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Calling all Campagnolo Athena users...

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Calling all Campagnolo Athena users...

Old 04-02-12, 02:38 PM
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PixelPaul
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Calling all Campagnolo Athena users...

I'm considering updating my bike from Campagnolo Veloce to Athena. Most of the reviews I have been able to find about Athena have been mostly positive, but one I read on bikeradar.com described the Athena group as being "finicky to precise adjustment" and "requires weekly fine-tuning and attention to stay in top working condition". I don't consider myself to be very good in bike tuning and this could be a deal breaker for me. I'm wondering what other users of Athena experiences are?
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Old 04-02-12, 02:46 PM
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I built my first bike up about 8 months ago with Athena 11 speed components. First couple of hundred miles required a little bit of tuning here and there (due to stretching of cabling, etc.), but other than that everything has been great and did not require much tuning at all.

Considering it was my first time building a bike up, I was extremely meticulous and did a lot of reading about everything though, so I'm sure some of that attributed to the nice and care-free drive train.

The ONLY issue I am really experiencing now is my front derailleur doesn't shift as smoothly as I would like for it to, but I've done some reading and think it has to do with how I set it up - it's supposed to shift in 4 clicks, but I currently have it set up to work in only 3 clicks.

All things considered, I'm very happy with the Athena group set.
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Old 04-02-12, 02:51 PM
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^ ^ are you sure about 4 clicks? I just installed my Athena (2010) group yesterday and I remember reading it is 3-clicks for proper adjustment, and that's how mine is currently setup. I'll go re-check the Campagnolo literature this evening.
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Old 04-02-12, 04:33 PM
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Read the same review and don't get it. Once new cables are broken in, I ride for 1000's of silent, trouble free miles at a time...
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Old 04-02-12, 04:45 PM
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Here's a few facts. The FD is supposed to cover the full range of travel with 3 clicks, but if everything isn't set perfectly, it may take 4. It works either way. Athena shifters are now the dumbed-down powershift model, that can't make mutiple shifts to smaller cogs with one push of the thumb button. The left shifter also works differently than an ultrashift lever, with more limited function.

All of the Campy groups with ultrashift levers can be finicky if the RD cable friction is excessive. Many users don't recognize the hesitation on shifts to smaller cogs only as a cable friction problem. They loosen the cable tension and all that does is foul up the shifts to larger cogs. You can adjust the cable tension all day and it won't cure a cable friction problem.
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Old 04-02-12, 04:46 PM
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I agree the literature does in fact say 3 clicks, which is what I set it up to. However, many who are very experienced with Campagnolo on a different forum suggested that 4 should be the way to go.

It's actually been a heated debate back and forth, so I honestly don't know what is really the correct answers. There have been plenty of people who do it with 3 clicks and have zero problems. I'm currently having issues, so I figured I'd give 4 clicks a try to see what happens.

BTW, this isn't related specifically to Athena as much as it is just Campy 11 speed.
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Old 04-02-12, 04:59 PM
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I'll report back on how my FD performs with the 3-click setup. I've shifted it in use all of ONCE in either direction. I really need to get off this computer, HTFU and go ride in these crazy winds we've got going on this evening.
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Old 04-02-12, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by cuda2k View Post
I'll report back on how my FD performs with the 3-click setup. I've shifted it in use all of ONCE in either direction. I really need to get off this computer, HTFU and go ride in these crazy winds we've got going on this evening.
As heads up, the specific issue I am having as follows (and perhaps it is specific to Athena, but not sure):

If I adjust my upper limit so that it shifts crisply from small chainring to large chainring, then max cross-chaining (large chain-ring - to large cog) will rub against the front derailleur. If I adjust my upper limit til the rub on the front derailleur is very subtle, then I can't shift smoothly from small chain ring to large chain ring anymore.
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Old 04-02-12, 05:35 PM
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quick note:

in my brief experience with athena 11, the brake levers made a metal clanging sound when the front lever strikes the rear. i suppose it could be solved by gluing a small piece of rubber on one of the levers at the contact point. shifting was fine, though.
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Old 04-02-12, 05:47 PM
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Don't expect to get a full cross-chain without rub. Even my 10sp groups I generally set it up where the small ring - second to smallest cog are quiet but the small/small will have some chatter. If I get to a situation where I am going full cross-chain, the noise reminds me not to be stupid and change gears.
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Old 04-02-12, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by PixelPaul View Post
Most of the reviews I have been able to find about Athena have been mostly positive, but one I read on bikeradar.com described the Athena group as being "finicky to precise adjustment" and "requires weekly fine-tuning and attention to stay in top working condition".
Sure they weren't talking about the original (circa 1989) Athena group? That truly sucked. I do not understand why Campy ressurected the name.
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Old 04-02-12, 05:57 PM
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I have the 2011 Power**** Athena 11spd group. The Power**** shifters suck...but I wanted the look of the silver alloy for my Merckx. If I had to do it all over again I would have left it well enough alone with the 2006 10 speed gear that was on it. I can only use half the cassette without rub and there are no trim positions for the big ring. I'm now looking into the possibility of buying Chorus shifters and retrofitting the alloy brake and shift levers from the Athena onto them. Honestly I wouldn't bother with Athena...Centaur if you want better 10 speed and at least Chorus if you go 11 speed.

