Vintage Campagnolo Super Record Friction Shift Levers Review

Vintage Campagnolo Super Record Friction Shift Levers

History

Campagnolo Super Record was released in 1974 and sold up to the mid 1980s. It replaced Campagnolo Nuovo Record as the premium group set offering and interestingly Campagnolo found no need to improve the original design of the shifters as they are the same as supplied in the Nuovo Record group, which then became the second tier offering.

Fitting & Materials

The levers are a lightweight alloy with a satin silver anodised finish. The other parts appear to be a mix of alloy, plastic (nylon washers) and stainless steel (bolts and washers).

It is important to note that the shifters are not identical, you will need a left shifter and right shifter. The levers are actually offset from centre to make it easy to use then when mounted to the bike. Be careful when shopping online to get one of each.

Shift Levers are different for left and right sides.

Shifter Parts

Each shifter is comprised of the following parts (shown below in the correct order of assembly). You will notice the on the inside of the metal lever, there is a conical face and a flat face. These 2 surfaces match the corresponding nylon washers. It is these nylon washers that provide the required ‘friction’ once the lever bolt is tightened.

Campagnolo Super Record Friction Shifter Assembly

Looking at the 2 nylon washers below, you can see that the washer on the LEFT is flat on both sides with a round hole. This washer is described as the ‘Elastic’ washer in the 1984 Campagnolo catalogue.
The washer on the RIGHT is conical on top, flat underneath with a rectangular hole. This washer is described as the ‘Friction’ washer in the same catalogue. The rectangular hole in this washer fits onto the braze-on shifter boss, effectively preventing this washer from rotating which means it can now resist the contacting metal face of the shift lever to generate friction.

Campagnolo Super Record
friction shifter washers

Shift Lever Mounting

There are 2 ways the levers can be mounted to your bike frame and it will depend on your frame as to which method you need to use. The mounting options are;

  • the frame has no shifter mounts which means you will need a shifter mounting bracket which is clamped to the down tube (older frames) OR
  • the frame features 2 x braze-on shifter mounts on your down tube.

1. Clamp-on Shifter Mounting Bracket

If your frame is older and does not feature braze-on shifter bosses on the down tube, or for some reason they are not able to be used, then you can use this shifter mounting bracket.

Clamp-on Campagnolo Record Friction Shifter assembly

2. Braze-on Shifter Mounting

Frames that were manufactured from the early 1980’s onward featured a braze-on shifter mount on the down tube of the frame. This provides a secure fitting location for your shift levers and was particularly useful with the advent of irregular frame tube shapes that began appearing in the same era.

Campagnolo Super Record Friction Shifters fitted
to braze-on shifter mounts on the down tube.

Campagnolo 50th Anniversary Shift Levers

Campagnolo 50th Anniversary Shift Levers

These friction shift levers were included in the Campagnolo 50th Anniversary group set which was essentially Super Record components that featured 50th anniversary markings. However, these levers were far more modern in appearance when compared with the standard Super Record levers.

Colnago 30th Anniversary Levers

Colnago 30th Anniversary Shift Levers

In 1984 Campagnolo manufactured a special version of the Super Record group set for Colnago to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Colnago (founded in 1954). These group sets are very rare and were originally fitted to a limited release of Colnago Arabesque bicycles. This group set included a set of special friction shift levers which featured gold clubs and Ernesto Colnago’s signature.

Apply Grease or Not?

When I was first researching the best way to install these shifters, there was quite a lot of debate as to whether you apply grease to any of the parts?

In my opinion the answer is both YES and NO. Some parts benefit from a light application of grease and others MUST be CLEAN and DRY. As the naming implies; ‘Friction’ shifters require a certain amount of friction to counteract the force of the return spring in each derailleur. Without this friction the levers will not hold your chosen gear position.

Regardless of your preference regarding greasing components, there is one very important component that needs to be inspected before installing the shift levers. This is the condition of the thread of the braze-on mount or down-tube shifter bracket (if you require one). Most importantly, this thread must be 1. clean and 2. easy to turn the threaded bolt to it’s maximum depth.

