Finally hitting the floor at bike shops around the country is the long awaited Campagnolo EPS group. This electronic group(attached to a very limited edition Pinarello Dogma2) just showed up at Freshbikes in Arlington, VA. Complete with a set of Campy Bora Ultra 2 wheels, this dream bike weighed in at a respectable 6.77kg(14.93lbs.) More pictures and some initial ride impressions after the break…
The Campagnolo EPS group has been covered a couple times in previous posts, but this is the first time we have seen production components in a shop for sale. Unfortunately, the intricacies of the complete bike build are still unknown, the Dogma2 showed up almost completely built (Ha! Labor required to get this rig from box-to-road was only a handlebar installation, wheelset installation, and a set of pedals. The stock build did come with a set of Campagnolo Shamal Ultra 2-way fit wheels, which were promptly removed for the far sexier Bora Ultra 2’s.
The shifter shape is extremely comfortable. Very similar to the hood shape of Campagnolo Super Record 11 shifters, small details have been adjusted to improve comfort and efficiency. The most notable change is the waffle pattern visible on the outside of the hoods. This pressure relieving technology has been a part of the campy hood for a few years, but is significantly more prominent now that it resides externally. One of the largest changes we can easily feel is the new placement of the thumb button on the inside of the shifter. The shift button is longer than its mechanical counterpart, thus making it significantly easier to access from the drops.
The rear derailleur was surprisingly easy to set up. Just one limit adjustment, and it was ready to go. The derailleur itself looks significantly cleaner than the current setup provided by Shimano on the Di2 platform. One interesting aspect of this component we witnessed is the nuance of shift precision throughout different areas of the cassette. The Di2 rear derailleur has an “overshift” feature on each cog when shifting to a harder gear. The derailleur will move just a little bit more than needed to make sure the shift happens properly, and then re-centers itself on the proper cog. This overshift feature does not exist on Di2 when shifting to an easier gear. The Campy EPS system has a similar feature, but it is present when shifting to both easier and harder gears. There are however limits to this feature, as it is only activated on the sixth cog from the top down to the hardest gear.
The EPS front derailleur was equally simple to set up. One thing we noticed is that there is no brace against the frame, unlike the Shimano Di2 front derailleur. Unfortunately, the front derailleur does not follow the same style formula as the rear derailleur, and looks a bit “bulky” in person. Contrary to earlier reports, the front derailleur does have an auto trim function that helps to keep the chain on the chainrings, and also helps to keep the chain off of the derailleur cage. The battery is also quite a bit larger than the version offered by Shimano, but the Campy battery does contain the electronic brain for the complete system.
FIRST RIDE IMPRESSIONS
Riding the Campy EPS group for the first time was pretty impressive. Unfortunately, It would be difficult for a test ride on a 2012 Pinarello Dogma2 with a set of Bora Ultra 2’s to not feel pretty amazing out of the gate. Shifting both on the front and rear derailleurs is extremely smooth, and seems to be fairly quiet. Although the Shimano Di2 hoods are significantly more comfortable than their mechanical counterparts, the ergonomic hood shape featured on the Campy EPS system is a bit more refined. Additional features offered by Campagnolo deal directly with shifter action. The tactile feel of each shift is significantly more pronounced than the very subtle feel of a Di2 shift. Also, Campy has engineered a way to move through all of the gears on the cassette by simply holding down either button on the rear shifter. The question is, does this offer a faster way to shift through the gears with the rear derailleur? Just depressing a shift button once, the shift happens almost instantly, without any lag time. When a button is held down for a desired multiple gear shift, there is noticeable lag before anything happens. IMO, it is faster to simply tap the shift button multiple times rather than holding it down for desired multiple gear shifts. During the first ride, shifting both the front and rear derailleur constantly through all of the gears, I was unable to drop the chain. We’ll have some long term test comments posted as soon as we are able to log some actual miles on this rig…weather permitting!