Why do you hate me, Valentino?

Dear Valentino Campagnolo,

I know it’s been a while since I loved you, when I had all Campagnolo on my bike, but why do you hate me now? I’ve heard ugly rumours that you’re planning on introducing 11 speed cassettes and shifters for 2009!

My first road bike was a 1994 Specialized Allez with Veloce components, but I scrimped up enough cash to upgrade the Ergopowers to Record. Eventually I had a Bianchi EL/OS with full Record two years later. But then everyone went 9sp and you abandoned me. Suddenly my shifters, derailleurs, and hubs were obsolete with the new 9 speed systems.

That’s when I turned to Dura Ace 7700…sleeker, more daring. Don’t say it’s because I like Asians! The cranks were stunning and the new STI just fit in my hands better. And not nearly so expensive to get replacement parts. Hell, Dura Ace didn’t mind if I used a 8 speed Ultegra derailleur as a back up.

Then you, Campagnolo…you came out with 10 speed. Okay, I’ll give it to you: I didn’t think it could be done and you proved me wrong. And yes, when Dura Ace went 10 sp, I decided to follow. But you gotta admit, cassette and chain lifespans are WAY down from previously. I still don’t think that anyone has yet made a truly satisfactory 10 sp chain, though my Dura Ace 7900 might be ready to nail it.

Now I work at a bike shop, and for the last five years you have been making my life hell with your never-ending revisions to your derailleurs and cranks. I really don’t want to have to stock your $600 cranks because they could go out-of-style without a moment’s notice. And front derailleurs? I can’t even begin to keep track. Why do you do this to me?

And now I hear that you’re gonna wedge one more cog onto the current cassette body? Alright, I’ll hold off from saying it can’t be done, but you can’t keep doing this. Every time you need attention, you can’t just keep adding cogs. I’d even be open to your electronic shifter set-up….of course, I suspect that my Dura Ace will beat ya.

No doubt you’ll demand that I sell only the newly revised Record 11 derailleurs, chainrings, shifters, and probably those $600 cranks. Well, if it wasn’t 11 sp I’m sure it would have been something else to make my inventory prematurely obsolete.

But a 5.5mm wide chain… I just don’t feel good about this.

still not yours after 11 years,

Mark V