BIKE TEST

Can Cam­pag­nolo still cut it? We test six road bikes equipped with the Ital­ian-bred gear­ing to find out...

Cycling Plus - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy Robert Smith

Six bikes bear­ing Ital­ian brand Cam­pag­nolo gear­ing, from Cen­taur, Potenza to Cho­rus, rated.

Be­fore 1999 no Shi­mano-equipped bike had won the Tour de France. Since then, but for a cou­ple of in­ter­jec­tions each from SRAM and Cam­pag­nolo, it’s been a clear run for Ja­pan’s groupset supremo. This is a shame, not be­cause there’s any­thing wrong with Shi­mano, but be­cause it’s al­ways good to have choice, es­pe­cially as Cam­pag­nolo has such a long and dis­tin­guished his­tory.

Our six Cam­pag­nolo-geared mod­els cover a wide price range, stan­dard road and aero road bikes, and car­bon and alu­minium frames – and three dif­fer­ent groupsets: Cen­taur, Potenza and Cho­rus.

The big dif­fer­ence be­tween Shi­mano and Cam­pag­nolo is the shift­ing sys­tem. Cam­pag­nolo has a three-lever setup: a brake lever, an in­ner lever for down­shifts on the right and shift­ing to the big ring on the left; and a small, sculpted thumb shifter in­side the hood, for up­shift­ing the rear de­railleur and shift­ing to the small ring at the front.

Our en­try point is Cinelli’s Potenza-clad Saetta – a stylish all-rounder, and at £1649.99 an at­trac­tive price. We jump up to Wilier’s £2250 GTR Team next, with Potenza and Cam­pag­nolo Kham­sin wheels. Lon­don’s Con­dor pro­vides a cus­tomis­able Italia RC, a stun­ninglook­ing Ital­ian-made alu­minium bike with Cho­rus and Zonda wheels. Rose’s on­line £2600 X-Lite Four gets you su­per-light car­bon, Cho­rus again and DT Swiss wheels.

Our fi­nal pair­ing are both rac­eready aero road bikes. Ti­fosi’s £3299.99 Auriga comes with Cho­rus and Miche car­bon wheels and has been rid­den to nu­mer­ous UK road race vic­to­ries, while Bianchi’s £3299.99 Ol­tre XR3 is a spin-off of its Tour de France stage-win­ning XR4.

Si­mon Withers Tech­ni­cal writer Si­mon has been rid­ing for as long as he can re­mem­ber, and has re­viewed bikes from more than 110 com­pa­nies in his 20-plus year ca­reer. He rides sportives, used to com­pete in triathlons and has toured much of the world on two wheels.

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