Campagnolo is an Italian manufacturer of high-end bicycle components with headquarters in Vicenza, Italy.
The components are organised as groupsets (gruppi), and are a near-complete collection of a bicycle’s mechanical parts. Campagnolo’s flagship components are the Super Record, Record, and Chorus groupsets that represent their recent shift to 11-speed drivetrains. Record and Super Record are the top groupsets, followed by Chorus, Athena, Centaur and Veloce.
The company also produces aluminum and carbon wheels, as well as other components (like carbon seat posts, and bottle-cages).
Founded by Tullio Campagnolo, the company began in 1933 in a Vicenza workshop. The founder was a racing cyclist in Italy in the 1920s and he conceived several ideas while racing, such as the quick release mechanism for bicycle wheels, derailleurs, and the rod gear for gear changing. Campagnolo has been awarded more than 135 patents for innovations in cycling technology.
At the end of the 1950s, Campagnolo started to manufacture magnesium parts such as wheels for sports cars like Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati, and built chassis for NASA satellites in 1969. In 1963, Campagnolo produced a disc brake for the Innocenti Lambretta TV motorscooter – the first two-wheel production vehicle with such a brake. In the 1970s they also supplied wheels for Ferrari’s Formula One cars.
The company worked with the manufacturer Colnago and racer Eddy Merckx and produced lightweight parts for the bike he used to beat the world hour record in 1972.
Following The company’s success during the 1970s and ’80s, innovation lagged as rival Shimano developed indexed shifting and combined shifter/brake levers (Shimano Total Integration). An unsuccessful foray into mountain biking, the overbuilt and heavy Euclid, Centaur and Olympus groupsets contributed to the company’s decline during those years. By the time the expensive Record O.R. (off-road) and Icarus MTB groupsets made it to the market, Campagnolo’s reputation was firmly cemented as a road bike brand. As a result, The company pulled out of the Mountain Bike market in 1994. Despite its struggles, Campagnolo introduced its ErgoPower combined shifter/brake levers and renewed its focus on high-end road cycling components.
The late 1990s and early 2000s saw Campagnolo’s increased use of carbon fibre and titanium parts in groupsets and the development of wheelsets. In 2004, Campagnolo introduced a complete Compact drivetrain with smaller chainrings, to give lower gears than traditional drivetrains. Other innovations included a Hirth-joint engineered Ultra-Torque external-bearing crankset and G3 spoke lacing for racing wheels. In 2008, Campagnolo introduced 11-speed drivetrains with Super Record, Record, and Chorus groupsets. Campagnolo has released an electronic version of its drivetrain.
The company has focused on road cycling and track cycling. Campagnolo has sponsored teams in the UCI ProTour such as Astana, Movistar, Lotto-Soudal, Cofidis, Quick Step-Innergetic (Tom Boonen, Paolo Bettini), and Lampre. Campagnolo is associated with the victories of Eddy Merckx, who used Campagnolo exclusively and was a friend of Tullio Campagnolo.
Timeline (Bicycle Parts)
1901 Tullio Campagnolo is born on 26 August in the eastern suburbs of Vicenza, Italy
1922 Tullio Campagnolo begins his racing career
1930 The company creates patents the quick-release hub
1933 After fabricating parts in the backroom of his father’s hardware store, Tullio starts Campagnolo SPA with production of the quick-release hub
1940 Tullio hires his first full-time employee. The derailleur enters production, enabling gears to change without removing the wheel. The pieces are handmade
1949 The company introduces a parallelogram rear derailleur, the Gran Sport
1956 The company introduces a parallelogram front derailleur
1963 The Record rear derailleur (chromed bronze) is introduced
1966 The Nuovo Record rear derailleur is introduced. Eddy Merckx uses it for his first four Tour de France victories
1973 The Super Record Road and Track groups are introduced.
1983 Tullio Campagnolo dies on 3 February. Anniversary groupset to mark 50 years of Campagnolo bicycle parts.
1985 The company creates Delta brakes, with a parallelogram linkage to actuate the calipers.
1986 The re-designed Record road and track groupsets (also known as C-Record) are introduced, replacing Super Record as the top of range
1987 The last year of Super Record until 2008
1989 The company introduces a mountain bike groupset, which is heavier and less advanced than those by Shimano and SunTour.
1991 8-speed shifting components are introduced
1992 The ErgoPower levers are introduced, which combines brake lever and a shift lever to answer Shimano’s STI levers
1993 Delta brakes are discontinued
1994 Campagnolo leaves the mountain bike components business
1995 Group names on components are introduced
1997 9-speed shifting components are introduced
1998 Next generation Ergo Levers
1999 Record Carbon Ergo levers, Daytona group, and for the Record, Chorus and Daytona groups new hubs (much lighter than the old ones, axles made of aluminum alloy) are introduced
2000 10-speed shifting is introduced
2001 Carbon-fiber shifting levers for Record group
2002 Former Daytona group is renamed “Centaur”
2004 Carbon-fiber cranks for Record and Chorus groups
2005 10-speed Centaur and Chorus shift and brake levers are introduced for flat bar road bikes
2006 Hollow external bearing crankset is announced
2007 10-speed Mirage and Xenon component groups and new Ultra-Torque components are introduced. Record hubs are now black, 20 g lighter and don’t have greaseports any more
2008 11-speed Record, Super-Record, and Chorus groups are introduced
2009 Re-introduction of 11-speed Athena component group below Chorus in product line
2011 First electric 11-speed Super-Record group to be used at the Tour de France by Team Movistar
2013 80th anniversary groupset made.
2014 Super Record RS groupset introduced following input from professional team riders.
Fulcrum Wheels, a company owned by the company, produces wheelsets compatible with Campagnolo and Shimano cassettes.
The ErgoBrain cyclocomputer compatible with the Ergo shifters displays cadence, gear, and the normal functions of a cyclocomputer.
2015 Athena EPS discontinued and Chorus EPS introduced.
Chorus, Record and Super Record groupsets are overhauled with a 4 arm, 8 bolt chainset introduced.
Bora 50 and 35 wheels become available in Clincher and adopt a wider rim profile