This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Campagnolo has launched 12-speed Super Record and Record groupsets in rim-brake and hydraulic-disc options. Launched in the 85th year of the storied brand, all the 12-speed groups feature mechanical shifting.
Notably, the 12-speed groups are compatible with current 11-speed Campagnolowheels, as the brand narrowed the cassette's sprocket spacing and the chain.
When Campagnolo announced 11-speed back in 2009 — the first of the three major component manufacturers to do so — some critics voiced concern that the then-narrower chain wouldn't be as strong as 10-speed, nor would it shift as well. Of course, now Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo 11-speed groups are standard, and function very well. Campagnolo expects a similar pattern with 12-speed.
Because 11 sprockets aren't enough
Campangolo Super Record and Record 12-speed levers
The new mechanical Super Record and Record Ergopower levers feature a different shape than their 11-speed predecessors. They have an increased curve at the bottom for better grip when in the drops, and a higher pivot point that aligns horizontally with the handlebar's top to increase leverage. The reach is customisable for smaller hands via a recessed hex bolt.
Compared to the 11-speed, levers, the 12-speed upshift lever has a larger, more curved paddle with adjustable reach. The enlarged thumb shift lever extends further forwards, its new shape allowing easier reach.
The 12-speed shifters have improved ergonomics, indexing and lever throw
Adding that 12th sprocket has meant new shifting internals, with new gear indexing and lever throw. There's no longer any freestroke movement from the lever before shifting begins.
The Ultra Shift mechanism has been retained, allowing the rider to downshift up to five sprockets and upshift up to three with one movement.
The new hood has comfortable Vari Cushion Technology rubber grips.
The inboard shift button has been extended forwards for easier purchase
There are new low-friction cables and housings specific to the new transmission, which Campagnolo claims will last longer than anything else on the market.
The hydraulic-brake levers look quite similar to the rim-brake levers, with the exception of the additional 8mm of height for the hydraulic master cylinder. The hydraulic internals are identical to last year's H11 originals, with the bleeding port on top for ease of maintenance. The system allows for long or short adjustment of the lever travel before reaching the brake calliper's bite point, which is done with a 2.5mm hex key.
Campagnolo 12-speed Super Record and Record derailleurs
The new front derailleurs were designed to match the new lever throw. Campagnolo doubled the number of pivots in the mechanism, giving more immediate upshifts from the moment the lever is moved.
The cage is thin for a wide range of chain lines, and Campagnolo's intermediate trim settings continue for fine adjustment.
The new Super Record front derailleur includes some carbon on the outer plate
The cable-grip bolt can be fitted on the rear or front of the arm to avoid possible cable rub if using wide (up to 32mm) tyres.
The new 12-speed rear derailleur is made of technopolymer reinforced with carbon fiber.
The Super Record derailleur cage features some carbon, while the Record cage is all alloy. But there's only one cage length: medium (72.5mm).
The new derailleur has the option to fit the cable clamping bolt behind the arm (as here) or in front of it to maximise tyre clearance
Both large jockey wheels feature 12 teeth, although the teeth are longer on the upper pulley and shorter on the the lower pulley to allow for easier chain-line movement.
Campagnolo's 3D Embrace Technology keeps the top jockey wheel positioned as far forward as possible for each sprocket, maximising chain wrap, with a trajectory curve that's optimised for the 11-29 and 11-32 cassettes.
Campy's new 12-speed Record mechanical rear derailleur has a technopolymer body and alloy cage
An upper body return spring absorbs some road vibrations, stabilising the derailleur, and the cage's inner plate's width has been reduced to increase the distance between it and the spokes to make for easier adjustment.
A new standard or direct derailleur hanger system works with rim- or disc-brake frame designs.
The upper jockey wheels of both derailleurs have 12 tall teeth for improved chain retention and efficiency
Super Record and Record cranksets
Unlike 2017's H11 disc components, the new Record and Super Record disc groupsets don't need a specific crankset for a disc setup, as the spacing of the new cranksets works for both braking options.
The new crankset is smoother and more aero, with a new UD carbon layup, and the Super Record version is hollow carbon.
The latest Record carbon crankset's design has evolved and looks more purposeful with a lower profile
Its 145.5mm Q Factor remains unchanged, and the Ultra Torque axle is secured from the left side only, as the other is enclosed.
The 4-arm, 8-bolt design is efficient, its BCDs of 112mm and 145mm don't compromise overall ring size, or allow undue flex and torsion, giving greater integrity, and accepting all popular road ring combinations - 50/34, 52/36 and 53/39.
The Record crankset comes with a steel axle and USB ceramic bottom bracket bearings, whereas the Super Record version has a titanium axle, CULT ceramic bearings, and an extended spider with two additional integrated carbon braces on the big ring's outer edge to counteract the areas of highest torque. Both come in four crank lengths - 165, 170, 172.5 and 175mm.
Super Record and Record cassettes and chain
Super Record and Record share the same 12-speed cassettes, which come in 11-29t and 11-32t. They have steel sprockets, and are built with two triplets and six individual sprockets, separated by machined aluminium spacers.
There are single-tooth increments all the way from the outside to the 7th sprocket, then 2- and 3-tooth jumps for the 11-29 and 2-, 3- and a final 4-tooth jump on the 11-32 cassette.
The cassettes have steel sprockets, built in two triplets plus six individual smaller sprockets
Of course the new R12 chain had to be narrower for the 12-speed sprockets, and as with the cassettes, there's just one, also termed Super Record. Although lighter than 11-speed, Campagnolo claims it is just as durable.
Super Record and Record brakes
For rim brakes, Campagnolo now has a modular system of dual-pivot calipers for direct-mount or single bolt frames with an aerodynamic design and new brake-pad-release system.
The single-bolt calipers are compatible with tyres up to 28mm, and they move on bearings, not bushings.
The direct-mount calipers have an integrated brace for increased rigidity that prevents the stays or fork legs being pushed apart, and they'll allow tyres up to 32mm wide.
For hydraulic disc brakes, the disc calipers Campagnolo launched a year ago remain unchanged. The front only works for 160mm rotors, but the rear work for either 160 or 140mm.
Campagnolo says the flat-mount design fits any moden frame without need for an adaptor, just specific bolts, which are available in lengths from 10mm to 39mm.
Campagnolo's disc brakes carry on from 2017, with rounded rotor edges
Each caliper's 22mm piston is made of phenolic resin with a magnetic spring that Campagnolo says doesn't fatigue over time and returns faster than steel springs.
The organic-resin pads have a steel back, a chamfered lower edge for simple wheel insertion pad-wear indicators that are both visual and audible.
The disc rotors have rounded edges. Campagnolo tested the rotors to over 350 degrees Celcius.
Super Record and Record compatibility and availability
Anyone wanting to go 12-speed will need an entirely new groupset, save for the relevant rim or disc brakes, which are the only components that are interchangeable with current setups.
The new front and rear derailleurs are designed to match the new levers' updated indexing and throw.
Campagnolo says rim-brake Super Record groups will be available in May, followed in June/July by Super Record disc groups.
Record rim-brake groupsets should land in June and the disc version the following month.
Bike brands spec'ing the new components include Cervélo, Cannondale, Orbea, BH, Canyon, Colnago, Bianchi, Basso, Cipollini and De Rosa.
Logically EPS electronic groupsets will follow, but there is no official confirmation from Campagnolo at this time.