Skip to main content

Campagnolo turns up to the road disc brake party at last

Image 1 of 32

It's been a long time coming, but Campagnolo have entered the disc age

It's been a long time coming, but Campagnolo have entered the disc age (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 2 of 32

This bike is fitted with Campagnolo EPS and post mount hydraulic discs

This bike is fitted with Campagnolo EPS and post mount hydraulic discs (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 3 of 32

The hydraulic EPS levers share the same hood and lever profile

The hydraulic EPS levers share the same hood and lever profile (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 4 of 32

Hydraulic EPS levers have a cutout main gear shifter paddle

Hydraulic EPS levers have a cutout main gear shifter paddle (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 5 of 32

The only major difference to the mechanical version is the inner thumb lever

The only major difference to the mechanical version is the inner thumb lever (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 6 of 32

From the front the hydraulic lever's additional hood width is more apparent, but it's subtly sculpted

From the front the hydraulic lever's additional hood width is more apparent, but it's subtly sculpted (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 7 of 32

The rubber hoods also have a different surface texture to the mechanical levers

The rubber hoods also have a different surface texture to the mechanical levers (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 8 of 32

We think the new design still manages to remain attractive and typically Campagnolo

We think the new design still manages to remain attractive and typically Campagnolo (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 9 of 32

A front post mount hydraulic caliper with matching spacer and 160mm rotor

A front post mount hydraulic caliper with matching spacer and 160mm rotor (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 10 of 32

About the only component that looked less than perfect was possibly this washer beneath the Torx bolt

About the only component that looked less than perfect was possibly this washer beneath the Torx bolt (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 11 of 32

All of the display bikes share the same Campy Tech Lab development wheels

All of the display bikes share the same Campy Tech Lab development wheels (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 12 of 32

A Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc represented Astana's team bike, and was also fitted with hydraulic EPS

A Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc represented Astana's team bike, and was also fitted with hydraulic EPS (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 13 of 32

The development wheels have the same Mega G3 24 hole spoke pattern front and rear

The development wheels have the same Mega G3 24 hole spoke pattern front and rear (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 14 of 32

A rear post mount hydraulic caliper on the S-Works with 140mm rotor

A rear post mount hydraulic caliper on the S-Works with 140mm rotor (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 15 of 32

The calipers all fit neatly to a variety of frame designs

The calipers all fit neatly to a variety of frame designs (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 16 of 32

A Lotto Soudal liveried Ridley Fenix SL Disc showed what the team might be riding in the races some day soon

A Lotto Soudal liveried Ridley Fenix SL Disc showed what the team might be riding in the races some day soon (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 17 of 32

All we know about the Campy Tech Lab wheelset is that they're carbon tubulars, around 50mm x 24mm and look optimised for the 25mm tubs fitted

All we know about the Campy Tech Lab wheelset is that they're carbon tubulars, around 50mm x 24mm and look optimised for the 25mm tubs fitted (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 18 of 32

Race testing is being carried out by Campagnolo's three World Tour teams, Astana, Movistar and Lotto Soudal

Race testing is being carried out by Campagnolo's three World Tour teams, Astana, Movistar and Lotto Soudal (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 19 of 32

In lieu of an unavailable Canyon frame, this Sarto displayed the flat mount hydraulic setup

In lieu of an unavailable Canyon frame, this Sarto displayed the flat mount hydraulic setup (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 20 of 32

Also on display were some development carbon tubular disc wheels

Also on display were some development carbon tubular disc wheels (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 21 of 32

Campagnolo's hydraulic brakes will work with mechanical or EPS shifting, this is the mechanical option

Campagnolo's hydraulic brakes will work with mechanical or EPS shifting, this is the mechanical option (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 22 of 32

The levers have managed to retain much of their familiar ergonomic shape

The levers have managed to retain much of their familiar ergonomic shape (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 23 of 32

There is a notably enlarged hood to accommodate the hydraulic master cylinder, but it's comfortably sculpted

There is a notably enlarged hood to accommodate the hydraulic master cylinder, but it's comfortably sculpted (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 24 of 32

Minimal flat mount caliper, 160mm Campagnolo rotor and a 12mm thru axle

Minimal flat mount caliper, 160mm Campagnolo rotor and a 12mm thru axle (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 25 of 32

Campagnolo mark all Campy Tech Lab products this way to prevent them reaching the marketplace

Campagnolo mark all Campy Tech Lab products this way to prevent them reaching the marketplace (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 26 of 32

Asymmetric hub flanges 6 bolt rotor attachment and 24 straight pull spokes on the front wheel

Asymmetric hub flanges 6 bolt rotor attachment and 24 straight pull spokes on the front wheel (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 27 of 32

The threaded insert for Campagnolo's thru axle

The threaded insert for Campagnolo's thru axle (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 28 of 32

At the rear, the cable routing and minimal caliper size keep things very neat indeed

At the rear, the cable routing and minimal caliper size keep things very neat indeed (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 29 of 32

