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View Full Version : 2009 Campy Centaur - Initial review


GuyGadois
03-18-2009, 12:10 PM
Let me start off by saying I am a Campy guy. All my bikes have Campy on them (except for a my touring bike with Suntour) and I have used Campy stuff for most of my life. That being said, in college I raced Dura-Ace when it was the only index shifting around and I have a Shimano fishing reel.

I purchased a Holland frame on eBay a few months ago. I decided I wanted to go green and reduce my carbon footprint and go against the grain with an alloy group (silver color). For 2009 Centaur was the only option available from Campy. The way that technology migrates with Campy (today's Chorus was yesterday's Record) I expect to see silver alloy gone in a couple of years.

I ordered from Ribble and was impressed with the price. It took 1 month to arrive because they said the RD was back ordered. The group arrived in new boxes expect for the FD and brifters which were in bags with manuals.

The first thing I noticed is how beautiful the finish on the components are. The cranks are well polished with a nice depth to them. Setting up the frame was very easy as expected. I have read that others have had trouble getting the cables through the brifters but it was quick for me (armed with a small flashlight). I run 2008 Record on another bike and it is hard to tell if there is much difference with the components other than finish change and some bolts being Ti bolts to save weight.

After a few rides I have really enjoyed the gruppo. The brakes has the exact same effectiveness as my Record brakes. The FD may shifter better than my 2008 Record QS - it sure seems quicker. But, the shifting. I have always likes shifting to have a sound feedback along with a feeling feedback (sort of like popping your knuckles). Centaur does not have this. In fact, there is alost no noise or sound. Dare I say it is closer to friction shifting than index? Now, that may sound bad but it is better than I thought.

With Record, I am used to shifting based on the sound and feeling feedback. With Centaur, I am training my fingers to shift based on motion and distance of the shift. You can't rely on feeling or sound because it just isn't there. Instead, you train your hand to go the distance of a shift. Now, I have heard this is more Shimano-like but I can't speak to that. After a few rides, I have adjusted to the Centaur shifting but I prefer the Record shifters. I am a bit puzzled how Campy approved shifting so different from the other groups. As for the ergonomics of the brifters, I haven't heard a bad remark about them - and for a good reason. They are more comfortable and offer a couple of additional hand positions. They feel a bit more like SRAM brifters.

Overall, I still would purchase this group - at $525 delivered, there really isn't a better deal out there. The more I ride the bike, the more I am getting used to the shifting. I the finish on the alloy is second to none. It is a timeless look that won't be dated like other materials will.

http://gallery.me.com/danspeirs/100483/IMG_0233/web.jpg?ver=12369237920001

http://gallery.me.com/danspeirs/100483/IMG_0236/web.jpg?ver=12369237480001

http://gallery.me.com/danspeirs/100483/IMG_0237/web.jpg?ver=12369237880001

http://gallery.me.com/danspeirs/100483/IMG_0239/web.jpg?ver=12369237510001

fierte_poser
03-18-2009, 12:27 PM
Guy,

Could you clarify? I think the only shift that is markedly different from old Centaur is the right finger lever (going up the cassette). I also just installed 2009 Centaur levers (on an otherwise 2006 Centaur drivetrain) and the FD shifts are just fine by me, and the right thumb lever shifts (going down the cassette) are fine too.

Its just that the right finger lever shifts are extremely light from a feel point of view.

Kent

GuyGadois
03-18-2009, 12:41 PM
Guy,

Could you clarify? I think the only shift that is markedly different from old Centaur is the right finger lever (going up the cassette). I also just installed 2009 Centaur levers (on an otherwise 2006 Centaur drivetrain) and the FD shifts are just fine by me, and the right thumb lever shifts (going down the cassette) are fine too.

Its just that the right finger lever shifts are extremely light from a feel point of view.

Kent

Good point. The only shift (out of the four possible - up and down on both sides) that is different is the up shift on the right side. All other shifts are similar to my Record.

-GG-

Elefantino
03-18-2009, 12:52 PM
This is disturbing, a bit.

I have ridden Shimano (my most recent was 70-something miles with DA 7900 on a Cannondale demo at RAGBRAI last year) and one of the thing I did NOT like about it was the slick, friction-like feel. If the Campy folks have gone over to that side, I am disappointed. I want the reassuring "clunk" to come through my fingertips.

And wasn't the samesaid "clunk" made even clunkier in the Record 10 Red?

Somebody who has ties to the good folks in Vicenza, please enlighten.

bluekudu
03-18-2009, 01:33 PM
PM sent (GuyGadois)

RudAwkning
03-18-2009, 01:55 PM
This is disturbing, a bit.

I have ridden Shimano (my most recent was 70-something miles with DA 7900 on a Cannondale demo at RAGBRAI last year) and one of the thing I did NOT like about it was the slick, friction-like feel. If the Campy folks have gone over to that side, I am disappointed. I want the reassuring "clunk" to come through my fingertips.

