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Campy expands EPS to Athena groupset

Published July 16, 2012

VICENZA, Italy (BRAIN)—Campagnolo broadened its commitment to electronic shifting on Monday with the release of its 11-speed Athena EPS groupset, a lower cost, higher weight version of the Record and Super Record electronic gruppos introduced last November.

The system is designed to be competitive with Ultegra Di2, although final pricing won’t be announced until Eurobike, said Lorenzo Taxis, Campagnolo’s head of marketing, speaking during the product introduction at Campagnolo’s Vicenza, Italy, headquarters on Monday afternoon.

Athena EPS is based on the same concept at the higher-end versions, with a power unit, electronic interface system, waterproof electronics board and frame-mounted battery pack, but incorporates steel and aluminum parts to keep prices down. The body of the front and rear derailleurs uses a monolithic technopolymer carbon fiber. It uses a different harness than Record and Super Record so the power units cannot be swapped between groupsets.

The weight of Athena comes in at 2,452 grams with the carbon fiber power torque crank. The battery has the same life as the original systems with a one to three month range depending on the frequency of use. It also allows a rider to shift through the complete cassette with a single shift, versus mechanical Athena, which moves through one gear per shift.

The introduction of Athena has appealed Campagnolo EPS to more OEM suppliers, and it has picked up spec from Felt, Fuji and Pinarello on 2013 bikes. It’s an important step in Campy’s goal to win more OEM spec; currently, its business is about 70 percent aftermarket.

“We’ve been out of the OE business for many years. This has been a fantastic mistake,” Taxis said. Being one of two component makers offering electronic shifting is an opportunity Campagnolo hopes to leverage through competitive pricing, timely delivery and made-in-Europe quality. All EPS product is currently made in Vicenza, although Campagnolo will begin manufacturing components in its Romanian factories next year, according to Valentino Campagnolo, the company’s president.

Campagnolo does not produce any groupsets in Asia—the Italian company has long resisted Far East manufacturing in fear of risking the vulnerability of its intellectual property—but Campagnolo has a Taiwan subsidiary that could act as bonded warehouse in order to store finished product closer to OE customers that are assembling in Taiwan and China.

Athena EPS will be available to aftermarket distributors this winter. Also, on Monday, Campagnolo released EPS TT shifters in Record and Athena versions and three new triple groupsets to answer to demand coming from France and the Netherlands. The triples, available in 11-speed Athena and 10-speed Centaur and Veloce, were redesigned from scratch using parts made specifically for triples, Taxis said.

“It’s not a mix and match of existing stuff; everything is new,” he added.

The Athena comes in 52-39-30 gearing ration; Centaur is available in that setup, as well as 50-39-30 and Veloce comes in 50-39-30 only.

Athena EPS rear derailleur

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