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Campagnolo Centaur returns more affordable alloy offerings for all road bikes – Updated

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Besides introducing new hydraulic disc brakes for their complete 11 speed road line up last week, Campagnolo also had an all new mechanical rim brake gruppo to share. The return of the Centaur name brings another and more affordable tier to their aluminum 11 speed road offerings in a move Campy hope s to help claw back some of the entry-level road bike market. With a lot of the same tech and ergonomics developed from the top of their premium Revolution 11+ groups on down, the reborn Centaur offers a lot of performance in a reasonably priced package, with 11-32 cassette compatibility and the option for black or silver components (We did receive some studio shots of the silver group, which have been added below.)…

Still tailored for classic road racing setups, Centaur doesn’t quite push Campagnolo all the way into the gravel riding segment – essentially being limited by road compact gearing of their crankset from Campy’s own admission. But the idea of the return of the Centaur name in a new groupset is more about bringing the top-level performance from Super Record, Record & Chorus mechanical down to a much more affordable price point. They way they say it, the Campagnolo engineers are always quite interested in how they can incorporate the same levels of performance in the more modest groups that cost less to produce, with those cost savings being passed on to the consumer.

We got a sneak peek at one key technology update in this more affordable group with the new disc brake cranksets we saw last week. Campagnolo’s designers have figured out a cheaper way to build alloy cranks with a steel version of their superior Ultra-Torque axle interface. Last year’s Potenza had used a cheaper-to-manufacture Power-Torque axle, but even that will be phased out now that they’ve solved the production issue with Centaur. Bottom bracket options should fit just about everything on the market for 25-40€, with 8 or 9 BB cup options available (PF86 at 40g).

The 184€ Centaur crankset uses the same 4-arm crankset design as the upper-end groups with Campy’s independent BCD. That means that each chainring gets its own 4 bolts that bolt directly to the spider. Campagnolo claims this offers exceptional shift performance even down to this mid-level groupset, but it does limit their chainring choices, essentially making it impossible to swap in a more gravel friendly sub-compact set of rings or a proper cyclocross set of chain rings. (It looks like the ring BCD is about 112mm for the inner and 145mm for the outer.) For this groupset Campagnolo limits the ring choices to a mid-compact 52×36 or a road compact 50×34, with the same shift ramp & pin layout as carries over all the way up to Super Record (50×34, 170mm at 875g).

Otherwise the new Centaur group shares ergonomics and much tech with the more expensive groups, with the big difference besides a drop in cost being heavier aluminum parts. Getting price down to a manageable level, Centaur uses an all new Ergopower powershift mechanism inside the 160€ levers (373g pair) that still get a fiber reinforced plastic body, similar to the more expensive shifters. It retains Campy’s ‘One Lever, One Action’ shift design that makes for user-friendly function and eliminates the chance for accidental mis-shifts.

courtesy Campagnolo

The new internals use a new more durable material over the previous Veloce group and sticks with just a single shift up or down per click of the lever, but the Ergopowers share the same fit developed on Super Record EPS. That may please some riders, as the longer, flatter lever shares the EPS-deriver shape that makes it even easier for the thumb to reach the button to release shifts from the drops. (That is something that the top-end mechanical levers don’t have, in part because of their ability to make multiple shifts with one movement of the lever.) The front shifter still includes 3 clicks to retain front derailleur trim functionality. The new Centaur-specific hoods use a new silicone rubber with a honeycombed construction like is found on the high-end groups to retain the vibration damping at the palm for all day comfort.

As to the derailleurs themselves, the 49€ front (103g) uses the same long throw arm of the Revolution 11+ groups for easy upshifts, but instead gets a 1-piece rigid steel cage that should deliver precise shifts.

The rear derailleur (230g) gets a bit updated geometry that goes down the same path as Potenza to work with up to a 32T cassette in a single cage length, but can still run down to an 11-25 if desired (no 11-23 compatibility). The new mid-length cage design even claims to be 15g less than the long cage its competitors need to get the same cassette range. The derailleur also gets a new pulley wheel design, with a long tooth upper pulley that promises to deliver more precise shifting and smooth running, while its lower wheel gets rounded off short teeth for smoother cross chained operation.

