Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Campagnolo Triple Era Drawing to a Close

Back in October, 2009, we published an article announcing the Campagnolo 12-29 cassette for 11 speed. Subsequent articles discussed the benefits of a 12-29 with a compact crankset, and in December came the first hint that the Campagnolo triple might be on the verge of extinction. The article from Bike Europe (March, 2010), summarizes the situation of Campagnolo compact vs. Campagnolo triple and includes another hint that the Campagnolo triple era is ending. As an aside, I should also mention that SRAM has announced a new road group, APEX, that allows a 11-32 cassette with a 50/34 (but requires a long cage derailleur).

"For its 2010 component range, Campagnolo presents a brand new 12-29 cassette for 11-speed drivetrains. The new cassette exceeds the commonly used 28 teeth of the sprockets offered by the competition and enables the 11-speed drivetrain to be even more versatile. In fact, the new 12-29 combination used with a compact 50-34 crankset generates metric developments analogous (2,49/8,84m) to those of a 53-42-30 triple crankset.

The use of a compact crankset instead of a triple also makes it possible to obtain better chain alignment and a substantial weight reduction. The really big news is that Campagnolo has managed to keep a single rear derailleur configuration, avoiding the problem of the double option: choosing a derailleur with medium or short arm.

As a result there is just one rear derailleur option, which works precisely and optimally from the 11-tooth cog to the 29-tooth, in combination with all available Campagnolo 11-speed cranksets. The 12-29 cassettes are already available for the Super Record, Record and Chorus.

According to Campagnolo the era of the triple is drawing to a close, thanks to the 11-speed technology in combination with the new 12-29 cog set. Some years ago, with the introduction of the compact crankset, the number of users of the triple fell considerably, marking a trend that has continued year by year. With Campagnolo’s introduction of the 11-speed group sets last season, the advantage given by the compact became even more pronounced.

The classic triple configuration (53-42-30) was often combined with a 13-29 sprocket set. When this configuration is compared with a compact 50-34 and Campagnolo’s the new 12-29 sprocket set, it is clear the new 29 tooth cog, paired with the 34 tooth chain ring of the compact, allows metric developments similar to those of a triple crankset with a rear 29 tooth cog. This difference is only 30 centimetre.

Even for the hardest ratios, the two configurations are very close in terms of metric development: the 53-13 of the triple compared to the 50-12 of the compact has a difference of only 20 cm. The lower weight, a reduction of the Q and U factors, less intersection and overlapping of gear ratios, and consequent better chain alignment are additional advantages with the compact set-up."

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  1. We'll hate to see the triple option go away. But at least with Campagnolo, spare parts will be available for a long period after production ends. We have quite a few triple-equipped bikes along with the newer compact setups and we want to enjoy riding them for a long, long time to come. Disclaimer-Campagnolo NA is an official supplier to CycleItalia

  2. My first reaction to reading this was "Noooo! People living in the high mountains and/or doing loaded touring will *always* need triples."

    But then I thought about it some more, and realized that, thing is, those folks will need MOUNTAIN triples, not road triples. Which were always a bit cheesy, what with the inner ring usually being no smaller than a 30t. A compact indeed almost matches that, while having several advantages over the road triple.

    So okay, I'm on board with that.

    Now we just need Campy to cough up a wide-range 11-spd cassette starting with an 11t cog. SRAM and Shimano both sell 11-28 clusters, and those are becoming increasingly popular.

    So why can't Campy get some of that action as well?