Some things I learned about Campagnolo ergopower shifters..

campy

I have to admit that I can be pretty frugal when it comes to bike parts. A part of me likes the challenge of building something on a limited budget, and another part of me just can’t believe some things are as expensive as they are.

In my most recent attempts at a cheap build on my CX bike, I went with a Campagnolo setup as I got a wheelset and complete drivertrain sans shifters for $75. I bought a pair of mirage 8 speed shifters off of ebay without really understanding what I was getting into. Turns out, they were pretty gummy and the left one couldn’t pull the derailleur into position. Initially, I didn’t think that these were the “ergopower” levers since they were so old, and I assumed that they weren’t rebuildable. Turns out, ergopower goes back to ’92, including mine. Good news, right? Well.. kind of.

My shifters were of the first generation of ergopower, given away by the pointy hoods. (as opposed to the later, and current, rounded ones) Apparently some people consider this second generation, as the original ones had metal bodies, and these had “carbon”. I don’t know what actual Campy cannon is, because they rarely label anything, a major problem in the whole process of working on old stuff. Regardless, first generation (metal bodied or not) don’t have replacement parts available.

Not that I even knew what parts I needed. It seems like it’s mostly a mystery except to the few big shops who do tons of rebuilds. Some folks in my local club and online pointed me in the right direction though. Apparently, the “g-springs” should be changed every 10k miles, and are a common culprit for problems, and the “carrier” that the springs go in can also be cracked and problematic. I was told that modern g-springs will work in first generation shifters if you put them in backwards. The springs come in sets of 4 (per side) for about $15. So I was looking at $30 + $25 for new hoods to fix my $40 ebay levers, and I wasn’t even sure if they would work.

I gave up. I thought about switching to a shimano setup, or maybe going 1×8 (cringe), or 1×10, but the cost would have been significant. Fortunately, the manager at the shop I work at happened to have a set of broken, but good shifting chorus 8 speed, first gen shifters. One of the bodies had cracked where the lever pin attaches. I used these, and swapped one of my mirage bodies for the broken chorus one. With the help of a Campy rebuild video on youtube, I was able to get the lever apart and back together pretty easily. The video was for a 10 speed, modern lever, and had a few differences, like the return spring on top, and the posted, plastic carrier, but it was still pretty easy to follow. The only tricky thing is that bolt that holds the whole mechanism together is left hand thread on the right lever of the first generation.

In general, this experience makes me feel even more non committal towards Campagnolo products. They certainly have some good things going for them, like the ease of rebuildability, and the ability to upgrade 9 speed levers to 10. Unfortunately the scarcity of parts and information for them, at least in my geography, makes them a huge pain.

To do my part, here are a list of links that I’ve found useful in this drivetrain adventure. Hopefully they help someone out there.

Ergopower overhaul instructions from Campyonly.com
Part numbers (incl early Ergopower shifters) from Campagnolo.com
Second generation Ergopower parts and kits from Branford Bike

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3 thoughts on “Some things I learned about Campagnolo ergopower shifters..

  1. I enjoyed your story and this told me that i’m working with some “old” Chorus levers since mine are also held together with a left-handed thread. I also ran into a right side crack spring “carrier” and found a local shop that uses a modern spring carrier made of carbon fiber instead of aluminum and they’ve been succesful cutting the stick of the side away from the alignment bumps and shimming the smaller bumps to make them fit the lever housing. I’m taking a different approach…. I modeled the spring carrier in Solidworks and printed some in PLA plastic to test fit the assembly. Since it seems to work, I’m ordered a carrier 3D printed in steel and shared the STL for for this part on Thingiverse.com so others can download and print, or modify as needed, or send tot a3D printing service to get the part in metal. I used i.materialize.com and a steel parts will ship to me in a week or so from Belgium for US$31 delivered. Stainless steel was $71 plus shipping and titanium was $83 plus shipping. Hope this helps others out there in old campy land.

    • Thanks for you comment! The Campy post gets the most hits of anything on my blog by a wide margin, so I know there have to be other folks out there who might be interested in the retrofit you mentioned. Be sure and let me know how the new part fits. I’ve always been curious if there’s any shrinkage with sintered metal processes.

  2. The shrinkage is usually accounted for in the CAM (3D slicing software). The software is setup with shrinkage parameters for each material and the CAM software compensates accordingly. So, I expect the printed part to be a dead on match for my model. The only mod I’m expecting to need – is to run a drill bit through the two spring holes to make sure they pivot smoothly. I’ll definitely copy you on my experience.

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