And wasn't the samesaid "clunk" made even clunkier in the Record 10 Red?

Somebody who has ties to the good folks in Vicenza, please enlighten.

The new 11 speed stuff still has a mild "clunk" to it. The 10 speed stuff doesn't. In fact I'd wager to say that there's more "clunk" in DA10 than the Centaur 10. I tend to overshift my new Centaur 10 more often than my other gruppos. That being said, once you work out the idiosyncracies it actuates very nicely. I'm riding several different gruppos (DA 10, 105 10, 2005 Chorus 10, 2009 Centaur 10 as well as my dt and barcon bikes) so I'm pretty un-biased.

Dave
03-18-2009, 02:38 PM
Since my first 2009 Centaur shifter report, 6 months ago, I've got two other bikes setup with 11 speed. I really do prefer the light, but noticeable click of the 11 speed right finger lever to the nearly nonexistant click of 10 speed. Shifting is better too and and chain runs as silently as any I've used (Campy, Shimano, KMC and Wipperman). Unfortunately there is no cure for the 10 speed's light click, unless they get enough complaints to start manufacturing a revised index disc that duplicates the shape of 11 speed model.

http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=52672&highlight=inside+2009+ergopower%5b/url

JohnHemlock
03-18-2009, 04:22 PM
I prefer the silver alloy look myself, but you are probably correct that nobody will be manufacturing gruppos from alloy in another couple years.

MilanoTom
03-18-2009, 04:47 PM
Since my first 2009 Centaur shifter report, 6 months ago, I've got two other bikes setup with 11 speed. I really do prefer the light, but noticeable click of the 11 speed right finger lever to the nearly nonexistant click of 10 speed. Shifting is better too and and chain runs as silently as any I've used (Campy, Shimano, KMC and Wipperman). Unfortunately there is no cure for the 10 speed's light click, unless they get enough complaints to start manufacturing a revised index disc that duplicates the shape of 11 speed model.

http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=52672&highlight=inside+2009+ergopower%5b/url

The 2009 levers use a pair of convex spring washers (I forget the proper name for them) in place of the infamous G-springs. The cupped portions face each other in the lever. According to the Campagnolo rep at the Park Tool Tech summit, a third spring washer can be added (behind the original pair with the cupped side facing the handlebar) to increase spring tension. I don't know if this would have any effect on the feel of the "click," however.

Regards,
Tom

Elefantino
03-18-2009, 04:52 PM
The new 11 speed stuff still has a mild "clunk" to it. The 10 speed stuff doesn't.
Yay!

Another reason that I have to upgrade to 11 speed!

Do you hear that, honey?

MilanoTom
03-18-2009, 05:24 PM
I forgot to mention one other thing. If you get the 11-speed indexing wheel, you can convert a 2009 10-speed lever to an 11-speed. I don't know how much the part costs (other than assuming that it's probably too much), but let's say it's fifty bucks. As of today, Probike kit is selling 2009 Veloce levers for $120.56, shipped. That would still give you 11-speed shift levers for under $175 (although for another fifty, you can just go ahead and get 2009 Chorus levers from them).

You just have to learn to take 'em apart yourself.

Regards,
Tom

356a
03-18-2009, 05:29 PM
what's the campy equivalent of the ultegra triple? I have been trying to decide between shimano triple and a campy, but I can't figure out the campy line nor which would be best.

I also considered the dura ace 7800 triple which is close in price.

athenasoar
03-18-2009, 06:13 PM
I have to compliment you on how nice your bike looks. I think it's really well done. The alloy group really fits well.

I've got 2009 Centaur on my bike too. I would appreciate more "clunk" as well, but I'm getting used to it.

Dave
03-18-2009, 06:24 PM
I forgot to mention one other thing. If you get the 11-speed indexing wheel, you can convert a 2009 10-speed lever to an 11-speed. I don't know how much the part costs (other than assuming that it's probably too much), but let's say it's fifty bucks. As of today, Probike kit is selling 2009 Veloce levers for $120.56, shipped. That would still give you 11-speed shift levers for under $175 (although for another fifty, you can just go ahead and get 2009 Chorus levers from them).

You just have to learn to take 'em apart yourself.

Regards,
Tom

Actually, you need two parts, the index disc and front rachet, plus a complete teardown of the front and back halves of the shifter to make this conversion. Better off to buy Chorus 11 speed shifters at present.

woolly
03-18-2009, 06:25 PM
I forgot to mention one other thing. If you get the 11-speed indexing wheel, you can convert a 2009 10-speed lever to an 11-speed. I don't know how much the part costs (other than assuming that it's probably too much), but let's say it's fifty bucks. As of today, Probike kit is selling 2009 Veloce levers for $120.56, shipped. That would still give you 11-speed shift levers for under $175 (although for another fifty, you can just go ahead and get 2009 Chorus levers from them).

