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Campagnolo unveils EPS electronic systems

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The EPS ErgoPower levers are positioned in the same manner as the mechanical version as well, so while there is a difference in feel, switching from mechanical to electronic ErgoPower shifters utilizes the same muscle memory, which ensures a seamless adaptation and switching

The EPS ErgoPower levers are positioned in the same manner as the mechanical version as well, so while there is a difference in feel, switching from mechanical to electronic ErgoPower shifters utilizes the same muscle memory, which ensures a seamless adaptation and switching (Image credit: James Huang)
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The main frame fixing bolt is alloy and the B-spring hook is titanium

The main frame fixing bolt is alloy and the B-spring hook is titanium (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Record EPS rear derailleur

The Record EPS rear derailleur (Image credit: James Huang)
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(Image credit: James Huang)
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(Image credit: James Huang)
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(Image credit: James Huang)
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(Image credit: James Huang)
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Campy

Campy (Image credit: James Huang)
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The lower parallelogram is aluminum steel while the upper motor and sensor housing is made from an engineering polymer

The lower parallelogram is aluminum steel while the upper motor and sensor housing is made from an engineering polymer (Image credit: James Huang)
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Record features analloy outercage

Record features analloy outercage (Image credit: James Huang)
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A look at the cage profiling of the Record front derailleur

A look at the cage profiling of the Record front derailleur (Image credit: James Huang)
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Full view of the Record front derailleur

Full view of the Record front derailleur (Image credit: James Huang)
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Looking up at the derailleur

Looking up at the derailleur (Image credit: James Huang)
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The rear derailleur is equipped with limit screws

The rear derailleur is equipped with limit screws (Image credit: James Huang)
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The rear of the Record EPS derailleur

The rear of the Record EPS derailleur (Image credit: James Huang)
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Even the motor uses upgraded materials on the Super Record unit

Even the motor uses upgraded materials on the Super Record unit (Image credit: James Huang)
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The inner pulley cage is alloy on both Record and Super Record rear derailleurs

The inner pulley cage is alloy on both Record and Super Record rear derailleurs (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Super Record rear derailleur

The Super Record rear derailleur (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Super Record carbon pulley cage; the pulleys run on ceramic ball bearings and the pulleys are coated for quiet operation

The Super Record carbon pulley cage; the pulleys run on ceramic ball bearings and the pulleys are coated for quiet operation (Image credit: James Huang)
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Campy

Campy (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Super Record front derailleur uses the same motor as the Record unit, but the housing is alloy instead of the steel found on Record

The Super Record front derailleur uses the same motor as the Record unit, but the housing is alloy instead of the steel found on Record (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Super Record front derailleur combines a carbon outer cage with the same alloy inner used on Record

The Super Record front derailleur combines a carbon outer cage with the same alloy inner used on Record (Image credit: James Huang)
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The refined cable pull lever (behind the brake lever) is the most obvious difference between the Super Record and Record ErgoPower units

The refined cable pull lever (behind the brake lever) is the most obvious difference between the Super Record and Record ErgoPower units (Image credit: James Huang)
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Like the mechanical version the Super Record EPS ErgoPower shifter features lighter materials and lighter, hogged out, levers

Like the mechanical version the Super Record EPS ErgoPower shifter features lighter materials and lighter, hogged out, levers (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Super Record EPS ErgoPower shifter

The Super Record EPS ErgoPower shifter (Image credit: James Huang)
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The inner button/lever undergoes the most substantial change

The inner button/lever undergoes the most substantial change (Image credit: James Huang)
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The EPS ErgoPower shifters are almost identical to the mechanical models

The EPS ErgoPower shifters are almost identical to the mechanical models (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Record 11 EPS ErgoPower shifter

The Record 11 EPS ErgoPower shifter (Image credit: James Huang)
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The EPS front derailleur is fully electronic and without limit screws. Campy says its equipped with a sophisticated electronic automatic position correction system, in which the Hall Sensor constantly communicates its position to the

The EPS front derailleur is fully electronic and without limit screws. Campy says its equipped with a sophisticated electronic automatic position correction system, in which the Hall Sensor constantly communicates its position to the (Image credit: James Huang)
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Campy has designed the derailleur to not only self-adjust, but also vary its power and speed depending on the position of the rear derailleur and chain on sprocket, and the command it

