Campy experience

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by BikingBrian, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

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    I just want to ask others who have used Campy for at least a few years about their experiences.

    My story: When I was still on 9 speed (about 7 years ago) I was using Dura Ace 9....pretty much no problems, it was a very very robust group. Even neglecting regular maintenance and having a filthy chain and derailleur did little to the performance - it shifted pretty much perfectly, all the time.

    At the time though, I knew that I wanted to try Campy components at least once in my life:D and see what all the fuss was about. So I went and sold the Dura Ace and bought Record 10 speed. Well, here it is about 7 years later, and here are my thoughts:

    Campy, to my eyes at least, looks great. Very stylish, especially the levers and cranks. Some of the innovations were brilliant - Ultra Torque for example, which I use on my TT bike. I still use square taper alu cranks on my road bike however. The levers I always liked better than Shimano because I have smaller than average hands, so they fit better. The thumb shifter I really liked as well.

    But....the downsides: it seems every Campy derailleur I've ever had has trouble at some point. The barrel adjuster, for example, is horribly designed - why the need for a spring and a bolt that doesn't fully engage with the threads of the derailleur?? Every single one I've had (Record, Chorus, Veloce and Centaur over the years) has had the bolt mis-align or eventually cross-thread. Once that happens, of course cable tension is very difficult if not impossible to adjust correctly. On the carbon derailleur bodies, in the event of an impact, you may find that the limit screw will no longer stay in place as well. Levers....Centaur seemed to be the best IMO, Record always get spongy. I had mine rebuilt...and it's still terrible. It seems the only good things I can take away are that the lever shapes were nicer than Shimano, I never liked their aesthetics.

    But the new Shimano lever shapes are more pleasing to the eye, and they look like they would fit small hands better than the previous style. I'm seriously thinking of going back to Shimano now!

    Anyone have similar experiences?
     
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  2. CdnRider

    CdnRider New Member

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    interesting write up and thoughts.

    I'm doing the opposite. Going to campy on one of my road bikes. like you...i've always wanted to try. going with a mix of Mirage and Veloce though. nothing too upscale. getting a great price on parts. i'll post once i have the build complete.

    on the tri bike however....it's staying shimano. or mostly shimano that is.
     
  3. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Try substituting a 10-speed Shimano rear derailleur ... by my reckoning, it should work.

    If I get motivated, I'll try to ferret out one of my 10-speed Campagnolo cassettes & test it ... in the meantime, if you have a MTB with a Shimano rear derailleur, hubbub the rear derailleur cable's anchoring & see if it indexes within your tolerances.
     
  4. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    In the 6 years I've been using my current Campy group, I've had none of the problems of which you speak. In fact, I've had no problems at all. I don't know anyone that's had the problems you speak of. There's certainly no reason for the barrel adjuster to display the problems of which you speak. In fact, your's is the first I've ever read of such an issue.

    If the barrel adjust is "barely" engaging threads, then I would think it wasn't positioned correctly before the cable was attached.
     
  5. tafi

    tafi Member

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    Hmm, yes cross threading doesn't just happen. The only way a threaded device can "become cross-threaded" is if it is undone and then improperly done up again (ie: without thread alignment).

    I'd have to agree with Alienator that I've never had such problems in eight years of Campag use. My 2004 record derailleur is still going strong and I've rebuilt my own levers a few times (for cleaning or to replace G-springs) without a problem.

    I would say that the Shimano I last used successfully was Dura Ace 9 speed. That was the best Shimano groupset ever. I switched to Campag becasue 10 speed gave me a slightly better spread of gear ratios. I've since fallen in love with it's ease of use, styling and long wear intervals so I see no need to change again.
    I'm having such trouble wearing out the remaining 10 speed parts I have that I can't see myself even adopting 11 speed for a while yet...
     
  6. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

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    That's interesting that no one else has experienced problems with the adjuster barrel bolt. Maybe I'm just not adjusting it properly or I got unlucky?

    Let me ask to be sure, the bolt for the Campy barrel adjuster is not a regular round bolt, right? Looking from the side, it looks like a round bolt which has had 2 flat sides machined off. All of my Campy adjuster barrel bolts look like this on all the Campy derailleurs I've ever owned. I wonder why Campy didn't just use a regular round adjuster barrel like Shimano or other makers? I still find it strange.
     
  7. tafi

    tafi Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean by "regular". All barrel adjusters function the same (though they are constructed with slightly different designs and different threads by the different manufacturers). They are all composed of a hollow tensioning screw and (often) a preloading spring. In the shimano case, the screw and spring are surrounded by a loose fitting, notched plastic bezel which allows you to change tension in definite steps. In the case of campagnolo, there is no bezel and tension is infinitely adjustable. Indeed all the more recent campag barrel adjusters are the way you describe. The machining on the head of the screw is only there to provide more purchase for the fingers. It is not designed to be turned with tools.

    On account of the different threads, I've never tried (and I'd never recommend) putting a shimano barrel adjuster in a campag derailleur or vice versa. I've also seen different thread pitches used across the different levels of campagnolo (finer threads usually on record and chorus and coarser on centaur and lower) so it is always best to use only the adjuster which came with that derailleur.

    Screwing out the barrel adjuster a long way isn't recommended. There's a lot of fluctuating forces in that bend of cable and winding out the barrel adjuster a long way only increases the stresses on the screw and on the first few threads in the derailleur. The threads are already big stress raising features and the result of all of this can be a broken screw or stripping of the last few engaged threads from the derailleur.

