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Campagnolo Ergopower lever

Campagnolo is an Italian manufacturer of bicycle components with headquarters in Vicenza, Italy, historically regarded as the most prestigious brand name. These components are generally organized and sold as groupsets (gruppos) intended to be supplied as a near complete collection of a bicycle's mechanical parts. While Campagnolo's highest grade groups, Record (current production) and Super Record (made up to 1985), were universally regarded as being unbeatable, some of the lower priced grouppos such as Chorus were often considered to be somewhat overpriced in contrast to the less prestigious competition.

Founded by Tullio Campagnolo, the company began manufacturing in 1933 in a small Vicenza workshop. The founder was an accomplished bicycle racer in Italy in the 1920s and he conceived of several innovative ideas while racing, which later turned into such revolutionary fundamental cycling products as the quick release mechanism for bicycle wheels, derailleurs, and the patented "rod" gear for gear changing. Gino Bartali made a strong impression as he won mountainous races while using this shifting system.

A Cyfac Nerv racing bicycle, built with Campagnolo Chorus parts.

Despite having lagged behind in the innovations following the US bicycle boom of the 1970s and the development of integrated shifters in the mid-1980s, Campagnolo took the time to redesign the Ergo shifters which are still used today. In contrast to Shimano's approach in miniaturizing parts and adding complexity to the design, Campagnolo instead invested in material engineering to differentiate their products. This results in a simpler design with discrete parts which are theoretically more easily serviced. Campagnolo products have always been valued for their rebuildability, and many very old parts are still in service.

The late 1990s and early 2000s saw Campagnolo start using carbon fibre parts in their groupsets, and the development of complete wheelsets. In 2004 Campagnolo introduced a complete compact drivetrain system, to enable the use of lower gear ratios compared with the standard racing versions. Campagnolo is currently developing an electric shifting system.

Campagnolo focuses exclusively on road cycling and track cycling. Its primary competitor, Shimano in Japan, produces both road and mountain bicycling components. Campagnolo sponsors many top racing teams in the UCI ProTour, such as Illes Ballears, Cofidis, Lampre-Caffita, Saunier Duval - Prodir and Liberty Seguros-Würth. Campagnolo is often associated with the victories of Eddy Merckx, who had a close personal relationship with Tullio Campagnolo himself and used Campagnolo almost exclusively throughout his professional career.

Campagnolo is also known as the manufacturer of alloy automobile wheels for exotic cars, as well as what is probably the world's most prestigious wine bottle opener.

Campagnolo history and timeline

1901 Tullio Campagnolo is born on August 26th in the eastern suburbs of Vicenza, Italy

1922 Tullio Campagnolo begins his racing career

1930 Campagnolo patents the quick release hub

1933 After fabricating parts in the backroom of his father's hardware store, Tullio starts Campagnolo, S.P.A with the production of the quick release hub

1940 Tullio hires his first fulltime employee. The first derailer enters production, enabling the cyclist to change gears without removing the wheel. The pieces of the derailleur are all handmade, requiring a massive investment of time and labor.

1956 Campagnolo introduces its first parallelogram front derailleur.

1963 The Record rear derailleur (chromed bronze) is introduced.

1966 The Nuovo Record rear derailleur is introduced. This derailer will be a fixture on Eddy Merckx's bicycles during his first four Tour de France victories.

1973 The Super Record Road and Track groups are introduced. This groupset is widely viewed as the best set of bike parts money can buy until the introduction of indexed shifting in 1984.

1983 Tullio Campagnolo passes away on February 3rd

1985 Campagnolo creates Delta brakes, a unique type of brakes <--! requires a photo here of the delta brakes --> that are produced and briefly shown to the public

1987 The last year of production of the Super Record groupset.

1989 Campagnolo introduces its first mountain bike groupset. These components end up being markedly inferior to those made by its competitors, Shimano and SunTour. Campagnolo leaves the mountain bike components business in 1994.

1992 Introduction of Ergo Power levers, combining the functions of a brake lever and a shift lever in order to answer Shimano's STI levers.

1993 Production of Delta brakes is discontinued.

1997 9-speed shifting is introduced

2000 10-speed shifting is introduced

Current products

Campagnolo's 2006 road groupsets, listed in approximately descending order of price and quality are:

  • Record (10 speed)
    • Carbon crankset
    • Aluminum crankset
  • Chorus (10 speed)
    • Carbon crankset
    • Aluminum crankset
  • Centaur (10 speed)
    • Carbon crankset
    • Aluminum crankset
  • Veloce (10 speed)
  • Mirage (9 speed)
  • Xenon (9 speed)
  • Record Pista for track use (with aluminum crankset)

Campagnolo also produces wheelsets:

  • Low-profile
    • Hyperon
    • Neutron
    • Proton
  • Medium-profile
    • Eurus
    • Zonda
    • Scirocco
    • Vento
  • High-profile
    • Bora
    • Ghibli
    • Pista

The ErgoBrain is a cyclocomputer compatible with the Ergo shifters.

Tour de France Winners with Campagnolo

Year Name
1952 Fausto Coppi 3dflagsdotcom italy2bs.gif
1968 Jan Janssen 22px-Flag of the Netherlands.png
1969 Eddy Merckx 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png
1970 Eddy Merckx 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png
1971 Eddy Merckx 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png
1972 Eddy Merckx 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png
1973 Luis Ocaña 22px-Flag of Spain.svg.png
1974 Eddy Merckx 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png
1976 Lucien Van Impe 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png
1978 Bernard Hinault 22px-Flag of France.png
1979 Bernard Hinault 22px-Flag of France.png
1980 Joop Zoetemelk 22px-Flag of the Netherlands.png
1981 Bernard Hinault 22px-Flag of France.png
1982 Bernard Hinault 22px-Flag of France.png
1984 Laurent Fignon 22px-Flag of France.png
1985 Bernard Hinault 22px-Flag of France.png
1986 Greg LeMond 22px-Flag of the United States.png
1987 Stephen Roche 22px-Flag of Ireland.png
1988 Pedro Delgado 22px-Flag of Spain.svg.png
1990 Greg LeMond 22px-Flag of the United States.png
1991 Miguel Indurain 22px-Flag of Spain.svg.png
1992 Miguel Indurain 22px-Flag of Spain.svg.png
1993 Miguel Indurain 22px-Flag of Spain.svg.png
1994 Miguel Indurain 22px-Flag of Spain.svg.png
1995 Miguel Indurain 22px-Flag of Spain.svg.png
1996 Bjarne Riis 22px-Flag of Denmark.png
1997 Jan Ullrich 22px-Flag of Germany.png
1998 Marco Pantani 3dflagsdotcom italy2bs.gif
2006 Óscar Pereiro 22px-Flag of Spain.svg.png

See also

External links

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