Campagnolo debuts all-new mid-range Potenza 11 road gruppo

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Before Campagnolo let slip their in-development and forthcoming Campy Tech Labs disc brakes, they lured us in with talk of a completely new everyman drivetrain groupset. The new Potenza 11 line pulls a lot of tech from the carbon-heavy Super Record, Record, and Chorus lines and reapplies it into an aluminum drivetrain that will likely be a lot more affordable. Take a closer first look with us after the break, and we’ll give the highlights…

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The new Potenza group looks to slot in just below Chorus in the lineup. In that place it signals another phase out of the nice looking and simple Athena gruppo that we put to cross use last summer. While we only have images of the gloss black components, we’re told that a mostly silver groupset will be availble for those looking for a classic build.

Campagnolo seems to think that the <900€ component group will go head-to-head with Ultegra for the everyday rider, who doesn’t want to shell out more for the carbon-infused kit.

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Campagnolo Potenza gets a new set of mechanical shifters that offer the ergonomics of more expensive groups in an affordable package with a composite body and aluminum lever. The right shifter uses a new thumb paddle with a design trickled down from EPS for easy access either in the drops of on the hoods. It allows you to upshift up to 3 gears at once, with single press downshifts.

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The left shifter gets three clicks to deliver easy upshifts. Campy describes it as not needing to be adjusted based on cassette position, but it does deliver trim functionality for use in the little ring. From all the way down on the small ring you get no rub in the bigger 8 cogs, and one click trims for use in the smaller 8. The second and third click bring you up to the big ring with optimal chainline for the full cluster, though. The first click back down gives you the smaller (faster) 8 again, and the second click down for the big cogs out back.

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The hollow-forged aluminum Potenza crankset shares the newer 4-bolt layout that offers 53/39, 52/36 & 50/34 hard anodized aluminum chainring setups with one spider.  Unlike the costlier cranks Potenza sticks with the steel Power Torque axle. The group also gets an upgrade front derailleur with a long arm, and steel cage for fast shifting.

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Besides just getting a new rear derailleur hat follows the current Campagnolo Revolution 11+ look from the high-end groups, Potenza adds some new derailleur tech. First off, it uses a reinforced “technopolymer” body and forged aluminum plates to keep weight down, while maintaining durability. But of even more interest is that it will be available also in a longer medium cage version, designed for a 11-32 cassette, a first for Campy. That 11-32 will be joined by more typical 11-25, 11-27, 11-29 & 12-27 options, each of which uses a pinned triplet on the big end and 8 loose cogs with alloy spacers.

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Potenza gets a new skeleton brake set too for light and powerful rim braking.

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While Athena had been a well performing 11 speed group in the Campagnolo lineup, it had missed out on some of the tech of the Record and Chorus groups. The new Potenza seems to pick up all the slack that had been missing, and should make for a solid all-around drivetrain for those still looking for either the stealthy black or more polished silver drivetrain.

Campagnolo.com

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Garrett
Garrett
6 years ago

I… don’t really see any solid difference between this and Athena. If it had the multishift up and down like my Chorus does, it would make sense. Otherwise, isn’t it just an additional 11 speed powershift? I get that there are a couple of differences over Athena… but isn’t the shifting the big draw of the more expensive groups?

bb_nl
bb_nl
6 years ago
Reply to  Garrett

As I understood it, this will replace Athena. So this is “next gen” Athena, if you will. Therefore, the difference with (improvement over) current Athena should be there, but not be too much… This can’t not compete with Chorus too much 😉

Salvatore
Salvatore
6 years ago

I’d love to see weight comparison with Ultegra 6800…

Chris L
Chris L
6 years ago
Reply to  Salvatore

Why? It’s only a few ounces at most and you’re delusional if you think a weight savings of that little makes a difference. Even if it were a full pound lighter that’s still going to amount to a weight savings in most cases of less than .5%.

ABW
ABW
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris L

I agree with you, but your logic of justifying weight differences as a tiny percentage of overall weight is a fallacy. You don’t carry .5% to the top of the hill, you carry X lbs/grams or whatever. Whatever that X is requires a certain additional amount of energy. That’s just physics. This is the same fallacy that is used to justify additional costs if they’re part of an overall expensive package. “Why wouldn’t I go for the alloy rims on my new car? It’s only an extra $1000 on a 25,000 car? That’s only 4% extra!” But what you’re talking about is the purchasing power of $1000, not an abstract concept like 4%.

