With Campagnolo’s carbon Athena groupset arrived I thought I’d take five minutes to actually have a look at it and let you all know a bit more.
The first thing that struck me was that for £830 you’re going to get a carbon chainset, carbon levered 11 speed groupset. That really is brilliant value for money. Making use of uni-directional and multi-directional carbon it succeeds in being good looking, light and stiff when you stomp on the cranks. The Ultra-torque fastening is easy to secure and the (now standard) outboard bearings do a great job of spreading the load.
The carbon theme is continued up to the shifters, in Ultra-Shift guise they look at a glance like the other SR, record chorus or centaur. The new style of body claims to follow “the natural form of the hands, thus allowing for a more comfortable position when the hands are resting on the controls” all well and good in a brochure and they do seem to be very comfortable, suiting those with smaller hands also. The grooves on the outside also provide a good grip whether you have mitts on or not, and should carry on doing in the wet.
At the back you have the novelty of 11 speeds, some might call it overkill but when it works like this, why not? The extra gear gives you a nice range and no large gaps on the 11-23 or even the 11-25. It’s a Chorus cassette which means steel teeth on an Al frame with a coating to prolong the life and keep things quiet. The jockey wheels are also designed to absorb chain vibrations to keep noise down.
The rest of the operation is the usual campagnolo. Skeleton brakes will be there for you whatever and the front mech has the nice trim function intact. Go for the compact and a 12-25 you should be able to tackle everything – the worst of Britain’s hills and the European climbs ( the sort that go on and on and on plus a bit more plus a final ramp!)
If you’re tempted have a look here: http://tesseract.gslb.thehut.local/app/uploads/sites/23/2010/09/display.php_.gif?code=L0046