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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all

I would like see some non-religious non-bigoted rational and unbiased opinions on which groupset to chose - Ultegra or Centaur (alloy, not carbon). I am not fussed - Shimano or Campagnolo, I am a fan of both.

In other words I would like to see a list of advantages and disadvantages of either. I ruled out DuraAce, Record and Chorus due their to silly high prices and dubious advantages over Ultegra/Centaur (for non-elite fitness riders like me) and ruled out Veloce due to it's very heavy weight over Centaur alloy (>300gr) and 105 10-speed due to it not being that much cheaper than Ultegra-10 (~$200?).

So, 2006, Ultegra or Centaur alloy - pros and cons please?

thank you in advance
 

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Pick between them based on the shifters and brake hood shape. When I got my first set of modern brake/shifters, I fondled both the Campy and Shimano systems in the shop. The Shimano layout felt more natural to me.
 

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I prefer the shape of the Campy levers, but I think Shimano shifts better. Hard to believe Centaur is same price as Ultegra. Have you actually tried both? I'm with ericm979--pick the one that feels best. They'll both perform nicely. I think Ultegra will shift better out of the box, but Campy will hold up better and be more serviceable. Can probably pick up some screaming deals on 2006 Campy when the 2007 stuff comes out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks all, 2007?

thank you for quick replies

I did not realise that in 2007 Centaur will be "upgraded". Any details on that? Will Ultegra likely to get a "boost" in 2007 too given 105 is very close to it now?

My LBS said Centaur will be about the same price as Ultegra. Is this your expectation or is one *typically* cheaper than the other? My LBS said that Centaur will be more servicable but the spare parts for it are very expensive even if the whole group all-up costs about same as Ultegra.
 

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Somebody recently had a picture of a can of worms... Campy v Shimano often becomes that.

As for 2007 - it's not the Centaur gruppo that is getting upgraded specifically, so much as Campy is releasing new parts, specifically, cranksets, and unlike trickle-down of the past it looks like they're just doing it across the board.

Beyond that, just pick the one that gets you going, that you WANT more. All 10-speed groups have interchangable everything (that is, Record shifters and Veloce derailleurs, or whatev), so "spare parts" for the Campy won't be so bad. What will you need "spares" of, anyway?

You need to figure out what your priorities are, I think. You say you're a "fitness rider," and you're value minded, hence rejection of the high-end gruppos. Yet you also reject Veloce because of 300 grams -- less than a water bottle -- and 105 because $200 buys much cooler Ultegra. FWIW, now that 105 is 10-speed, with the same outboard bearing-style crank, I don't know what Ultegra has over it except a few less grams.

Campy is rarer in the USA, so it's got the "rare = elite" factor going for it for many. Some feel it's more attractive, too -- I think the hoods look a lot nicer, and cleaner. Chains and cassettes used to cost a lot more, but the new 10-speed Shimano stuff is every bit as expensive.

The biggest savings you get with Shimano at this point is in used wheels -- there are a lot of people who buy nice wheels and then get too many of them and sell barely used sets for 60% of retail. There are far more with Shimano freehubs.

Basically, the stock answer is get the nicest parts in your price range so you don't get upgrade-itis immediately, and select the brand whose hoods fit your hands / shifting style you like the best. Both are great and "advantages" of each are really all subjective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks, brifters/shiftes/hoods now

re last point of brifters/shifters.

How is Campag Centaur thumb shifter better or worse than Ultegra approach? I currently ride on Ultegra-10 for last ~18+ months since it was first released. I see that with Ultegra you can change up and down while you are in the drops and hoods and with Campag this can only be done on hoods. Is it an advantage of Shimano? SRAM seems to be similar to Shimano in this area. When is the Campag thumb shift approch better?

I "felt" Record hoods (same shape as Centaur?) in the shop and could not decide immediately if I prefered them but I think Shimano hood is "thicker" and "rounder" shape and seems a bit longer for my relatively large palms and long-ish fingers. Am I being mistaken? Anyone with large hands and long fingers riding Campag ?

thanks all
 

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I've got large hands & long fingers, (size 11 gloves). On my all-Chorus bike, I have no problems shifting from the drops using the thumb lever. I also had an all-Ultrega bike. I liked that gruppo a lot too. I'm not familiar with Centaur, so I can't help you there, but I like Chorus & Ultegra equally well, except I like the shape of the Campy hoods better, and IMO, the Campy's better lookng. I'd say...flip a coin. You won't go too far wrong.
 

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I have used 10sp DuraAce and actually "downgraded" to Centaur on my last bike. To be perfectly frank, I could ride Shimano or Campy any day. When I made the switch I was a "recreational rider" doing about 50 miles a week and a couple charity centuries a year on my $500 (complete) bike. The difference is in the feel as far as I'm concerned.

Performance wise, Centaur is an absolute workhorse of a group that is perfectly race ready. Shifting is every bit as crisp and responsive as DA as long as it is tuned right the first time and with the 2007 group getting carbon brake levers and face plate on the rear derailleur it has the looks to kill. It just may last longer, too, because I had a pair of 10sp Ultegra levers that got some grit in them from a crash and within 100mi the grit had completely worn down the plastic internals. Unusual, yes, but it did happen.

How the hoods sit on the bars is very different. I do love how the Shimano hoods have extra hand positions due to their larger size, but I find the Campy hoods fit in my hand just right, so I don't ever really look for other positions on them.

One last thing, I have had a hard time with wheels. I always look for models that can be easily converted (Mavics are SUPER easy) but do NOT use a conversion cassette! They don't shift nearly as well as the real deal.

For a look at 2007 Campy go here:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/tech.php?id=tech/2006/features/campaggroups2007

And for SRAM:
http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za/CCY?PAGE=CATEGORY_VIEW&CATEGORY.ID=1740&MODE=
 
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