Campagnolo launches its 12-speed electronic groupset

Campagnolo has launched its first electronic 12-speed groupset in the form of Super-Record EPS.

Last year, Campagnolo was the first groupset maker to take the leap to 12 gears, launching its mechanical Record and Super-Record groupsets. However, until the Tour Down Under, Campagnolo’s electronic gearing system ‘EPS’ remained conspicuously absent – but now we have the full details.

Campagnolo Super-Record EPS crankset

Campagnolo Super-Record EPS: The electric bits

Campagnolo’s EPS system remains largely unchanged. The only real difference is the power unit that has been slimmed down, fits ‘almost every frame on the market’ and offers a 10 per cent improvement on battery life. The brand also stressed the waterproofing of the system.

On our Canyon Ultimate the interface unit – Campagnolo’s junction box – still sat under the one piece bar and stem. However, new for this update is the option to mount it in the bar end or use a plate to fix it on to compatible frame’s down tubes.

According to Campagnolo the motor system is the strongest on the market, offering assured shifting under duress. I can’t attest to the former claim but I will say they happily complied with my clunky shifting on the winding hills of Girona.

We tested the new groupset on the hills around Girona

The front derailleur and the rear derailleur both receive the same 12 speed updates as their mechanical siblings: on the front that means a thinner cage to add efficiency in scenarios of extreme cross-chaining – a re-designed inner cage also helps alleviate this, too.

The rear derailleur receives a slightly more detailed update. For starters, it now incorporates the Italian brand’s ‘3D embrace technology’ where the now bigger 12-tooth top pulley wheel moves forward as you shift down the cassette, engaging more cassette teeth which should, according to Campagnolo, add longevity to the components. A return spring helps tension the chain over rough ground and it also receives a slimmed down cage.

The front derailleur’s motor and communication system sit on top, adding quite a bit of height to the unit whereas the rear derailleur accommodates this inside the body for a cleaner look.

However, both derailleurs can communicate with each other via a Bluetooth protocol, automatically centring the chain. It’s reassuring to hear the ‘bzzt’ of the motors optimising your gears.

The EPS additions are most evident on the front derailleur

That’s about the only time you’ll hear an electronic noise, though. Campagnolo has done a superb job of making Super-Record EPS feel like Super-Record mechanical, including the reassuring clunks of gear shifters of the rifle-fire like noise of multi-shifting.

Both the levers also move and feel a lot like their mechanical counterparts. It stands in stark comparison to Shimano’s Di2 system, where the levers hardly move at all and shifts are met with clicks and far more ‘bzzts’.

The gear shifts yield a very mechanical noise

Campagnolo Super-Record EPS 12-speed: Ergonomics

As you might expect, there are no dramatic differences between the mechanical Super-Record groupset and the new electronic one, and if you’re wondering why it has taken so long for the new electronic groupset to arrive, Campag’s logical answer was: ‘well a groupset is mostly mechanical so it’s only natural that that should come first’.

This logic shows in the design of the new groupset: the hoods have the same ‘Ergopower’ styling that the Italian brand has become renowned for.

This includes an adjustable brake lever for rider’s with smaller hands as well as a double curve with a slight outward slant to make braking on the drops easier.

In addition to this, the brake lever pivot has also been moved in line with the handlebar, which gives more leverage and more stopping power as a result.

The cutout in the lever is a nice touch

Campagnolo’s distinctive thumb shifters remain, as does its ‘one lever, one shift’ philosophy. Unlike Shimano’s Di2 levers where one sits atop the other behind the brake lever, Campagnolo’s sit separately, with the downshifters sitting above your hands on the insides of the hoods.

A nice touch is that the inside gear lever has a cut out middle that feels great to touch, leaving no ambiguity about which shifter your finger is resting on.

The hoods have the same vibration absorbing design as the mechanical groupsets and that distinctive feel that can only be Campagnolo. The hoods of the disc brake groupset are larger, housing the master cylinder but over the course of 75km around Girona they were never uncomfortable to rest on.

Campagnolo Super-Record EPS 12-speed: Aesthetics

The cranksets sleek, uni-directional carbon finish is unchanged from last year, and the glossy shine is laid up in the carbon fibre, protecting from the sun’s UV rays. The ‘ultra-torque’ titanium axle is only visible on the non-driveside, giving the crankset a very clean finish.

It now turns on Cult Ceramic bearings, which Campagnolo says are nine times more efficient, and despite the addition of disc brakes, the Q-Factor remains the same.

Campagnolo Super-Record EPS 12-speed: Brakes

The materials and design of Campagnolo’s disc brakes is the same across the brand’s groupsets, regardless of price points. Aesthetically, I think they’re probably the nicest looking calipers and rotors of any of the major groupset makers.

Happily, their form is matched by function and on the long winding descents around Girona they offered plenty of power and superb lever feel. Scrubbing speed into corners was easy thanks to the progressive application of stopping force and they were never grabby.

I also had none of the brake squeal that I’ve experienced on previous outings in Gran Canaria, which I think was caused by heat build up.

There has been a small change inside the caliper, with Campagnolo adding a mechanical spring to accompany the magnetic spring already responsible for moving the pistons back into place. Campagnolo says this should guarantee a 0.4mm rollback of the pads.

The levers have the same adjustable reach system that allows you to alter the biting point of the brakes via an Allen Key port. Our bikes were running 140mm rotors on the back with 160mm up front, although Campag says it is producing an adapter to allow riders to fit a smaller rotor on the front, too.

The groupset is available with traditional rim brakes as well as direct-mount ones.

Campagnolo Super-Record EPS 12 speed: For the racers

As ever, Campagnolo’s commitment to racing shines through, especially with the ‘multi-shift’ function.

Pressing and holding either the down-shifter or up-shifter will move the chain all the way across the cassette. It’s neat being able to ‘dunk’ gears, especially on climbs and I can see it being particularly useful in races, although it can leave you feeling a little disorientated in your gears.

The Campagnolo Super-Record EPS cassette remains the same as the mechanical, with single tooth changes up to the seventh sprocket, which does make the shifting feel much more natural. The same freehub body is used and the spacing remains the same meaning that you don’t need to change wheels to swap to 12-speed. However, unlike SRAM’s Red eTap AXS groupset, the Italian company hasn’t done anything radical to the gear ratios and it’s clear that the new groupo is marketed directly at the racers.

Campagnolo Super-Record EPS 12 speed: Pricing

Campagnolo Super-Record EPS Disc £4099.99

Campagnolo Super-Record EPS  Rim £3809.99

Campagnolo Super-Record EPS 12 speed: Weights:

Campagnolo Super-Record EPS Disc:

Rear derailleur 234g

Ergopower shifters 381g

Front derailleur 132g

Battery 135g

EPS external interface 33g

EPS internal interface 11g

Crankset 618g

Threaded BB cups 43g

Press-fit BB cups 40g

Cassette 266

Chain 228g

Caliper x 1 118g

Rotor x 1 99g

Total 2,505g

Campagnolo Super Record EPS rim brake:

Rear derailleur 234g

Ergopower shifters 280g

Front derailleur 132g

Battery 135g

EPS external interface 33g

EPS internal interface 11g

Crankset 618g

Threaded BB cups 43g

Press-fit BB cups 40g

Cassette 266

Chain 228g

Brakes (pair) 311g

Total 2,255g