Last week, Campagnolo quietly rolled out a pair of new rear derailleurs for their Record and SuperRecord 12 speed groupsets. They look and move the same, but the new RDs have a longer cage that has been engineered to work with 11-34 tooth cassettes, which previously has been limited to a 32. Accordingly, Campagnolo has also released an 11-34 Super Record cassette.
Going forward, Campagnolo is not going to offer ‘medium’ and ‘long’ cage derailleurs. Like Sram’s 12 speed AXS groupset, they will continue with a one-size-fits all approach. So now, you can use an 11-29, 11-32, OR 11-34 cassette.
When Campagnolo first introduced their 12 speed groupsets, only Chorus was designed to work with a 34T cog, much to the chagrin of some of you. It’s a far cry from the 9 speed, straight block cassettes of the early 2000s, but cycling has changed. Instead of measuring ourselves by the lack of teeth on our cassette’s biggest cog, we measure our abilities to find new roads, string together epicly long rides, and ride unique miles or kilometers (check out Wandrer).
Ok, maybe not. But it's a great segway into where I think Campagnolo is really heading with their new derailleurs - gravel.
A 34t cassette paired with a Record/SuperRecord 50/34 crankset achieves the magic 1:1 ratio that many groadies favor as a bailout gear when a gravel road turns singletrack-esque. If you did want to use Campagnolo on a gravel bike, I might still recommend Chorus 12, because of the 48/32 chainring option. But, I think a gravel dedicated Campagnolo groupset, complete with 1x and a clutch rear derailleur, isn’t far off.
EDIT: Campagnolo's 1x13 speed gravel dedicated groupset, Ekar, was released in September 2020 and is available here.
Campagnolo’s new rear derailleurs are expected to be available by late March. Currently however, there is no ETA for an upgrade for SuperRecord EPS.
The new SuperRecord 11-34 cassette will mimic Chorus with 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-22-25-29-34 cogs. We’ve put together a conversion kit, which includes the new rear derailleur as well as the new cassette to make switching as easy as possible.