And so it is with Campagnolo’s entry into the gravel market, last of the major players to dip their toes in the gravel waters, with their brand-spanking new Ekar groupset – a considered slice of the beautiful life in componentry form, and well worth the wait.
Photographer Paolo Ciaberta got his hands on a set and headed straight for the Colle delle Finestre – where else? – for a maiden voyage in the wild.
CRANK IT UP
The chainset takes centre stage, with four options in ring sizes - from 38 to 44 - and four crank lengths too, so something for everyone. The naked carbon look makes for a lovely-looking piece of kit, mounted on an all-new ProTech bottom bracket with improved sealing to keep the elements at bay.
Three cassettes cover a mighty range, aided by the smallest sprocket being just nine teeth, so 9-36T, 9-42T, and 10-44T are the options. Here’s where Campagnolo steal a march on the opposition. They’ve managed to squeeze 13 gears into the freehub body by utilising a marginally thinner chain and spacing. More gears equals less ratio jumps, so that’s a winner in our eyes.
A CHANGE WILL DO YOU GOOD
The familiar Campagnolo thumb paddle has undergone a redesign, with a ‘C’ shape giving better reach from both tops and drops. The latest hoods are claimed to be the Italians’ most comfortable yet – always a bonus when the going gets rough – and the levers are adjustable for reach so smaller hands aren’t left stretching unduly.
LESS IS MORE
And here’s the bit that may surprise you. Ekar is the lightest gravel groupset in its sector, despite that extra gear – or two, depending on the opposition. Food for thought.
So whether it's the local bridleway, a multi-day adventure ride, or conquering the Finestre like Paolo, Ekar has got it covered.
Rouleur has their hands on one of the first Ekar groupsets and one lucky reader can win a complete 1x setup. To sweeten the deal, Campagnolo are also offering a suite of bikepacking bags and a full Ekar kit to boot. To enter, head over to this page here and fill out your details.