Hot on the heels of its formal launch on Monday 7 November, Campagnolo has started to build momentum in the roll-out of its two new electronic groupsets: Record EPS (Electronic Power Shift) and Super Record EPS.
According to the company’s latest release:
The history of the Campagnolo electronic drivetrain is the classic example of an obstacle course tackled by people with a great vision for the future, a large heart and an incomparable passion for their work and the world of cycling.
The Campagnolo electronic drivetrain, 20 years of big ideas and visions.
Today Campagnolo is proud to present Super Record™ EPS and Record™ EPS, two electronic units that are the sum of all of the essential and distinguishing characteristics of Campagnolo products: performance, lightweight, reliability and precision.
The impressive work carried out by the engineers, our passion for cycling that motivates the company, our approach towards innovation and the fundamental contribution of the professional athletes have made it possible to develop an electronic drivetrain that has a soul.
November 2011, the era of the Campagnolo EPS, Electronic Power Shift™ drivetrain will begin.
According to Campagnolo, the ‘will for innovation has always been in the DNA of the company and was the key element that led the Commendatore Tullio Campagnolo to found the company over 80 years ago.’
Approximately 20 years ago, at the beginning of the nineties, the company felt the need to take yet another step forward, to change the order of things, to improve the performance of its bikes and make the experience of cycling even more fulfilling.
This period was marked with challenges and, according to the company, was sometimes too ambitious for the technological limitations of the time. The history of the Campagnolo electronic drivetrain, which now takes the name of Campagnolo EPS (Electronic Power Shift) is a 6 step trip…
Release #1 – 1992 8 speed
The first version, which dates back to 1992, was a system that received impulses from the shifter controls and translated them into mechanical movements of the front and rear derailleur. The system essentially received input, translated it and controlled the movement of the derailleur. This first release highlighted a number of problems, the main one caused by the infiltration of water inside the electronic ‘brain’.
Release #2 – 1994 8 speed
Following release #1, the engineers in the Campagnolo research and development department began to work on a number of technical solutions that brought the company to its second release in 1994. Campy’s Ergopower technology was designed with a new philosophy of operation. The new version envisioned the use of only keys: 1 key on lever 2 to move up and 2 separate keys to move down, that could be used alternately, and positioned in such a way that they could be reached in all riding positions.
The difficulties encountered with this release were mainly related to choosing the position of the electronics and the battery [inside the seat tube].
Release #3 – 1997 9 speed
The rear derailleur was designed to work with 9-speed sprockets, with more limited tolerances and a greater stroke that required greater precision in processing and planning. Release #3 did not result in a product readied to be launched on the market. The problem of wear regarding the derailleur encoder represented an obstacle that still had to be overcome.
Release #4 – 2001 10 speed
2000 was the year the 10 speed Campagnolo mechanical drivetrain came out on the market; a new technology, with new materials, new mechanical tolerances and ‘revolutionary operating principles’ that drove the engineers in the Campagnolo research and development department to completely re-design the electronic drivetrain.
The company had difficulty in perfecting the technology, which was initially believed to be connected to problems with the electronics, but was later found to be attributed to excessive vibrations. These vibrations, which affected the battery/coupling connections, caused power failures and therefore jeopardised the operation of the electronic drivetrain. This was the main reason why the company continued developing the product and again delayed its launch on the market.
Release #5 – 2005 10 speed
The problem with the vibrations and system power failures led the engineers to develop a new version, which aimed to eliminate problems and improve the reliability and performance of the drivetrain. To reach this objective they focused on certain components and left the ones that up to that point had been reliable and performing well, untouched.
In 2005, testing got more intense: with the demanding professional cyclists during the Giro D’Italia, the Tour de France with the SaecoTeam and the treacherous Northern Classic races. It was during one of these races that the Campagnolo electronic unit recorded its first success, with the victory of Niko Eeckhout at the Dwars door Vlaanderen.
In 2005 the electronic unit had proven to be reliable and performed so well that it was possible to plan for it to be manufactured. However, what stopped this fifth release was again the infiltration of water, ‘the greatest enemy of the entire project.’ During a transfer at the Giro D’Italia, the flagship vehicles with their bikes loaded on the roof went through a storm that, combined with the speed of the vehicles on the highway, caused water to leak in.
The following years were spent solving this problem to achieve a perfectly functioning, top performing version.
Release #6 – 2010 11 speed
2009 was the year of the 11 speeds, a challenging project that required much of the company’s energy. In 2010, the engineers at Campy Tech Lab were then forced to dive in yet again into a completely new design of the drivetrain to go from the 10 to 11 speeds that were introduced the year before.
The ergonomics were re-designed and improved. The front derailleur was totally re-designed to interface with modern frames and had a new built-in encoder inside it. To achieve the maximum precision required by the minimum tolerances, a great amount of work was done on miniaturising the rear derailleur displacements and their electronic indexation, by continuing to fine tune the algorithm that manages shifting.
The battery was re-designed and positioned inside a special casing called ‘Power Unit’ that can be located at different places on the frame according to the preference of each individual bike manufacturer.
An industrial pre-serial version of the Campagnolo electronic drivetrain branded as ‘Campy Tech Lab’ was used during the 2011 competitive season by the Pinarello Movistar team, winning two titles at the Giro d’Italia, one at the Tour de France and one at the Vuelta.
Now, with its formal release to the market, according to Campagnolo, from 7 November 2011, ‘the era of the EPS Electronic Power Shift will begin.’