Campagnolo Tips and Trivia

You may Think you know all about Campagnolo, but there's always something new to discover . . .


Speaking of new things to discover . . .

We're looking for your help to add to our trove of Campy factoids.

We are trying to compile a history of Campy's gruppos, from the '30s to the present day. If you have any information on when each line was introduced, and a summary of its features (including advancements from previous gruppos), please send it to us!

TRIVIA

For instance, brevette (or Brev. or Brevettato) is Italian for "patented." Check out your Campy gear--especially older parts--and you're bound to find in there somewhere (although sometimes they stamped "Patented" in English). It seems almost everything on Campy's parts was patentable in some way. How is their cable fixing bolt different enough to be patented? Don't ask us!

While we're on the subject, did you know that Nuovo Record was not named in honor of Eddy Merckx's Hour Record (accomplished on a Campagnolo-equipped bike)? Super Record, the next upgrade to Campy's lineup, was for the most part Nuovo Record, with a few changes:

  • A slightly longer cage on the rear derailleur, which also came with titanium bolts (a rarity in those days)
  • Black anodizing on parts of the front derailleur (otherwise the same as Nuovo Record)
  • Holes in the brake levers (despite the "lightweight" appearance, almost identical in weight to the Nuovo Record levers)
  • The large chainring lacked an internal stiffening ring
  • The old, 2-bolt seatpost (notoriously difficult to adjust!) was replaced with a polished, one-bolt version
  • The pedals changed from chromed steel to black aluminum cages; one model was available with titanium spindles (which, being pure Ti, were unfortunately prone to breakage).

Some Campagnolo parts found on bicycles can be dated by codes or patent dates. As an example, the Nuovo Record rear derailleur has a patent date that corresponds to its manufacturing date. And the lock nut on the hub axle typically is stamped with "CAM. 60" or some other number corresponding to the last two digits of the year of manufacture. Also, the crank arms can have a code consisting of a diamond (1970's), circle (1980's), square (late non-fluted SR), etc. with a number in the center possibly denoting the last digit of the year of manufacture. Thanks to Chuck Schmidt of Velo Retro for this info.

One of our readers (David Walker walker@boulder.nist.gov) sent the following most amazing trove of Campagnolo trivia. Everything you always wanted to know about Nuovo and Super Record (but didn't know to ask) . . .

I. (More) differences in SR vs. NR:

(a) Black parts are anodized, not painted;

(b) Super Record headset used aluminum threaded and lower cups with pressed-in steel races; upper pressed-in steel cup has lightening holes drilled in it;

(c) Two types of Super Record titanium bottom brackets were offered:

(1) Type I was a hollow version of NR; bearing races were pressed-on steel (like the Ti SR pedals). An unfortunate incident involving Laurent Fignon, the 1982 Giro, and a bad fall while he was in the lead owing to a broken Ti axle resulted in a redesign:

(2) Type II uses a solid axle with threaded nuts. I've never heard of one of these failing, but the bad PR had already doomed it.

(3) Both versions used CP (commercially pure) titanium; about 1/2 the strength of 6/4--but that's what was available!!
(4) Cups were aluminum with pressed-in steel races.

(d) SR Bottom brackets and pedals used a larger number of smaller balls in the bearings; consequently, parts do NOT interchange with NR.

(e) Original SR rear derailleur and seatpost were NR copies with lighter weight hardware, black-anodized ends on the derailleur, and flutes on the seatpost; later designs were changed as described on your web page. You might add that later SR derailleur replaced the front parallelogram plate, which had been NR-style save for "Super Record" lettering, to a simple silkscreened "Campagnolo" script.

(f) Black aluminum pedals proceeded SR introduction by several years and were sold alongside the chrome steel models, so technically speaking they're NOT Super Record; they were called "Record Superleggero," or just SL pedals. SR pedals are essentially SL pedals with titanium axles.

