During the Campagnolo Press Camp in Gran Canaria a select circle of journalists had the opportunity to get an exclusive first look at a highly anticipated product: The first-ever road disc brakes from Campagnolo. In this article you’ll find the most important facts and details.
The right timing
Waiting for the right moment is an important virtue in life. No one knows this better than a sprinter. Races are not won by having the biggest muscles or starting an attack first, they are won by clever tactics and the support of a great team.
Having patience and observing what the competitors do, can not only save yourself valuable resources, but will also teach you a lot and then give you the opportune moment to strike.
And that’s exactly what Campagnolo did: In Gran Canaria, the Italians presented their first disc brake model that runs under the name Campy Tech Lab and gives to recognize the fact that this is still a prototype. For this prototype, however, it was high time. Finally, disc brakes are allowed in the professional peloton this year for the first time. And so all three professional teams sponsored by Campagnolo will test discs in racing. The first severe test for the disc brakes (and teams) will probably be the merciless cobblestones of the spring classics.
The Campy Tech Lab
The disc brakes and aero disc wheels carry no group names, but simply bare the label Campy Tech Lab. On the one hand this label shows the product’s state of development (prototype stage), on the other hand the label shall prevent that such prototypes come unintentionally into circulation. Nevertheless it’s important to say that Campagnolo doesn’t send out prototypes to their athletes that are not safe to ride. The Campy Tech Lab, based in Vincenza, consists of approximately 50 employees taking care of prototyping, analysis of the pro racer’s feedback and the development. Carrying the Campy Tech Lab label doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll actually see it in production. After the R&D and test process with the pro athletes, those products have to surpass further testing for safety and long term durability issues. The final seal of approval is called “Campagnolo Corretto”.
This is why we still can’t officially assign those disc brake prototypes to any group, but it’s evident that we’ll first see disc brakes within the high-end group Campagnolo Super Record.
The team bikes with Campagnolo disc brakes
During the Press Camp we could take a first look at the team bikes of Lotto Soudal (Ridley) and Astana (Specialized) that were equipped with the disc brakes. Movistar (Canyon) had no team bikes available – presumably these are, however, due to arrive in time for the spring classics.
Although there is still no official statement from Campagnolo on the technical facts, we found out a lot of interesting details and a big surprise.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that there are not one but two caliper designs. The pro bikes from Ridley and Specialized (left) are each equipped with very organically curved, two-piece calipers, whilst the Campagnolo branded Sarto (right) has an extremely compact brake caliper design in triangular shape and with sharp lines.
We can’t define the piston diameter, but it is certain that both versions have a two-piece caliper with two pistons. The bleeding ports are positioned, due to the different design, respectively at different positions.
The fact that there are two completely different caliper designs shows that Campagnolo is still diligently testing. Campagnolo themselves say that there is no particular hurry, considering the experience that will be gained in the world’s toughest races this year, it’s clear that every manufacturer will work on improvements of their disc brake models with their pro athletes. Although Campagnolo didn’t mention a concrete date for a possible launch of the disc groupset, there are rumors that it will happen this year. In the end it might all come down to if and when those products will receive the “Campagnolo Corretto” seal. We will keep you informed! Stay tuned.
Words: Robin Schmitt Photos: Pablo Moreno / Campagnolo