Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reflections on Campagnolo Record Corsa

Did you know that when Campagnolo started selling it’s magnificent Record Corsa (C Record) groupset in 1985 that:

- Suntour had introduced the slant parallelogram rear derailleur (Grand Prix) in 1964, a design that allows the RD to track closer to the rear cogs for faster shifting
- Suntour had introduced indexed shifting in 1969 (Five-Speed Click with Unit-Hub) which Shimano resurrected & perfected in 1984 (Dura-Ace 7400)
- Shimano ensured the reliability and dependability of index shifting by introducing the cassette hub also in 1984

None of these innovations were seen on C Record. The Japanese clearly had a huge technological advantage (not to mention cost advantage) than the venerable but slow-moving Campagnolo. Even when C Record was launched Campagnolo was already pipped to the line for aerodynamic groupsets as Shimano had already introduced (and withdrawn) an aerodynamic groupset (Dura-Ace Ax) in 1980.

Admittedly Campagnolo caught up quite rapidly during C Record’s 10 year span from 1985-1994. During this period it adopted the slant parallelogram RD, indexed shifting (albeit with hiccups of Synchro 1 & 2), cassette hubs with Exadrive then Hyperdrive, and finally realized that delta brakes were an expensive mistake with the introduction of the wonderful Record dual pivots. It even adopted Ergopower in 1992, just one year after Shimano introduced STI dual-control brake shift levers in 1991. It all ended in 1995 when Campagnolo upgraded the C Record crankset and front derailleur and started labeling the individual groupsets. Wonderful as it was, and innovative as it has been since, it just ain’t the same…