II. Trivia time:

(a) A very few SR rear derailleurs were delivered with aluminum pivot bolts instead of titanium, for reasons which are unknown.

(b) Campagnolo Catalog No. 17 (as well as period Raleigh catalogs, at least) shows SR hubs with titanium axles. Due to reliability issues, these were never put into production. A few prototypes were produced and displayed at trade shows; these would be a rare find for the die-hard collector!

(c) Because of the reliability problems with the titanium bottom bracket axles and pedal spindles, a "reduced" Super Record gruppo was introduced with NR bottom bracket and SL pedals. Most "full SR" bikes in reality have this reduced SR gruppo. The easiest way to tell is to look for the aluminum bottom bracket cups, which are uniquely SR. Very rarely, a bike might have SR pedals with a NR bottom bracket, but if it has the SR titanium bottom bracket, it'll almost invariably have the SR pedals. The Type II solid-axle bb is also easy to spot if you remove the dust caps and look for the nuts.

(d) Late-style SR brakes are identical to Cobalto except for no blue stone center bolt cap and script lettering on arms isn't painted.

(e) Late-style SR cranks have no flute on the arms, but more importantly, Campy *finally* fixed the fatigue cracking problem where the spider arms meet the crank arm by adding more metal.

(f) While these late-style, non-fluted arms were more reliable than the earlier cranks, they still suffered fatigue failure due to cracking around the *stamped* Campy logo on the arm (I have one to prove it).

(g) The final version of SR cranks did away with the stamped Campy logo on the arms; instead, it was laser-etched. These are identified by their flat black appearance with no metal indentation. For the true purist who want to ride on their Campy SR forever, these are the ones to look for.

(h) Everyone knows about the date code stamped on the upper housing of NR and SR rear derailleurs, right? Well, did you know that later SR models had a non-descript code, e.g., "11," stamped on them, and the final versions have no stamp code at all?

(i) Speaking of date codes, did you know that the year of manufacture is also stamped on the *inner* surface of NR hub lock nuts?

(j) Did you know that the earliest versions of Record side-pull calipers, from 1969, had plain arms with no "Campagnolo" on them? These are also quite rare, and a real collector's find.

There's more obscure NR/SR trivia elsewhere . . .

You list the differences between the Super and Nuovo Record gruppos. I think you missed some things which are not exactly obscure:

  • Aluminum Headset for SR, with steel races.
  • Didn't the SR bottom bracket cups have more aluminum?
  • The SR seatpost not only was a one-bolt polished version, but it also had flutes.

John Chang, Palo Alto, CA

More SR trivia:

  • The first SR seatposts were fluted 2-bolt adjusting.
  • The first SR brake calipers were block lettered "short" reach with flat quick release.

Re whether SR bottom bracket cups contained more aluminum: they are akin to the headsets in their composition, with steel races. They also required a smaller bearing.

Did you know that Campagnolo is Italian for "Of the country" (as in "countryside")? Makes it harder to explain why Campy's mountain gruppos never got very far . . .

Campagnolo's hometown in Italy is Vicenza, known as the "City of Palladio" for its beautifully preserved buildings. Learn more about this beautiful place at http://metro.turnpike.net/~mosaic/homeus.html (We note, incidentally, that this otherwise fine web site contains not a single mention of Campagnolo!)

The Cobalto brakeset is basically a Nuovo/Super Record model, but is distinguished by the blue (cobalt) "jewel" at the pivot point of the calipers. One of our readers also pointed out the following to us:

  • The "Campagnolo" script on the brake calipers is blue, rather than simply engraved.
  • The rubber rings on the brake adjusters were white (rather than black for NR or SR).
  • Some of the wheel guides on the brake blocks were white, rather than black.
  • The Cobalto brakes were also the first Campy brakeset to offer aero cable routing. The lever bodies allowed the cable to run in the traditional manner or under the handlebar tape. Brake hoods for those levers are peculiar to the Cobalto gruppo and cannot be used on other brakes.