PsiSquared
PsiSquared
6 years ago
Reply to  ABW

Note that a 0.5% increase in mass requires a 0.5% increase in energy required. That’s just physics.

Chris
Chris
6 years ago
Reply to  ABW

My point is people obsess about bike weight when in reality bike is only a small part of the equation. When you add in water bottles, weight of clothing and of course rider weight a difference of just a couple of pounds truly is trivial. Also race results back this up. In the 30 years between the 1982 and 2012 Tour de France bike weights dropped by more than 5 pounds yet the overall speed increase was less than 1 mph. Add all these claims of “X% more aero” and “Y% stiffer” and you should be seeing much more of an increase. Reality is weight is one of those things weekend warriors like to obsess over. Reality is most pros could care less about it. They ride enough to know that pro level bikes are pretty much all equal and for most of them the only real concern is that nothing breaks. I say this having wrenched for my share of pros.

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Not everyone weighs 180+ lbs like you. Maybe you should stop being so retro-grouchy, and compare races that actually stay the same every year instead of the Tour.

ABW
ABW
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris

I’m 100% in agreement with you. My point was that making the case that small differences in weight are trivial by stating them as a percentage is flawed. Your follow up makes the case beautifully.

PsiSquared
PsiSquared
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Potenza is 18g heavier than Ultegra. For a 140b rider/bike system going from Ultegra to Potenza, the increase in mass of his bike/rider system is 0.02%. That means that rider riding Potenza will have to expend a whopping 0.02% more energy on a given climb than he or she would have otherwise spend using Ultegra.

That’s massive. Huge.

Of course everyone’s bike/rider system doesn’t weigh 140lbs.

PsiSquared
PsiSquared
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris L
Will
Will
6 years ago

Every time a campy equipped bike comes in the shop I can’t help but get a headache, so I can see full blown migraines coming on with this budget gear..

PsiSquared
PsiSquared
6 years ago
Reply to  Will

I wasn’t aware that doing Campy assembly or maintenance was so difficult that it caused headaches. I guess I’ve been doing something wrong since I’ve always found it to be easy.

Craig
Craig
6 years ago
Reply to  PsiSquared

Same here

Dominic Bruys Porter
6 years ago
Reply to  Craig

another one over here

Aaron
Aaron
6 years ago

Potential to save a teensy weensy amount of weight by using an ultegra cassette! but that is sacrelige.

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
6 years ago
Reply to  Will

Sounds like some people weren’t meant to fiddle with bikes. Either master it all, or find a different line of work.

DB
DB
6 years ago

I struggle to see much difference from Athena either. The only thing I don’t like on Athena is the thumb shifter but that appears to have been retained for Potenza. In the end most of the change is just the new crankset, which unfortunately is still power torque (a definite low point of Campags design history). I would have been excited if this offered the same shift function as Chorus and an Ultratorque BB – that would have made for a really solid 11v Ally groupset.

Chris L
Chris L
6 years ago

Nice to see them still offer a silver option and always great to see new stuff from Campy. That said, not seeing how this is any different than Athena or Centaur/Daytona in terms of category placement. Campy have always struggled with the OEM market. I don’t think they’ve had significant OEM presence since the 1980s when they had the Victory and Triomphe groups. They’ve been downhill on the OEM side ever since the industry started shifting production to Taiwan in the 80s.

DF
DF
6 years ago

Who asked for this? They need to trickle down Ultrashift and Ultratorque. THEN it will compete with Ultegra.

BTW: if they want to gain market share in the OEM space, then they need to shift that production line to Asia.

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago
Reply to  DF

Ultegra has neither.

Heffe
Heffe
6 years ago

Who made that frameset?

bb_nl
bb_nl
6 years ago
Reply to  Cory Benson

Yep, Sarto. Custom Asola and Energia models to be precise

Tupac
Tupac
6 years ago

Hell yes, Campagnolo! Well done, and it looks great. People who don’t understand Campagnolo or get ‘migraines’ from it… well, they don’t understand it, and they need to hone their mechanical skills!

