Campagnolo Ekar feedback

I’ve been planning to upgrade my Curve Kevin to Campagnolo Ekar since it came out. I love Campag and it’s on all my bikes except for the MTB and gravel bike, so when I first read about Ekar I was delighted.

I am looking for feedback from users - at this stage I have read/watched pretty much every review available on the web and read Campag’s description of the parts so I roughly know what I need to order.

The time is right for me - I’ve got the funds and have ridden my Apex 1 currenty installed on my Kevin pretty much to the ground, and I’ve located most of the parts (it seems that there is supply if I’m prepared to order from several suppliers).

So, Ekar users, what’s your story? Do you like it, does it work well, would you buy again? What should I consider when choosing the different versions of crankset, cassette and chain? What about maintenance?
Non-Ekar users who saw Ekar used in the wild, what have you heard, seen, and what did you think?

Thanks all for sharing :ok_hand:

A friend of mine uses Ekar on a gravel bike pretty much always on paved road, with road 28mm tires.
He choose the crankset with 40 teeth and the “medium” cassette sprocket (9-42).
He is quite powerful, so he barely uses the two biggest sprockets, by the way I see that the shifts and the operation is flawless.
He told that he broke the first chain, with about 3000km usage.
No more issues on the other chains he used.

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Late to this, but hopefully it’s useful. I tested it and opted against it. In short: the downshifts are superb, the brakes are magnificent, and the ratios work really well on almost any surface. The bigger thumbshifter is a massive plus too and I hope it appears on their road groupsets. On the other hand, the upshifts are a bit vague and it’s easy to make more shifts than you want. But the killer was the hood shape. There is a really pronounced ridge where the hood meets the bar, and I found it really uncomfortable after 30-40 minutes. I’m sure you could somehow cut or trim it, but arguably you shouldn’t have to.

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Very useful, thanks @Mintaerobars! Do you think that ridge/protrusion could be alleviated at the mounting stage? Sometimes these sort of protusions happen as the cable is not well routed/kinked under hood or transition shifter/bar not neat.

I have Ekar and love it overall. I’m a big fan of Campagnolo’s ergonomics and haven’t been bothered by the ridge @Mintaerobars mentioned. Mine came with a faulty derailleur which caused some problems with upshifts but once that was swapped out shifting has been seamless.

I recommend the 10-44 cassette if you have the choice. I never really need the 9 tooth and having the extra gears on steep dirt climbs is really nice.

The one downside with Ekar I’ve found is that the brakes are pretty sensitive and have required a fair amount of fiddling to maintain - I suspect it’s due to how tight the spacing of the pads is. On the one hand, the brakes work phenomenally well and you have tons of control when riding. On the other hand, an even slightly out of true rotor will cause brake rub. My wife has a Tiagra equipped bike and nowhere near the brake rub issues I deal with.

I enjoy spending time working on my bikes but if you don’t then you may need to consider the performance/maintenance trade off.

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I don’t think so. If you imagine the rubber of most hoods sort of tapers as it meets the bars, the hoods on the Ekar (from memory) seemed to rise up, with a very pronounced transition. Like I said, I suspect some careful work with a sharp knife might achieve something, though.

I found Campagnolo hoods are particular on how you mount them to the bars. You can’t mount them like you would for Shimano or Sram. I had a hard time myself playing with handlebar angle and hood placement. I found that with Campy, you need to rotate the handlebars down (and hence rotating the hoods higher relative to the handlebar) so that the downward slope of the bars creates a smoother transition to the top of the hoods. The end result will be more of a curved shape which your hands sit inside of, rather than a flat top that Shimano has since adopted and was always the case with Sram. I believe a traditional bend handlebar works best with Campy lever shapes.

After I figured out the best way to mount Campy levers on my bars, I actually find them superior to Shimano. I really find the earlier 10 speed Shimano hoods (ex. 6600) to be better shaped than the design created right afterwards. The shifting mechanism was hidden and your hands can wrap around the body without touching the hard sharp metal shifting linkages.

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I think that’s probably quite an insightful little tip. It’s worth noting it was a test bike, so I didn’t set it up, and the problem is much less marked on my Chorus road bike. I’m going to go and look at the bar/shifter position now you’ve said that!

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Sounds like your frames flatmount mounts needs to be faced.

Doubt the new 2021 calipers are that different from the 2018-2020, my Surly Midnight Special frame is near perfectly alligned and i have zero issues compared to my XT and HY/RD calipers.

@Morten_Reippuert thanks - I’ll check w/ my LBS to see if they are able to do that for me. That’ll be a nice QOL improvement :smiley:

Yes, I have good experience mounting Campag shifters of several generations/levels (as well as other brands eg Shimano) and a lot of the time hoods are monted wrong on bars. Very important to roll bars downwards so drops are parrallel or almost parallel to the ground. Taking this as a point of departure, slides shifters on bars and position as high as possible whilst top of hoods where your hands normally rest is paralel to ground. Then adjust position of both shifter and bar according to how the smoothest transition between bar and shifter can be achieved.

Agree with most of what you say here - but I don’t believe Campag shifters are beter suited to trad bend bars. I have mounted Campag shifters to both trad bend and compact bend bars with success. There’s a need to fiddle until you find the best possible position though. I have achieved a flat top with Campag levers with my last two bars, 3T Ergonovas and Deda Superleggeras, whih are both compact shaped bars.

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Thanks Alan, very useful feedback. I am totally going with the wider range, 38 front ring and 10-44 cassette. I am doing a lot of my own mantenance however I have not workde on disc brakes much, just strating and hve learned some basics but I’ll prbably have teh groupset installed by a cmpetent mechanic. That’ll giev an opportunity to do things I don’t do like facing BB shell properly before installing BB and do a proper job with the brakes.