You just have to learn to take 'em apart yourself.

Regards,
Tom

ALL 2009 10-speed, or only the Centaur ones that share the same general design as the new 11-speed Record & Chorus? My understanding is that you could not upgrade the (now) old-style shifters to 11-speed, but I could be wrong.

Dave
03-18-2009, 07:01 PM
ALL 2009 10-speed, or only the Centaur ones that share the same general design as the new 11-speed Record & Chorus? My understanding is that you could not upgrade the (now) old-style shifters to 11-speed, but I could be wrong.

All 2009 "ultrashift" levers have the same design, including Veloce. For some reason, Campy also makes an older escape mechanism version of the Veloce shifter for 2009, but I can't imagine anyone selling them. If the brake hood and brake lever are of the new design, so are the guts.

You are correct that no pre-2009 shifter can be converted to 11 speed, but that is not what was suggested.

MilanoTom
03-18-2009, 09:08 PM
All 2009 "ultrashift" levers have the same design, including Veloce. For some reason, Campy also makes an older escape mechanism version of the Veloce shifter for 2009, but I can't imagine anyone selling them. If the brake hood and brake lever are of the new design, so are the guts.

You are correct that no pre-2009 shifter can be converted to 11 speed, but that is not what was suggested.

You're right, the 2009 Veloce Escape can't be converted, since it doesn't have the new internals. I keep forgetting about those levers. I have no clue why Campagnolo even bothered putting them in the lineup this year.

Regards,
Tom

MilanoTom
03-18-2009, 09:14 PM
Actually, you need two parts, the index disc and front rachet, plus a complete teardown of the front and back halves of the shifter to make this conversion. Better off to buy Chorus 11 speed shifters at present.

Better to learn how to do the teardown. It's far easier to do than it was with the older levers, and no special tools are needed. I'm only an amateur, and I can take them apart and (more important) reassemble them.

Campagnolo has a shop DVD with a step-by-step video demonstration. I'd post it to YouTube if I could figure out how.

Regards,
Tom

fixednwinter
03-18-2009, 09:21 PM
Your alloy Centaur cranks are gorgeous. Nice to see quality alloy Campagnolo cranks as an alternative to the ubiquitous carbon.

woolly
03-19-2009, 09:10 AM
You're right, the 2009 Veloce Escape can't be converted, since it doesn't have the new internals. I keep forgetting about those levers. I have no clue why Campagnolo even bothered putting them in the lineup this year.

Regards,
Tom

And I had forgotten that anything south of Centaur had the new body/hood design - thanks for the reminder.

Dave
03-19-2009, 09:11 AM
Better to learn how to do the teardown. It's far easier to do than it was with the older levers, and no special tools are needed. I'm only an amateur, and I can take them apart and (more important) reassemble them.

Campagnolo has a shop DVD with a step-by-step video demonstration. I'd post it to YouTube if I could figure out how.

Regards,
Tom

I did a teardown of the new levers, six months ago. It was very easy, but I've also bought Chorus 11 levers for $210, so it made no sense to convert cheaper levers. I don't know of anyone stocking parts yet.

toaster
03-19-2009, 10:23 AM
I just purchased a 2009 Campy Centaur group and it will be soon be installed on my Masi Team 3V frame.

I'll put up pictures when I get it back.

BTW, right now for an all alloy group that will go on older bikes seeking a classic look I don't think you can beat Centaur.

MilanoTom
03-19-2009, 02:50 PM
I figured out how to post the video demonstration for overhauling the 2009 Ultra Shift levers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5mzR8-rh8M

It shouldn't be that hard for someone used to working on bikes.

Regards,
Tom

Dave
03-19-2009, 04:19 PM
Great video, but they didn't show the two 2mm balls and the tiny springs on the underside of the part with the rachet teeth on the OD, that bears against the index disc. You have to be very careful that those don't drop out and go rolling around. I didn't notice any grease being applied either. The very early models that I took apart had no grease, but applied a thin layer upon reassembly. I took a later model partially apart and found Campy white grease on the index disc.

thinpin
03-20-2009, 02:56 AM
I, too, have just built with 2009 centaur. I must say the "lack of thwack" is disconcerting but I am getting used to it. The thumb shift still has the campag feel. I am really liking the new hoods.

dana_e
03-24-2009, 04:40 PM
Wait for Athena 11. new (re-do) campy group

giverdada
08-08-2009, 08:54 PM
that's one classy-looking machine. nicely done! i have been running a bit of a frankenbike drivetrain lately, with rebuilt 8-speed chorus shifters to make them 10-speed, and a lone grey centaur g rear hub among an otherwise silver drivetrain. your build inspires me to build from one unified kit. i'm just wondering, how did you get it for $525 shipped???

jlwdm
08-08-2009, 09:11 PM
Ribble is UK and the internet stores from the UK had some great prices this year when the dollar strengthened for awhile.

Jeff