Campagnolo’s new cyclocross offerings consist of four cranks and three clincher wheels, all with extra-sealed bearings.
The idea is to provide parts that hold up to crummy conditions with lots of water and mud that are not only for cyclocross, but also for bike commuting, so some of the chainring options are not ideal for cyclocross but would be applicable to commuting.
Riders wanting full Campagnolo cyclocross groups will still have to use a non-Campy brake, but everything else – derailleurs, chain, Ergopower levers – is now there.
The Campagnolo cyclocross cranks come in CX 10 and CX 11 versions: 10-speed or 11-speed in both carbon and aluminum versions. The cranks are compact configuration, available with either 34-50 or 36-46 chainring sets.
In addition to extra-sealed bearings and the chainring options, they share the new Power-Torque integrated spindle system found on 2011 Athena and Centaur. It’s a light, stiff, high-performance bottom bracket system that is far less expensive to produce than the two-piece Ultra-Torque spindle system.
The Power-Torque drive side bearing system is the same as on Ultra-Torque cranks, including the circlip that holds the crank from moving laterally by anchoring the bearing (which is attached to the spindle) in the external bearing cup. The left side bearing is pressed into the external bearing cup, and the left crank goes onto the splined spindle end following a spring washer/seal. The bolt tightening torque is 42N-m (372 inch-pounds), with a 14mm hex key.
I still have not been able to ascertain the exact removal procedure for the left crank, as there are people in the Campy booth that have assembled them but not yet disassembled them. It is certainly not a self-extracting system, as there is no cap over the oversized crank bolt. One Campy employees said that, once the bolt is out, you can just pull the arm off with your fingers, while another said that they think there is a crank puller required that they have not yet seen. The Campy technical manual, which I just picked up, shows assembly but not disassembly. As soon as I find out how to take the crank off, I’ll let you know.
The Khamsin CX, Vento Reaction CX, and Scirocco CX are clinchers, with the Scirocco CX being the most expensive and lightest (1795 grams/pair). The additional bearing seal is all that distinguish these wheels from the normal road Khamsin, Vento Reaction, and Scirocco wheels. G3 spoking comes on all of them, and weights for the Khamsin CX and Vento Reaction CX are 1825g/pr. and 1870g/pr.
Campagnolo has no dedicated cyclocross tubular wheels, and press liaison Lerrj Piazza explains that the company knows that the high-end ’cross competitor would use the Bora deep-section carbon tubular wheels.
What about electric?
When asked the inevitable question about electronic shifting to duel with Shimano Di2, Campagnolo is now willing to acknowledge progress. “We are very close,” says Piazza, and some riders have been testing the 11-speed version for some time now (Campagnolo had a 10-speed electric shifting system almost ready for market when it came out with 11-speed, shelving the project temporarily).
“We are a small company with not that many engineers,” explains Piazza, “so making all of the changes we did to the line takes them away from being able to work on the electric system.”
And as for the big leap forward Campagnolo made this year in front shifting effectiveness, created by a combination of a different cam in the lever, new chainrings with more and further refined shift ramps, and slight changes to the front derailleur arm, Campy owners with 2010 11-speed groups can get some of that performance improvement by using the 2011 chainrings. The crank spider is the same for 2010 and 2011, but the new rings require more care mounting, since there is no longer a backing nut; the chainring bolts thread right into the inner chainring.
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Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (www.zinncycles.com), a former U.S. national team rider and author of numerous books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” – now available also on DVD, and “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance,” as well as “Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes” and “Zinn’s Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists.”
Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn. Zinn’s column appears here each Tuesday.