[CR]Early C-rec field testing

Example: Production Builders:Frejus
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2004 11:18:32 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Tom Dalton" <tom_s_dalton@yahoo.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
In-Reply-To: <CATFOODK4dXahOE8kNY000038cf@catfood.nt.phred.org>
Subject: [CR]Early C-rec field testing

Jerry wrote:

Since Campy had a tradition of testing stuff with pro teams for a year or more before release, maybe the rust problem was discovered there, but then why did they release them? (full text below)

I know it's OT but all this talk of early C-record has me all excited (err.. in a good, but not unwholesome way). Campy NR/SR/CR from the beginning of CPSC time to the advent of Ergo is what interests me, probably because that is what I used and/or lusted after in my mis-spent youth. It seems that Campy really jumped the gun in some ways with C-rec, and in some ways they were way behind schedule in getting it into widespread use. It was my understanding, back in the day, that Campy wanted the C-rec out for the 1984 No-lympics, but this clearly did not happen. Had they brought it out by Olympics time they would have beat Shimano to the draw, since all the Shimano-equipped riders in the 1984 road race (based on my review of photos) were still sporting Dura Ace EX (with a conspicuous dose of Campy SR rear ders, brakes levers, etc. thrown in). Man, if Campy had worked things out, Shimano would never have dethroned them with the 7400 SIS group, and at every turn of the road since ;-)! Anyway, in the summer of 84 it was SR all around for Campy pros and ameteurs alike. In fact, the script logo calipers, born of the 50th group, and destined to be the Cobalto glamour, were not even seen on Euro pro bikes in the 1984 season, though Moser, in has pimp-daddy way, did sport some 50th calipers on his Giro TT rig.

The shifter of choice among pros in those days was the Simplex/Mavic/Gippe/Edco (anyone else?) retrofriction. By mid 1984 an apparent majority of Campy equipped riders had slipped this forbidden part onto their bikes, regardless of who was their sponsor. By Tour time, in what appears to be a reaction to the increasing presence of this non-Vicenza item, some riders on some teams had the C-record prototype shifter (looks like a bulky "Super Record" shitfer, but the guts are C-rec... and as an aside, if anyone can tell me where to get a pair of these I'd be very grateful, though I probably can't afford them,as I've only seem one set in private hands). Anyway, by the time of the 1985 Fleche, Steven Rooks, for one, had the actual C-record levers on his bike. This is the first appearance of any real C-record part that I could find in the 1984 and 1985 Winning mag year books. A few C-rec brake levers would appear around Tour time 1985, and that was it for the year. Interesting, is it not, that Mel Pinto already had a whole group, with the recalled brakes, in his shop by this time? So much for Campy's thorough race proving program! Those Deltas wouldn't see significant presence in the pro peolotion until 1987!

I know that some frame builders and distributors had full C groups with deltas by early 1985, becasue the groups showed up in ads at that time (Gita, Medici...). I think our beloved E-riccaro scored some 1st gen Deltas by holding onto a set that he was given to display on his bikes at a trade show. He didn't return them to Campy when they were recalled. Smart move ricky, do you remember when this was?

So when did the pros start to use C-record? Other than the shifters, and a few brake levers, I see no C-rec until I look at images from the 1986 season. I think some teams had full groups right away, but 7-11, Deltongo, LaVie Claire and others seemed to buy in more slowly. Perhaps this was in part because thay were waiting for SR stuff to wear out. I can see not wanting to build up a whole bunch of wheels and glue on a ton of tires, and toss all kinds of good fully set-up wheels just to sport the new hubs. On the other hand, there are some parts that were obviously deliberately avoided. A lot of guys used SR brake levers, and SL pedals (mostly track) long after switching everything else to C-rec. I think the parts of the bike that you actually touch are the ones that a seasoned riders are least willing to fool with. Look at how many guys routed their Cobalto and even Delta levers non-aero, right into the late 80's! Some guys were used to having tha cable there, maybe as an added barrier to slipping off.... or maybe they just like the different cable action.

Anyway, the bottom line is that C-record was absolutely not field tested in the peloton, with the significant exception of the shifter, which by the way, was the only part in the whole group that was actually a significant improvement over SR. The rest of the changes were primarily cosmetic (and lovely), and where the changes were actually mechanical, they were not improvements.. Specifically, the front hub, BB, and HS bearings got smaller and wore out much faster than the SR reduced stuff. The hub flanges were initially too thick and were countersunk on alternate holes, and they tended to break more spokes that regular Record hubs. The fancy top spring on the rear der did nothing to aid shifting and was an "improvement" to aid wheel changes. It typically broke. All of this stuff was eventually worked out, and in the end, the group was all the more like the SR reduced group that it replaced. The only C-record parts that didn't have some basic flaw when introduced, and that were never really changed (to my knowledge) were the seatpost (just a reshaped SR... though it got a coarser bolt much later on) and the shifters (ah-ha!).

There is a similar story to the Mavic-to-CR-prototype-to-true-CR shifter saga that took place in the same 1984 to 1986 timeframe, when it appears that Campy made some special aero-routed SR levers in response to the increased use of Gran Compe levers among Campy-equipped teams (often on TT bikes) and not long after that had limitred numbers of 1st gen Delta (cobalto) levers on some pro's bikes. The earliest sighting I have on the C-rec brake levers was on Hinault's Tour TT bike... also seen on Zotemelk's World's winnng Colnago.

Tom Dalton

Emmaus, PA

Jerry wrote: Checking these links I find a discussion by Chuck himself that the main problem with the original Deltas was internals which rusted and were later replaced with stainless in the second generation. He says he bought a 1985 Bianchi Centenario which had sidepulls because the first Deltas had already been recalled. Yet I thought C-Record was only introduced in 1985 (in fact I thought it might have been 1986). So the Deltas must have been recalled almost immediately after release.

Amazing that the rust problem could become evident that quickly. Did the first thousand customers proceed to ride coast to coast in the rain? Since Campy had a tradition of testing stuff with pro teams for a year or more before release, maybe the rust problem was discovered there, but then why did they release them? Maybe someone who worked for Campy or a Campy distributer at the time has the full story.


Jerry Moos Houston, TX

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