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Ultegra v. Centaur -- which should I go for.(18 posts)

Ultegra v. Centaur -- which should I go for.abelson
Dec 17, 2002 8:49 AM
I know this is a bit of a loaded question. But I am going to get a Gunnar Sport. My LBS suggested Ultegra because he believed that Ultegra shifts better then Centaur. I am not sure if I believe that. Whatever gruppo I go for I am going to put a triple on it. Both Ultegra and Centaur look they should run about the same price Opinions?
re: Ultegra v. Centaur -- which should I go for.sjomi
Dec 17, 2002 9:02 AM
I have been using Ultegra for more than a year and my new bike has Centaur. After a month I can say I prefer Centaur.

The Ultegra is lighter and it shifts quieter, but I really like the mechanical feeling in the Campy shift. I also like how you can switch multiple gears with the thumb lever, while on my Ultegra I have to repeatedly hit the black lever.

Finally I like all of the trim options in the Campy front derailleur.

In my opinion you won't regret Centaur.
Centaur and Ultegra are comparableweiwentg
Dec 17, 2002 9:10 AM
Centaur shifts pretty well. I would say that it's roughly on par with Ultegra. Ultegra is definitely lighter. still, Centaur is of reasonable weight. the downside will be availability of chains and cassettes - not every LBS will stock 10s chains (if you are going 10s), and not all of them will stock 10s cassettes. this could potentially be an issue if you were to do touring, the cassettes less so than the chains. rumors have it that Campy 9s will be slowly phased out (check
in my limited experience, a properly set up Campy drivetrain shifts on par with a Shimano one. Campy seems not to go out of adjustment very easily, whereas Shimano does go out of adjustment. I don't know exactly what you are using this bike for, but I presume it's not racing. I would probably go for 9-speed Centaur. you can use 9-speed Veloce or Mirage cassettes, or even Shimano wheels. the spacing differences are small enough that you can use a Shimano wheel with Campy shifters with little or no problems.
Centaur and Ultegra are comparableabelson
Dec 17, 2002 9:14 AM
I am not a racer. I do lots of recreational riding. Tours etc. I try and put on 2,500 to 3,000 miles a year. If I go with Campy I would go with the 9-speed
Consider this...Eager Beagle
Dec 17, 2002 9:31 AM
Campy wears in, Shimano out.

They reason people say that is propably that Campy takes a while to wear in. Ultegra will probably seem smother when new, but you really have to give it a while before you make a true comparison.

The sensible answer is to try both and see which shift system and hood shape you prefer (if you like one of each, well, flip a coin).

Personally, having both systems, I am a Campy convert on account of the to me more positive precise shift of Campy, the shifting mech and the tidier look at the bars. I also really do prefer 10 over 9 (and I have 9 and 10 campy as well as 9 Shim), but that may not be an issue for you if you are going 9 in both. I have had no wear probs with 10 even at 220lbs.
re: Ultegra v. Centaur -- which should I go for.B2
Dec 17, 2002 10:07 AM
Not what you wanted to hear, but you can't go wrong with either.

Local availability as well as cost of wheels, chains, cassettes and chainrings is more of an issue with Campy.

If you're running a triple, the FD trim with Campy is nice.

Contrary to popular opinion, I find the hoods more comfortable with Campy than Shimano.

Just went for a spin on an Ultegra equipped bike after riding a Campy bike most of the summer and thought it shifted flawlessly. I kept reaching for the thumb lever though :-)

You won't be dissapointed with either.

re: Ultegra v. Centaur -Chen2
Dec 17, 2002 11:12 AM
Consider your choice in wheels before you make a final decision. As you probably know, the rear hub will be specific to Shimano or Campy.
re: Ultegra v. Centaur -abelson
Dec 17, 2002 11:37 AM
I was going to go with Mavic Open Pro wheels built by my LBS. So they should be able to put either hub in
Consider maintenance coststarwheel
Dec 17, 2002 11:58 AM
If costs are an issue and you're considering Campy 10, go with Ultegra. I've got bikes set up with Chorus and Ultegra. Although I prefer the function and feel of the Campy gear, I have not been happy with the durability and cost of chains and cassettes. I ride about 600 miles/month year-round, and have gone through 3 chains and 2 cassettes this year already. At $30/chain and $80/cassette it gets very expensive. However, if you are planning to get a Centaur 9-speed, then I would lean toward the Campy gear. I just like the way the Campy shifters feel and function better than Shimano. The 9-speed Campy gear is much less expensive and presumably more durable.
what the aitch are you doing to your stuff?lonefrontranger
Dec 17, 2002 1:48 PM
that it wears out so quick? Granted 600/month is a lot of mileage. But I'm easily getting that and a tad more (okay so its spread between the roadie and the 'cross bike) but only now, after a year's wear and abuse am I considering changing out the chains on both, as standard winter maintenance. This is something I've always done as part of the winter overhaul: replace chain, re-cable, new bartape whether or not it needs it, check bearing parts, etc...

Chain stretch on both my Centaur and Record machines is still easily and measurably within spec. I'm using C-10 chain sans permalink. There is a LOT of sand out here. I am using Wheels conversion cassettes, so it could be that the Shimano cogs are more wear tolerant.

