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Sitting on the 2019 team bikes of Lotto-Soudal, Movistar and UAE Team Emirates is what looks to be a production-ready fourth generation of Campagnolo’s EPS electronic groupset – now in 12-speed.
Campagnolo became the first to offer a 12-speed groupset on the road with its latest Super Record and Record mechanical groupsets which launched last year. However, with the entire WorldTour loyal to electronic shifting groupsets, we hadn’t previously seen 12-speed hit the WorldTour peloton.
Seeing a new 12-speed version of EPS is certainly no surprise. And while it simply wasn’t ready when Campagnolo released its 12-speed mechanical groupsets last year, it’s looking good to go now.
What we know
While Campagnolo is quiet on the specifics of the new electric groups, there are a number of things that are safe to assume. That includes the newly revised derailleur geometry, fresh crankset and wider gear ranges of the 12-speed mechanical options look to carry over to the new electronic variants.
The cassettes are the same 11-29T and 11-32T options from the mechanical group. And as already known, Campagnolo managed to add that extra cog without requiring a new freehub design, so existing wheels should accept the new cassette without issue.
The crankset design is the same as the mechanical groups too, featuring a revised shape with a familiar four-bolt spider and UltraTorque connection. The options of 53/39T, 52/36T, and 50/34T will remain, with all bikes at the Santos Tour Down Under fitted with the common pro’s choice (53/39T).
Also carrying over are the brakes, both mechanical rim brake or hydraulic disc brake options.
The new rear derailleur appears to have a slimmer frontal profile to its predecessor, including what looks like a shallower hanger bolt interface, and now features a few cutouts for reduced weight. That borrowed parallelogram geometry revision means the derailleur should offer more chain wrap around the cassette and more positive shifting than previous generations.
However, unlike the mechanical version, the electronic rear derailleur doesn’t use the direct-mount interface, rather opting for a more traditional derailleur bolt.
The front derailleur doesn’t appear to have changed as much as the rear. The cage now features carbon fibre on the outer side and is most likely stiffer than before – a welcome change.
The shifters retain Campagnolo’s iconic method of shifting, and a quick click reveals a familiar tactile button feel. The lever shape is similar to the previous generation.
And finally something we know for certain: The new 12-speed versions of Record and Super Record EPS are going to be very expensive.
What we don’t know (for sure)
There were strong rumours for Campagnolo going wireless in its next iteration – joining SRAM and FSA in the process – but that’s certainly not evident here. Instead, we see what looks like the existing V3 junction box in use and very obvious connection wires to the derailleurs.
Speaking of the junction box, we can’t help but think that Campagnolo will offer various fitment forms similar to what Shimano offer, including one to fit in the downtube of frames such as the Pinarello F10, Trek Madone and latest Colnagos.
As it stands, existing EPS 11-speed V3 requires a magnetic band to be wrapped around the tube that hosts the battery in order to completely shut-off the system for longer-term storage. One feature we hope to see is a fully automatic battery shut-off when the system is not in use.
Given how polished these groups look, we anticipate the official release is imminent. Until then, check out the photos we took at the Santos Tour Down Under and speculate away!