There's a 140mm rotor, and 24 rear spokes

There's a 140mm rotor, and 24 rear spokes (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 30 of 32

The 6 bolt rotors are 1.8mm thick

The 6 bolt rotors are 1.8mm thick (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 31 of 32

Asymmetric rear hub flanges and radial non-drive side spoking

Asymmetric rear hub flanges and radial non-drive side spoking (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)
Image 32 of 32

After a brief outing, the disc machines were hidden away from prying eyes again behind a wall of boxes in a nondescript hotel function room

After a brief outing, the disc machines were hidden away from prying eyes again behind a wall of boxes in a nondescript hotel function room (Image credit: Robin Wilmott/Immediate Media)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

At long last, Campagnolo has revealed what will be its first-ever road disc brakes — but the Italian manufacturer still isn't giving any details about them.
With well-established disc options from Shimano, SRAM and several others, we've been expecting something from Campagnolo for some time. Since the UCI decreed that disc-braked machines could be used in any professional road races in 2016, we assumed it was only a matter of time before the three WorldTour teams Campagnolo equips would be able to join the party.

After two days of product presentations and test rides on a recent press trip in the mountains of Gran Canaria, our time was almost up, with no mention of the elephant in the room. Then, finally, what we'd hoped to see was unveiled, as a trio of bikes was wheeled out onto the stage.

Aiming to represent the professional teams who already have the products in their possession, Campagnolo displayed a Lotto-Soudal Ridley Fenix SL Disc, an Astana Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc and a Campagnolo-liveried Sarto that stood in for a Movistar Canyon.

Cautious field testing

Campagnolo manages its field testing by labeling test product with 'Campy Tech Lab' instead of Campagnolo's traditional logo.

Campagnolo says this serves two purposes, firstly to make it clear that the components are still at the final testing stage, but also to ensure that these items don't escape in to the general marketplace. Teams are supplied with Campy Tech Lab inventory on a contractural loan basis, whereby all parts must be returned to Campagnolo, where they will then mostly be scrapped.

Essentially Campy Tech Lab is the combination of the creative work of around 50 R&D engineers and testers in Campagnolo's Vicenza Headquarters, and the product development and feedback being carried out by professional riders in the world's biggest races. Each of Campagnolo's sponsored teams already has some disc-equipped bikes ready for use in the Spring Classics, so expect to see them in the bunch soon.

Until the company is completely satisfied that the disc brakes operate perfectly, they won't be released. Reps say they've taken note of what their competitors have done, and are aiming to improve on it.

Only when a product is proven to have race-winning performance, can maintain its performance over time and surpass all Campagnolo's safety standards will it be signed off by the company, Campagnolo reps said, and for this reason we weren't able to test ride any of the disc models, and Campagnolo wasn't forthcoming with concrete technical details.

Campagnolo says it believe discs are the future of road racing.

Forbidden fruits

Despite the lack of information, the fruits of the Campagnolo's disc brake project were plain to see.

So what can we surmise from seeing but not actually riding the brakes? Each of the three bikes we were shown had a 160mm front and a 140mm rear rotor.
UCI technical manager Mark Barfield told BikeRadar that the UCI is specifying 160mm rotors with 12x100mm front and 12x142mm rear thru axles for pro teams and neutral service for 2016.

While the wheels on the Specialized and Ridley bikes shown have quick-release skewers, the Sarto has twin thru-axles, secured by a 6mm hex key. There was no word on how quickly these wheels could be removed using this setup, but we'd say this arrangement, as neat as it looks, is merely a development tool and possibly even a quirk of the Sarto frameset used for this event. We're sure Campagnolo does have a thru-axle retention system in development and testing, but we'll have to wait a little longer to see it.

All of the new discs are hydraulic - Campagnolo hasn't even entertained the idea of mechanical disc brakes - which is no surprise for a product initially aimed at top-level racing, and with hydraulic discs always proving superior to their mechanical cousins, we won't lose any sleep over that. The hydraulic brakes are compatible with both mechanical and EPS levers though, their only external difference being the inboard thumb shifter.

As a longstanding wheel manufacturer, every bike featured Campy Tech Lab-logoed wheels, which are a further, logical part of Campagnolo's disc brake project.

All we were told is that there will eventually be a variety of disc-ready wheels in aluminium and carbon.

Those presented to us were all identical, with 24-hole Mega G3 spoking front and rear, asymmetric flange widths, straight-pull spokes, and full-carbon rims that looked to be 50mm deep and roughly 24mm wide, since the 25mm Continental Competition tubulars fitted were almost perfectly aligned with the rim's outer face. Although the rims look usefully wide, their profile is flat-sided, resembling a snub-nosed or truncated isosceles triangle.

The finish of the hydraulic levers, calipers and rotors already looks very polished, aside from the 'Not for sale' additions. There is no definite public release date for any of Campagnolo's disc brake technology yet, but the brand seems upbeat about it being sooner rather than later, so watch this space.