The reasons for this are;

  • You will notice that the included Campagnolo fixing bolt is fitted with a d-ring lever that is only conducive to a light tension force. So if the threads are damaged or corroded, you wont be able to screw the shifter bolt down fully.
  • If you can’t screw the bolt down to the required depth, you will not be able to compress the parts to generate the required friction.

If you find you are unable to thread the bolt down easily, you have 2 options;

  • 1. Re-tap the thread (especially if the thread is damaged), but you will need exact tap tool to match the Campagnolo bolt; both in diameter and pitch (threads per inch).
  • 2. Clean thr corroded/dirty thread out using a different bolt of the exact same specification as the original Campagnolo bolt. By using another bolt, you can select one that works with a tool (like a screw driver or hex tool) which allows you to generate more screw force than the original Campagnolo bolt. It also means you wont wear the threads on your vintage Campagnolo bolt.

    How: Apply some rust killer/lubricant (RP-7, WD40 or similar to the thread, then screw the bolt in gently until it starts to bind and then unscrew it. Clean the bolt threads, re-spray and gradually screw deeper as the thread loosens-up. Repeat as many times as necessary until the original Campagnolo bolt screws in and out easily to the maximum depth. Once the thread is cleaned, apply a light application of grease to the thread. We don’t want the bolt seizing up years down the track.

Shifter Installation Tips

1. [As discussed previously], check the bolts can easily be threaded to their maximum depth. Make sure all the parts are clean and free of grease.
2. Apply grease to the fixing bolt thread ONLY at this stage.
3. Test assemble the all parts together onto the frame or bracket (refer to parts schematic below).
4. Check how much friction you can generate in the levers by tightening the bolt. We want the lever to be able to move, but there must be enough friction to counteract the return spring force of the derailleurs.
5. If the lever is too loose or you suspect there is not enough friction, then follow my tip below on how to ‘add extra friction to your levers’.
6. Double-check you have definitely installed each lever on the correct side (the levers are not the same, there is a left and right side lever).

Once you are happy everything is installed correctly and there is enough friction in the levers, you can remove the bolt and now apply a light coat of grease to the flat side of finishing washer ‘0190/03’ as we want this part to slide freely over the flat side of nylon washer ‘0190/06’. The concept here is to stop continual lever movements loosening our fixing bolt. If this problem still occurs, then use a LIGHT application of thread locker to just the UPPER FEW THREADS of the bolt. Applying too much thread locker will make it very difficult to remove the bolt in the future due to the tool-less nature of the d-ring fitting.

Parts Schematic

Campagnolo Super Record Friction Shifter Parts Schematic

Easily add Extra Friction to your Levers

If you find there is not enough friction in your levers, it is very easy to add more friction to the system. Buy some rosin, which is applied to the bow of string instruments like violin, cello etc. It is easy to find online or at a specialist musical instrument store.

You only need a tiny amount of rosin to lightly dust a few parts. I used a fine grit sandpaper (or similar file) to extract a fine powdery dust from the rosin block.

Apply this dust to the conical side of the nylon ‘Friction’ washer ‘0190/06’ and the mating surface of the shift lever that contacts the washer. This should be enough to add the required friction. If you need more friction, you can also add rosin to both sides of washer ‘190/04’. Adding friction should mean the fixing bolt wont need to be as tight.

Rosin can be used to increase the friction in your shifters.

Super Record Component Weight

I have weighed a set of Super Record components and quite surprisingly, these vintage parts compares quite favourably against the weight of a modern Campagnolo Super Record group set.

Learn more about Campagnolo Super Record

This article is just a small part of my full review of Campagnolo Super Record groupset.

Disclaimer!

Please remember that this information is only to be used as a guide.
I consider myself an enthusiast, not an expert. The information I have presented in this article is based on my many hours of online research.

Whilst I enjoy working on my own bikes, I am not a qualified bicycle mechanic. The content of this article is purely illustrative and does not constitute professional advice. For your own safety, any type of work should only be undertaken by a qualified bicycle mechanic. Incorrect assembly of parts could result in equipment damage, personal injury or death.

Comments.

I welcome reader feedback in the comments section. Should you wish to suggest an amendment, please include a note advising the source of your information so that myself and other readers can ascertain the accuracy of your information. Note: Trolling or argumentative comments will be removed as they are counter-productive.

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