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Centaur and Athena, is 11 really better?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Centaur and Athena, is 11 really better?

Old 01-02-14, 12:00 PM
  #26  
vwchad
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
That's exactly what they mean! Can you get away with violating this rule? Dunno. Just telling you what is recommended. The motivation is arguable, but that doesn't mean you can rely on a conspiracy theory to get you by every time you don't want to believe a safety recommendation. Just saying if you're too cheap to replace the pin or link every time you undo the chain, then you are too cheap to ride 11 speed. It's a corollary to the, "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it" rule. Pretty simple.
Personally, I've only had one chain with a KMC link in it. I reused it many times before replacing. However, I also carefully cleaned it an inspected it each time. I looked for signs of wear, corrosion, or damage. It was replaced when I could separate the link halves without the pliers. As long as it made a nice, positve lock when installed. I felt it was good to go. If you don't feel comfortable determining the serviceability of a part, then replace every time. Simple as that.
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Old 01-02-14, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by vwchad View Post
1. Is there any real, noteworthy difference between Centaur and Athena, other than 1 more gear? Quality?
Lat summer I got a new Athena equipped road bike after riding Campagnolo Veloce for a few years. The Athena is really nice, but honestly I can't say it shifts or brakes any better than the Veloce. They both seems equal to me, except Athena is 11sp and Veloce 10sp. The Athena has machined sprockets and chainrings vs. the stamped for Veloce and an alloy shift paddle vs. plastic for Veloce. Athena also has the skeleton brakes but performance wise they feel the same to me, IMHO.

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Old 01-02-14, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by PixelPaul View Post
Lat summer I got a new Athena equipped road bike after riding Campagnolo Veloce for a few years. The Athena is really nice, but honestly I can't say it shifts or brakes any better than the Veloce. They both seems equal to me, except Athena is 11sp and Veloce 10sp. The Athena has machined sprockets and chainrings vs. the stamped for Veloce and an alloy shift paddle vs. plastic for Veloce. Athena also has the skeleton brakes but performance wise they feel the same to me, IMHO.
Thank you for your opinion on the matter! First hand accounts using these groups is exactly what I was looking for.
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Old 01-02-14, 05:21 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by vwchad View Post
Thank you for your opinion on the matter! First hand accounts using these groups is exactly what I was looking for.
My Cinelli is all Campagnolo Centaur except Veloce shifters and Miche cassette. I have never ridden Athena, but in comparison to Shimano 105 (5700), SRAM Rival and a crazy SRAM X9 flat bar build, nothing has come close to the mixed Centaur group (Oops, forgot Microshift 9 speed as well). Braking (with good pads) was pretty much uniform across 5700, Rival, and Centaur brakes (they are all excellent, IMO). Centaur has best front shifting of all the groups, followed by the X9 (believe it or not), and can be comfortably shifted with some load. Rear shifting is very positive: Shimano is clickity-pfft, SRAM is BANG, and Campagnolo is snap. I have never had an over or underdone rear shift, once it was tuned a titch after the build.

People say Shimano shifting is buttery. I do not want buttery. I want snappy. It is a whole different thing.

Of course, full disclosure, I almost exclusively ride a single speed anymore, so my insight may be tainted. 47x16 is way better than any 11 speed mumbo jumbo.
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Old 01-02-14, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
My Cinelli is all Campagnolo Centaur except Veloce shifters and Miche cassette. I have never ridden Athena, but in comparison to Shimano 105 (5700), SRAM Rival and a crazy SRAM X9 flat bar build, nothing has come close to the mixed Centaur group (Oops, forgot Microshift 9 speed as well). Braking (with good pads) was pretty much uniform across 5700, Rival, and Centaur brakes (they are all excellent, IMO). Centaur has best front shifting of all the groups, followed by the X9 (believe it or not), and can be comfortably shifted with some load. Rear shifting is very positive: Shimano is clickity-pfft, SRAM is BANG, and Campagnolo is snap. I have never had an over or underdone rear shift, once it was tuned a titch after the build.

People say Shimano shifting is buttery. I do not want buttery. I want snappy. It is a whole different thing.

