Campagnolo's Mountain Gruppos: 
The Best On Dirt!

Tim Laflin, our resident technical expert, can often be seen riding in his home state (the actual location is a carefully guarded secret) aboard an all-Campy mountain bike, which he often rides in local time trials against standard road bikes! Tim provides the following insights into Campagnolo's past forays into the off-road scene:

Looking at your Campy page I noticed the lack of reference to Campy ATB gear. I equip all of my mountain bikes with Campy. The Record OR crank is one of the best designs. The the 20 and 30 chain rings are held on with a lock ring which is the same size as the old bottom bracket lock rings. One lock ring drops both off for an easy cleaning. The headset can be repacked without removal with side grease injection ports. The hubs can be greased like the Record road hubs. The hub seals actually work and are not made of plastic (you can use them more than once). The OR brakes are second to none in function and weight.

A single 10mm bolt locks the position of the brake pads unlike Shimano which is a total pain in the butt. Campy still has thumb shifters and grip shifts--your choice. The pedals are still not clipless, if you want a set not made out of plastic from Nashbar. I usually end up buying different pedals anyway.

You missed one of the key reasons that Campy is better than Shimano. The cassett lock ring tool is the same as the bottom bracket tool. Shimano has created more crap tools that only work on their stuff. The Shimano head set tools for the 600 groupo in the late 80's come to mind. It was cheaper to buy a new headset than buy the wrench to tighten the headset (that's clever).

Campy mountain and road gears and derailleurs are completely compatible to all the mountain stuff. That means if I need a rear cluster for hills on my road bike I take it off the mountain bike instead of buying a cluster just for a single event. Campy also allows you to take an individual cog from one cluster and put it on another cluster. Shimano rivets all the mountain clusters together so there is no choice of gear combos and when one gear wears out you buy all new gears (Campy allows individual cog purchase). Shimano also gives you the luxury of one gear choice on the eight speed XT hub 11-28. If you are ready to spend the big money XTR gives you two choices 12-28 and 12-32.

People who buy Shimano are obviously too stupid to know what gears to pick so you don`t get a choice. Don`t try this at home. My commuter mountain bike uses Record Ergo levers with the front triple and the eight speed in the rear. Try that with the Dura Ace.

The choice is clear. If you know enough to make a choice it is always Campy.

Tim Laflin

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