In the realm of cycling innovation, Campagnolo has a storied history. From their revolutionary quick-release lever to their latest breakthrough, the Campagnolo Ekar 1×13 groupset, this Italian company continues to push boundaries.
With a 1×13-speed transmission, the Ekar is designed to provide a wide range, close ratio, and an unwavering commitment to performance. Whether it’s fast gravel past or bike-packing races, it’s one of a kind.
Great ergonomics, excellent braking, and wide gearing range–these three option makes this the ‘world’s lightest’gravel Groupset.
Is that right? In this review, we’ll deep dive into the groupset and help you locate the reasons to buy.
Here’s a table describing the key features of the Campagnolo Ekar 1×13 groupset:
|1×13-Speed Transmission||Wide range and close ratio gears, providing versatility for various riding conditions.|
|Paddle Shifting System||Derailleur is built from aluminum and carbon-reinforced polyamide, with stainless steel hardware, ensuring longevity and chain stability.|
|Ergonomic Design||Hood and lever design inspired by Campagnolo’s road groupsets, ensuring comfortable and easy shifting from multiple hand positions.|
|Durable Construction||Derailleur is built from aluminum and carbon-reinforced polyamide, with stainless steel hardware, ensuring longevity and chain stability.|
|Giant 13-Speed Cassette||Boasts a wide range of gear options, including a tiny 9-tooth cog in select ratios, enabling riders to tackle various terrains and gradients.|
|N3W Freehub Technology||Utilizes Campagnolo’s new N3W freehub, accommodating the large cassette and ensuring smooth engagement with the hub.|
|Reliable Chain Retention||Features a clutch mechanism in the derailleur to keep the chain secure and prevent excessive movement during rough rides.|
|Magura-Derived Brakes||High-performance brakes utilizing mineral oil as a braking fluid, offering reliable stopping power on gravel and off-road surfaces.|
|Stainless Steel Rotors||Available in 160mm and 140mm diameters, providing consistent and efficient braking performance in various conditions.|
|Chain Compatibility||Specifically designed 13-speed chain, slightly narrower than Campagnolo’s 12-speed chains, ensuring optimal compatibility and efficiency.|
Campagnolo Ekar 1 x 13 Groupset: Shifting that matters
It’s wonderful to see Campagnolo has brought its first 1×13 groupset. And they claim it to be the lightest groupset around. If it’s true, we’ll find that right now in our detailed review:
The Campagnolo Ekar 1×13 groupset features a standard shifting arrangement, with a paddle behind the brake lever for downshifts (easier gears) and another thumb paddle for upshifts (harder gears).
As it is a 1x-only groupset, only the right lever functions as a shifter. The hood and lever design bear similarities to Campagnolo’s renowned road groupsets, but the thumb paddle stands out with its stepped design, allowing easy access from both the hoods and the drops.
Multiple Downshifts and Thumb Lever Design
The Ekar groupset offers the convenience of multiple downshifts (up to three in theory, with a possibility of a fourth if the lever is pushed far enough), while the thumb paddle enables precise one-gear-at-a-time upshifts.
The ability to downshift multiple gears simultaneously can save valuable time in certain situations. For instance, during a quick overtaking maneuver on a highway, the driver can swiftly shift down several gears at once to access the optimal power band of the engine.
Similarly, in competitive cycling, being able to rapidly downshift can help riders maintain momentum during challenging sections of a race. By reducing the time required to downshift, these features facilitate smoother and more efficient transitions, improving performance and responsiveness.
Moreover, the new thumb lever design is highly ergonomic, catering to a broader range of hand sizes compared to previous versions.
Improved Control with Single Ekar Derailleur
The Ekar groupset features a single derailleur made from aluminum and carbon-reinforced polyamide, with stainless steel hardware.
It incorporates a clutch mechanism to ensure chain retention, particularly on rough terrains. Additionally, it boasts a neat locking mechanism that holds the derailleur out of the way, facilitating rear wheel removal.
Multiple downshifts refer to the ability to shift down multiple gears at once with a single action. This feature is valuable because it allows the driver or cyclist to quickly and effortlessly change to a lower gear ratio, providing better control over the vehicle or bicycle.
It can be particularly useful when navigating steep inclines, accelerating rapidly, or decelerating quickly. By enabling multiple downshifts, the user can swiftly adapt to changing road or terrain conditions, enhancing safety and maneuverability.
Ekar Crank Design
Taking inspiration from Campagnolo’s road groupsets, the Ekar groupset showcases a four-arm crank design.
The carbon crank arms provide an optimal strength-to-weight ratio, while the steel spindle, split at a Hirth’s joint, houses the bottom bracket bearings.
Gigantic 13-Speed Cassette
A standout feature of the Ekar groupset is its massive 13-speed cassette, available in three ratios.
Two of these ratios begin with a tiny 9-tooth cog, made possible by Campagnolo’s N3W freehub.
Besides, the N3W cassette installation employs the same spline tool as previous versions, ensuring compatibility and ease of use.
Unique Chain and Braking System
Ekar groupset includes its own chain, which is slightly narrower (0.25mm) than Campagnolo’s 12-speed chains.
The brakes of the Ekar groupset draw from Magura’s expertise and utilize mineral oil as the braking fluid. And stainless steel rotors are available in 160mm and 140mm diameters.
The groupset’s ergonomic design ensures comfort and control, accommodating various hand sizes and riding positions.
Whether you’re a seasoned gravel rider or someone venturing into the world of off-road cycling, the Campagnolo Ekar 1×13 groupset offers the durability, versatility, and performance necessary to enhance your gravel riding experience and conquer new cycling frontiers.
When navigating steep climbs, the wide range of gears allows for smooth transitions, ensuring efficient power transfer and maintaining momentum.
The precise shifting and ergonomic design come into play when tackling technical descents or maneuvering through challenging terrain, providing riders with confidence and control.
Furthermore, the groupset’s durability and chain retention mechanisms shine in rough conditions, preventing chain drops and maintaining consistent performance.
Whether it’s conquering demanding gravel races or embarking on long-distance adventures, the Campagnolo Ekar 1×13 groupset delivers the reliability and versatility needed for real-world gravel riding scenarios.
#1. What is a Campagnolo Ekar equivalent to?
Ans: The Campagnolo Ekar offers a comparable range to the Shimano GRX 2x drivetrain, with a 467% range, while SRAM’s Eagle cassette boasts a slightly wider range of either 500% or 520%.
#2. What are the options for the Ekar groupset?
Ans: The Campagnolo Ekar gravel groupset provides riders with a range of options to suit their riding preferences. It offers four chainring choices (38T, 40T, 42T, and 44T) and three cassette options (9-36T, 9-42T, and 10-44T), ensuring versatility for various riding styles and adventure pursuits.
#3. Is Campagnolo as good as Shimano?
Ans: Campagnolo and Shimano offer comparable performance, with Campagnolo being slightly lighter and Shimano renowned for its smooth and fast-shifting capabilities.
The Campagnolo Ekar 1×13 groupset emerges as a standout choice for gravel enthusiasts, offering a combination of innovative features, ergonomic design, and exceptional performance.
It’s precise shifting, wide gear range, and reliable chain retention make it a reliable companion for conquering challenging terrains.
While it may not cater to every rider’s specific preferences, its durability and versatility shine through in real-life scenarios.