A Campag Epiphany?

Last night I had the pleasure of working with Campag for the first time in quite a long time. It was my first tete-a-tete with both Super Record and with 11-speed too. It was also my first time properly working in close quarters on a Colnago, but that’s another story… I say it was a pleasure, because it truly was exactly that, and it brought home some realisations that I’ll share with you now.

The bike I was working on was a not-so-shiny, albeit brand spanking new, Colnago EPS belonging to my friend, clubmate and chiropractor, Craig. He’d approached me about building his dream bike after a bit of discussion about what components should go on it. Seeing as I love building bikes almost as much as I love riding them, how could I turn down the request? Especially with a build like this. And so proud the owner laden with boxes of goodies appeared at my door around 7pm yesterday and we cracked on with the build.

As the frame became a bike each Campag item was drawn carefully out of it’s box and cooed over, scrutinised, dribbled on (yes, almost literally) before mounting. That delicious all-carbon rear mech, the little red ring graphic around the hole in the crank arm (he claims he’s not a tart, but he went all-out on the carbon-Ti SR11!), the three little cutouts in the SR11 lever that denote that it’s *actual* Super Record and not just Record parading as Super Record with the equally-natty little red and white 11s all over it.

Box-fresh Super Record really is a thing of beauty. And this is where the realisation came in.

You see, when I was unboxing my Di2 kit ready to go on the Baum I cooed, scrutinised and dribbled too, only somehow quite differently. Di2 was something I liked the look of, but for me it was more about it definitely being what I wanted to have on the Baum – within reason, it’s impact on the eye was less important than the fact that it was Di2 and I just had to have it.

Shimano and SRAM are tools that get the job done, and they don’t look bad whilst they’re doing it. Part of the reason I run SRAM Red is because of how it looks. You might call them ‘stylish’, or perhaps even ‘cool’. But they’re not beautiful. Campag is.

I feel like I just vanquished a demon.

There’s more though. With Campag I reckon I’d be much more inclined to run the complete groupset, rather than substituting out the cranks and brakes for aftermarket items as I normally do. Again, the Shimano and SRAM brakes and chainsets aren’t bad looking, it’s just that the Campag stuff is all bloody lovely. In fact despite the minor annoyance that some of the bolt heads were Torx and made for a pain-in-the-ass build made up of constantly switching tools, I liked that they were different – it’s like they’ve shrugged their shoulders and said (in thick Italian-English): “you don’t like to switch ze tools? We don’t care – is beautiful, no?”.

Craig left shortly after midnight, the proud father of this new addition…

Craigo's 'nago

…and left behind a thought process that has both surprised and enlightened me.

Ultimately, without having ridden it yet, I now ‘get’ the Campag thing a bit more – visually, if nothing else. Do I want some? Yes. Will I get some? No. At least not until I’ve got a frame that’ll justify it. A Colnago perhaps? Maybe one day.

Maybe even the Campag electric stuff will find it’s way onto the Baum when it’s eventually released in 2013 – it’ll be due a bit of a ‘refresh’ by then…

Rich [@RichTheRoadie]

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