Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Campagnolo's Century Finish

Sometime in late 80's or early 90's, Campagnolo introduced the "century" and "graphite" finishes to their product lines. Century was strictly for Record, and was a sort of smokey chrome. Graphite was available in the "lesser" component groups, and was a darker, opaque grey/black.

Graphite finish items show up relatively infrequently. Even less common are items in century finish, like these beauties that followed me home recently:

If you check out the Campagnolo catalogs, you won't see either finish pop up until the 1991 catalog. I have a hard time using catalogs as cannon in these situations - you'll also note that the last generation criss-cross style (often called the 5 pivot style) was available by then, and all delta's in the catalog sport black accordians and wheel guides.

Not so with my brakes. The Chorus cranks above have a '51' in a box for a date code, which I've been led to believe indicates 1989. Who knows when they really appeared? 1989? Possibly for the 1990 catalog year?


Martin Appel said...

The "Century" Record Group does show up in the 1990 catalogue.

The group contained of cranks, derailleurs, brakes, brakelevers, hubs (HF and LF) and headset. Contrary to the catalogue picture, shift levers don't seem to exist.

I do own a bike with full century group (http://velospace.org/node/12351) and i also managed to locate a set of HF hubs (http://fotos.rennrad-news.de/photos/view/46712)

Anonymous said...

Actually, century finish shift levers did exist. They were only available in the 8sp retro-friction version. I saw a set on a DeRosa owned by a Japanese collector. Hubs also came in 3 styles - HF freewheel, LF freewheel, and LF 8sp cassette.

Century was also available for the C-Record pista group too (at least the hubs for sure, not sure about the cranks).

Anonymous said...

The Cranks in the photo are Athena, not Chorus. Chorus cranks had self extracting bolts,a different shape at the spider. The graphite finish was available in CDA. Chorus and Athena. The 51 stands for 1991.


Jeremy said...

Actually, if you refer to your 88 through 91 Chorus catalogs, you'll see that the self-extracting bolts didn't appear until 1992.

The consensus with dating seems to be that the 11, 21, 31, 41 and 51 refer to 85, 86, 87, 88 and 89. In 1990, they moved to year-in-a-square. I have a set of 91 cranks that are marked as such.

That said, I agree, these cranks are probably Athena.

Bob said...

I can confirm that as I have two 1990-1991 Chorus cranks (I remember exactly when and where I bought them) and neither has the self-extracting bolts. I'm still riding the 172.5s, and it requires an old Park extractor wrench to remove.

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