Campagnolo brings the 12-speed road tech of current world champ Alejandro Valverde down to a more accessible level with the addition of Chorus 12 mechanical groupsets for rim & disc brake bikes. And in their ever expanding evolution, Chorus 12 brings a wider range cassette & sub-compact crankset (with new BCD!) offering all-road gearing that we expect to cross the lines onto gravel as well…
Chorus 12, 2×12-speed mechanical road bike groupset
With the addition of a Movement 12 Chorus road double drivetrain, Campagnolo now offers four 12-speed performance road bike gruppos across a wide price range – including Super Record 12 EPS (SR12 EPS), Super Record 12 mechanical (SR12), Record 12 mechanical (R12) & Chorus 12 mechanical (C12). Chorus is certainly not a budget groupset, still selling for much of the price of other companies premium kit, but the performance is almost indiscernible from even Super Record. So if you are looking for premium carbon gruppo made in Europe at more attainable pricing (less than half of EPS), Chorus 12 might just be the ticket with only a slight weight penalty.
Plus, with the addition of a smaller Chorus 12 chainring set pairing, and larger range 12-speed cassette, we expect to see a number of custom all-road and gravel bikes get built up with the latest Chorus 12.
Chorus 12 component tech updates
The core component technologies of Chorus 12 are pretty much the exact same as we saw introduced last year for Super Record 12 & Record 12 mechanical. As is generally the case, Chorus still features carbon components, but ceramic bearings shift to steel balls, small bearings shift to bushings, titanium parts & bolts shifts to steel, and the hollowed out weight savings elements get dropped adding a few extra grams here & there.
Chorus 12 Ergopower shift/brake levers
All of the same ergonomic updates to the new Chorus 12 Ergopower shift/brake levers carry over, including the newer double curve levers, the outward slant to the brake levers with a higher pivot location for increased leverage, vibration absorbing Vari cushion rubber hoods, and larger up & down shift levers. The levers become simplified in alloy and keep Camp’s Ultra shift mechanism, allowing up to 5 downshifts or 3 upshift in a single throw of each independent lever. They also use the same updated shift internals as SR12 that reduced free cable movement for faster shifts, and get identical SR12 slick cables & housing for longer-lasting shift performance.
The rim brake levers now get two positions for short or long reach, plus Campy’s standard extra open brake release position.
The hydraulic disc brake levers get tooled dial-in reach adjust, but not the leverage adjust (AMS adjustable modulation setting) of the SR12, R12 , or even H11. Instead Campagnolo says the modulation is set in the middle of the adjustable extremes as a happy medium. Inside Chorus 12 Disc Brake uses the same mineral oil, vertical master cylinder with top bleed port (again limiting the number of service parts needed, and not messing with something that works really well).
Chorus 12 front derailleur
The Chorus 12 front derailleur is pretty much identical to the higher end versions with a thinner cage, trim settings & the reversible cable attachment, but sticks with all-metal construction of alloy links & steel plates.
Chorus 12 rear derailleur
The Chorus 12 rear derailleur looks much like the Record 12 derailleur, sharing the same long strand UD carbon reinforced ‘technopolymer’ upper & lower knuckles, now with alloy links in between.
It also gets the same 12T pulleys (chamfered teeth on the lower, longer on the upper) for quiet running, and the versatile hanger system that can be kept standard or remove the upper link for direct mounts.
C12 also comes with a single length alloy cage, with offset ‘3D embrace’ movement optimized to work with 11-29 to 11-34 cassettes. We measured this pre-production derailleur cage and it was the same 73mm as on SR12 & R12, but Campagnolo was cagey as to whether it would grow a bit for the new gearing. And their spec sheets specifically say the larger cassette is only compatible with a C12 rear derailleur!
Chorus 12 cassette – now available in 11-34!
Yes, that is right! Campy now adds an 11-34 12-speed cassette with the C12 groupset offering a wider gearing range.
Construction is the same as SR12 & R12 since Campy says they haven’t developed a better or cheaper construction yet, but does use less aggressive (less time consuming) machining to keep prices down. The C12 cassette still uses two machined steel monoblock clusters of 3 cogs at the top, followed by six more loose steel cogs & spacers.