Campy has designed the derailleur to not only self-adjust, but also vary its power and speed depending on the position of the rear derailleur and chain on sprocket, and the command it (Image credit: James Huang)
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A Magnetic Hall Sensor drives a geared motor box to actuate the front derailleur; a Swiss manufacturer that makes electric motors used in the space industry builds the

A Magnetic Hall Sensor drives a geared motor box to actuate the front derailleur; a Swiss manufacturer that makes electric motors used in the space industry builds the (Image credit: James Huang)
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The EPS front derailleur cage mirrors that of the traditional mechanical group, with either carbon (with alloy contact points) or alloy outer, and hard anodized alloy inner cages. The electronic housing and body is made from a combination of forged aluminum and engineering polymer

The EPS front derailleur cage mirrors that of the traditional mechanical group, with either carbon (with alloy contact points) or alloy outer, and hard anodized alloy inner cages. The electronic housing and body is made from a combination of forged aluminum and engineering polymer (Image credit: James Huang)
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Pinarello built custom bikes for the launch of Campagnolo's EPS components

Pinarello built custom bikes for the launch of Campagnolo's EPS components (Image credit: James Huang)
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With their launch of EPS, Campagnolo unveils two EPS groups: Record and Super Record. Differentiation is made through the materials used in the EPS components as well as the traditional components each group draws from the traditional mechanical lines; cranks and brakes are now shared between the mechanical and EPS groups

With their launch of EPS, Campagnolo unveils two EPS groups: Record and Super Record. Differentiation is made through the materials used in the EPS components as well as the traditional components each group draws from the traditional mechanical lines; cranks and brakes are now shared between the mechanical and EPS groups (Image credit: James Huang)
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The name of Campagnolo

The name of Campagnolo (Image credit: James Huang)
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Campagnolo

Campagnolo (Image credit: James Huang)
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Campagnolo

Campagnolo (Image credit: James Huang)
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The EPS rear derailleur

The EPS rear derailleur (Image credit: James Huang)
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The electronic version of Campy

The electronic version of Campy (Image credit: James Huang)
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The EPS rear derailleur also allows for the electric motor to become uncoupled from worm gear system in order to prevent damage. The system is easily recoupled, however, this feature also allows for the derailleur to be manually positioned, should the battery die out on the road

The EPS rear derailleur also allows for the electric motor to become uncoupled from worm gear system in order to prevent damage. The system is easily recoupled, however, this feature also allows for the derailleur to be manually positioned, should the battery die out on the road (Image credit: James Huang)
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The EPS wiring system features sealed double-lock connectors

The EPS wiring system features sealed double-lock connectors (Image credit: James Huang)
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(Image credit: James Huang)
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EPS works with Campy

EPS works with Campy (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Record 11 chain is also a carry over, and features hollow pins

The Record 11 chain is also a carry over, and features hollow pins (Image credit: James Huang)
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Campagnolo

Campagnolo (Image credit: James Huang)
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Campy offer the option between dual pivot or single pivot rear brakes

Campy offer the option between dual pivot or single pivot rear brakes (Image credit: James Huang)
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Campangnolo groups all come with dual pivot front brakes

Campangnolo groups all come with dual pivot front brakes (Image credit: James Huang)
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The EPS front derailleur is fully electronic and without limit screws. Campy says its equipped with a sophisticated electronic automatic position correction system, in which the Hall Sensor constantly communicates its position to the

The EPS front derailleur is fully electronic and without limit screws. Campy says its equipped with a sophisticated electronic automatic position correction system, in which the Hall Sensor constantly communicates its position to the (Image credit: James Huang)
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The battery is housed just above the DTI

The battery is housed just above the DTI (Image credit: James Huang)
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The two new EPS groups rely on the current mechanical groups brakes, cranks and wheels

The two new EPS groups rely on the current mechanical groups brakes, cranks and wheels (Image credit: James Huang)
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Anodized alloy parallelogram bolts for the Super Record unit

Anodized alloy parallelogram bolts for the Super Record unit (Image credit: James Huang)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

Twenty years and four generations in the making, Campagnolo has finally presented not just one but two electronic groups, Record EPS (Electronic Power Shift) and Super Record EPS, both with identical functionality but slight differences in weight and bearing performance just like the mechanical analogues.