Reader Simon Gardner sends along this Cobalto tip:

  • Over time, the blue center-bolt jewel on the Cobalto brakes can fall out. I'm told that you can no longer get replacements. One of my calipers had this very problem. The other day I was in a sewing store with my wife and noticed a pair of buttons with a blue center stone. When I got home I pried the center stone out, filed the edges slightly and glued it into the end of the brake. It's not an original but it looks almost better than new. My wife, of course, thinks I'm nuts.

Trivia: Your classic Campagnolo short rear drop out . . . we all have them on our 1980's Italian steel. Have you ever wondered about the 2 small M3x0,5 threaded hole on the right dropout? Do you know of the obscure contraption which did attach here? It was a crescent shaped chain hanger. For pro racers this innovation allowed quick rear wheel changes by allowing the rider to derail the chain off the 5th cog on to the hanger by way of a shifting lever that slipped past 5th position when a chromed spring clip was depressed. After a successful change a mechanic would push the rider on his way and a shift back to the 5th position placed the chain in a "chase back to the pack" 5th gear. Follow? Pretty neat eh? Editor' note: This feature was called the "Porte catena;" there's a complete parts listing and installation instructions in the Campy catalog compilation from Velo Retro.
Submitted by The Campagnolo Kid

Here are some little details about Campy. I know these to be true because I was there starting in 1969. The early 70's saw a transition between 5 & 6 speeds, and changing wheels could hazardous in a race if you ran a six and your wheel change was a five. Hence, the shifter with the funny little clip blocked the chain from jamming into your frame if you had such a wheel change. Spacing for five speeds was 120mm, six speeds at first were 124mm. Six speeds started to shift design away from the spokes and come closer to the chain/seatstays, especially suntour. So six speed spacing was standardized at 126mm. Also, some bozo engineers at the "big" factories were not indenting, filing, whatever, their stays to accomodate the new six speeds. The 2mm extra saved them in production time. One difference between old and new Campy brakes was the quick release lever. Old Nouvo and SuperRecord had a flat lever, later production had a finger "bulge". Old derailleurs used alloy pins with brass bushings, later models used steel pins.
Submitted by Charles at Wright Bros. Cycle Works in Seattle wbros@speakeasy.org

How are the new Moskva rims different from Campy's Omega Aero (which they closely resemble?) Our tech expert Tim Laflin has the answer: "The extrusion is different on the new Moskvas. They specifically beefed up the interior at the spoke nipple perch and changed the way they cut the holes to leave more material. I can tell the difference immediately when building. The old Omegas used to bulge at the nipple points under tension. These guys stay fixed. It should be a real strong rim. I use this as the general all purpose rim for everything. I just love the cosmetics of it. The ti finish is cool looking more than the polished or hard anno."

Looking for intimate details about your Ergo levers? You'll find the complete text and description of the levers that Campy submitted to the U.S. Patent Office at http://patent.womplex.ibm.com/details?patent_number=5479776 Did you know that Ergopower was invented by a Mr. Giuseppe Dal PrÓ, in Padova, Italy? Giuseppi, we salute you! (Note: The patent shows Antonio Romano as the inventor of Ergopower. One of our readers pointed out--based on his inside knowledge--that Giuseppi was actually the inventor.)  Click here to view our online version of the Ergopower Instructions and the Ergopower Tech Manual.

Do you have trivia to add? Send it to us!


TECH TIPS

We're not experts or mechanics, but here are a few tips we can pass along. If you have your own Tech Tip, send it to us!

We recommend the use of Gore-Tex shift cables for Ergo systems. They work great, and their customer support is fantastic. (We had trouble installing their cables, and they sent a whole new set!)

We like White Lightning lube for our chain and pedal cleats. It's the first lube we've ever used where we actually went through a whole bottle! Great stuff.

If you have a Super Record crankset, you'll notice that the "web" (the point at which the right-hand crank arm meets the spider) is very thin. An old mechanic's trick is to get a fine, round file and smooth out that sharp edge, which otherwise had a tendency to concentrate stresses and crack.

