It might seem like only yesterday that we were wondering if there was any great benefit to 11-speed groupsets over 10-speed, but Campagnolo could be about to take things a step further with the first 12-speed road groupset, according to a recent patent application.
The patent, which was filed by the Italian company in the United States in March 2017, is for a “bicycle rear wheel sprocket assembly [that] has 12 sprockets in a 12 sprocket assembly”.
Drawings on the patent show a 12-speed cassette, which will apparently fit on standard bikes, meaning that despite the extra gear it will not not be necessary for the cassette to be mounted on a wider wheel axle or on a bike with a wider rear-end.
However despite the extra gear that the patent can offer, there is not a wider range of gears available, with Campagnolo instead appearing to concentrate on reducing the jump between sprockets rather than offering smaller or larger gears at the extremes.
According to the patent, the smallest sprocket available will be an 11t, while the largest will be 27t, suggesting that Campagnolo could focus on marketing the product towards racers looking for smaller jumps between gears.
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This largest sprocket is smaller than what Campagnolo offers on some of its current groupsets, with Super Record, Record, and Chorus going up to 29t, while Potenza and Centaur go up to 32t.
If Campagnolo is looking to launch a 12-speed groupset then it would be the first such groupset in the road market, after SRAM introduced its 12-speed Eagle groupset to the mountain bike market in 2017.
That groupset was offered with a 10-50t cassette and designed to work with a single-ring on the front. SRAM has gone down a similar path by promoting single-ring road groupsets, but with Campagnolo’s showing a narrow range on its 12-speed cassette it seems unlikely that the Italian company will follow suit.