Thursday, October 3, 2013

Campagnolo Nuovo Record (1967-1986)

Nuovo Record (literally, "New Record") was Campagnolo's third revision of the Gran Sport's parallelogram design, introduced in 1966/7. It followed the 1963 Campagnolo Record in Campagnolo's gradual dérailleur evolution.

While I do not own the original steel Campagnolo Record myself (the Nuovo's primary improvement was an all-aluminum body and pulley cage), the Nuovo Record and Record are virtually identical in terms of geometry, and serve equally to demonstrate the first major revision to the Gran Sport's mechanical design. To alleviate Gran Sport's limited chain-wrapping capacity, the pivot for the pulley cage was brought forward and down, which increased the amount of chain the dérailleur could take up; secondly, it brought the upper/forward pulley wheel closer to the cogs - via revision of the cage design and angling the entire parallelogram farther forward - improving the crispness of each shift.

Despite Nuovo Record's unbelievable popularity in professional cycling (the last Nuovo Records were produced in 1987; identifiable by the absence of "PATENT" or a date code stamped into the upper body), its design - along with the revised Super Record that followed it - was fundamentally flawed. Nuovo Record's often-excessive chain gap (depending on the gear combination, cog sizes, and chain length), typically required that the rider overshift the control lever to coax the chain to jump to the following cog. Worse yet, the Nuovo is particularly known for refusing to shift down into the smallest cog when under considerable load - legend has it that races were often won and lost as a result of this quirk, during final sprints to the finish line.

The following video shows a Nuovo Record rear dérailleur in action on a floor stand, though its negative characteristics may not be that apparent - in this example, a newer "freewheel" (the cluster of cogs) with offset teeth has been paired with it to help improve the shifting characteristics of the venerable design:

1963 Campagnolo Record variants, courtesy Jon Fisher's
Nuovo Record video, copyright Kurt Kaminer

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