Campagnolo suggests to us that this is actually tech developed at the bottom that will trickle its way back up the lineup eventually to improve cross-chained performance in the premier groupsets. Like the Potenza derailleur, the 75€ Centaur gets reinforced technical polymer construction for both the upper & lower body of the derailleur, which means that even the polished silver version will have black knuckles.

The new budget group also gets three new affordable cassettes. Cassette replacement cost is often times an issue for cyclists looking to make the switch to Campagnolo, and the three new Centaur cassettes in 11-29, 11-32 & 12-32 (at 87.50€, 87.50€ & 72.50€, respectively) should help alleviate some of those concerns. They share the same general construction as the Potenza offerings, with one triple set of cogs on a spider plus 8 single cogs, all made of steel. The difference is entirely in a more affordable (less shiny) finish that Campagnolo says will offer the same performance and wear characteristics of the Potenza versions (11-29 at 291g).

With the new group also comes a new C11 chain, specifically designed to be used with either Potenza & Centaur (110 links at 103g). The 37.50€ C11 chain gets new chamfered outer plates for smoother running in wide gear ranges, and again a cost-saving finish.

The group also gets a new lightweight (325g pair), skeleton-style dual pivot brake (minus the cut-outs) that Campy claims to be 50g lighter than a comparable level brake. At 58€ for the dual pivot pair you get clearance for up to a 28mm tire.

The entire groupset with a claimed weight of 2484g will be available in both this matter black and a shiny silver. (Silver adds about 38€ extra to the total price, mostly in the polished crankset.) Campy is continuing to push its efforts to expand their top-level road racing performance at more accessible price level, and with classic look options that could help them bring back the major OEM spec that they used to enjoy, especially from Italian bike brands.

With pricing on par with Shimano 105 and claims of lighter weight, Campagnolo sees their 100% EU-made Centaur as a chance to take on their Japanese competition head-to-head and deliver a better performing groupset for the entry-level of road riding. The new components join fellow aluminum group Potenza introduced last year to round out the bottom of the road race line’s progression and replacing the old Veloce group – with the line running Centaur, Potenza, Chorus, Record, Super Record – for a much broader performance offering than either Shimano or SRAM.

Campy concentrates exclusively on road bikes, and while that certainly doesn’t help when they are trying to negotiate spec on new bikes, it does show through on their attention to detail. With the totally made in Europe groupset, Campagnolo is delivering a level of style and quality that is hard to deny in a 636€ groupset. That classic Italian vibe carries on in a new group that won’t break the bank on your next road bike.

Besides the focus on comfortable ergonomics, Campagnolo has also built a history and reputation on style and performance with a lot of that transitioning from their more expensive gruppos directly to the new Centaur. The black version of the new groupset is said to be en route to distributors now, with retail availability in early June 2017, and starting to show up on next years bikes as OEM later in the summer. The silver components are said to be a bit later, with availability in September 2017.

Campagnolo has also introduced an updated set of C17 Scirocco aluminum clincher wheels that they think pair well with the new Centaur groupset.

Updated with a few silver component pictures…

We did get a few studio photos of some of the silver components, but have yet to see any in person. So we’ll likely have to wait until Eurobike to see the complete silver group, much like was the case with Potenza Silver.

Campagnolo.com

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lop
lop
5 years ago

Dear Campagnolo,

No one wants PowerShift.

Morten Knudsen
Morten Knudsen
5 years ago
Reply to  lop

Brimg back front derailure microshift too with unlimited trim (2007 10-speed chorus Ergo shifting perfomance is amazing with new 2015 FD’s)

dave
dave
5 years ago

Looks cheap, like their Xenon group…their 10 speed Daytona/Centaur group looked much nicer.

bbb
bbb
5 years ago
Reply to  dave

I couldn’t agree more. At least they could make it in gloss black. I don’t understand this company anymore.

ELEVEN_g
5 years ago
Reply to  bbb

Marketing. They see all the boring middle aged men on their matte black frames, so figure why not make their stuff mate black too; you know, so they can get some of that pie too?

