Simply beautiful, the Super Record goes beyond the highest technical and aesthetical expectations.

Review: Campagnolo Super Record 11 H0 groupset with disc brakes

Markus 25. December 2017

First ride! Markus got his hands on the new Campagnolo groupset with disc brakes and rediscovered his love for beautiful functionality from his days as a pro in Italy.

When my new co-workers from the marketing department approached me after only two weeks of being at bike-components, they had no idea what that meant to me. After all, I had done a five year stint of racing as an amateur and professional rider in Italy and hence I’m very familiar with Campagnolo’s premium bicycle components. The mere suggestion that I test ride the new Super Record 11 H0 groupset, which finally became available for end consumers now, brought back many fond memories the manufacturer of fine and well-designed Italian components.

And when they gave me the test bike, I fell head over heels again for the Italian Diva. Forgotten were 15 years of affairs with Japanese and American counterparts. My heart was pounding once more for Campagnolo, and even more since she came along with disc brakes now. By the way, the HO in the name stands for just that, hydraulic optimization and this makes reference to the hydraulic brakes.

Ciao Bella: The Campagnolo test bike, equipped with the Campagnolo Super Record 11 H0 disc brake groupset.

Ciao Bella: The Campagnolo test bike, equipped with the Campagnolo Super Record 11 H0 disc brake groupset.

The Campagnolo Bora wheels are available in a disc brake version as well now.

The Campagnolo Bora wheels are available in a disc brake version as well now.

Markus’ grinning face says it all, he loved testing the Campi Super Record.

Markus’ grinning face says it all, he loved testing the Campi Super Record.

Spring Classics Roller Coaster

I did not have to go far for my test ride. Right across the border from Aachen are the roads were the spring classics like Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne take place. That’s perfect roller coaster terrain, especially good for new disc brakes and the constant up and down requires countless gear changes. Even the weather played along. 10 degrees and rain pounding on the windshield of my bc van, nasty conditions to ride in, but ideal for trying new product.

What's in a brake?

Once on the bike – part of the former Valkenburg World Championship course, I dove right into it. I had not studied up on the new Super Record groupset beforehand, did not read any manuals, but wanted a pure first-hand impression, as un-biased as possible given my past love affair with Campi. I wanted to know if I would be convinced on the bike and I was curious to find out how the disc brakes work.

It’s really hard to go slow with Campi’s Super Record.

It’s really hard to go slow with Campi’s Super Record.

The wet, leaf-covered roads of the Spring Classics were ideal to put the new Campi disc brakes to the test.

The wet, leaf-covered roads of the Spring Classics were ideal to put the new Campi disc brakes to the test.

Markus, a former pro, spent five years racing in Italia and held fond memories of Campagnolo from back then.

Markus, a former pro, spent five years racing in Italia and held fond memories of Campagnolo from back then.

Cockpit with style

Of course, the stories about Campagnolo taking their time with the roll-out had not passed me by. I had also picked up that they had partnered up with Magura for the brake design. Well, at first sight anybody can see why they took their time. Design and aesthetics are molto importante for the Italians. And rightly so, the new Ergopower braking and shifting control units housing the hydraulic cylinders feature slim and elegant curves without compromising on ergonomics, be it on the tops or in the drops. That alone is a significant change from the bulky designs by their competitors. I immediately felt at home again in the new cockpit and memories from racing in Bella Italia, the countless attacks, of victories and defeats came back. What an emotional roller coaster.

The first time I stood up to put the hammer down, dropping my thumb to execute the gear change, I was going crazy. There is nothing like a precise Campagnolo shift, it’s simply state-of-the-art. Handling and ergonomics made in Italy! For decades, Campagnolo has created a unique shifting experience. It’s not for everybody, but once you have been infected, life will never be the same without.

What’s in a name? The Ergopower controls over-deliver on their promising name.

What’s in a name? The Ergopower controls over-deliver on their promising name.

Fully [carbon] loaded, even the Super Record’s front derailleur is completely made of carbon fibre apart from a couple of bolts.

Fully [carbon] loaded, even the Super Record’s front derailleur is completely made of carbon fibre apart from a couple of bolts.

The beautifully crafted H11 crankset can also be found in Campagnolo’s record and Chorus groups.

The beautifully crafted H11 crankset can also be found in Campagnolo’s record and Chorus groups.

Italian shifting performance: a class of its own

Unparalleled is the Ultra-Shift technology that allows you to shift three gears down and two up in one stroke. That’s invaluable in racing, but also for the sprint with your buddies. Due to the new disc brake, the rear triangle has moved and as a consequence, the chainline slightly shifted. I have no idea if this effects shifting on paper, but in my practical test the Super Record drivetrain functioned like a clockwork without any noticeable trouble. In case you do notice a problem, fine tuning on the front derailleur can be done right with the shifter. By the way, the HO crankset, Ergopower controls and brakes are the same for Record and Chorus groupsets.

Simply beautiful, the Super Record goes beyond the highest technical and aesthetical expectations.

Simply beautiful, the Super Record goes beyond the highest technical and aesthetical expectations.

Let the [disc] brakes do the talking

Let’s talk about the brakes since Campagnolo’s excellence in shifting performance has been known for decades. As a former racer, I have always held the opinion that there is no real need for disc brakes on a road bike. Lately, I have come to understand, that braking later means going faster for longer and that is where disc brakes come in.

They allow me to decelerate later, choosing the braking point precisely. The Campagnolo brakes require minimal force on the lever and the modulation is extremely accurate. After taking it easy in the first turns, I began to go faster and faster. Even on wet surface and with a lot of fallen leafs on the ground, I quickly gained the confidence that the wheels would not lock up and slide out under me.

The elegant Ergopower disc brake controls are only slightly bigger than the rim brake version.

The elegant Ergopower disc brake controls are only slightly bigger than the rim brake version.

The flat mount makes for smooth integration of the Campagnolo disc brakes into the fork design.

The flat mount makes for smooth integration of the Campagnolo disc brakes into the fork design.

HO stands for hydraulic optimization in the Campagnolo Super Record HO name.

HO stands for hydraulic optimization in the Campagnolo Super Record HO name.

Flawless functionality with individual setup options

Another thing to note, the flawless functionality was accompanied by silence. No rattling, no squeaking when braking, nothing. The levers did not budge when riding over cobblestone, nor did the caliper or the rotors.  

The brake can be set up in two modes, switching between them is very easy. One offers more direct brake modulation, the other is softer. I liked both, but preferred the direct mode that allows for even quicker stopping. It matches my style of riding. It’s great though that one can customize the setup.

Markus was blown away by the Campagnolo disc brake’s modulation.

Markus was blown away by the Campagnolo disc brake’s modulation.

Markus was blown away by the Campagnolo disc brake’s modulation.

Markus was blown away by the Campagnolo disc brake’s modulation.

My verdict: Perfetto

I knew beforehand, that the Super Record HO drivetrain would run like a clockwork, but I did not expect to be blown away by the disc brake performance. The ergonomics and optics of the Ergopower controls is just like the rim brake models and their functionality is awesome. Seemingly perfect modulation make for an unparalleled braking experience. I believe, the wait for Campagnolo’s disc brake groupset has been worth it. Together with Magura, they have presented a great new product and raised the bar. If you don’t believe me, simply give it a try yourself. My love for Campagnolo has been reignited.