Back when Campagnolo introduced their new Potenza 11 groupset back in the spring, I was one of many who were sad to see that the primarily aluminum gruppo was almost entirely black. Potenza 11 was replacing the classy looking all-silver Athena 11 line that has been widely used for those looking for a modern performance update for their traditional metal bikes. We were told at the time that a silver option was in the works as well, but that turned out to still have an odd mix of black and silver components that didn’t quite hit the mark. It seems that Campagnolo received enough rider feedback though, and they are bringing back the polished aluminum look. There are still a couple of small black straggler bits, but for the most part they are there for a reason and style connoisseurs should be pleased…
I’m personally a long-time Campagnolo fan for road bikes, and was indoctrinated into a love for classic styling through those shiny angular Super Record and then smooth C-Record components of the 1980s and 90s. I was perfectly happy to see that same styling evolve into carbon components, and then into the oversized look of the most recent generations of components. But a big shiny black alloy crank wasn’t doing it for me, nor was a black & silver mix of cranks arms vs. chainrings. But I have to say that the oversized angular crank looks better than I had expected in polished aluminum. Like many other design purists, I’m sure this will look nice on a modern welded steel bike or even an updated lugged frameset, offering a nice mixture of modern styling, performance, and a traditional finish.
Both front and rear derailleurs are holdouts in the mixed polished silver and shiny black department. The black linkage on the steel-cage front derailleur is pretty minimal. And I imagine we’ll get used to the black knuckles on the rear mech that are actually a fiber-reinforced polymer composite, so couldn’t really become silver anyways. It’s a minor sacrifice to make, in order to get the improved rear shift stiffness of the much wider trickle-down parallelogram, and the ability to run an 11-32 cassette with its medium length cage.
The levers keep a black paddle for moving up to a larger ring/cog, but they are hardly noticeable. And again the improved ergonomics and easier to operate extended thumb paddle make the update appreciated over the otherwise very similar Athena 11 version. The skeleton brakes get the full polished silver look and the same tech as their pricier siblings (even a direct mount option.) They could even look nice paired with one of the top-end groups as brakes are the only bit that doesn’t get the carbon treatment, even up to Super Record.
If you want to get deeper into the details of the Potenza group we’ve got that taken care of here, or separately we got a chance to weigh in most of the components in the new gruppo here. It looks like all of the silver bits have made it out through regular supply channels now, so if you have a classic frameset that is looking for an upgrade, no need to wait any longer.