Of course, full disclosure, I almost exclusively ride a single speed anymore, so my insight may be tainted. 47x16 is way better than any 11 speed mumbo jumbo.
Many don't like buttery. Shimano learned this and in fact made both new DA9000 and Ultegra 6800 not only more snappy like Campy but also emulated the hood ergos...or close to it...of Campy Ultrashift.
Now all three groupset mfrs have never been closer together in performance in spite of different shift design....button versus brake lever versus double tap.
There is more than a little irony in terms of how different mfrs emulate one another. In 2009 when Campy released Ultrashift they screwed the pooch by attempting to replicate DA7800 buttery shifting. They failed miserably due to under cable routing with higher cable friction and soft detent shifting created a fair outcry including from me who always loved Campy's snappy shifting from previous gen shifters. In 2010 they quickly atoned by returning Ultrashift to previous snappy shifting. Today, all the groupsets now have a solid snap....Sram being more a slam than a snap. In the heat of the battle, buttery doesn't get it done. Riders what feedback.

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Old 01-02-14, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Many don't like buttery. Shimano learned this and in fact made both new DA9000 and Ultegra 6800 not only more snappy like Campy but also emulated the hood ergos...or close to it...of Campy Ultrashift.
In an interesting development, I love the Ergo shape even on the Veloce levers, and was trying to find something for the single speed that was as comfortable. If you ever get the chance, try TRP RL levers: they are absolutely all day comfy. I was looking to match Campagnolo, and ended up finding something that fit my big mitts even better (no Romney's were harmed in the making of that reference).
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Old 01-02-14, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
In an interesting development, I love the Ergo shape even on the Veloce levers, and was trying to find something for the single speed that was as comfortable. If you ever get the chance, try TRP RL levers: they are absolutely all day comfy. I was looking to match Campagnolo, and ended up finding something that fit my big mitts even better (no Romney's were harmed in the making of that reference).
Roll...you have a pic of the TRP RL levers?
Thanks
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Old 01-02-14, 07:33 PM
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Sorry, RRL. I was going from memory. I will try to get you a mounted high angle photo over the weekend, when daylight abounds. There is about a 3 hr window in Central NY. They also have the most amazing brake release built in, so if you want more clearance riding in the road salt (to diminish the scuff scuff of crap), you nudge a button, keep riding, and have no loss of braking power. I am rubbernecking for maybe a DT shifter frame so I have a reason to buy another set.

https://www.trpbrakes.com/category.ph...d=183&subcat=0

OP, sorry for the digression.
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Old 01-02-14, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
My Cinelli is all Campagnolo Centaur except Veloce shifters and Miche cassette. I have never ridden Athena, but in comparison to Shimano 105 (5700), SRAM Rival and a crazy SRAM X9 flat bar build, nothing has come close to the mixed Centaur group (Oops, forgot Microshift 9 speed as well). Braking (with good pads) was pretty much uniform across 5700, Rival, and Centaur brakes (they are all excellent, IMO). Centaur has best front shifting of all the groups, followed by the X9 (believe it or not), and can be comfortably shifted with some load. Rear shifting is very positive: Shimano is clickity-pfft, SRAM is BANG, and Campagnolo is snap. I have never had an over or underdone rear shift, once it was tuned a titch after the build.

People say Shimano shifting is buttery. I do not want buttery. I want snappy. It is a whole different thing.

Of course, full disclosure, I almost exclusively ride a single speed anymore, so my insight may be tainted. 47x16 is way better than any 11 speed mumbo jumbo.
Thanks for another first hand account!

What I'm seeing here is that I really can't go wrong with any Campagnolo group. I kind of expected that. I simply have to make a few decisions that are ultimately about preference more than anything (except the PT crank issue, which Campag4life has made it clear that it is truely an inferior product as far as he is concerned). Is 1 more gear worth the extra cost to me? PT or UT cranks? Possible issues with PT? PS or US shifiting? With 11s, Shimano cassette?

I guess I just don't know at this point. Maybe it is time to keep an eye on ebay for good deals. The idea of piecing together a group isn't bad. However, with the prices at Ribble I must admit, it will be tough to do better.

