Italian components manufacturer Campagnolo has begun its 2011 campaign by announcing major changes to the less expensive 10-speed components in the Centaur and Veloce ranges.

According to Campagnolo, “The new 10-speed groupsets have been completely redesigned to improve performance, weight, reliability and cost.”

The performance and weight remain to be seen but the final two words ‘reliability’ and ‘cost’ are the vital points at this early stage because it appears Campagnolo really are going after the ‘original equipment’ market – that’s the  parts you buy already built onto a complete bike – by making these new components simpler and therefore cheaper and more tolerant of frame manufacturers’ engineering imperfections.

Gallery of detailed pictures here.

Simon Smythe will be previewing fully in next week’s Cycling Weekly

on sale Thursday 24th June.

We have been intimately acquainted recently with complete  2010 sub-£2,000 bikes from Colnago, Pinarello and Basso and it’s obvious, particularly in chainsets and brakes, that Campagnolo, in this price category at least, have been losing out in the component war not only to their old  arch-rival Shimano but aggressive and innovative brands like FSA and Truvativ.

Campagnolo2011PowerTorque

In a sense, first appearances look like a step back for 2011 because the redesign means no more Skeleton brakes at this level and a new simplified Power Torque bottom  bracket instead of the complex and imperfection-intolerant Ultra Torque which continues on 11-speeds sets. Simplification and easier installation means more allowance for wider tolerances in frame engineering, faster assembly and better reliability. As long as the much-feted Campagnolo durability and performance is there with less cost and greater life-span it should equal happier customers, dealers and, ultimately, bike manufacturers.

Campagnolo have promised, and we’re looking forward to trying it, that the new ‘Power Shift’ redesign of the Ergopower shifters and chainrings will result in shift quality as good as that found on the 11-speed setups.