Edit: Want to clarify the trim comment...on the FD I have two usable positions for the small ring and can use the whole cassette. In the big ring there are two positions as well...but I can only use the inside half of the cassette when I shift up into the big ring...once I'm rubbing the outside of the FD and have to push it out I can't get that position back...one click from the left thumb lever sends me back to the small ring.

Should I set the front limit farther in and add some cable tension so that I only have 3 positions of the FD and that large ring position covers the smaller cogs? I'm 99% sure I can't get a position that will allow use of all of the cogs but maybe I can get most of them...save for the largest two?
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Old 04-02-12, 08:12 PM
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You're not supposed to use the big/big combo, so having chain rub is not a big deal, but the ultrashift levers can trim out the that rub. The limited function powershift lever doesn't have a trim position to the left, from the big ring AFAIK. The FD should always be set far enough to the right so there is no rub in the big ring and smallest cog. You should be able to use all but the largest cog without rub, but some frames with really short chainstays might have rub in the second largest cog.
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Old 04-02-12, 08:27 PM
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2 1/2 years without any real problems..yes i get some rub when cross chained..but that is to be expected. My problem now is shifting from small to big ring, but i suspect it has more to do with the fact that the chain now has about 7500 miles on it and needs to be changed..of course not the fault of the group, just me being cheap..lol
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Old 04-02-12, 09:28 PM
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If you have 7500 miles on that chain you will be replacing more than the chain...
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Old 04-03-12, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
You're not supposed to use the big/big combo, so having chain rub is not a big deal, but the ultrashift levers can trim out the that rub. The limited function powershift lever doesn't have a trim position to the left, from the big ring AFAIK. The FD should always be set far enough to the right so there is no rub in the big ring and smallest cog. You should be able to use all but the largest cog without rub, but some frames with really short chainstays might have rub in the second largest cog.
That isn't the case on my Merckx, I get chain rub in the largest 4 cogs.
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Old 04-03-12, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper View Post
That isn't the case on my Merckx, I get chain rub in the largest 4 cogs.
Is the outer plate of the FD perfectly parallel with the rings? I don't have the PowerShift version, but that sounds like something isn't quite adjusted right to me. When I first put the new FD on the Kirk mine wasn't quite parallel and was getting a lot of rubbing as well. Or you could just have a bump FD that isn't bent correctly or was bent in shipping?
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Old 04-03-12, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by cuda2k View Post
Is the outer plate of the FD perfectly parallel with the rings? I don't have the PowerShift version, but that sounds like something isn't quite adjusted right to me. When I first put the new FD on the Kirk mine wasn't quite parallel and was getting a lot of rubbing as well. Or you could just have a bump FD that isn't bent correctly or was bent in shipping?
I think so but I will double check it tonight.
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Old 04-03-12, 10:50 AM
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Simple, when set up right, with correct cables and a bit of break in..ie cable broken in;

1000's of trouble free miles. New chains, but nothing else. Just get on and ride, shifts smooth, and works great.

Not being able to dump all my gears at one time is no problem what so ever.
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Old 04-03-12, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by cuda2k View Post
I really need to get off this computer, HTFU and go ride in these crazy winds we've got going on this evening.
Compared to today's crazy winds?
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Old 04-03-12, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper View Post
I think so but I will double check it tonight.
Ok so it is actually rotated such that the outer plate swings in at the trailing edge...which I would think would help to eliminate the rub that I have. I aligned the inner cage to the rings. I don't think the FD is bent...I have two of them and they look identical.
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Old 04-03-12, 07:46 PM
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I'm getting my first chance at some real miles on my 2010 group tomorrow. I'll try to remember to snap some photos of the FD positioning when I get back if I'm satisfied with the shifting. Another thing to check is the height, having the FD too high can cause excessive rub as well.
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Old 04-04-12, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by cuda2k View Post
I'm getting my first chance at some real miles on my 2010 group tomorrow. I'll try to remember to snap some photos of the FD positioning when I get back if I'm satisfied with the shifting. Another thing to check is the height, having the FD too high can cause excessive rub as well.
Would love to see the photos and get your thoughts. If anything my FD is low not high but I'm 99% sure the height is correct. I'm thinking if I square it up I will be able to bring the outer limit in a bit more. This will probably eliminate the 4th FD position but might also help with the chain rub on the inside.

How many FD positions do you have (well those with Power****)?

Edit: ok so I made the outer plate parallel with the rings and pushed the height up as high as I could (braze-on) and it is shifting much better...no rub in the big ring and a trim position in the small ring. But I still have 4 FD positions and I wish it were 3. When all the way inside I have one click that gets me small ring trim. Then the next click does NO get me to the big ring...but isn't rideable in the small ring either. If I push a bit farther it will shift up...I then can get it to go farther to another click but a down shift goes all the way to the inside. I'm running an Athena UT 53/39 crankset on this and if I add more cable tension I will get inside rub when in small-big (added cable tension could make the shift to the big ring better but I can't do it without rub in the small-big combo). So I guess I like it better but it still isn't perfect IMO. I liked the older systems better...and probably the SRAM on my Giant is better too.
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Last edited by Grasschopper; 04-04-12 at 12:38 PM.
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