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Campy Record Mech or Shimano Ultegra Di2?

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Campy Record Mech or Shimano Ultegra Di2?

Old 06-17-22, 04:57 PM
  #1  
Robert A
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Campy Record Mech or Shimano Ultegra Di2?

I'm considering building a new bike and have lusted for Campy after owning a full-Campy bike many years ago. Since Shimano now offers Ultegra only with Di2, the groupset has become considerably more expensive. A complete Record mechanical groupset can now be had for approx $2,200 while Ultegra electronic is around $2,500. I like electronic, but it's not a must-have if I can get an overall-better system for about the same price.

Any thoughts on the differences between these two groupsets?

EDIT: Just to clarify, I'm not asking a mech vs. electronic question. Rather, I want to know if the different in quality is significant enough, and if there's a particular "character" to the Record groupset that the Ultegra doesn't have. And for reference, I'm using an Ultegra R8000 (mech) now.

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Old 06-17-22, 10:33 PM
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If you have lusted for a Campagnolo equipped bike and you are willing to not get electronic shifting then you wont regret the win-win of Record for less than Ultegra. I for one find peace in not worrying about how much charge is in my derailleur battery
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Old 06-18-22, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
I'm considering building a new bike and have lusted for Campy after owning a full-Campy bike many years ago. Since Shimano now offers Ultegra only with Di2, the groupset has become considerably more expensive. A complete Record mechanical groupset can now be had for approx $2,200 while Ultegra electronic is around $2,500. I like electronic, but it's not a must-have if I can get an overall-better system for about the same price.

Any thoughts on the differences between these two groupsets?
if various sources of online blather are to be believed, Campag are due an upgrade (SR EPS is 4 years old, I think), so maybe 13 sp road, some form of wireless, EPS dipping down into Chorus, or some combination of these. I want to upgrade to 12 sp mech Chorus or Record, but Im going to hold out for a while to see if Campag come up with something new. Id be all over Chorus EPS if it materialized. In any event, 12 sp mech Chorus or Record would still be great. A Chorus rim groupset can be had for $1200-1300

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Old 06-18-22, 06:04 AM
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After two years on new frames with internal cable routing and Campy 12, I got fed up with cable friction issues and moved on to sram force axs. Within a few months, I moved on to disc brake frames and tubeless tires too. No regrets. I rode Campy only for 25 years, but they're now lagging far behind shimano and sram with little electronic shifting.

One good development is that the sprocket spacing on all three brands is very close to the same, so the cassettes are relatively interchangeable with the right freehub body. The axs chain is the most universal. I used it extensively with campy 12 and others have used it with shimano 12.

In July I'll have two years on sram force axs with no problems. I use shimano grx cranks for more range. I've also used Campy 12 cranks with axs.

