Details are scant, or better described as non-existent, of the new discs from Vicenza. Campagnolo specifically didn’t want to say too much about the new disc brakes that they have had in development for more than two years. The brakes (and accompanying wheels) are still a project of their research and development arm, and as such get the Campy Tech Lab branding that pretty much means that they won’t be in customers’ hands any time this year.
But the brakes are ready for racing, and three Pro Tour teams are expected to roll out of the start with them in the northern Spring Classics which are just over a couple of weeks away. We’ll be there to get a glimpse of them on the cobbles, but for now it was a good enough reason for Campagnolo to roll out three bikes representing these three pro teams. Join us after the break for the details we could muster, and a lot of detail photos…
Disc brakes are the only time we can justify leading with non-driveside bike shots, so here they are. The three bikes represent the three teams riding Campagnolo in the Pro Tour; the Ridley of Lotto-Soudal, a Specialized of Astana, and one of Campy’s own Sartos standing in for the new Canyon Ulimate CF SLX Disc that is expected to debut in northern Europe.
Here’s what we know, the Campy Tech Lab disc brakes already have both mechanical shifting and EPS electronic levers to control the hydraulic brakes. Even in this team-only prototype stage Campagnolo has also included inline hydraulic line couplers to make installation easier on the pro team mechanics for internal routing.
From the side, the shifting controls and ergonomics look to be pretty much the same as the current crop of 11 speed gruppos, so it seems that Campagnolo was able to get the master cylinder into the body of the hood without too much impact. The overall look of the profile does suggest that both the mechanical controls (above) and the EPS controls (below) do get a bulkier shape of the hood to fit the hydraulics in there. From the outside the shape looks a bit more like an enlarged version of the previous generation Ergopower levers.
The brake lever blades, like the shift paddles appear to remain the same shape. The EPS lever gets hollowed out, which is curious as that couldn’t really save any weight, but is more likely there to give a better tactile grip vs. a smooth carbon paddle. Like in profile, it looks like the hood gets noticeably wider to accommodate the hydraulic brake controls. On the inside of the EPS hoods we see a hole labeled with S to the left and L to the right suggesting some form of brake function adjustment. (It’s there on the mechanical levers too, just not labelled.) Could it be pad contact of free stroke adjustment?
The levers still keep the inward hook of the top of the hood, although with a thicker body the sweep of the hood is less pronounced. The brake lever blades themselves stick with the Campagnolo s-bend shape with tips that flare out to the sides for better ergonomics. Interesting to note, both mechanical and EPS levers get a small hole in the M in Campy, that isn’t there for cable-actuated brake levers. We don’t have any concrete information, but it looks to us like a perfect place for reach adjust, which like some pad adjust would be a welcome feature.
All-in-all, much like shift/brake controls from both Shimano & SRAM, the Campy Tech Lab hydraulic disc brake levers are a bit bulkier than their cable actuated brethren.
As for at the wheel, the calipers are a 2-piece deal, bolted together and developed in either post-mount of flat-mount styles. The seem to default to 140mm rotors as we would expect on the road, but work for 160s with adapters. The have a straight thread-in hydraulic line and have pads held in place with a retainer bolt. The post-mount version has a swoopy, curved aesthetic
While the flat-mount brake is decidedly more hard-edged, and less styled, otherwise appearing to share the same functional design.
Rotors a pretty straight forward cut stainless steel affairs, and all on hand were 6-bolt. They are quite an open design and branded as Campagnolo (while everything else except the rubber hoods is Campy Tech Lab). It’s not clear if they are just a first stab, or if there is a reason for their simplicity.
Seeing the calipers on frame and forks, it’s clear that Campagnolo sees them going onto both quick release and thru-axle frames and will most likely be accommodating both with hubs, as they are here. The wheels these bike have are all carbon clinchers, so we expect to see something else when we find them on the actual pro team bikes.
That’s pretty much all of the detail we have now. We’ll keep hunting for more info, and will get another look on the pro bikes (hopefully with a bit more insight.) Campagnolo says they aren’t in a rush to get the disc brakes to market. They understand that their two main competitors have already been carving out the market, but Campy sees they brakes as a huge safety step (and concern) and is taking their time, with the idea that when they hit the market they’ll aim to be the best for the top-end road bike.
We can wait to see, and will try to get our paws on a setup we can ride as soon as possible.