    If the thread ever gets damaged, it is more likely to be the soft aluminium derailleur body than the harder steel screw. You could try to find a tap with the correct thread to work it back into some shape, but it will not be a strong as before. The only other option would be to drill out the old thread and apply a helicoil (again, you'd have to find the right type and I don't know if they're made with that thread) which would give you a very much stronger thread than the original.
     
  8. LUCASOG

    LUCASOG New Member

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    No, the best Shimano groupset ever is Dura Ace 7800. It is gonna go down as a classic, in my opinion. It shifts great, stays adjusted, reliable and very precise.
     
  9. Peter@vecchios

    [email protected] New Member

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    Couple of things. If you want clickier shifting, use a metal, not fiber, spring carrier. The metal one 'may' split or the post may break off but it's stiffer.

    For the barrel adjuster, pull the der cable tight when adjusting the RD so a minimum of the barrel is out because yes, it is somewhat fragile.
     
  10. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

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    Thanks Peter, I'll try that and see how it works. I really do like Campy and hope I can make it work so I don't have to go over to the big S:D
     
  11. nbfman

    nbfman New Member

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    My Campy Record goes out of alignment in the back derailleur a lot faster than my Shimano Ultegra. I have to tweak the Record more often to reduce chain noise. The shifting is also not as smooth. These are not really problems, though, and I like each for different reasons. Both are 10s, and the years (approx) are 2008 for Record and 2006 for Ultegra.
     
  12. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    The only time I have to adjust my Record RD is when I switch wheels (different make hubs mean slightly differing locations of cassettes).
     
  13. JoelS

    JoelS New Member

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    I've been running Campy since '97. Mirage and Chorus groups. I've not once had any of the trouble which you mention.

    My latest build, finished last November, is Chorus-11. I haven't had a make a single adjustment since I built it. Though I did change the chain at 2400 miles. It doesn't last as long as the 9sp chains. I've got close to 3000 miles on that bike now.

    My other long term build is also Chorus, but 9sp. Built in '98. I don't think I've ever made adjustments to cable tension. Except when I've changed housing and cables. I've also had to change chains many times, and a few cassettes over the years.

    They both work. Quickly, and all the time.
     
  14. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

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    Update:

    Last week I had a new frame arriving, so since I was switching parts over, I took the opportunity to try and set up the shifting as per Peter's advice.

    I pulled the cable pretty tight, screwed in the barrel adjuster all the way then backed it off a few turns so that most of it was still in the derailleur. Recut new outer cables and made sure the ends were flat. The only fly in the ointment was the stupid Campy outer cable caps, as usual, they do not fit on the Campy cables:eek:. No problem, I just whittled down a bit of the outer plastic and presto - they fit.
    I did most of the tension adjustment with a down tube-mounted barrel adjuster and.....
    PERFECTION:D

    The shifting is smooth, quiet, and precise.
    FWIW, I couldn't source the Campy chain I wanted (I usually use Veloce chains, don't need or want Record or Chorus with the cut-out bits), so I bought a KMC chain, which was a first for me, we'll see how it holds up. Right now, it's quiet and I've had no problems shifting.

    Thanks to Peter and everyone else for their help.
    One more thing: I followed the Park Tool maintenance book's instructions for dialing in the tension, the directions are good, but the one thing they don't tell you is that Campy shifting seems to work better with a fairly high cable tension.
     
  15. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    The cable tension will be "fairly high" in ANY indexed setup.
     
  16. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

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    Yes, but in your experience does it need to be higher with Campy than Shimano?
     
  17. PeterF

    PeterF New Member

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    I've been a campy guy since 2004, before that I rode Shimano for 12 years. I found when I switched that Campy levers fit my hands better, the thumb shifter is great, and I love the front derailleur trim. I still use sq taper bb's on my 3 bikes (2 road and 1 cross) partly because I don't like to throw money at something just because it's new but also I find a chorus or record sq bb with a alloy crank makes for a nice, stiff low friction set up. I have a carbon 135 bcd record crank that I no longer use, due to a loose pedal bushing, but also the brass crank bolt bushing was over tightened and now the chainline is off. I can make it work and I epoxied the bushing for the pedal so it's ok, but I prefer the alloy ones. I like the alloy crank so much that if I as starting from scratch I would consider Dura Ace.
    I have noticed that the rear d can get a bit fussy when I change wheels, but after a few adjustments it's worry free. When I recable the bike it takes about 100 miles or so, with adjustments before it's really dialed in. I like the ti hardware of record, but prefer the beefier feel of the Centaur shifting. I rebuild one set of record shifters last year, and found it curious that they use a relatively flimsy "carbon" (read: plastic) spring carrier, since there is a decent amount of spring tension and it's destined to split as Peter suggested. I replaced the carrier with the beefier alloy one and will do the other set this winter as it is getting fussy now too.

    If I was starting from scratch, I would certainly look at 7900, but would probably go with Record or Chorus. As an amateur mechanic, campy is a dream to work on. I pulled apart a 105 shifter once, and it was a miracle that I got it back together. But campy is just a bit more intuitive when it comes to service and they sell replacement parts which is nice. I don't love the prices of replacement cartridges and chains, but DA doesn't give that stuff away either.

    Never had a problem with the barrel that you described, but it can be fussy.
     
  18. tafi

    tafi Member

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    I can't see how it is important to know the differences in cable tension between different makes.

    It is what it is.
     
  19. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

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    Yeah, I suppose that's true, but it might be nice to know if you were to switch groups, and needed a baseline to compare to when first setting up the tension (if you had no experience with the particular group you were switching to.)
     
  20. tafi

    tafi Member

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    I have to say I've never been concerned with it. Cable tension just has to be enough to make the derailleur work properly, and that is really the only baseline I need.
     
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