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Old 06-18-22, 08:52 AM
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After 40 years of running Campy NR or Suntour Cyclone on my bikes I went for the Campy 11 speed Record when I got my first titanium frame and have experienced bliss ever since. Love the stuff, always have and always will. Nope, it ain't the low cost leader and does not want to be in that category. When set up properly it works flawlessly, however some folks struggle with the install and setup of the shifting components.
Shifts are crisp and solid, not vague at all. Just recently I transferred the group set to a different frame and as usual it works perfectly, and I dare say just a bit better than the last bike it was on!
I seriously like electronic shifting, however if it ain't wireless I have zero interest in it as it makes no sense running wires around, may as well stick with a cable system. Eventually Shimano and Campy will come on board with full wireless shifting like Sram, and that is when I will set a bike up with wireless shifting.
FWIW the Sram wireless shifting sets up super easy and quick, does not have junction box issues 'cause there ain't no wires, and works flawlessly. I'm just not a fan of Sram components.
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Old 06-18-22, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
After 40 years of running Campy NR or Suntour Cyclone on my bikes I went for the Campy 11 speed Record when I got my first titanium frame and have experienced bliss ever since. Love the stuff, always have and always will. Nope, it ain't the low cost leader and does not want to be in that category. When set up properly it works flawlessly, however some folks struggle with the install and setup of the shifting components.
Shifts are crisp and solid, not vague at all. Just recently I transferred the group set to a different frame and as usual it works perfectly, and I dare say just a bit better than the last bike it was on!
I seriously like electronic shifting, however if it ain't wireless I have zero interest in it as it makes no sense running wires around, may as well stick with a cable system. Eventually Shimano and Campy will come on board with full wireless shifting like Sram, and that is when I will set a bike up with wireless shifting.
FWIW the Sram wireless shifting sets up super easy and quick, does not have junction box issues 'cause there ain't no wires, and works flawlessly. I'm just not a fan of Sram components.
in exactly the same boat - Im hoping that Campag come up with at least a Shimano-esque semi-wireless system, but full wireless would be ideal
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Old 06-18-22, 11:33 AM
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Get Ultegra. No question.
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Old 06-18-22, 01:07 PM
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I love electronic shifting though I don't own a bike with it. I just built an SL7 Tarmac with 11 speed Di2, for the shop owner, and wow does it shift nice. So fast and just a tap of the lever, or button, and the bike has shifted. It is set for semi-syncro and it is very sweet to shift down the cassette in the small ring and have the bike automatically shift up a couple of gears as it shifts onto the big ring all by itself...very cool.
However mechanical is generally bullet proof and ordinarily if something goes wrong it is usually easy to identify the problem and inexpensively repair or replace the part.
While I've not seen anything go wrong with Di2 thus far it is an electrical/computer chip operated system and if something goes wrong it may be a pain to identify and certainly more expensive to replace a part.
I've seen some friends have their systems go into "crash protection" mode for apparently no reason and while easily remedied it was nerve wracking for them as in both cases it was just before a race.
Di2 has been around for some time and has certainly been tested in the pro ranks so it is a proven system.
That's a lot of words to say get what you want.
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Old 06-18-22, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
I'm considering building a new bike and have lusted for Campy after owning a full-Campy bike many years ago.
It sounds like you have an itch. An itch should be scratched, so go with the Campy.
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Old 06-18-22, 02:42 PM
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My GF just got DI2. It's nice but if it were me it would be Record without question. In general it's really one of those "what speaks to you" decisions.
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Old 06-18-22, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
After two years on new frames with internal cable routing and Campy 12, I got fed up with cable friction issues and moved on to sram force axs.

​​​​
Is that Campy's fault ? Or bad frame cable routing design ?
What about electronic Campy ?
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Old 06-18-22, 06:32 PM
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I think when you ride the Campy bike, you'll have a smile on your face the entire time. You would enjoy the crispness and precision of Di2 as well, but I suspect its the Campy group that you'll enjoy more. Except when its time to do maintenance, which you don't need to do with Di2. As a Di2 user I'd say go Campy.
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Old 06-18-22, 07:10 PM
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SRAM force. Thank me later.
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Old 06-19-22, 08:26 PM
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I have Campagnolo on all three of my modem road bikes. Mostly because I like the ergonomics and I can't seem to use either SRAM or Shimano.

I have SR mechanical 11 speed with rim brakes on one, Chorus EPS 11 speed with rim brakes on one, and Ekar (disc only) on one
All of them are great. All of them are still available, in 12 or 13 speed form.

The EPS gets the nod for real road rides, the Ekar if there will be rain or a gravel road segment, and the SR is on the Ritchey breakaway.

And just for fun I have Dura Ace 7000 brakes with Campagnolo derailleurs and the good Simplex shifters on my vintage Peugeot. And all my mountain bikes are SRAM.

I suggest that if you want Campagnolo, get it. When my EPS bike was in drydock I rode the mechanical SR and I really didn't notice much difference. Both were great to ride.
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Old 06-20-22, 07:19 AM
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After being a loyal Campy rider for almost 45 years, when I went to a new bike and was looking for a 32 rear Campy dropped the ball. Went with Di2 Ultegra and could not be happier. It is simply flawless. Just like my Campy stuff was but easier.
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Old 06-20-22, 07:33 AM
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My experience has been that mechanical campy is lovely but does not shift quite as reliably as Shimano mechanical. I would assume, although never had a chance to compare side by side, that the gap between Ultegra Di2 and Campy mech is even bigger.
All that being said, Campy Record is the best of the best in every other way. 2nd place in shifting precision isn't that bad. Also please note that my experience with Campy vs. Shimano is a few years old, from when I was last working in a bike shop.
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Old 06-20-22, 08:00 AM
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I think you can be happy with either.

Let us know what you went with? Pics??
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Old 06-20-22, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Is that Campy's fault ? Or bad frame cable routing design ?
What about electronic Campy ?
My internally routed frames were Colnago. Who's to say if there was a better way than Colnago came up with?

