Campag v Shimano (road bike groups)

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  • Campag v Shimano (road bike groups)
  • Edric 64

    Campag looks nicer !loads of it on top kit at bespoke Bristol


    I have the low end Campag group, XenonVeloce group on my Battaglin Start, works a treat after over 2 years of use, and I think it is nice to be a bit different, much cleaner lever/shifter setup with hidden cable routing on the bars, brakes are spot on.

    I personally think the Shimano stuff is ugly.

    I agree the Campag equipped bikes at Bespoke Bristol really stood out!


    No. People who claim that one is fundamentally better than another are just giving a good indication that you can ignore their views 🙂

    All three big groupset manufacturers make good groupsets. I like Campag for the way it feels but I’ve ridden plenty of Shimano and SRAM bikes and they all work well too.

    You’ll find all sorts of stupidity around this subject with ShitmaNo, and various other playground type comments made.

    My favourite is ‘Shimano wears out, Campag wears in’. It’s complete BS but some will stick to it as a mantra.

    And bike snob types will often go for Campag over the others because it’s Italian (and possibly more aesthetically pleasing) and sniff at an Italian bike that doesn’t have Campag on. Funny thing is that in Italy, they couldn’t care less.

    Premier Icon imnotverygood

    Personal choice. They all have their different characteristics and foibles. I like Campag myself. You may not. The big 3 (incl SRAM) all produce pretty good kit.


    Well the Ultegra Chainset is uglier than racism if that helps.


    Using Campag used to be a bit of a badge of a connoisseur, and as above there was a lot of snobbery attached. I always chose Shimano because I had Shimano mountain bike stuff and the tools were the same. It’s hard to buy a poor groupset these days, so choose the one you like the look of.


    When was the last time Campag was used on a TdF winning bike? If it was that much better then it would be first every time.

    In truth, as everyone above says, they are much of a muchness.

    I like Campy and have had it on many bikes over the years. My 9 speed Veloce winter bike never misses a beat, but I’m sure a Shimano 105 would do the same (my all-year mtb commuter on Shimano Deore/SLX does!).

    Comes down to personal preference, and maybe a little bit of brand snobbery (on STW? Never?).

    But yes, Ultegra chainsets are gupping.


    my take is this:

    I have a chorus grouppo on my good road bike. I’ve had it for two years, summer riding only, but big miles, prob 8 or 9k. never had to adjust the gears, never once dropped the chain.

    I had a 105 / ultegra mix on my last road bike, and although it worked well, it needed constant, almost weekly micro adjustments.

    my big gripe with sram, is the double tap levers have, IMO, a major design flaw. If your indexing is slightly out you can just put a bit of extra pressure on shimano and campag, to ease the change up the block. you can’t do this on SRAM, it just drops down one gear on the block. VERY annoying.


    It’s mostly about how comfortable you feel with the shape of the hoods and the action of the shifting mechanisms.

    I went with Campag on my roadie, mostly because I picked up a second hand Record 10 groupset for a bargain price.

    Having used that for 6 years, Shimano hoods feel horrible – really fat, plus the shift action is too light. I don’t like having to “push through” the upshift to get to the downshift on SRAM.


    None of them are perfect. If I could get Shimano hoods with Campag mechanisms it’d be pretty close.

    The Beard

    I have Campy veloce on the winter bike and shimano ultegra on the race bike. I prefer the aesthetics of campy and the shape of the hoods, probably the shifting too. Actually, come to think of it I prefer the campy all round. The winter bike even has campy wheels which have been awesome. Yeah, definitely a fan. 🙂


    My last road bike had Athena my new one has Super Record, I can’t say that I can tell the difference between them (apart from the weight). My last CX bike had Ultegra/105 and the shifts where a bit more smooth than the Campag, my new CX bike has Sram Apex and I would put that somewhere in the middle.


    Campy for me, Record on the summer bike, veloce on Winter and the Cyclox bikes. Not saying its better I’ve tried shimano and that’s worked well to. Don’t like the double tap so I leave sram alone. Probably the real reason I use Campag is that stuff migrates between the bikes and having everything the same helps with that.


    Have been listening to someone droning on about how much better Campag is over Shimano (or SRAM, for that matter) – I’ve never ridden a Campag equipped bike so can’t comment but is it better? Really/how?