Frippolini
Frippolini
6 years ago

Does anyone know how big Campagnolo is in sales or market share compared to SRAM and Shimano?

comrad
comrad
6 years ago
Reply to  Frippolini

SRAM sells more (I think it’s the) Reba forks than Campy sells units.

bikerhp
bikerhp
6 years ago

Hope Campagnolo protects the pricing on these products. They should fix it so the European mail order sites can’t ship it to the USA.

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago
Reply to  bikerhp

Then no one will buy this when they could buy DA9000 from Euro sites for the same $1000. Campy needs to stop using their horrible distributor, and distribute themselves and get prices lower.

Fedor Esztebán
6 years ago

http://bikerumor.com/2015/08/10/campagnolo-athena-11-speed-long-term-test-weighed-setup-first-impressions/ old athena chainset was lighter. 🙂 And athena used to offer carbon cranks as well. The shifters were with alloy paddle, and the rd was from full alloy also.

this gruppo seems like an athena with slightly less alloy&more plastic.

thumbsup for the new pt design with the 10mm allen key&self extracting bolts..

Mike
Mike
6 years ago

Stoked to see this coming with and 11-32 casette.

If they add hydro discs to this groupset, I will be first in line to re-build my CX bike with it.

Paul from England
Paul from England
6 years ago

I don’t normally comment on ‘the internet’ as there seems to be lots of people who want to just argue. I do however note some interesting comments here suggesting that Campagnolo should ‘trickle down’ some of the higher end tech into this (Ultra Torque, Ultra Shift etc).

I used to have a 2008 (or maybe 2009) Veloce 10 speed groupset and that HAD both of those.. Whilst it didn’t have the carbon construction, lightweight bolts etc, of the higher end groupsets, it had all the same technology. Veloce even came with Skeleton brakes too.

When Campagnolo developed the ‘Power….’ technologies for the lower end models, I am sure it wasn’t for cost saving purposes, but simplly to differentiate between top end and low(er) end.

My only real gripe with the Campagnolo Ultra Shift shifters was the positioning of the thumb shifter. The lower one here fixes that for me as it would make the shifter hold position more comfortable, plus makes upshifts from the drops easier (read possible).

The ‘gripes’ about not being able to do multiple upshifts with the lower thumb lever is just a none issue in my view and something that can easily be achieved by just pressing the button again!

I love my current SRAM Red/Force/Rival mixed groupset I have right now, especially the shifters and the 11-32 cassette. With Campagnolo joining the 32 tooth party, they’ve sealed the deal for me next time I want to upgrade.

So there…..

WannaBeSTi
WannaBeSTi
6 years ago

Not saying anything about Campagnolo quality, but they are so fat off the back. Just saying they’ve lost touch with what customers are asking for. Heck! Even Shimano is more in touch.
Having to use special Der cables, different free hub spline, different lockring for cassette (which used to be for their BB too), waaaaay over priced components, silly expensive replacement small parts, etc

bikesnob28hb
6 years ago

OK, so this is a new group which will replace the existing Athena group most likely. So why not continue to call it Athena? Ot at least Daytona? Besides, Potenza isn’t real a good name choice, in German “Potenz” means (among other things) virility.

David Messenger
David Messenger
6 years ago

You Americans ! Read !!! Potenza is completely technically and aesthetically different from Athena, and you incompetent mechanics who cannot set Campagnolo up because it is engineered ! Cannot comment on US distributor or spare part pricing but at least everything is available as a spare part and for those of inclined completely consumer serviceable ! Some of you need to get a life… Or go ride a Campagnolo bike !!!

pdarbyshire
6 years ago

Just found this news piece and thought that AT LAST, Campy had answered one of my small prayers, for a 32 cassette to fit my Chorus groupset, but NO, the ONLY bit that isn’t chorus compatible is the 32, the cog many of us (older and less fit maybe) have been hanging out for 🙁 boo hoo

Shezza
Shezza
6 years ago

is that true ? Can i not replace my rear Chorus 11 speed mech. with the mid cage Potenza mech. and then use the 11-32 cassette ? This would be nirvana.