While Campagnolo’s new H11 components were the centrepiece of their disc brake project introduction across the three top-level carbon fiber groupsets, maybe even bigger news is the fact that they’ve introduced a much more affordable alloy setup that offers the same brake performance, adjustability, and ergonomics. Potenza 11 even gets its own uniform branding. Combine that with the wider range 11-32 cassettes offered as part of the Potenza group, and it may have just become the best reasonably priced groupset on the market for the exploding gravel segment…
While Super Record, Record, and Chorus will have to make due with the non-series branded H11 carbon levers (and H11 crankset), Potenza gets its own Ergopower levers on account of two reasons. One it needed to switch to an alloy brake lever to keep costs down and differentiate it from the top-tier carbon groups. And two, it needed to switch to the less advanced (and again lower priced) 11 speed mechanical shift internals that only allows one shift at a time, either up or down.
Even then, the new hydraulic disc brakes (combining levers with brake calipers) remain the most costly part of the otherwise affordable groupset. That’s largely due to the fact that the internals and features are completely shared with the more expensive H11 levers. That amounts to almost 2/3 of the total groupset cost, 391€* per lever with the caliper, plus another 155€ for rotors, oil, the necessary bleed kit & caliper mounting bolts.
In fact, the Potenza 11 DB Ergopowers use the exact modular master cylinder as H11, and the alloy levers get the same 2.5mm adjustable AMS adjustable braking power/modulation and lever reach adjustability. With the same internals they also share the same Ergopower body shaping, meaning ergonomics are the same as well.
They also share the same H11 disc brake calipers, H11 disc brake pads & H11 disc rotors (and all of the innovative tech that comes with each of those). That again means that the Potenza 11 disc brakes will offer the exact same brake performance benefits of the H11 brakes going into the much more expensive top-tier carbon gruppos.
The Potenza 11 Disc Brake components and complete disc brake groupset will officially be only produced in black, with availability by the end of June 2017. That said an update of the rest of the drivetrain components (besides Ergopower levers and brake calipers) is slated for August availability in silver.
Retail pricing is set at 1580€ for the complete disc brake group. That’s a big step up from the 888€ pricetag of Potenza’s rim brake variant, but is of course a direct result of all the top-level tech in the braking system. It’s still 30% less than the Chorus DB mechanical and at only a 300g penalty, a good bit of which is likely in the aluminum crankset.
Campagnolo’s market strategy when they introduced the rim brake Potenza 11 groupset last year was clearly a move to try to claw back more OEM sales. While it wasn’t so clear whether the rim brake variant was going to have much power to get itself spec’d on more production road bikes, there’s no doubt that Potenza 11 DB has potential in the all-road & endurance sectors.
At its price range it offers a level of ergonomics, adjustability, performance, and even aesthetics that the mid-level groups from Shimano & SRAM just can’t compete with right now. Campagnolo has a bit of an uphill battle fighting against Shimano & SRAM who can negotiate with bike companies to spec their drivetrains on everything from XC & DH mountain bikes to race, endurance & gravel road bikes.
While Campagnolo had to pull together a few new wheelsets to mesh with the new carbon components of the H11 disc brakes, they already had a disc brake wheelset waiting in the wings for the new Potenza 11 DB group. Introduced last summer as Campagnolo’s first official disc brake product, the reasonably priced, relatively wide C17 aluminum Zonda DB clincher wheels will make a perfect fit for the alloy Potenza groupset, although their lack of tubeless compatibility will see many riders looking for another affordable alternative.
There’s still more to cover in-depth with the arrival of the Campy disc brake project. Keep abreast of our full Campagnolo disc brake groupsets coverage here:
- Campagnolo road hydraulic disc brakes overview
- H11 carbon in depth – EPS & Mechanical levers and calipers detailed tech
- Disc-specific cranksets
- Shamal Ultra alloy 2-Way Fit tubeless disc brake wheels
- Bora One carbon tubular & clincher disc brake wheels
- Campy H11 mechanical first ride impressions
*note: Euro pricing does include VAT. The previous reference to the exclusion of VAT was incorrect. We apologize for any confusion.