    You just need to try some bikes and see what you prefer
    My nice bike has record because I prefer the shape of the ergos

    Hack has old 9 speed tiagra and its been bomb proof despite getting little care
    I just don’t like spending ages on the hoods of the sti


    I grew up on Campag, Shimano was almost looked down upon.

    MTB’s made Shimano huge and bloody good at about the same time as Campagnolo was losing it’s way. Loads of died in the wool roadies went over to Shimano, including me.

    I put SRAM on my race bike two years ago and it’s well out performed the Shimano I had. So SRAM for me from now on.

    That said Campag is stunning
    Shimano is fugly, but the electronic stuff seem bloody good


    Campag=British, Campy=Yankee

    C’mon Gents, get a grip.

    Back in the day, I used to lust after Record and still do. It’s just not worth 3x Ultegra (to me).

    rusty trowel

    I’ve got Chorus 11 spd on my main road bike and Centaur/Veloce 1×10 on the CX bike.
    Nothing against Sram or shimano, but campag have always just ‘done it’ for me. Rattling down through the gears with one thumb push on the higher end stuff is great, especially from the drops.

    The newer shaped hoods are a vast improvement over the old ones that were a bit too small for my hands.


    There’s gear snobs in all walks, from cars (my BMW is better than you Mondeo, even though they cost the same and your Mondeo has loads of toys, faster, better dynamically, etc etc), to bikes (my bespoke top of the range bike means I am better than you on your £200 Dawes, even though you beat me to the top of that last hill!).

    It just shows life is a competition, in which the rules change depending on who is in it, and who thinks who else is competing.

    I find it funny watching the snobbery in action.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    You get the same with cameras (Canon vs Nikon) and it’ll fill the pages of photography forums on a monotonously regular basis in just the same way that the Campag vs Shimano debate does on roadie forums.

    When I got my first road bike (in 1995, God I’m old) I went with Shimano cos that was what I had on my MTB so it made sense to stick with it cos the tools and compatibility was the same. And back then Campag was horrible, really nasty clunky feel.

    Use what you like – they’re all pretty decent. Different feel but they all work. And anyone who says “Shimano wears out, Campag wears in” should be beaten with a triple chainset.


    How is having a preferance snobbery ?
    If I find one type suits me better why would I not use it


    crazy-legs, there was the old thing that you could rebuild Campag. I did some early Ergos, I don’t think you can get all the cogs and washers now?

    Plus there doesn’t seem to be much consistency. My last Ergo Campag was dire, my mates is sweet.
    My 2004 105 9 speed never misses a beat and is still in service on my race cross bike. On the other hand my later Ultegra needs constant fettling. And bear in mind the crosser gets covered in s h one t as well as a few knocks.
    The SRAM on my road race bike hasn’t even been adjusted since being fitted!

    Premier Icon benji

    Love SRAM it’s on my cross bike, road bike and mountain bike and it all just keeps on working, the hood shape for the road stuff is very comfortable and I personally like only having the one lever so when cold, wet and muddy on a cross bike you know you have the right lever click there’s another gear.

    Premier Icon Vortexracing

    Well the Ultegra Chainset is uglier than racism if that helps.

    But yes, Ultegra chainsets are gupping.

    I agree

    A brick!!!!

    Untitled by eastham_david, on Flickr

    Nice and tasteful

    Enigma Echo by eastham_david, on Flickr

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Nice and tasteful

    Well the decking is better than the lawn certainly, I mean look at those unsightly worn patches on the lawn…

    crazy-legs, there was the old thing that you could rebuild Campag. I did some early Ergos, I don’t think you can get all the cogs and washers now?

    Yeah, that was the other myth about Campag that old-timers used to quote “oh but you can rebuild it all”

    Yes, if you can find a bike shop that stocks Campag, you can indeed order the stupid grommetty washer widgets for your 1984 ErgoPower shifter and in 18 weeks time they’ll turn up from Italy and you’ll be charged £200 to get it fixed.

    All the myth and reverence and the daft quotes about Campag, repeated ad infinitum, bugged me; it’s amazing how first impressions (back in 1995) counted against it for me.

