This article first appeared on BikeRadar.
BikeRadar Verdict: "Centaur offers Campagnolo performance to the masses at a 105-worrying price"
BikeRadar Score: 4 stars
- Highs: Mechanical performance, lever feel, trickle down technology
- Lows: Price, it’s rim brake-only
- Buy if: You want trickle down Campag shifting tech
Campagnolo’s redesigned Centaur 11-speed groupset called time on 10-speed shifting, and took aim at Shimano’s standard-setting 105.
- Shimano 105 R7000 groupset — everything you need to know
- Road bike groupsets: everything you need to know
Campagnolo has trickled down the mechanical shifting refinement developed for top flight Super Record to this entry-level, European-made offering.
With obvious familial aesthetic and functional similarities, Campagnolo says the only difference between Centaur and its loftier siblings is the materials used in its construction.
Centaur is a mainly aluminium, rim brake-only groupset with a four-arm crank spider that has separate, rather than combined, bolt circles for each chainring, increasing their rigidity.
Chainring options are 50/34 and 52/36. The Ergopower controls have an EPS-style thumb lever that’s much easier to operate than the old right-angled one, and although this limits downshifts to one per actuation, we’ve never found that to be a problem.
Three new steel cassettes are available in 11-29, 11-32 and 12-32, all covered by one 32-tooth maximum rear mech, which is 15g lighter than any competing long cage mech. Its upper jockey wheel has longer, more chamfered teeth than the lower one, for accuracy with the new, highly durable 11-speed chain.
New dual pivot brakes follow Campagnolo’s familiar skeleton outline. They’re said to be 50g lighter than the competition and have a new brake pad compound. Claimed weight for the complete groupset with 11-29 cassette, 50/34 chainset and PF86.5 bottom bracket is 2,471g.
Campagnolo Centaur groupset impressions
The Centaur groupset hasn’t disappointed over the months I’ve been testing. The Varicushion hoods have a quality feel, are grippy with or without gloves, and comfortable for hours.
The aluminium brake levers are as ergonomic as every Campagnolo lever, and the Technopolymer shifters operate reliably.
While not rubbery, the longer upshift lever doesn’t feel completely rigid, but that doesn’t detract from its functionality, carrying out multiple upshifts with one stroke. Shifts have been swift, accurate and mechanically feel like a far more expensive drivetrain.
I’ve heaved uphill, cross-chained in the big ring, and had no complaints from the drivetrain, even shifting inconsiderately has failed to upset it. Durability so far looks excellent.
Is Centaur as good as 105? Compared to the common 105 5800, in most ways, yes, and in some arguably better. I’ve not yet ridden the new 105 R7000 to judge how it compares, but on paper it looks to be stiff competition.