Biff
Biff
5 years ago

Does Campy make an aubesian for this group?

VeloKitty
VeloKitty
5 years ago

Why don’t they make a polished silver Chorus?

Morten Knudsen
Morten Knudsen
5 years ago
Reply to  Cory Benson

Still have my 1st gen silver skeleton 2007 Chous brakes with hidden bolts and ball bearigs = 100% the black Record +2009 skeleton brake. No need to change them when i got myself a new 2015 Chorus groupset 🙂 Why would i downgrade ?

Unfortunately the silver never got embrace geometry, ultrashift (rear), microshift (front) BB skeleton brakes with hidden bolt, embrace geometry or the new FD geometry.

There would be a marked for a high end silver anadonzed groupset:

Skeleton brakes with hidden bolt and BB (=Chorus 07/08)
Hollow arm UT crankset and forged chainrings (Potenza)
RD with embrace and forged paraellogram and a midcage (Potenza silver has an ulgly black composite body, Athena never had a forged body like chorus or teflon coated pivots)
FD with new geometry (Centaur 17, Potenza has ugly black paralelogram).
11 Speed Ergo’s with ultrashift rear, microshift front and pre carbn style aluminum levers.

btw the 2015 FD’s shifting performance with 2007 Ergo’s with microshift is a amaing.

Raymond
Raymond
5 years ago

Any idea on the availability of the new Scirocco wheels?

Centaur group looks great to me. Some design choices I really like in this group:

– Power Torque finally gone for good (although the Potenza style one would’ve been okay)
– One RD cage length (never understood the point of a short-cage mech for these mid-range groups)
– Good cassette choices (especially 12-32)

The 28mm rim brake clearance might seem a bit ambitious though if that’s 25mm tyres on the bike in the photo. Hard to tell until you see it though, and really the frame/fork’s probably more likely to be the limiting factor.

Morten Knudsen
Morten Knudsen
5 years ago

UT has always used steel axels.

The Athena PowerTorque too, but it had hollow aluminum pedalarms.

The original Mirage, Veloce, Centaur & Athena ultratorque used non hollow aluminum pedal arms. This generation all used Record grade steel bearings.

Mirage used steel a inner steel chainring, Veloche too i belive, Centaur used stamped aluminum chainrings as where the Athena used forged EPS chainrings like +Chorus.

The Poteza Powertorque an new Ultratorque uses hollow pedalarms (proberbly left side only)

Chorus pedalarms are massive carbon. Record and SR hollow carbon pedalarms – new 2015 hollow pedalarms are leftside only.

Only ultratorque / powertorque axels ever in non steel was the SR titanium ones.

fred
fred
5 years ago

any pics of the silver groupset?

fred
fred
5 years ago
Reply to  Cory Benson

yay for the silver! looks WAY better. thanks!

Speed565
Speed565
5 years ago

Since when Shimano 105 is an entry level groupset? And if so how to call Tiagra or Sora?

typevertigo
typevertigo
5 years ago
Reply to  Speed565

Or Claris and Tourney A070, for that matter. Those are truly “entry level” as far as Shimano hierarchy is concerned.

BACBikes
BACBikes
5 years ago

Oh I am so glad that PowerTorque had had a stake hammered through its black and shrivelled heart. What a terrible, terrible idea that was, & I am so glad I never bought the extractor.

Istvan Fedor
5 years ago

11-30? really?

13-29, 13-30 would be better imho. those jumps are huge, and 11t is not needed for leisure riding..

btw, 2007 centaur had cold forged chainrings, ut chainset, 1999 athena levers (predecessor to centaur..) featured ballbearings in the ergos, and all 2010 ultra shift veloce-centaur-athena ergos had ball-bearings..

the older campag br11-cedp non-skeletized brakes were 310 grams in pairs, and more robust, powerful, than skeleton.. and cheaper as well.

bring me
forged chainrings
13-29 cassettes
non-skeleton brakes with cheaper, but more powerfl design

and embrace rear derailleurs..

btw, all 2008 ut chainsets (mirage-veloce…record..) had the same bearings.. 🙂

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