Campagnolo has launched a brand new gravel groupset. Its 13-speed Ekar groupset promises immense benefits for gravel riders. The Italian component brand used extensive rider research to evaluate what gravel bikers need.
- We've already been riding the groupset for a while, so check out our Campagnolo Ekar groupset review for an in-depth look, or keep reading for the top-level details of the new Campagnolo groupset.
In Campagnolo's comprehensive rider survey that totalled 4,500 gravel bike owners, durability and gearing range were identified as the most desirable attributes of any gravel drivetrain, with aesthetics and double-chainring compatibility deemed nonessential.
These rider-generated preferences served as a reference for Campagnolo’s industrial designers and engineers, as they set about creating a dedicated 1x13 Ekar system.
Although aesthetics were not a rider priority, Campagnolo’s Italian heritage has delivered a 1x13 gravel bike drivetrain that is both robust and pleasing on the eye.
- Best gravel bikes: Fun and fast adventure bikes for your next off-road ride
- Campagnolo groupsets: the range explained
The rear derailleur uses a blend of materials and fasteners to reduce weight without compromising reliability. Carbon-fibre reinforced polymers and alloys account for the bulk of Ekar’s derailleur, with stainless steel bolts to keep tension true, even after thousands of miles on gravel roads.
All the gears
Campagnolo is offering three cassette options with the new Ekar 1x13, offering a spread of ratios that equal or surpass traditional 2x systems. The lightest cassette is a 9-36T (340g), followed by Campagnolo’s 9-42T (390g) and for those gravel riders who are unafraid of the steepest fire road climbs, there is a 10-44T option, at 410g.
Driving the Ekar 1x13 system are typically striking Campagnolo cranks, with carbon-fibre arms and a steel axle. A total of four chainring sizes are available (38-, 40-, 42- and 44T), while the Ekar chank arms offer an array of lengths (165-, 170, 172.5- and 175mm), offering the perfect fit for riders of all heights.
As a reference for the Ekar crankset weight, a 38T chainring equipped version is 615g.
Chains and bottom brackets work hard for a living on gravel bikes. Campagnolo’s product specialists wanted to create components that could withstand the wear of dusty or muddy off-road routes.
The 13-speed-specific Ekar chain is profiled to be sufficiently narrow, allowing it to run smoothly across all angles of engagement with the wide ratio 13-speed cassettes. Its steel construction provides good strain and wear resistance, whilst component mass is competitive too, at 242g.
No creaking BBs or warped brake rotors
Bottom brackets on gravel bikes can develop deeply annoying creaks when fine dust manages to defeat the seals. Campagnolo's solution with the Ekar groupset, is its ProTech system, with an external sealing ring as part of the bottom bracket structure, keeping contaminants from reducing performance and component life.
Disc brakes can be temperamental on a gravel bike, with the risk of discs warping and causing calliper rub. The Ekar’s floating steel discs have generous venting and are only 1.85mm thick. Having aluminium carriers allow low overall mass, with the 140mm discs weighing only 123g, while those riders who require more stopping power, can opt for 160mm rotors, at 157g each.
Campagnolo's Ekar brake levels have a considered ergonomic design, with generous adjustably, and the hydraulic system provides potent deceleration without sacrificing lever feedback or dulling modulation.
Individual component prices for the new Ekar groupset are £210 for a derailleur and £226 for any of the three cassettes. A crankset is £297, the 118-link chain £38 and a bottom bracket £28.
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