Tech tip: Front shifting on flat-caged Campy derailleurs (meaning all but the latest models with "profiled" cage plates) can be improved by taking a pair of needle nose pliers or a small crescent wrench and carefully bending the leading edges of the both plates inwards a little to facilitate chain throwing, as well as bowing out the center section of the outer plate behind the cage attachment point to provide more chain clearance in the small rear cog. (Thanks to David Walker for this tip!)

If you can get your hands on a pair of Campy's original Super Record titanium-spindled pedals, be careful! Those pedals were produced with axles of pure titanium, which is not nearly as strong as the 6/4 alloy now used to produce Ti fasteners and bike parts.

If you can get your hands on a pair of Sun Tour jockey pulleys, put them on your Campy derailleur. They turn on ball bearings, and they last, and last, and last. We've had the same pair on our bike for some 30,000 miles, and they show no signs of wear.

Here's a breakdown of some tech facts about Campy's Nine-Speed gruppo:

  • Rear hub: The freehub body is 1mm deeper than 8-sp. The hub flange and over-locknut distance is the same, so wheel dish is the same.
  • Cogset: Narrower cogs and spacers
  • Rear Derailleur: Must be changed when switching to 9-sp, since the parallelogram is a little longer.
  • Chain: A new, narrower chain is required (Campy makes one)
  • Shifters: At least the right (rear) shifter must be changed out for the 9-sp model. (Guess what? Most dealers will probably want to sell you both front and rear, not the rear separately.)
  • The freehub body will fit on an 8-speed hub.
  • 8-speed Ti cogs will fit on the 9-speed body, but 9-speed cogs will not fit on the 8-speed body (they have an extra notch).

And a response to the above:

After having built or converted about 5 bikes over to 9 speed, I feel comfortable making a few comments or corrections to your Campagnolo Only site- the coolest place on the web.

  • The parallelogram on the rear derailleur has not changed- as best as I can measure. The only difference is the width of the upper jockey pulley and that the top part of the inside jockey wheel cage is indented for additional spoke clearance. Therefore, if my measurements are correct, you could use a 9V rear mech. with an 8V gruppo albeit with a 9V chain- not that incompatible afterall.
  • You probably could convert an 8V shifter to 9V by only changing the notched ring; the shifter appears identical to last years model and prior to the advent of 9V that part was interchangeable from the inception of ergopower. Get the excellent ergopower tech manual before starting.
  • On the rear hub, the new cassette body does fit on the old hubs, but: to gain the same spacing and adequate chain clearance, you must 1) add a 1mm spacer to the cassette side 2) to get back to 130mm O/L, then remove the spacer from the non cassette side and re-dish the wheel.
  • The conversion is worth the trouble- especially if you have components several years old- for the weight savings. It works beautifully. You should reconsider your Boo Boo column; once again Campagnolo has not disappointed.

Submitted by sspielman@skipjack.bluecrab.org

Our tech expert Tim Laflin informs us that Campy is warning wheelbuilders not to use radial spoke lacing with 9-speed hubs. They say it will void the warranty.

I have a '94 Chorus Ergo group which works today exactly the same as it did the day I got it. I am a Cat 2 racer and put 7,000 to 10,000 miles a year on my bike. The front derailer is a clamp-on style, with small alloy roll pins used in the "hinge" mechanism. These alloy roll pins snap at the least amount of stress. No problem - go to a hardware store and buy some 3 cent steel pins of a similar diameter and length. The weight difference is absolutely negligible ( I bet it's way under a gram ), and it lasts forever. I'd like a Shitmano freak to try to fix a Shitmano part with something this easy.

Also, being a racer, I fall down once in a while. The front of my Ergo levers are a bit scratched. Other racers with brand "S" components usually have the shifting mechanism wiped out by a good crash. (Thanks to john_larson@compuware.com)


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