Campagnolo Centaur groupset review

Is it the Italian 105?

BikeRadar score4/5

Campagnolo’s redesigned Centaur 11-speed groupset called time on 10-speed shifting, and took aim at Shimano’s standard-setting 105.

Campagnolo has trickled down the mechanical shifting refinement developed for top flight Super Record to this entry-level, European-made offering.

With obvious familial aesthetic and functional similarities, Campagnolo says the only difference between Centaur and its loftier siblings is the materials used in its construction.

Centaur is a mainly aluminium, rim brake-only groupset with a four-arm crank spider that has separate, rather than combined, bolt circles for each chainring, increasing their rigidity.

Chainring options are 50/34 and 52/36
Chainring options are 50/34 and 52/36

Chainring options are 50/34 and 52/36. The Ergopower controls have an EPS-style thumb lever that’s much easier to operate than the old right-angled one, and although this limits downshifts to one per actuation, we’ve never found that to be a problem.

Three new steel cassettes are available in 11-29, 11-32 and 12-32, all covered by one 32-tooth maximum rear mech, which is 15g lighter than any competing long cage mech. Its upper jockey wheel has longer, more chamfered teeth than the lower one, for accuracy with the new, highly durable 11-speed chain.

New dual pivot brakes follow Campagnolo’s familiar skeleton outline. They’re said to be 50g lighter than the competition and have a new brake pad compound. Claimed weight for the complete groupset with 11-29 cassette, 50/34 chainset and PF86.5 bottom bracket is 2,471g.

New dual pivot brakes on the Centaur
New dual pivot brakes on the Centaur

Campagnolo Centaur groupset impressions

The Centaur groupset hasn’t disappointed over the months I’ve been testing. The Varicushion hoods have a quality feel, are grippy with or without gloves, and comfortable for hours.

The aluminium brake levers are as ergonomic as every Campagnolo lever, and the Technopolymer shifters operate reliably.

While not rubbery, the longer upshift lever doesn’t feel completely rigid, but that doesn’t detract from its functionality, carrying out multiple upshifts with one stroke. Shifts have been swift, accurate and mechanically feel like a far more expensive drivetrain.

The new brakes have a new brake pad compound too
The new brakes have a new brake pad compound too

I’ve heaved uphill, cross-chained in the big ring, and had no complaints from the drivetrain, even shifting inconsiderately has failed to upset it. Durability so far looks excellent.

Is Centaur as good as 105? Compared to the common 105 5800, in most ways, yes, and in some arguably better. I’ve not yet ridden the new 105 R7000 to judge how it compares, but on paper it looks to be stiff competition.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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