Campy Xenon any good?



xxamr_corpxx

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Mar 16, 2006
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I have an old trek that I would like to turn into a training bike. My milage so far this year has been close to 200km per week and increasing weekly and I am now considering getting some more durable components to cope with the extra mileage load.

The Trek 370 is a steel bike with an RX-100 groupset at present and downtube shifters. I spotted a Campy Xenon groupset on PBK for around $500NZ and the thought of getting a 10 speed bike under 1k was tempting.

So here are my options for now...

1. Buy Xenon groupset, cold-set the Trek, strip and give the Trek a new paint job. Would work out around NZ 700, enough to buy an entry-level road bike.

2. Buy a new entry level road bike.

Question is, are the Campy Xenons any good? Would it be worthwhile to build up an older, mid-range steel frame with nice components?
 

ives

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Jun 24, 2003
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I asked the same question a little while ago on another forum and got a mixed response.
Some people wouldn't even contemplate Xenon.

However, I went ahead and fitted Xenon to my training bike and am mightily impressed with it.
In fact it works better than my Veloce race bike. The indexing is far crisper.
I would say definitely go ahead and get Xenon.
 

Eastway82

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Apr 12, 2006
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ives said:
I asked the same question a little while ago on another forum and got a mixed response.
Some people wouldn't even contemplate Xenon.

However, I went ahead and fitted Xenon to my training bike and am mightily impressed with it.
In fact it works better than my Veloce race bike. The indexing is far crisper.
I would say definitely go ahead and get Xenon.

Xenon works fine, except you can only change up one gear at a time with the thumb button. And as of this year there is NO difference between the internals of Xenon, Mirage, Veloce and Centaur. Sadly this isn't because Xenon's been upgraded, but because the others have been downgraded (they used to have the same internal mechanism as Record/Chorus, except for plain bushed instead of ball bearings). I'd get a Xenon group if I were you, but get '06 Veloce or Centaur shifters ('06 Mirage were 9spd only, otherwise I'd get them) - that way you retain the same functionality and internal components as Chorus/Record, and you retain the ability to shift up more than one gear at a time.
 

sogood

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Aug 24, 2006
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Eastway82 said:
Xenon works fine, except you can only change up one gear at a time with the thumb button.
Are you sure about that? My reading is that you can change up two gear steps at a time using the new Escape mechanism.
 

Eastway82

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sogood said:
Are you sure about that? My reading is that you can change up two gear steps at a time using the new Escape mechanism.

Ermm, I WAS very sure... Now you've got me thinking. I need to check it out.
On the earlier (and record/chorus) you can change up half the block at once, should you wish.
 

xxamr_corpxx

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And also, can the Xenon shifters be rebuilt in the same way as other Campy ones? One of the reasons why I'm opting for Campy over shimano is that my RSX brifters didn't last as long as i'd hoped for.
 

Eastway82

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xxamr_corpxx said:
And also, can the Xenon shifters be rebuilt in the same way as other Campy ones? One of the reasons why I'm opting for Campy over shimano is that my RSX brifters didn't last as long as i'd hoped for.

They're rebuildable (parts sheets available via campagnolo's website). I've not had Xenon or the new mirage/veloce/centaur apart (I've rebuilt loads of the older ones and record/chorus), but speaking to Jeff at Mercian in the UK, who does Ergo servicing day in day out, he reckons Xenon are markedly inferior in quality and durability, and when they go wrong they tend to go wrong wholesale, requiring lots of parts, where the other design usually just requires a spring or two, costing pennies. He says he hates working on them.
If rebuild-ability is a real factor for you, then I'd definitely say go for '06 Veloce or Centaur. If you then want to use them with a QS front mech, you just need to change the small ratchet in the front shifter, which will cost you about $5.
 

ives

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Jun 24, 2003
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Yeah, durability isn't probably Xenons strong point, but I reckon if you get 3 or 4 years use and abuse out of the stuff, then by then the Campag 12 speed groupset will be out and it'll be time to upgrade anyway.
 

alpha2k

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Aug 6, 2005
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xxamr_corpxx said:
I have an old trek that I would like to turn into a training bike. My milage so far this year has been close to 200km per week and increasing weekly and I am now considering getting some more durable components to cope with the extra mileage load.

The Trek 370 is a steel bike with an RX-100 groupset at present and downtube shifters. I spotted a Campy Xenon groupset on PBK for around $500NZ and the thought of getting a 10 speed bike under 1k was tempting.

So here are my options for now...

1. Buy Xenon groupset, cold-set the Trek, strip and give the Trek a new paint job. Would work out around NZ 700, enough to buy an entry-level road bike.

2. Buy a new entry level road bike.

Question is, are the Campy Xenons any good? Would it be worthwhile to build up an older, mid-range steel frame with nice components?
I believe the older, mid-range steel frame is the right choice for training, especially base mileage training. I don't see any advantage to go for an entry level Al frame.
 

MidBunchLurker

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My wife has a combination of xenon and veloce parts on her bike, and the fit and finish of the xenon is A LOT poorer than the veloce. So I wouldn't go near xenon again.
 

Eastway82

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Apr 12, 2006
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Eastway82 said:
Ermm, I WAS very sure... Now you've got me thinking. I need to check it out.
On the earlier (and record/chorus) you can change up half the block at once, should you wish.

And now I'm even surer... just been to the LBS - checked out '07 Centaur shifters. Looks lovely, but it is indeed restricted to one one-click upshift at a time.
I've just had a left hand '06 Xenon shifter apart, by the way, and compared to the '06 mirage and above, it's really cheap and nasty inside...