    Premier Icon Vortexracing

    Well the decking is better than the lawn certainly, I mean look at those unsightly worn patches on the lawn…


    I know the bloody swimming pool has killed my grass !!!! 🙁


    did have a go on a lovely Campag equipped Zinn back in the 90’s.. was lovely..

    and yes a mountain bike with a campag mtt groupo.. suntour xc pro and shim xt worked better though…


    I end up trying other people’s road bike (mostly Shimano) regularly and have Campag Athena 11-speed on my own bike. Can’t argue with the performance of either Shimano or Campag but I prefer the Campag feel.

    The one disadvantage is tools.

    If you have some Shimano tools from MTB, you can probably use them for your Shimano road parts. Campag tools though? All kinds of wackyness. Ultra-torque cranks take a gigantic hex bolt, 11-spd chain requires a special chain tool to peen the joining pin, lock rings take a different spline to the one you might have for MTB, and so on. It seems like you can get these tools from other people (Lezyne, Park, Lifeline) cheaper than original Campag now, but it’s still a bit frustrating when you’re starting up.

    Used all three down the years but prefer Campagnolo…just because it is Campag! Probably the late eighties adverts in Cycling weekly that did it along with the blingness of C Record when it first came out.

    That said late eighties Campag was rubbish compared to Dura Ace which I rode for a couple of seasons before STI took off. It was a nice group and looked great. Road one season with Shimano STI and never liked the moving brake levers and went with Record Ergo power which was great.

    Early MTBs were always Shimano which was okay but bought a complete bike with SRAM Gripshift expecting to sell it and buy Shimano. Never took it off and the last MTB bike the Shimano gears were quickly replaced by SRAM XO Gripshift which I love.

    Current Road bike is full Carbon Campag Centaur (2008) which is still going strong, never misses a change and is the nicest looking of the big three.

    My cross/commuter/do everything bike has SRAM Rival/Force. I do prefer Campag slightly but still like this. It retains Campags solid gear changes principle and all works very well. SRAM BBs are crap though, recently changed to Hope as you shouldn’t have to replace a BB three times a year!

    I do have a Shimano BB, front mech and Chainset (SLX) on the MTB and they work faultlessly.

    As most folk say there is probably not much performance wise between them, its what you like the look really, they all work well.


    Premier Icon adsh

    I prefer the campag shift from the ‘button’ on the side and the ability to trim the front mech.

    Premier Icon tomhoward

    I’m a fan of Shimano, mainly though mtbing, though walking past the bikeroom in Manchester last night, 2 halfords specials (Pinarello dogma 65.1s) in the window, one had Super Record 11 EPS, the other Super Record 80th anniversary, they both looked beyound glorious!


    I’ve never tried Campag, had lots of Shimano and SRAM stuff over the years on mtb and road.

    – Have SRAM force on my nice road bike. I dont like double tap, its just too much like hard work and a bit industrial.

    – SRAM warranty is top notch in my (and pals) experience. My rear shifter just wore out/failed, out of warranty by 6 months. They sent me a brand new set front and rear.

    – Have 105 on my CX bike…..I like it better than SRAM Force, just smoother, more accurate, prob cheaper too.

    – XTR is the best value for money MTB groupset I’ve used. Just lasts for ever, ticks up and down the gears like clockwork, light, looks nice. I wouldnt hesitate.

    The Force is going to be replaced by Dura Ace 11 speed at some point as long as I dont need to buy a new rear wheel. Do I?

    I have all three. Ultegra on plastic bike, Campag Veloce on winter bike and Sram Rival on my cx bike.

    My experiences are;

    Ultegra works well but you can get a false neutral when shifting down which can be annoying when racing. The hoods are really comfy though. As said previously they can be a pain with indexing.

    Campag is fitted with gore ride on cables and is so slick and smooth. Once set up you can forget about it. Perfect shifting every time.

    Sram Rival. This just works perfectly and the double tap is ideal for cyclocross.

    But as said it’s a personal choice.


    At one time only Campagnolo was good enough for world champions.

    The 1988 World Championships:
    Maurizio Fondriest is using Campagnolo.
    Claude Criquilion is using Mavic.
    Steve Bauer is using Suntour.

    1973 World Championships:
    Freddy Maertens is using Shimano.
    Felice Gimondi is using Campagnolo.
    Eddy Merckx is using Campagnolo, but has nothing left in his legs

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