As gravel increases in popularity, so does demand. Compound a shortage of parts, and it’s making folks grumble for gravel. Limited parts equals limited bikes to build, which equals few bikes available on market that are ready to ride when the trails are calling. Grrrrr!!
Enter Campagnolo Ekar. Maybe you’ve heard of it and think, “What’s a Campagnolo?" and "What’s an Ekar?".
In short: Campagnolo represents the elegant side of things. While some brands may be about mass and volume, Campagnolo has sacrificed volume for precision, for elegance, befitting its illustrious and long-lasting road gruppos (or groupsets).
Well, maybe you’re not from the Campyphile generation. Maybe you’d also ask “What a Bugatti?” To be sure (and to keep things Italian)… it’s Gucci. (And that's Italian, too.)
Campagnolo is a person: Tullio Campagnolo. Back in the 1920s, Tullio used to race, and came up with a few ideas on how to make his bike operate better—namely, things like the quick release skewer, and a rod located on the bike’s seat stay that helped you change gears—the first derailleur. It was the predecessor to the first derailleur, which he put into use when he created his namesake bike brand in 1933.
Through the 1980s and ‘90s, Campagnolo was the brand in road racing. Groupset names like Super Record. Record exemplified the best of the best. Crisp, reliable shifting, eventually of carbon, became in demand. Those that wanted the ride to be special sought out Campagnolo.
Now, the vaunted road component brand goes gravel—with Ekar.
Campagnolo’s new Ekar group (named after Mount Ekar in Italy's Asiago region) is every bit the object of desire its road brethren is—and for good reason. It’s the lightest dedicated gravel groupset available and the first 1 x 13 groupset in the world—with legendary Italian-engineered performance built in. Paired with a Litespeed gravel bike, the weight savings and performance advantage lift the performance of your Litespeed in new ways.
Campagnolo looks and feels different than anything you’ve ever ridden. With Ekar’s carbon fiber crankset and a carbon fiber/polyamide rear derailleur that is permanently clutched, your drivetrain is made simple, the chain fixed securely. The group’s uniquely ergonomic shifting action moves through the range with ease, thanks to Ekar’s Ergopower brake lever/shifter set.
The entire shifting experience is befitting a place on any Litespeed. The group is finished with disc brakeset and rotors that are garnering reviews as the best hydraulic brakes in the industry.
But make no mistake: the quiet hero is the shifting. Ekar features something the others don’t: a 13-speed gear range wide enough to go from a 9-tooth gear at the bottom, up to a 36-tooth. With 13 gears in between, gear ratio is so close, shifts are so short and evenly-spaced, your cadence is smooth, regardless the terrain.
As one would expect from Campy, shifting is crisp as a spritz, creamy smooth as buratta. Paired with a Litespeed Ultimate Gravel or Watia, your gravel ride becomes a thing of true beauty; Italian and American precision engineering and manufacture, married into a singularly exquisite experience on gravel. The perfect ride, with the finest shifting experience available. The question remains: are you ready to step up to Campagnolo?
Want to read more about how Campagnolo Ekar rides? Road Bike Action and CyclingTips each recently reviewed Litespeed's Watia dressed in Campy Ekar, which include the thoughts of the respective test editors on Ekar's compliment to American-made titanium bikes, with globally sourced premium materials. Give them a read!