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 technical differences from the classic Nuovo Record are:
- the use of exotic material for the two large allen key bolts.
- a bigger ‘flange’ on the pulley cage to push the chain onto low gears.
The exotic materials certainly lower 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 £8,000 Montblanc pen that writes marginally less well than a £2 Uni-ball, 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.
This Campagnolo Super Record is from 1978. Some of its distinguishing features are:
- The b-knuckle is stamped 'PATENT-78'.
- The b-pivot and p-pivot allen bolts are aluminium. This is unusual, they are titanium on most other Super Records of this generation.
- The logo is painted onto the flat outer parallelogram plate.
- The parallelogram spring is mounted on a bolt at the b-knuckle.
- The inner parallelogram plate has a flat surface and is engraved with a stylised 'SUPERECORD'.
- The outer pulley cage plate is the 'improved' shape, but is attached to the p-knuckle with an embedded nut.
- The pulley bolts have hex heads and screw directly into a thread in the inner pulley cage plate.
I am a little unclear about the use of aluminium b- and p-pivot bolts on the 1978 Super Record:
- On the one hand, I have been told that Campagnolo was keen that the 'new look' 1978 Super Record should be lighter than the 'old look' 1977 model. As the 'new look' pulley cage weighed more, this meant that a chunk of weight had to be lost elsewhere - hence the use of aluminium in these big bolts. In this telling, by 1979 Campagnolo had returned to its policy of stressing indestructibility over lightness, and removed the fragile aluminium bolts and reinstated the tougher titanium bolts.
- On the other hand I have been told a different story, that aluminium bolts were always an option on the Super Record (particularly for pro teams) and that Campagnolo simple promoted this option more enthusiastically in 1978 than in other years.
Perhaps someone out there knows the answer.
- Derailleur brands: Campagnolo
- Categories: Campagnolo - the good stuff
- Themes: Ultra-lightweight - road racing models
- Country: Italy
- Date of introduction: 1978
- Date of this example: 1978 (stamped PATENT-78)
- Model no.: 4001
- Weight: 178g
- Maximum cog: 28 teeth (bike shop folklore)
- Total capacity: 26 teeth (bike shop folklore)
- Pulley centre to centre: 46mm
- Index compatibility: friction
- Chain width: 3/32
- Logic: top normal
- B pivot: unsprung
- P pivot: sprung
- Materials: aluminium, including the b-pivot and p-pivot bolts