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Campag goes electronic to challenge Di2

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Campag goes electronic to challenge Di2

Post  Spindoctor on Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:30 pm

Campagnolo's much anticipated electronic version of its 11spd Super Record Groupset will officially launch on November 7 in Sicily when it will be presented to the press and Campag riding World Tour teams reports European cycling trade website Bike Europe. Two weeks later the teams (Movistar, Omega Pharma Quickstep, Europcar, & Lampre) will receive their electronic groupsets followed shortly afterwards by presentation to road product managers at the Taichung Bike Week at the end of November.

So far their are no details on pricing (it'll be expensive) or on what the new groupset will be called – electronic components on 2013 Pinarellos at both Eurobike and the recent Cycle Show were branded "Campy Tech Lab" (please God no! - ed) CTl 11-spd anyone? Or maybe they'll just stick with Super Record Electronic. We'll find out on Nov 7. What we can say is that technically it appears very similar to Shimano's set up, no surprise there because both companies entered the race to produce an electronic groupset at the same time and both systems have mirrored each other during the various stages of their development. So it's a battery pack, brain, and a couple of electronic stepper motors in the front and rear mechs. The problems in producing an electronic groupset has always been in making something that is durable and reliable, with a long battery life and then coming up with a design that can be manufactured on on industrial scale, the extra wrinkle for Campagnolo has been doing all this without infringing any of Shimano's patents. The fact that the Campag system has to deal with an 11th cog at the back really should add to much to the complexity of the whole thing. Oh, and Campag purists will be pleased to note that if the versions we've seen so far are anything to go by the Italian outfit are sticking with their two lever methods of shifting using thumb and forefinger… you just won't have to push very hard, well not that you did anyway. Another potential point of differentiation with the Di2 is that by the looks of it Campagnolo have incorporated the brain bit into the battery pack, which does neaten things up at the swings and roundabouts cost of a bigger battery pack.

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Re: Campag goes electronic to challenge Di2

Post  MNSlingerland on Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:47 pm

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2: 11-speed and disc brakes for 2013?
By James Huang, tech editor, in Boulder, USA

While the original continues to impress, rumors have leaked of an 11-speed, disc-equipped Shimano Di2 group (Matt Pacocha/BikeRadar)
Rumors began to circulate after this autumn's Eurobike and Interbike trade shows that Shimano's next generation Dura-Ace Di2 group – set for release in the 2013 model year – will feature not only a jump to 11 sprockets out back but also hydraulic master cylinders integrated into the STI lever bodies.

As it turns out, that's only partially true, at least according to BikeRadar's exclusive industry sources. We've been told that the next-generation Dura-Ace group will indeed make a jump to 11-speed cassettes – first on the mechanical version, followed by the electronic Di2 flagship. And Shimano are apparently readying a lightweight disc brake caliper for road and cyclo-cross use.

However, our sources tell us the initial brakes will be mechanical, not hydraulic, and the MY2012 levers won't be hydraulic-ready. Buyers looking to be on the cutting edge may be a bit disappointed with that news but a lightweight cable-operated caliper would allow riders to use their current STI Dual Control levers while offering more power than a standard side-pull or cantilever brake. Mechanical discs are also easily user serviceable.

Naturally, all of this information can be considered conjecture as Shimano provide us with their standard response to these sorts of inquiries. "We always have products in development," US road media relations representative Eric Doyne told BikeRadar, "but we don't have anything to say at this time." That being said, we consider our sources to be highly reliable.

Regardless, next summer's product launches, from both Shimano and affected bicycle companies, should be very interesting. Buyers shouldn't go rushing to place orders any time soon, though – according to our sources, projected delivery is slated for very late in 2012.

Devil is in the detail

Dura-Ace 2013's 11 sprockets will apparently be packed onto a new freehub body that's wider than current 10-speed bodies; it's unclear at this point if the proprietary body width and spline pattern will at least share cog spacing with Campagnolo. One can only hope on that point, as that would have huge implications for wheel choice.

Indexing control will supposedly be moved to a front-derailleur-mounted microprocessor, turning the levers into 'dumb' switches that merely send binary signals – just like on the recently introduced Ultegra Di2. The new Dura-Ace Di2's updated wiring harnesses will be fully compatible, too, meaning that users will be able to mix and match as desired.

Since the indexing is housed outside the levers, that opens up the possibility of an 11-speed setup matching Ultegra levers to Dura-Ace derailleurs, though the new harness means old Di2 bits won't connect to new ones. In addition, our sources tell us that the long-awaited race day battery is coming, with half the capacity of the current unit but at a quarter of the weight.

Shimano may also be finally moving on from their long-running 24mm-diameter Hollowtech II bottom bracket spindle design. In fact, we've been told that they may actually be adopting FSA's new BB386Evo standard, which would certainly help lop off some weight as Shimano would then be able to move to a larger-diameter, relatively thin-walled aluminum spindle.

That move would make sense from a developer's standpoint, too. Shimano's own PF86 bottom bracket standard uses widely set press-fit cups and industry supporters would essentially only have to switch to a larger-diameter shell to keep things compatible (and backwards-compatible) rather than have to design an entirely new frame.

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Campagnolo Electronic to be called EPS

Post  Spindoctor on Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:42 pm

Campagnolo Electronic to be called EPS

Both Record and Super Record groups to be offered

Twenty years and four generations in the making, Campagnolo has finally presented not just one but two electronic groups, Record EPS (Electronic Power Shift) and Super Record EPS, both with identical functionality but slight differences in weight and bearing performance just like the mechanical analogues.

