Sunday, March 25, 2007

Campy Sneaks Into Off Road Market

I read where Campagnolo, the component manufacturer known best for it's road gruppos, has sort of entered into the off road component manufacturing market. Let me explain.

Campy started a new, separate entity a few years back called Fulcrum. Ostensibly to circumnavigate the issues people might have in the Pro peloton with running Campy wheels with Shimano gruppos. With the Fulcrum branding, Campy could sell the wheels, and the Shimano sponsored teams could run them without fear of getting into hot water with their sponsor. Clever and effective move on Campy's part. Fulcrum has it's own engineering and design staff, but shares alot of technology with Campy.

So now we see that Fulcrum is introducing off road wheelsets. This is interesting, and coupled with the introduction of two road cranksets based on Campy's Ultra Torque bottom bracket and Fulcrum branding it raises my eyebrow just a bit. This is interesting since it shows a willingness on Campy/Fulcrums part to inroduce dirt specific products again and a willingness to brand Campy road component technology as Fulcrum. Will this idea be married and will we see dirt specific Fulcrum components in the future?

Campy has in it's line up a linear pull brake, trigger shifters, and flat bar brake levers for road use already. It wouldn't be a huge leap to make to adjust the design of the shifters to work for the dirt and brand them with the Fulcrum moniker. It also would be a bit of a splash for Campy/Fulcrum to introduce the first 10 speed off road group, since Campy is fully 10 speed these days, with the exception of it's entry level road gruppo.

Of course, this is all speculation, and without some sort of disc brake in the group, Campy/Fulcrum would be mad to enter in the off road market with a full gruppo, but it's fun to think of.

Just think, Campy could come out with an off road group again, sponsor Tinker Juarez, and He could ride a lightning motif Cannondale hardtail in a XC race! Viva la 1992!

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