My Love Affair with Campagnolo

Photo: Jim Merithew/
I can’t stop wearing their logos, even though I haven’t ridden a Campagnolo gruppo in years.

I have a love-hate relationship with Campagnolo.

I haven’t ridden a Campy-equipped bicycle since I gave my Eddy Merckx Century TSX to my brother over 15 years ago. That beautiful piece of history had Delta Brakes, Record downtube shifters and Campagnolo’s aero seatpost. I loved that bike, but it shifted like ass, those brakes took their sweet ass time to slow you down and was heavier than a huffy beach cruiser.

I still long for the days when Campy dominated the tour and outpaced Shimano on just about every riders lust list. But alas, now they are a distant third behind Shimano and SRAM in market share. Hell, it is almost impossible to find a bike shop these days with a Record or Super Record-equipped bike on the showroom floor. Which is sad, considering they are back in the game on all fronts but availablity.

Campagnolo’s newest offerings are bejeweled and, by all accounts, work flawlessly. But I wouldn’t know. Haven’t ridden the new grouppos. I’ve had the pleasure of holding them in my hand, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge. I still buy Campagnolo t-shirts and for the brief period of time they tried to get into the apparel market, I bought some of their kit. And I cheer for Vincenzo  Nibali, not because I am fan of the horribly ugly kit he wears, or because he is stunningly good looking, or because I am tired of the Froome/Contador story, but because he rides Campagnolo like the great Tour riders of old.