I'm sure Campy electronic works fine, but it's got plenty of wires and costs a fortune compared to the sram force axs I'm using now.
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Old 06-20-22, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
After two years on new frames with internal cable routing and Campy 12, I got fed up with cable friction issues and moved on to sram force axs.​​​​
Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Is that Campy's fault ? Or bad frame cable routing design ?
What about electronic Campy ?
The guy always raves over whatever he presently owns ... and has a short memory.

Originally Posted by DaveSSS
Now I only buy Chorus, that gives the best bang for the buck. The new Chorus 12 has the best shifting ever. I specifically got it for the new 48/32 crank and closely spaced 11-34 cassette.
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Old 06-20-22, 01:52 PM
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I used Campy only for 25 years, but all of those frames had external cable routing. I never had shifting problems with any of those frames.

Campy 12 shifting was great in the beginning, but in two years, I fiddled with cable friction issues several times. I'm sure it would always work great with external cable routing, but that's becoming a thing of the past. In July I'll have two years with force axs on two bikes with no problems. I first used it on the same two Colnago frames that had cable friction issues, with Campy cranks, brakes and wheels. Only a few months later, I moved on to disc frames, with the same force axs components. I've never used sram cranks due to their limited range. Campy 48/32 and grx cranks both work great with axs. No chain drops.

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Old 06-20-22, 05:27 PM
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I have 4 bikes with Campy 10, so no point in changing anything any time soon, since they're all compatible
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Old 06-21-22, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
I want to know ... if there's a particular "character" to the Record groupset that the Ultegra doesn't have.
This might sound like I'm referring to the "character" difference between mechanical and electronic shifting, but this really is particular to modern Campy mechanical versus...well, anybody's electronic, so definitely Ultegra Di2:

- Campy requires a certain degree of brute force. You've almost got to muscle the levers to get quick clean shifts. Or, to put it another way: You don't baby the Campy levers, you show them who's boss. Folks who've used an old-fashioned mechanical typewriter can possibly relate. Or, the analogy I often use (my background is as an audio recording engineer) is that mechanical Campy is like the transport controls on an Ampex 300-series tape recorder circa 1958, where you literally had to punch the Play/Record/Rewind/FF buttons to engage them (ever wonder where the term "punching in" came from?). In comparison, Ultegra Di2 is like the transport controls on an Ampex ATR100 tape recorder circa 1981, the first tape machine with a microprocessor-controlled transport. You gently tapped those buttons. Similar to hitting the Enter key on your laptop's keyboard.

Neither is necessarily better than the other, but Campy definitely requires more effort.
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Old 06-21-22, 06:36 AM
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I've owned every speed of Campy lever from 8 to 12 speed. Bob is right about the need to use some force with these levers, particularly the thumb button. One of the things I like about sram axs is the minimal force required to make every shift and the fact that two levers do all the work, where other brands require four. That's great with gloves on in the winter. Making shifts from the drops Is also easier since it requires only a light touch of the lever. I have small hands and use the brake lever adjustment at the closest to the bar position. I made a similar modification to all of my Campy levers about 15 years before Campy added that feature. A little epoxy putty behind the brake lever release pin will bring the brake lever in closer to the bars.
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Old 06-21-22, 07:38 AM
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I have Campagnolo Athena 11 on my gravel / all-day ride bike. The hood shape is more comfortable, and the extra effort to shift is okay -- I'm usually cruising along on this bike. I like it.
Even with big hands, it's a bit of a reach sometimes to shift from the drops. I have better leverage for the long throw of the front shifter from the hoods.

My road bike has Di2. 30,000 miles, and it still works perfectly. I shift a lot on rolling hilly rides, or when keeping up with faster riders on the flats, looking for just the right gear. I'll shift, do a few pedal strokes, then shift again. I'd likely stay in a non-optimal gear if it was mechanical.

A group ride turned a corner, and suddenly there was a short, steep pitch. Us three Di2 riders instantly shifted to the small ring, and a few rear cogs, spinning up the hill. Most all the other riders were stuck in a high gear, grinding up the hill.

I've had my phone out to take a picture on a quiet road, and shifted with my ring finger while holding the camera. Nice!
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Old 06-22-22, 07:41 AM
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I have a new Road bike with DA-12 Di2 and a gravel bike with Di2 GRX. They are flawless and perfect from a performance perspective.

but I love vintage and craftsmanship. The next bike (last?) will be a vintage lugged steel frame and that will get mech Campy b/c it was good enough for Eddie.
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