Of course there is also the Shimano 6800 option. I think that will only be decided by finding a LBS willing to let me try it out.
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Old 01-02-14, 08:21 PM
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Power-torque vs ultra-torque
I firmly believe there is nothing wrong with power-torque from an on the bike function standpoint. On paper (I haven't done it) it also looks very easy to install. The issue comes when it is time to remove the crankset. You will need a proper gear puller with adaptor or a LBS that has one.

ultra-torque is easy to both install and remove.

i wouldn't fear PT, but if you can get an UT crankset, I would recommend it.

Power-shift vs Ultrashift
The only thing you give up with PS is multi shift capability that doesn't exist with sram or shimano either. It is unique to campy amd if you haven't had it, you won't know what you are missing. I personally like the feature, but it isn't nessisary or no one would buy it or sram and shimano for that manner.
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Old 01-02-14, 08:38 PM
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I have Centaur 10, and considered getting 11 just so I could have closer gaps when doing intervals, allowing me to stay at the ideal rpm as the road went up & down a bit. Now that I'm not racing, I really don't have any desire for 11.

Bad news: I have a set of 2009 Centaur levers. Good news, shortly after getting them, I snagged 2 sets of 2010 levers, and put the 2009 on my trainer bike.
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Old 01-02-14, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by vwchad View Post
Personally, I've only had one chain with a KMC link in it. I reused it many times before replacing. However, I also carefully cleaned it an inspected it each time. I looked for signs of wear, corrosion, or damage. It was replaced when I could separate the link halves without the pliers. As long as it made a nice, positve lock when installed. I felt it was good to go. If you don't feel comfortable determining the serviceability of a part, then replace every time. Simple as that.
Yes, but corrct me if I am wrong, that was 10 speed, right? The recommendation for 11 speed is more conservative.
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Old 01-02-14, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
Sorry, RRL. I was going from memory. I will try to get you a mounted high angle photo over the weekend, when daylight abounds. There is about a 3 hr window in Central NY. They also have the most amazing brake release built in, so if you want more clearance riding in the road salt (to diminish the scuff scuff of crap), you nudge a button, keep riding, and have no loss of braking power. I am rubbernecking for maybe a DT shifter frame so I have a reason to buy another set.

https://www.trpbrakes.com/category.ph...d=183&subcat=0

OP, sorry for the digression.
no problem, digress away!
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Old 01-02-14, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Yes, but corrct me if I am wrong, that was 10 speed, right? The recommendation for 11 speed is more conservative.
I plan to use the same philosophy, should I go with 11.
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Old 01-03-14, 05:44 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by thirdgenbird View Post
Power-torque vs ultra-torque
I firmly believe there is nothing wrong with power-torque from an on the bike function standpoint. On paper (I haven't done it) it also looks very easy to install. The issue comes when it is time to remove the crankset. You will need a proper gear puller with adaptor or a LBS that has one.

ultra-torque is easy to both install and remove.

i wouldn't fear PT, but if you can get an UT crankset, I would recommend it.

Power-shift vs Ultrashift
The only thing you give up with PS is multi shift capability that doesn't exist with sram or shimano either. It is unique to campy amd if you haven't had it, you won't know what you are missing. I personally like the feature, but it isn't nessisary or no one would buy it or sram and shimano for that manner.
We will simply disagree on this front. Power Torque is the only 'soft shoulder' tapered splined external bearing crank on the market. And for good reason, the other manufacturers know better. A hard shoulder, straight fluted crank which dominate the industry excepting the handful of hirth joint cranks like UT, creates a much more solid attachment between left crank arm and one piece spindle. Bolt torque and ability to maintain bolt torque over time due to pedal forces is much more consistent. There is no need for a taper spline with soft shoulder which creates a variable chain line based upon bolt torque and tolerance stack up between female left crank arm spline and male spindle spline. This design is a vestige of yesterday. There is no need for a puller to disassemble a crank unless the crank design is flawed itself. I would buy into a need for a press fit if there were redeeming value from a design standpoint but the converse is true. A tapered spline is a liability from a design standpoint. The ghost of square taper. Campy slips on a banana peel. You can defend it all you want but its a crappy design which is prone to creaking. It is simply a slightly more robust version of square taper which went away for a reason. Of course, many don't understand why square taper cranks disappeared either.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Campy Power Torque 7.jpg (66.1 KB, 41 views)
File Type: jpg
PT Spline Close up..jpg (101.4 KB, 43 views)