Just like Shimano's Dura-Ace and Ultegra Di2 electronic systems, Campagnolo promises foolproof shifting accuracy and reliability plus faster gear changes than with mechanical groups. But EPS will also uniquely offer riders a lever feel that more closely mimics mechanical systems for genuine tactile – and audible – feedback, not to mention even better multi-shift capability of current Record and Super Record groups, all at a weight penalty of around 200g.

Electronic gutspaired with pseudo-mechanical feel and multiple shift capability

Campagnolo's new EPS group share some basic characteristics with Shimano's next-generation Di2 systems: dedicated switches in the levers sending signals to a centrally located 'brain' that then relays those messages to the motor-equipped front and rear derailleurs. Campagnolo, however, has done a better job of mimicking the feel of its much-loved – and virtually identically shaped – mechanical Ergopower brake/shift levers, however. The throws are very short as was expected but the high spring force is more akin to a cable-actuated system and there's a very tactile and audible click each time a button is depressed.

Granted, that tactile and audible feedback is different for the upshift and downshift paddles but it's feedback nonetheless – something we've always found lacking in Shimano's otherwise functionally refined system. The EPS downshift paddle is in the same familiar spot as on the mechanical Ergopower levers, too, but Campagnolo has moved the thumb-actuated upshift paddle lower down for easier shifts from the drops.

Campagnolo has also managed to actually improve on Ergopower's Multi-Shift capability. Whereas current Super Record and Record levers can downshift up to three cogs and upshift up to five, EPS can move the chain across the entire cassette with one command. Instead of having to repeatedly push the button, EPS's switches are time-sensitive, meaning the rear derailleur will move more positions depending on how long the rider holds down the button and you only need a 1.5second-long push to move across all 11 rear cogs.

There's unfortunately no feedback mechanism to let riders know exactly how many gears they've selected, though – Campagnolo marketing and communications director Lorenzo Taxis says riders will quickly learn "with their legs and brains" once they use it.

While certainly technically more advanced than the company's current mechanical systems, Campagnolo stresses that EPS isn't merely an engineering exercise but actually offers tangibly better performance, especially under the demanding racing conditions for which it was designed. According to in-house testing, EPS groups can successfully execute a front shift (in either direction) with nearly 70 percent higher chain load than Super Record while rear shifts are completed on average in just 0.352 seconds vs. 0.469 seconds – a small difference for sure but one that's still within the human range of detection.

Just like Di2, however, EPS should also need no adjustments whatsoever after the initial setup. Unlike with conventional cables and housing whose performance can change over time, EPS's digital signals will remain consistent for more predictable performance and reduced maintenance.

Record EPS versus Super Record EPS

Much like the mechanical groups, the Record EPS and Super Record EPS groups differ by way of materials and small design details. For example, the Super Record EPS Ergopower levers feature additional sculpting and engineered relief to further shave weight.

These design differences carry on throughout the components where carbon is replaced for alloy in the outer half of the front derailleur cage when comparing Super Record to Record, likewise the front derailleur motor and gear housings are alloy and steel respectively. Out back,the Super Record rear derailleur employs aluminum gear housing and ceramic pulleys, were as the Record version uses a steel gear housing and standard pulleys.

Then, of course, there are the differences between the mechanical support components, which are the same found when comparing the mechanical groups. One of the biggest performance differences is Super Record’s use Campagnolo’s CULT greaseless ceramic bearings, while Record employ the USB bearings.

One major configuration difference with EPS as compared to Di2 is the battery and wiring. Whereas Shimano opts for a removable Li-ion rechargeable battery, the EPS's power is permanently housed with the system's 'brain' and isn't easily removable.

Some users will invariably regard this as being less convenient but Campagnolo argues that its one-piece, ultrasonically sealed unit is more resistant to weather. In fact, the company certifies all of the EPS components to be waterproof to a depth of one meter and we witnessed Movistar team mechanics subjecting the components to point blank pressure washings during this season's races.

Campagnolo says its EPS battery will last longer, too. Whereas Shimano claims roughly 1,600km of battery life under average conditions (in fairness, we've experienced much longer lifetimes in practice), Campagnolo quotes roughly 2,000km when ridden about 2,000km per month.

EPS will thankfully use the same port sizes and positions as currently required by Shimano's Di2 system. Even better, Campagnolo won't have multiple wiring kits depending on how the system is installed – the leads from the power pack to the individual components are supposedly all long enough to accommodate a wide range of fitments and extra wiring will just need to be tucked inside the frame (assuming internal wiring, of course).

Weight and cost: lighter than Di2, with final prices TBD

Campagnolo’s pro teams are scheduled to be on the production components in the next few weeks, while manufacturers will have OE components in December. Riders looking to buy the parts in the aftermarket should be able to find the parts for sale in January.The cost of the Record EPS group is said to be in-line with Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 group, while Super Record EPS was simply stated to be ‘more’ – by how much we don’t know as final prices have yet to be determined.

With weights claimed at 2,184g for Record and 2,098g for Super Record it’s lighter than Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2— which we’ve weighed at 2,262g—at least according to Campagnolo’s claims; so here we have it, EPS promises to raise the bar yet again for what we consider to be state of the art for bicycle transmissions.


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