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