The new C12 adds 11-34, with a gearing spread of 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 22, 25, 29, 34. While Campagnolo wouldn’t confirm that cage lengths were the different, we’d love to try the 11-34 on our Super Record groupset (if possible!) And we’ll certainly measure the production cage length as soon as we can to check real world compatibility.
Chorus 12 crankset – now available in 48/32!
The C12 crankset again looks much like its Record big brother, much of which can be put to it using similar unidirectional carbon contraction with the same UV-blocking resin so it comes straight out of the mold like this with no extra finish applied. Like Record 12 (but unlike SR12), the Chorus 12 crankarms are not hollow, but retain Campy’s signature narrow 145.5mm Q-factor.
Chorus 12 retains the split steel Ultra-torque axle bolted together from the left side, and spinning on steel bearings. UPDATE: The four-arm cranks no longer share Campy’s 112/145mm BCD, but still use two separate bolt circle diameters to allow for light & stiff chainrings. In order to fit lower gearing, Campagnolo introduces a new 96mm & 123mm four-bolt BCD for Chorus cranks that will be available in common 165, 170, 172.5 & 175mm length options.
Interesting here, Campagnolo gave Chorus 12 a new smaller set of rings more inline with everyday road & all-road riders, topping out at a mid-compact 52/36, then the road compact 50/34 as well. But adding to even more versatility with the new 11-34 cassette is a first-for-Campy sub-compact 48/32 gearing combination that will make Chorus 12 even more versatile off smooth tarmac. Those ring combinations are not interchangeable, as each pairing gets its own multi-shift points for quick shifting. The rings are of course not interchangeable with other groupsets either due to the new 96/123mm BCD, which also means that replacement rings for the time being will only be available from Campagnolo.
By the way, there’s no reason that those gearing combinations won’t also work with your Record & Super Record drivetrains (although the 48T chainring won’t likely clear the extra carbon support rib on Super Record cranks). And we expect the cassette & rings to be available separately to update your current range soon.
OK, so the rings obviously won’t work on other cranksets due to what we now know is a unique BCD. Cassette compatibility with standard length Record & Super Record derailleurs is probably still up in the air officially as we wait to see if the Chorus cage is a bit longer. Unofficially, I know that I rode an 11-speed Chorus derailleur that was said to have a 32T limit on a Shimano 11-34 cassette a few times without any issue, so I suspect with careful setup it should be possible with Movement 12 derailleurs as well.
Chorus 12 chain
Chorus does get a new dedicated C12 chain that is a little heavier, and slightly cheaper that the hollow-pin R12 chain used for both the Super Record & Record groupsets.
Chorus 12 brakes
Disc brake gruppos share the identical flat mount calipers that have been around since H11, but now a 140mm rotor option will also be available on the front brake with an adapter. Rim brake gruppos get a new set of Skeleton Chorus 12 dual-pivot rim brake calipers that offer expanded clearance for 28mm tires, rotating on bushing pivots.
Chorus branded direct mount brakes are also said to be coming, with the same internal brace debuted on SR12/R12.
Pricing & Availability
The new Chorus 12 will soon replace 11-speed Chorus, and be offered in two versions. The C12 DB disc brake groupset will sell for $1819 / 1837€ with a claimed complete group weight of 2631g, phasing out the current Chorus 11 + H11 setup (which was actually 500€ more expensive!) The C12 rim brake groupset will be much more affordable (without the same brakes that are in SR12) at $1288 / 1275€ and significantly lighter at a claimed 2333g, replacing Chorus 11. Once the new C12 rolls out this summer, only Potenza and Centaur will remain with 11-speed.
The entire new Chorus 12 group is in production now, made entirely by Campagnolo in Italy & Romania, with availability slated for the middle of this summer. Campy tells us that means that it will be in shops before the end of the Tour de France.
Do you want to see our exclusive breakdown of the actual weights and the lower pricing of the new Chorus 12 DB group? Check it out here!