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.


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.

  • Andy

    I am looking to get a new campag chainset at the moment, having used various Athena, Daytona, Centaur, Chorus versions since the early nineties. . I think both of the above posts are correct. The beautiful UT design is a doddle to maintain. However, I swapped a two year old Centaur UT. between two identical cheap frames. The one which had thinner paint and which was nominally faced allowed it to be fitted first time and had a silky smooth action. The second had a little more overspray on the BB shell, was not faced and left a lot more drag in the bearings. So much so that I had to take it all apart and reinstall twice more before the spinning was acceptable (what you would expect from Campag). I have recently been look at all other manufacturers for the new chainset for this reason.
    If Campag are trying to address the misalignment hassles with Powertorque then I welcome it and may give them another chance.
    (UT. hassle is nowhere near the level of design c**k up Campag achieved with the ‘escape’ ergolever)

  • Nick Rearden

    Hi Richard,

    You obviously had the good taste and could afford to buy frames that came properly aligned from the start. Good for you.

    You’re right; Ultra Torque is beautifully made, simple to assemble and everything else that Campagnolo aficionados love. Which is most likely why it’s continuing in the 2011 line for future fans of the relatively expensive 11-speed groups to appreciate. It’s all good.

    You know there’s a ‘however’ coming, don’t you?

    What you would have no reason to experience is what happens when you assemble an Ultra Torque bb in a frame that isn’t precisely square. I don’t mean criminally out-of-whack. Just slightly imprecise. No need to bore you with the details here but premature wear of the bearings is the least-bad outcome.

    Pretty much the definition of why a frame is relatively low cost is that it can’t be as precisely well-made as a relatively high cost one. It’s the real world for the great majority of bike manufacturers, the bike shops that need to keep their customers happy and ultimately the poor old customers who pay the final cost.

    Campagnolo needed to both simplify the parts themselves to make them cheaper to make – you can see how that one piece Power Torque axle is cheaper to make than two half-axles-with-a-clever-interlock, surely? – and more tolerant of imprecise fit if they hope to compete with Shimano and the others in this fiercely competitive area and where there are quite large volumes at stake.

  • Richard

    How is Ultra torque complex!? It installs and comes apart in almost less than a minute and is MUCH simpler to install thank shimano’s cranks. Do you guys even know what you are talking about? I also don’t know about imperfection intolerant as I have had 2 sets of ultra-torque on two of my bikes, and never had to have them faced and I’ve not had any problems. I don’t ride a lot in terms of mileage but I am a “big guy”, so I’m not that easy on my stuff.

    I still can’t believe you referred to UT as “complex”. Really, you should be a shamed of yourself, it’s shoddy journalism.