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