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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
I have ~1,500 miles on my Ekar equipped bike and echo others comments:
Noticeable hump at the shifter to bar position: I thought this would bother me, but I don’t t even notice it anymore.
Tight brake tolerance: My front rotor isn’t perfectly true and I have a very slight rub there. I fiddle with it every few rides and once in awhile I get lucky for awhile.
Derailleur adjustment: I will have perfect shifting for a week or two and then have one gear that isn’t perfect. A slight adjustment with the barrel adjuster at the bars usually takes care of it. I had Di2 before which I basically never had to adjust.
Otherwise the gearing is great for me. I run a 38T chainring and normally use the 10-44 Cassette. If I am doing a fast group road ride I will use the 9-42 cassette.
My previous bike was 1x, with either a SRAM 10-42 or e13 9-42 cassette, and I found some of the gearing jumps/cadence changes to be pretty annoying. With the Ekar cassettes and the 1 tooth gearing jumps in the smaller cogs make it less noticeable.
Might be a little late as by now I’m guessing you’ve made the move and installed your Ekar. But here’s my input after 7+ months with Ekar. I’ve been running it on a new Moots RCS frame since 9/21 with road (Bora 9-36) and gravel (Fulcrum Rapid Red 3 10-44) wheelsets and a 40t chainring. Thomson carbon bars with the sorta flat tops. Approx 100hrs with the group. Previous ride - Gunnar Roadie with 11s SR.
First, the hump. It’s real and at first super annoying. Actually caused a bruise on lower palm. My shop said they could trim it down or add some foam under it, but after 3-4wks got used to it and now do not notice. After above comments I looked at the very smooth transition taper SR hoods on my Gunnar and I’m sure these could use a slight forward rotation to get flatter. Just today got the final final build piece, Thomson stem, and will attempt that move on install.
Second, brake rub. I get an slight rub on wheel swaps. I’d say it happens about 75% of the time. Do yourself a favor and get a $7 Birzman alignment tool. An extra 3min spent after wheel swap and no rub. Note: really difficult to do without a stand.
In agreement with comment above about superb brakes, ratios, and downshifts. And, the vague upshifts. A recent long, mostly wet, sloppy dirt descent made a believer out of me. Power and modulation was sublime with Campy discs. Rode a friend’s new Domane last week with SRAM and was frankly appalled at the lever and brake feel. I live on Colorado’s front range so lots of 2000+ft climbs and descents. I use every single gear on the cassette (even the 9) and am super happy about it. I absolutely do not miss my 39/53 12-29. Was leary of going 1x until Ekar and now love it. I even ordered a 44t to go super big on road set, but I’ve been happy with the 40t and see no need to swap unless I move. My gravel rides lean definitively mild, but have found some 20+% dirt paths and once again very glad to have that 44 in the back. One positive I wasn’t expecting was liking the clean aesthetics so much of no FD. Downshifts are super positive with that reassuring Campy clunk. Upshifts not so much, but livable. As most know the assertive Campy wrist and finger motion/force is needed. On the whole not as smooth or quiet as my 6yr old SR, but with a clutched rear I wasn’t expecting it to be.
I’m left with just one real dislike that can’t be overcome. Lever reach is not great for those short-fingered among us. Even with the reach adjusted all the way back I’m still not where I’d like to be in the drops. Coming from those 11s SR levers (arguably the sexiest and best fitting ever) took some getting used to. I’m hoping to gain a mm or two after the upcoming slight forward hood rotation.
Overall, I’m more than pleased. Light, simple, relatively low cost, and looks great on my bike. And, fairly easy to make two bikes out of one with the almost customizable ring/cassette options.
Have you found yourself able to run the same chain length with the 9-36 and the 10-44? I was told the maximum difference the system could accommodate with the same length chain was 4t. Of course, you could get round that by running 2 chains, especially given there’s a quick link (which Campag bizarrely still won’t do for their 12s chain, leaving us all using Eagle ones instead )
No noticeable issue with chain length. My shop and I both wondered about it during build, but I’ve had no problems to date. In the stand there appears to be a touch more than optimum slack in the 9 and 10, but at 30+mph going downhill where those are used I do not feel it. I am decidedly far past looking for marginal gains in drivetrain efficiency so the gain in switching chains with wheels would be lost on me.
how about a pair of Hope RX4 mineral oil brakes - spot on stopping power - easy set up - good looks - BUT yes I admit - no Campagnolo logo
They are? So you would compare them as equal to campy or others? Can you describe your experience in this? I’m really interested
I was and still am using GRX and Ultegra as well as SRAM Force on some other bikes BUT I have to say that the Hope RX4 just have a better feel to them and lots of stopping power with the original sinter metal pads…well and the fact that they come in a 140 0der 160mm version is just nice - no need for adapters and yes they do postmount just as well - in case you have an older frame …