Friday, January 20, 2012

Campagnolo EPS Road Test EXCLUSIVE

Campy Only correspondent Mike McGary sent this detailed report on the new electronic gruppos. Enjoy.

"Last week, I was fortunate enough to go to Campagnolo North America in beautiful Carlsbad, Ca. to take in some tech training on Campy’s new EPS (Electronic Power Shift) gruppos and go for a spin on the new kit. I was thoroughly stoked when I found out we would be riding the same Super Record-equipped Pinarello Dogma 2s that were used at the Campagnolo EPS world-wide launch in Sicily awhile back. Let’s just cut to the chase; After over 20 years of development, this is hands down the best gruppo on the market today, probably ever. Bar none.

Ergonomics are excellent-they feel just like Campy’s best-in-class mechanical hoods, (although they are slightly different).  Campy’s “one-lever, one-movement” shifting makes this system very intuitive to those who ride Campy currently, and makes it extremely difficult to miss-shift by pressing the wrong button.  In fact, the amount of finger pressure required to depress the mechanical shift levers has been measured and is set up exactly the same in the EPS electronic levers. There is a defined click with each shift that you can both hear and feel. (Essential for the pro peloton). In other words, the shifters don’t feel any different than what you are used to. It only took a few minutes for me to forget all about the electronics- it just felt like shifting a Campy bike, albeit quicker and easier.

The system is extremely robust. All components, including the electronics, are handmade in Vincenza. And every piece is individually tested quite extensively. Each rear derailleur is tested an astonishing seven times, before being boxed up. The gruppos are officially rated to function even under three feet of water. (Witnesses at Campagnolo Italy saw EPS systems being endurance tested in fish tanks, with the entire gruppos and batteries completely submerged.) And unlike the Shimano systems, EPS is fully electronic, rather than electro-mechanical . That is,  its circuitry operates like a computer rather than a light switch.  Also, all diagnostic functions are built in, so any problems can be diagnosed by the end-user. No need to attach any remote equipment.  It is also very extremely vibration resistant.  EPS was used during all the grueling Spring classics this year by the Movistar team without a single failure. In fact the groups were used throughout the 2011 Protour season and posted stage wins both at the Tour and the Giro. (For 2012, both Movistar and Team Lotto will be using EPS systems)

Initial set-up is an absolute breeze. After components are mounted, full adjustments can be made in less than 10 minutes.  The rear derailleur can be re-adjusted on the fly when wheel changes are made on the road.

The thing that really stands out is the exceptional speed and precision that you get from EPS. Campagnolo would not have delved into this costly project unless they could make the bike shift faster and more precisely. And they have succeeded. Shifts are perfect every time, and shift-time is reduced 1/3 over its mechanical counterparts. Plus you can shift through al 12 gears both directions simply by holding down the lever. No need to back-off the pedals when shifting. The powerful servo motors on the derailleurs have enough “oomph” to overcome the stresses of pedaling. On our ride, we had a bigger fella (over 6’2” and 200 lbs) get out of the saddle into a full sprint, and he quickly shifted down four gears while maintaining full pressure on the pedals, and it went off without a hitch. It’s the lightest on the market too. In short, it has been designed to win races.  

And in true Vincenza fashion, the gruppo is quite elegant looking. The rear derailleur is a stunning piece of equipment, an eye-pleasing mix of technology and beauty. It’s a lust-worthy as anything to ever come out that storied factory. The official Campy website has a terrific site dedicated solely to Campagnolo EPS , where you can get the complete low-down.

I have been told to expect availability sometime this Spring in both Super Record and Record configurations. Record is expected to be priced very competitively with Dura Ace Di2. Even though pricing is not yet available, we know this technology will not come cheap. However if you want the best (ever), here it is!

Mike McGary"


  1. This is the kind of item I like to read here...stuff about Campagnolo!
    ...thanks for the report on the awesome Campagnolo EPS grouppo, succinct and informative.

  2. Even though "it has been designed to win races", it would probably be nice grouppo to ride on the next long distance ride/randonneur event. I'll look for the Motobecane with the EPS grouppo parked outside the coffee shop stop!
    Allez! or I guess that should really also be in Italian... forza!

  3. For another viewpoint:

  4. "Plus you can shift through al 12 gears both directions simply by holding down the lever. No need to back-off the pedals when shifting." - Twelve gears!!