The Campagnolo Super Record was the ultimate derailleur of its time. All sorts of outrageous claims were made for it - the aluminium was some sort of super special alloy, the black anodising was some kind of super special coating, the supposedly new geometry was the ultimate expression of something or other that was going to give the ultimate gear change etc. etc... One colleague of mine once explained that Campagnolo was the only company in the whole wide world that could work with ‘magnetesium’ - which was fortunate as making products from a non-existent material must be the ultimate example of niche marketing.
The truth is a little more mundane. The knuckles are exactly the knuckles from the Nuovo Record. The aluminium used is exactly the alloy used in the Nuovo Record. Black anodising is - wait for it - black anodising. The parallelogram plates are restyled in a 1970’s kind of way, but are geometrically identical to those of the Nuovo Record.
The real differences are the use of titanium for the two large allen key bolts and for the nuts on the pulley bolts, and a bigger ‘flange’ on the pulley cage to push the chain onto low gears. The use of titanium certainly lowers the weight. The changes to the pulley cage help, but do not improve the desultory change onto the high gears that was a bit of a problem with the Nuovo Record - and remains so with the Super Record. Of course the biggest ‘improvement’ was that the Super Record inexplicably cost nearly twice as much as the already insanely expensive Nuovo Record.
But despite debunking Campagnolo’s (and the horde of Campagnolo groupies’) myths, the Super Record remains something special. Like a £10,000 mechanical Breitling watch that is fractionally less good at keeping time than a £10 quartz Casio, function does not tell the whole story. The Super Record feels great in your hand, has a timeless look, and seems valuable simply because it was once so ludicrously expensive. It’s hard to define what makes a classic - but whatever it is the Campagnolo Super Record has it in spades.
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