My SO hasn't changed his chain in 2 years and it's still within spec. He doesn't ride or race as much as I do tho.
dunno???bianchi boy
Dec 17, 2002 7:27 PM
Most of my mileage is on one bike, the one with Chorus 10. I've put nearly 9,000 miles on the bike/group over the past 18 months. I clean and lube my chain regularly, but I live in a hilly area and ride at a high cadence (90-100), so I shift a lot. Some of my problems may be my admitted ignorance about mechanical issues. Although I have learned how to change chains, out of necessity, I have never mastered the art of adjusting derailleurs. C-10 chains, in my experience, don't seem to stretch much lengthwise. They seem to wear out more from looseness in side-to-side play. My Chorus group also seems to be very sensitive to improper cable tension.

tarwheel (aka bianchi boy)
Better choiceFez
Dec 17, 2002 12:55 PM
If you have the $$, a better choice would be Chorus. If you do a search you would find that there are a few parts like the BB and crankset that are a different spec in Centaur as compared to Chorus/Record. The different specifications may or may not be an issue. Some people keep this in mind if they plan on upgrading the BB, crank or drivetrain components.

But if you must have Campy at that price point, you won't be unhappy with Centaur.

Ultegra is fully compatible with DuraAce, but it looks like the 9 speed drivetrain may be upgraded after the 2003 season.

You really can't go wrong with either of your 2 choices.
Both.Andy M-S
Dec 17, 2002 1:17 PM
If you like the way Campy shifts, then go for it. But you can save money with the following setup:

Campy 9-speed Ergos and matching RD (and, optionally, FD).

Everything else Shimano-9.

This will work, you'll probably save money on wheels/cassettes/etc., and you'll have Campy shifting. One really nice aspect is that with a triple RD, you'll have better trimming ability through the Ergos than you would have with Shimano.
Centuar; but have heard of problems w/Campy triple'sBenR
Dec 17, 2002 6:17 PM
You're right, your question is loaded. Everything I say below is based on experience with doubles. Most postings in RBR about campy shifting issues seem to be with triple setups - maybe it is because people don't know how to set them up, or maybe campy hasn't figured it out yet. That might be why your LBS is pushing you to Ultegra, which offers a proven triple set-up. Depending on your fitness, I would suggest using a medium cage rear derailleur and putting on a wider range cassette in the rear, especially if you are going with 10 speed with fewer tooth gaps.

I ride 2001 Chorus 10 speed and love it. Performs equal to Dura-Ace (with different feel) and have had long life out of the cassette and chain, way longer than my past 8 speed ultegra cassettes. Centuar cassettes and 9 speed chains last longer and are about same price as Ultegra. Centuar cassette teeth are made of the same metal as Chorus (the carrier system is different), so I know they will last. I went with 10 speed since I plan on keeping it for a long time and figured 9 would eventually be discontinued, but the chain is certainly expensive. I don't know how it compares to 9 speed campy or high-end Shimano in terms of mileage. 9 vs. 10 speed is kind of a toss-up.

I have briefly ridden my friend's Lemond with Daytona (Centuar) 9 speed and could hardly tell the difference from my gruppo. Mine had less crank flex and was slightly more solid with multiple upshifts, that was all. Shifters felt identical. I chose Centuar brakes to save money and found them to be smooth and powerful. I'm using Chorus hubs because I got them for a low price, but Centuar is almost identical in design, uses the same quality bearings, and will outlast Ultegra hubs.

I also briefly test rode two Univegas, one with Veloce 9 and one with Daytona 9. They functioned identically. The veloce gruppo was significantly heavier and maybe not as nice looking. Much cheaper. As you go down the Campy line, you gain a lot of weight but don't lose as much performance as you do with Shimano. You might consider Veloce for that reason if you don't care about weight. I don't know if they make a triple.

Both Ultegra and Centuar shift almost as well as their respective big brothers. I'm positive that a properly-maintained Centuar gruppo (double) will outlast Ultegra, particularly in the shifters. I personally prefer the heavier Campy feel but you really have to do some test-riding. You are right to question your LBS about the better-shifting group, as it is pretty subjective. If he won't offer you some bikes to test, find someone who will. Nice frame!
Check out for a reviewLeroy
Dec 17, 2002 8:42 PM
of veloce triple. Good review of a fine set-up. I run veloce triple on the commuter bike, Chorus/racing-t on my century bike and centaur double on another. All work very well. They improve with age. I would not change a thing, in fact I'm resisting going to 10 speed. I'm kind of an old fogey about such things, and the 9 speeds are so bullet-proof I have no complaints. I am not aware of any problems or complaints with campy triples. My experience with mine is that the equipment is excellent.
re: Ultegra v. Centaur -- which should I go for.DaveG
Dec 17, 2002 7:04 PM
I am running a Centaur 10s double on one bike and a Veloce triple (9s) on another. I think the Centaur group is a tremendous value. I prefer the operation of the Campy levers and the solid shifting feel compared to Shimano but that's a personal preference. A couple of posts here mentioned issues with Campy triples. I am not sure what that is although the Campy triple is a semi-indexed design with perhaps about a dozen index points with the front shifter. This allows you to adjust the chainline, but I do think it takes slightly more practice to master when compared the Shimano shifters (I do have a Shimano triple on my touring bike). After some miles this became a non-issue for me as you quickly get a feel for it. I have not had any problems with the triple; it rarely needs adjustment, is reliable, and shifts just fine. You really can't go wrong with Ultegra either, but I'd pick Centaur based upon feel, repairability, and maybe just to be different.
re: Ultegra v. Centaur -- which should I go for.Barnyard
Dec 19, 2002 4:52 PM
Ultegra is nice. So are record and chorus. You're not going to buy record or chorus. I'd settle for Ultegra. It works great. I've riden both and I know how the chain sort of jumps when shifting on campy. This is what makes campy better? Who knows, who cares? This phrase "campy wears in shimano wears out" has been around since the beginning. When you're losing a battle, propaganda always comes into play. Shimano is making some beautiful advances. Who's bottom bracket crank assembly is more rigid?
re: Ultegra v. Centaur -- which should I go for.mackgoo
Dec 20, 2002 4:40 PM
Come in to the light son.