(Discuss the new systems in the Cyclingnews forum or on our Facebook page)

Just like Shimano's Dura-Ace and Ultegra Di2 electronic systems, Campagnolo promises foolproof shifting accuracy and reliability plus faster gear changes than with mechanical groups. But EPS will also uniquely offer riders a lever feel that more closely mimics mechanical systems for genuine tactile – and audible – feedback, not to mention even better multi-shift capability of current Record and Super Record groups, all at a weight penalty of around 200g.

Electronic guts paired with pseudo-mechanical feel and multiple shift capability

Campagnolo's new EPS group share some basic characteristics with Shimano's next-generation Di2 systems: dedicated switches in the levers sending signals to a centrally located 'brain' that then relays those messages to the motor-equipped front and rear derailleurs. Campagnolo, however, has done a better job of mimicking the feel of its much-loved – and virtually identically shaped – mechanical Ergopower brake/shift levers, however. The throws are very short as was expected but the high spring force is more akin to a cable-actuated system and there's a very tactile and audible click each time a button is depressed.

Granted, that tactile and audible feedback is different for the upshift and downshift paddles but it's feedback nonetheless – something we've always found lacking in Shimano's otherwise functionally refined system. The EPS downshift paddle is in the same familiar spot as on the mechanical Ergopower levers, too, but Campagnolo has moved the thumb-actuated upshift paddle lower down for easier shifts from the drops.

Campagnolo has also managed to actually improve on Ergopower's Multi-Shift capability. Whereas current Super Record and Record levers can downshift up to three cogs and upshift up to five, EPS can move the chain across the entire cassette with one command. Instead of having to repeatedly push the button, EPS's switches are time-sensitive, meaning the rear derailleur will move more positions depending on how long the rider holds down the button and you only need a 1.5second-long push to move across all 11 rear cogs.

There's unfortunately no feedback mechanism to let riders know exactly how many gears they've selected, though – Campagnolo marketing and communications director Lorenzo Taxis says riders will quickly learn "with their legs and brains" once they use it.

While certainly technically more advanced than the company's current mechanical systems, Campagnolo stresses that EPS isn't merely an engineering exercise but actually offers tangibly better performance, especially under the demanding racing conditions for which it was designed. According to in-house testing, EPS groups can successfully execute a front shift (in either direction) with nearly 70 percent higher chain load than Super Record while rear shifts are completed on average in just 0.352 seconds vs. 0.469 seconds – a small difference for sure but one that's still within the human range of detection.

Just like Di2, however, EPS should also need no adjustments whatsoever after the initial setup. Unlike with conventional cables and housing whose performance can change over time, EPS's digital signals will remain consistent for more predictable performance and reduced maintenance.

Record EPS versus Super Record EPS

Much like the mechanical groups, the Record EPS and Super Record EPS groups differ by way of materials and small design details. For example, the Super Record EPS Ergopower levers feature additional sculpting and engineered relief to further shave weight.

These design differences carry on throughout the components where carbon is replaced for alloy in the outer half of the front derailleur cage when comparing Super Record to Record, likewise the front derailleur motor and gear housings are alloy and steel respectively. Out back, the Super Record rear derailleur employs aluminum gear housing and ceramic pulleys, were as the Record version uses a steel gear housing and standard pulleys.

Then, of course, there are the differences between the mechanical support components, which are the same found when comparing the mechanical groups. One of the biggest performance differences is Super Record’s use Campagnolo’s CULT greaseless ceramic bearings, while Record employ the USB bearings.

Battery life, weatherproofing, and wiring

One major configuration difference with EPS as compared to Di2 is the battery and wiring. Whereas Shimano opts for a removable Li-ion rechargeable battery, the EPS's power is permanently housed with the system's 'brain' and isn't easily removable. As we suspected back in April, recharging is done via a small port located on the bottom of the power pack.

Some users will invariably regard this as being less convenient but Campagnolo argues that its one-piece, ultrasonically sealed unit is more resistant to weather. In fact, the company certifies all of the EPS components to be waterproof to a depth of one meter and we witnessed Movistar team mechanics subjecting the components to point blank pressure washings during this season's races.

Also, Campagnolo says its EPS battery will last longer, too. Whereas Shimano claims roughly 1,600km of battery life under average conditions (in fairness, we've experienced much longer lifetimes in practice), Campagnolo quotes roughly 2,000km when ridden about 2,000km per month. Less frequent use will bring that figure down to about 1,500km if the bike is used only 500km per month, which reflects a certain degree of power draw down when the system is just standing by.

