First Look: Campagnolo Athena 11 Speed Road Group

campagnolo athena 11 speed road bike group bicycle component gruppo from campy with aluminum and carbon fiber crank arm options ultra shift carbon shift brake levers

Campagnolo has released photos of their new Athena 11 speed road group, which falls under Super Record, Record and Chorus.  It’s likely aimed at the enthusiast level rider looking for a little more gearing range.

As shown in the family photo above, it’ll have both aluminum (2,352g/set) and carbon fiber (2,239g/set) crankset options.  It should hit the U.S. sometime this summer, likely June or July, and pricing won’t be set until June 1, according to Campy’s North American GM Tom Kattus’ quote on BikeRadar.

This is the first 11-speed group with an aluminum crankarm option, and it’s part of the 2010 range.

Hit ‘more’ for component photos and individual specs and weights…

Bullet points from Campy. Click on any of the pics to enlarge…

campagnolo athena 11 speed road bike group bicycle component gruppo from campy with aluminum and carbon fiber crank arm options ultra shift carbon shift brake levers

Athena 11s controls: They’re Ultra-Shift and feature all the design particulars:

  • Body with asymmetrical design. The form of the body follows the natural form of the hands, thus allowing for a more comfortable position when the hands are resting on the controls;
  • Double curvature of the lever. The lever has a double curvature, which provides an adequate place for the fingers whether the hands are positioned on the upper or lower part of the handlebars. This guarantees perfect braking in every situation;
  • AluCarbon lever. The brake lever is in carbon fibre with aluminium core. This ensures reliability over time, stiffness, mechanical resistance and corrosion resistance, a long life cycle, and an aggressive “racing” look;
  • Vari-Cushion. The lever hoods incorporate Vari-Cushion technology developed by Campagnolo, which gives a different consistency depending on the point: softer where it serves to dampen vibrations, firmer where the hands need to have greater sensitivity and grip;
  • Mechanisms in low friction polymers. The mechanisms of the controls are made of special low friction polymers that make shifting very light and maintain extremely high precision over time;
  • Weight: 360 g.

campagnolo athena 11 speed road bike group bicycle component gruppo from campy with aluminum and carbon fiber crank arm options ultra shift carbon shift brake levers

Front Derailleur: Incorporates all the characteristics of the 11s groupsets:

  • Inner cage with Ultra Shift 11s geometry. The special design of the inner cage considerably increases the swiftness of shifting under stress, and thanks to the “funnel” shape, in the resting position it allows the most extreme chain crossing without annoying friction;
  • Steel plate. The plate is made of steel with special anti-friction treatments;
  • Available in the versions: braze-on, 32 or 35;
  • Weight: 92 g.

campagnolo athena 11 speed road bike group bicycle component gruppo from campy with aluminum and carbon fiber crank arm options ultra shift carbon shift brake levers

Rear Derailleur: The heart of the groupset and its key player, the rear derailleur is constructed along the 11s engineering lines:

  • Ultra-Shift front plate in aluminium. Greater rigidity of the whole, it increases the speed and precision of shifting, reduces play, prolongs the life cycle, and is resistant to corrosion;
  • Ultra-Shift Parallelogram. Increases rigidity and therefore the speed and precision of shifting, and reduces the weight;
  • Ultra-Shift bodies in aluminium. Both bodies are aluminium, which translates into greater stress resistance, reduction of play, and increased shifting precision;
  • Pulleys in special material. A material that reduces the weight and dampens the annoying vibrations of the chain;
  • Weight: 218 g.

Cassette: Uses the Ultra-Shift 11s sprocket set of its “elder brother” Chorus:

  • Steel sprockets. The sprockets are steel with Nickel-Chrome surface treatment, which considerably increases the life cycle;
  • Lockring in aluminium;
  • Ultra-Shift frame. In aluminium, it was engineered to give the maximum rigidity to the assembly. This means greater shifting precision and less dispersion of energy during the pedal push;
  • Ultra-Shift toothing design. The special design of the teeth optimises shifting especially in the descent phase of the chain;
  • Ultra-Shift synchronisation. The sprocket set is designed to ensure that everything is always perfectly synchronised. This means that shifting is always precise and rapid and that the chain is not subject to any type of stress;
  • Combinations: 11-23, 11-25, 12-25, 12-27;
  • Weight: 236 g.

11 Speed Chain: The chain is hands down one of the most challenging components to engineer and requires design choices that are often not evident. The Athena groupset will use the Chorus 11s chain, which has the following characteristics:

  • 5.5 mm wide;
  • New steel for outer links. Campagnolo took advantage of the occasion of the 11s to develop a new steel that is 20% stronger than the one used for the 10s chains;
  • Ni-PTFE treatment. This is a special treatment that prolongs the life of the chain;
  • Ultra-Link System. A special fastening system developed for the 11s chains with an extremely high retention force of the pins;
  • Weight: 256 g.

campagnolo athena 11 speed road bike group bicycle component gruppo from campy with aluminum and carbon fiber crank arm options ultra shift carbon shift brake levers

Crankset: The Athena 11s crankset makes use of the Campagnolo Ultra-Torque system and in the standard version it is aluminium:

  • Supersize design. The chainring has a new design that increases its rigidity for greater power transfer;
  • 8 pins. The outer chainring is equipped with 8 pins, which facilitate the ascent of the chain in many more points with respect to other chainrings on the market;
  • Synchronisation of the Ultra-Shift chainrings. The new 11s chainrings have been designed in such a way as to have two sectors specialised for ascent and two for descent, which makes shifting much faster and without hesitation;
  • Ultra-Shift design of the teeth. The teeth of the inner chainring have an asymmetrical profile to facilitate the descent of the chain from the outer chainring;
  • Versions: standard 39/53, compact 34/50 with cranks of 170 ? 172.5 ? 175 mm;
  • The Athena crankset is also available in the carbon fibre version as an optional;
  • Weight: 869 g (aluminium version).

campagnolo athena 11 speed road bike group bicycle component gruppo from campy with aluminum and carbon fiber crank arm options ultra shift carbon shift brake levers

campagnolo athena 11 speed road bike group bicycle component gruppo from campy with aluminum and carbon fiber crank arm options ultra shift carbon shift brake levers

Brakes:  The Athena 11s brakes are designed to stop the bicycle in the least space possible without locking the wheels (Editor’s note: Duh.):

  • Skeleton design. This particular design makes it possible to eliminate the material in excess, thus reducing weight while maintaining the rigidity of the braking system unaltered and therefore the braking performance;
  • Differentiated brakes. The front brake provides strong stopping power, while the rear brake serves to modulate braking and prevent the rear wheel from locking;
  • Special compound of the pads. Developed in-house by Campagnolo, this compound has the merit of maintaining a virtually identical braking curve in both wet and dry conditions. Also guarantees excellent modulatability and a good service life;
  • Ergal screws;
  • Weight: 322 g.

Comments

Roy - 05/22/09 - 5:32am

Looks great… except for the carbon brake levers.

Why would I build up a bike with a classic-look, almost all-alloy-finish groupset, only to have the effect ruined by carbon-weave levers?

Makes no sense, Campy. :(

The Dude - 06/22/09 - 3:39am

Need to get a set of Centaur ’09 alloy levers then with an 11-speed re-build kit. The Centaur ’09 are identical to the 11-speed except for an indexing wheel or something in the right lever. Only way I know to get alloy 11-speed. Athena does look to be a funny mix between Centaur and Chorus.

So I guess they killed Mirage and Xenon from the bottom, but added Super at the top last year and now Athena is back. Six gruppos plus the triple and pista specialty stuff sounds like a lot to me.

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