Having more recently hitting our shores, we spent a few rides with the new Campagnolo H11 to get a feel for the new set up. The new “H11” series sits at the top of the Campy food chain in line with the quality and performance expected from Super Record, Record or Chorus and is available in both EPS (electronic) and mechanical shift versions. Hydraulic discs are also available further down the lineup in the aluminium Potenza series.
The internals for the new H11 Ergopower controls were completely reworked to make room for the hydraulic reservoir within the lever. In development, Campagnolo teamed up with Magura to lean on their hydraulic expertise while focusing heavily on staying true to the ergo feel Campy fans are familiar with. The result is a mostly unchanged lever look and feel, with some subtle tweaks, both to accommodate the hydraulic internals and improve performance.
The ergo lever hoods are 8 mm taller to squeeze in the reservoir, but the upper contact surface remains the same. A subtle change to the brake lever adds an outward bend aimed to ease braking while in the drops.
The Ergopower controls sport a number of adjustment options to personalise the reach and braking response. An Adjustable Modulation System (AMS) offers a long and short position to adjust free stroke by 9 mm while a separate micro adjuster allows you to tweak lever reach by up to 16mm.
Calipers & Rotors
Campagnolo have opted for flat mount calipers and designed them to be compatible with all flat-mount frames and forks without the need for adaptors. This is said to improve braking performance by reducing flex and creates a better aesthetic (plus it sheds a few grams). The options are limited to 160mm in the front and 140/160mm in the rear (160mm recommended for riders over 82kg).
The calipers feature a special magnet spring to ensure the pads fully retract, improving performance and longevity. The pads themselves are made from an organic resin compound and have a chamfered edge to gently guide the rotor between the pads allowing easier fitting of a wheel. The small touches extend to the rotors where Campagnolo added a rounded edge said to reduce cutting risk (mainly if coming into contact with skin).
The sleek looking H11 carbon crankset features a slightly offset chainring position to compensate for wider disc specific rear hub maintaining shifting alignment and performance. No change to the Q factor so those moving from a rim brake setup should feel at home.
Naturally, the hydraulic system adds a few grams (just 324g according to Campagnolo) when compared to a rim brake mechanical Super Record groupset.
- Rear derailleur (Super Record): 166g
- Front derailleur (Super Record): 71g
- H11 ErgoPower levers: 436g
- Calipers: (160mm): 262g
- Rotors (160mm): 240g
- Cassette: 177g
- Chain: 222g
- Crankset: 632g
Total: 2.206kg (excludes mechanical cables and housing)
The H11 Super Record mechanical disc groupset retails for R 45 225, while the Bora One Disc wheelset pictured retails for R 31 725.
Reading through the technical touches and understanding the fanatical Italian design approach is one thing, experiencing the result is another.
On a variety of twisty Cape descents, the braking performance was impressively dependable and at times caught my non-disc riding mates off guard as I suddenly shaved speed. Campagnolo claims that their disc brakes stop significantly faster than their competitors in the wet and the dry. While unfortunately I didn’t get to test performance in the wet, in dry conditions I found they were very consistent and provided substantial stopping power with little hand force required. Better than the rest? From a just few rides and without a direct comparison on hand at the time it’s difficult to say, but I was suitably happy with the performance. Through some testy switchbacks and repetitive hard braking H11 performed consistently well with little noise or complaint.
The brake lever design echoes the ergo mantra with an assured feeling of fingertip control in the hoods and the drops. While a minor adjustment, the 8 mm taller hoods are a welcome change for me having always felt that Campy hoods were just that much too short. The reach adjustment and AMS free stroke adjustment do well to provide you with options. In the short stroke mode the brakes are a bit more grabby and you need just a light pull on the lever to actuate the brake. My preference was the long mode which felt more familiar, biting later into the stroke which was more forgiving when I instinctively grabbed a handful of brakes.
All round H11 looks to be an impressive offering and, in taking their time, Campagnolo have delivered a multitude of detailed touches to create a polished product.