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Old 01-03-14, 06:02 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
Sorry, RRL. I was going from memory. I will try to get you a mounted high angle photo over the weekend, when daylight abounds. There is about a 3 hr window in Central NY. They also have the most amazing brake release built in, so if you want more clearance riding in the road salt (to diminish the scuff scuff of crap), you nudge a button, keep riding, and have no loss of braking power. I am rubbernecking for maybe a DT shifter frame so I have a reason to buy another set.

https://www.trpbrakes.com/category.ph...d=183&subcat=0

OP, sorry for the digression.
Nice find, thanks.
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Old 01-03-14, 07:05 AM
  #42  
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I agree that power torque is a tarted up version of square taper but is that really a major issue? Square taper served the industry pretty well for decades and still stays in service on all but one of my bikes. It isn't a perfect design, but it has given me no reasons to spend money to replace it.

UT and competing designs are clearly superior, but it wouldn't stop me from trying PT if I needed a triple for some reason. If I were buying a double, I would find an UT crankset.

better were the days that every Campagnolo group had ultra torque, ultrashift, and skeleton brakes.

Last edited by thirdgenbird; 01-03-14 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 01-03-14, 07:36 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by thirdgenbird View Post
better were the days that every Campagnolo group had ultra torque, ultrashift, and skeleton brakes.
May I ask the benefit of skeleton brakes? I have no experience with them, so have never looked at them as an impactor on component decisions.
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Old 01-03-14, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by vwchad View Post
I plan to use the same philosophy, should I go with 11.
Let us know how it goes. We will all benefit from your experience.
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Old 01-03-14, 07:44 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
May I ask the benefit of skeleton brakes? I have no experience with them, so have never looked at them as an impactor on component decisions.
They are prettier than current centaur and veloce brakes. That is good enough in this sport right?

my personal favorites are the pre skeleton record differential brakes. I'm sure the current centaur/veloce stuff works great. The prices are very good as well. I wouldn't hesitate to get them on a budget.
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Old 01-03-14, 08:41 AM
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I found a NIB 2010 Athena UT crankset, with the beautiful polished finish even, for $269 on ebay. That is significantly higher than a new PT crank. Is that the standard going rate these days or is that high?
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Old 01-03-14, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
Sorry, RRL. I was going from memory. I will try to get you a mounted high angle photo over the weekend, when daylight abounds. There is about a 3 hr window in Central NY. They also have the most amazing brake release built in, so if you want more clearance riding in the road salt (to diminish the scuff scuff of crap), you nudge a button, keep riding, and have no loss of braking power. I am rubbernecking for maybe a DT shifter frame so I have a reason to buy another set.

https://www.trpbrakes.com/category.ph...d=183&subcat=0

OP, sorry for the digression.

Hey those are nice looking. Thanks for the link. I've got a single speed project in the garage right now. Depending on which direction I go, modern or vintage look, those may be just what I'm looking for.
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Old 01-03-14, 05:48 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by vwchad View Post
I found a NIB 2010 Athena UT crankset, with the beautiful polished finish even, for $269 on ebay. That is significantly higher than a new PT crank. Is that the standard going rate these days or is that high?
When this crankset was discontinued, it was easy to find them cheap. Now that people want them, prices have crept back up.

i paid around that same price for a NIB record UT crank and bb. If you are dying for one of the best polished alloy cranks made, it might be worth the price. If you don't mind black alloy, carbon, or even a used version, keep looking.
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Old 01-03-14, 05:54 PM
  #49  
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Total Cycling has a couple of NOS Athena UT cranks for less (carbon for $220, silver $180), but they are standards, not compact. Just an option.
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Old 01-03-14, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
Total Cycling has a couple of NOS Athena UT cranks for less (carbon for $220, silver $180), but they are standards, not compact. Just an option.
Wow, i thought they were out of silver. It is well worth $180. 39/53 and 175mm looks to be the only option.

Last edited by thirdgenbird; 01-03-14 at 06:22 PM.
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