Campagnolo certifies the EPS battery for 500 charge cycles, at which point the complete power pack (and the associated wiring) will have to be replaced in entirety. That sounds short on paper until you consider that 500 charge cycles equates to about 40 years if you consistently ride 2,000km a month year-round. Charge time for a fully depleted battery is said to be 1.5 hours.

Speaking of wiring, EPS will thankfully use the same port sizes and positions as currently required by Shimano's Di2 system. Even better, Campagnolo won't have multiple wiring kits depending on how the system is installed – the leads from the power pack to the individual components are supposedly all long enough to accommodate a wide range of fitments and extra wiring will just need to be tucked inside the frame (assuming internal wiring, of course).

Weight and cost: lighter than Di2, with final prices TBD

Campagnolo’s pro teams are scheduled to be on the production components in the next few weeks, while manufacturers will have OE components in December. Riders looking to buy the parts in the aftermarket should be able to find the parts for sale in the spring.The cost of the Record EPS group is said to be in-line with Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 group, while Super Record EPS was simply stated to be ‘more’ – by how much we don’t know as final prices have yet to be determined.

With weights claimed at 2,184g for Record and 2,098g for Super Record it’s lighter than Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2— which we’ve weighed at 2,262g—at least according to Campagnolo’s claims; so here we have it, EPS promises to raise the bar yet again for what we consider to be state of the art for bicycle transmissions.

And while we still don't think electronic transmissions will ever completely supplant mechanical ones but with now that the second of the ‘big three’ manufacturers has entered the fray, the increased competition will assuredly up the development ante with all consumers standing to benefit.

Why did it take so long?

While consumers are only just now seeing the production version of Campagnolo's new electronic group, the company actually first began its first development work in 1992 – back when eight-speed drivetrains and integrated brake/shift levers were still considered state-of-the-art and about a year before Mavic's first ill-fated commercial attempt.

Campagnolo's first working prototype was – like everything else in those days – an eight-speed system and the company's developers tucked the electronics and battery inside a gutted water bottle. The necessary derailleur motors and actuators were quickly deemed too heavy and bulky to be practical, though, and the idea was relegated to indefinite development status. While the company was convinced a motorized transmission represented the next logical step in terms of performance, it nonetheless also felt no pressure to bring a system to market on a specific timeline.

And so we waited

In fact, Campagnolo admits that it was on the edge of launching an electronic group back in 2005. System performance was excellent in real-world and lab testing, and even the prototypes we'd spotted on pro team bikes back then looked remarkably finished. However, Taxis said one system failed after being treated to an unusually rigorous water resistance test atop a fast-moving team car after a stage of that year's Giro d'Italia and since Campagnolo intended for its electronic group to be its premier package for racing, development was again halted.

In the meantime, Campagnolo's mechanical division unveiled a new Ergopower lever shape and an upgrade to eleven rear cogs and naturally, the electronic group had to follow suit – back to the drawing board yet again and pushing the group to today's long awaited release.

Current company president Valentino Campagnolo himself even admits that while dearly loved by its fans, Campagnolo's future depends on the success of cutting edge products like this and can't afford a high-profile hit to its well-earned reputation.

"We want to develop this technology even more in the future," he said. "We are confident that these days are very tough days with the economic crisis also affecting bicyclists. Also, we suffer from this. But we try to manage the company while keeping costs under control. We are pushing hard to develop and invest for our future and in fact, never in the past has Campagnolo developed such a tremendous amount of new products because we invest in our future.

"There is a part of the market that is willing to accept very advanced products, not just aiming for the best performance but also reliability and long lasting during the use which is a traditional characteristic of Campagnolo production," he continued. "We are sure that the future – our future – will be with mechanical products but with important emphasis on product development with electronic technology."

Skeptics have already begun making comparisons of Campagnolo's Record and Super Record EPS groups to any number of Italian automobiles of ill repute and their electronic gremlins. However, with so much development time behind them – not to mention Campagnolo's often frustrating resistance to releasing the seemingly complete earlier versions – one can only hope that for Mr. Campagnolo's sake and ours, those gremlins will only be in our imaginations and not actually tearing at the wiring in the wing.