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Technical FAQ: Converting Campy, rims vs. discs

Converting Campy

Dear Lennard,

I have a stock Campy 10-speed Chorus Micro 10 gruppo with a compact crankset and a 13-29 cassette with a mid-cage Chorus RD. The hubs are White Industries. I’d like to go to 11 speeds and use the Potenza 11-32 cassette.

In researching this, I have found comments indicating that Campy did not change their freehub from 10 to 11 speeds and that they did not change their shifter actuation ratio between their 10- and 11-speed shifters.

Based on the above, my thought is that I can do the 10-11 speed conversion by simply changing the shifters, the cassette, and the chain and retaining the rest of the gruppo. I’m hoping you might have already done this and can advise if it works.

— Don

Dear Don,
Yes, you can do that. I imagine that a 10-speed Campy mid-cage rear derailleur has the capacity to handle the 32-tooth cog without taking extra measures, but I’m not sure of that. It does have the same shift actuation ratio as an 11-speed rear Campy rear derailleur, so it will work with the 11-speed shifter and cassette. In order to shift to the 32-tooth cog and run on it without the upper jockey wheel bumping up and down on the teeth, you will probably need to tighten the b-screw, which, on a modern Campagnolo rear derailleur, is under the lower (“b”) knuckle rather than on the derailleur mounting tab. If you don’t have enough b-screw adjustment to achieve smooth running on your largest cog, the worst case scenario is that you would need to get a longer derailleur hanger or an extender for yours like the Wolf Tooth RoadLink.

The freehub body is fine as is; Campagnolo has used the same external freehub body shape through 9-, 10-, and now 11-speed cassettes. So you can install an 11-speed Campy cassette on there, and it will work fine without any added spacers.

As you clearly already understand, you need an 11-speed chain and 11-speed Campy shifters to get the right number of clicks and the proper cable-pull length per click.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I own a 2016 Campagnolo Super Record Mechanical Groupset on my Pinarello F8 Dogma. I want to put the Campagnolo Potenza medium-caged rear derailleur to the rear so I can run a 12-32 cassette for climbs. Will this work?
— Chris

Dear Chris,
Yes, that will work. You can interchange Potenza, Centaur, Chorus, Record, and Super Record derailleurs; they all have the same shift actuation ratio. By the way, the Campy cassette that goes to 32-tooth is an 11-32.
― Lennard

Replacing spokes

Dear Lennard,
Is it true that repairing a broken spoke on a Campagnolo Eurus G3 rear wheel will cause other spokes on this wheel to break in a never-ending cycle?
— Douglas

Dear Douglas,
Not necessarily. It’s worth a try on the first broken spoke, and perhaps even on the second.

With any wheel, a broken spoke may be an indicator of a large discrepancy in spoke tension in the wheel. So replacing it may not be a long-term fix, as other spokes may start to give out soon due to the same fatigue process that broke that spoke. It’s not that replacing the spoke “will cause other spokes on this wheel to break” as much as it is that the spokes were already dealing with uneven tension and, hence, a higher fatigue rate. They were going to break anyway, and replacing one will still give you a bit more life to the wheel, although it may be short-lived. On the other hand, it may just be a defective spoke or an impact or chain gouge on that one, and the wheel may hold up just fine for a while.
― Lennard

Installing a new fork

Dear Lennard,

I have a Cysco Ti disc road frame. The current fork is an Enve post-mount disc with a 367 axle-to-crown, 43mm rake. I have a Chris King Inset 7, which has a lower stack height of 14mm. The headtube is 160mm, 73-degree head, and 73.5-degree seat angle. 73mm BB drop. 98.7 wheel base.

I am updating the groupset to the new Campagnolo H11 disc, so I will need a flat mount fork. The new Enve flat mount has a 370mm axle-to-crown, 43mm rake.

My dilemma: Since the new fork is 3mm taller, should I change the lower headset to something with a lower stack height, like a Cane Creek 110 which is 12mm stack, or should I select a Columbus Futura disc fork that has a 368mm axle-to-crown and with a 45mm rake? Will the handling be affected either way?
— Glenn

Dear Glenn,
While you could be a stickler and change the headset, I don’t think you will notice a difference in handling if you get the Enve road disc fork and leave your existing Chris King headset on. The change in head angle by raising the fork 3mm over a 987mm wheelbase is about 0.17 degrees (arcsine of 0.003, converted to degrees by multiplying by 180/pi), which will result in an increase in fork trail of about 1mm (from 57.61mm to 58.66mm); I don’t think you would notice that difference. This angle change will result in less change in handling than going to a fork with 2mm more rake, which will decrease your fork trail by about 2mm (from 57.61mm to 55.52mm); this also would be a minor handling difference that you would be unlikely to notice. You will be more likely to notice a handling difference due to the switch to a thru-axle from a quick-release axle.
― Lennard

Rim brakes vs. disc brakes

Dear Lennard,
I’m looking to get a new road bike at some point this year, likely building up a frame with some newish parts I have kicking around. My preference would be to go with a rim brake bike. I have a cyclocross bike with discs that gets used as a gravel/adventure/whatever you want to call it, so I’d like the road bike to be fairly racy. I’m not against road disc, but my reluctance to disc brakes on the road is mainly one of convenience: I have a rim brake groupset and a set of relatively new wheels that I’d like to keep using. I don’t generally ride much in bad weather and I live in rolling hills, so I don’t feel that the advantages of road disc are compelling enough for me to chuck all the parts and start anew.

My concern with sticking with rim brakes is of obsolescence. With the push toward disc brakes, if I get a fancy new rim brake frame, will it be obsolete in a short period of time? I like to ride a frame into the ground, upgrading along the way, and I’m slightly concerned that after only a couple of years, rim brakes will be abandoned and I’ll be stuck with a relatively new bike that I can’t get parts for. Am I being paranoid, or do you think rim brakes are going to be around for a while?
— Greg

Dear Greg,
I think rim brakes are going to be around for a long while yet. There are so many millions of bikes out there with them and they will need replacements. With road bikes, I think high-end rim brakes will continue to be produced well into the future, because as long as there is a weight penalty (currently around two pounds) for disc brakes and a significant additional aerodynamic cost, roadies who are interested in minimizing weight and aerodynamic drag will be reluctant to go to disc brakes. That said, I think high-end cantilevers and V-brakes will largely cease to be produced.
― Lennard

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