghai shows I have to say that the author did nail the whole attitude and persona as it exists within the company.

Originally Posted by wkg
No wonder it took them so long to develop an electronic group.
Campagnolo had a working electronic group before Shimano. As I have stated previously it was a business move to force Shimano to bring theirs to market first. Campagnolo forced Shimano's hand and I doubt Shimano has recovered their R&D and tooling costs yet on electronic. With Ultegra electronic the ball is now back in Campagnolo's court.

Originally Posted by wkg
I don't even know where to begin on how impossible it is to compare Boeing's outsourcing with Campagnolo's in house manufacturing. Completely incompatible.
I make a living dealing with the kind of issues alluded to with Boeing. Their experience mirrors many who have outsourced production around the globe and is a perfect juxtaposition to the choices Campagnolo made.

Campagnolo's factory in Romania is staffed by the semi-skilled workers of a Fiat plant that closed. CCampagnolo retrained and retooled a motivated workforce. The facts about being isolated and yet close enough that Campagnolo can have a direct, real time hand in daily operations are again, choices that have allowed Campagnolo to avoid the downside of Asian manufacturing faced by other manufacturers.

Sram got around this by opening an office in Taiwan and having permanent staff here to deal with their vendors. Campagnolo has now gone this route to handle OE and some wheel assembly.

Originally Posted by wkg
So basically FSA claims that it makes a lighter crank and Campagnolo wastes a huge amount of money and other people's time on a frivolous lawsuit that they end up losing.
Who are you to say what is frivolous to Campagnolo in terms of market image. They won BTW.

Originally Posted by wkg
Granted the price for this tool has come down, but it's still a $150 + tool.
The tool is made by Cyclus in Germany and it is the best chain tool I've ever owned (and I've had plenty). Every shop should have one as it can also be used for every other brand of chain on the market.

Originally Posted by wkg
My main issue with Campy is serviceability. Very few techs in America are familiar with Campagnolo. Also, sometimes the parts are tough to get (although not usually). Have you ever tried to deal with a warranty issue with Campy? I haven't, but I can't imagine that it's very easy given the 5 North American employees. Why should I care if Campy lasts longer when SRAM customer service is so awesome that they immediately send me a replacement part for any issue I have? Not that I'm convinced that Campy lasts any longer, I've seen people have way more issues with Campy components (mostly shifters and cranks) than with Shimano or even SRAM, which is impressive because I know so few people that use Campy.
You can order parts or have the work done for you at a Pro Shop (if you can't do it yourself). I certainly can be a PITA but what isn't when it fails.

The bulk of items being serviced are shifters and wheels (again, I speak from experience here). Most shops can handle wheels. The issue of proprietary items like spokes is not unique to Campagnolo, many popular boutique brands have the same downside.

Campagnolo certainly has it's quirks and it's not for everyone but, then again, that sounds a bit like their business model, non?
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Old 11-04-11, 11:38 AM
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I was hoping for more photos of the actual factory. Maybe they weren't allowed.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:40 AM
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My 14 year old son is enamored with Campagnolo. He is currently saving all his money to buy his first Veloce Gruppo. Granted he has experienced the use of SRAM and Shimano, when he tried Campagnolo, he could not stop wanting to change his groupset since.

We both fail to see the "Campagnolo is expensive" bit.
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Old 11-04-11, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by kimconyc
And the $150 chain tool, it's for closers.
Bwa ha ha!
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Old 11-04-11, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wkg
So basically FSA claims that it makes a lighter crank and Campagnolo wastes a huge amount of money and other people's time on a frivolous lawsuit that they end up losing.
I guess you missed this part...
"During the two-week trial last summer, Campagnolo's attorneys grilled FSA's VanEnkevort about the methods used to compare the weights. By the time his testimony concluded, it was fairly clear that FSA had fudged a little on its weight comparison."

Sounds like Campy was right - FSA had lied. Its called reputation -- something that's been replaced by quarterly earnings reports here in the US.


Originally Posted by wkg
My main issue with Campy is serviceability.
When was the last time you serviced a shimano part? Serviceability is the main thing I have always admired about Campy.
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