Friday, December 16, 2011

Campagnolo EPS launched: the history

"As we walked through the 11-speed-chain assembly room, I spotted a row of enclosed offices and asked what they housed. Piazza paused, then said, "Electronic gruppo development."

My ears perked up. After more than a decade in development and of anticipation from cyclists, Campy's battery-powered
gruppo was about to hit the market. Few outside the company or the Movistar pro team, which had been selected to road-test it through the 2011 season, had gotten even a glimpse. Shimano, which began its electronics R&D years after Campagnolo, has been selling its Dura-Ace Di2 electronic groupset since 2009. Shimano's Di2 gear goes for around $5,000, double the price of top-end Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo components. At Campagnolo, executives believe their gear has to be the absolute best—and work flawlessly—from day one. Otherwise the brand takes a hit. Piazza had no intention of letting me anywhere near the group's development department, because the components hadn't debuted to the public yet, but also because it was full of prototypes, earlier generations and, presumably, ideas that had failed along the way.

"It is not available to us," he said with a smile, and led me away."

Well, American journalist Bruce Barcott doesn't have to wait any longer. Nor do the old and faithful crowd, who have been watching the Gen Y boys (and girls) zoom past on their Di2 equipped Giants.

Yet, the launch of the Campagnolo EPS group will probably elevate the already crazily-high price of top end machines to the $15,000 to $18,000 mark, meaning we will only see those EPS equipped bikes in the hands of the pros (who wouldn't pay for them) and the Gen X boys - sorry, no girls here, too much sense - who find those bikes perfect (and reasonably priced) for the bi-weekly training sessions and coffee shop rides.

It would be nice to be a Pro!

1 comment:

Groover said...

You think too highly of us GenX girls. I've got enough nonsense to spend loads of money on expensive toys: GenX girl through and though... ;) So where can I test ride this new electronic shifting from Campag?

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