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Is Centaur worth the upgrade(23 posts)

Is Centaur worth the upgradetexfan
May 21, 2002 7:40 AM
I am currently in the process of demo'ing bikes. I recently posted my experiences with a Trek 5900. While I am not in the market 5900, but rather the Trek 5200, I was really impressed. The 5900 had Record 10. This was the first time I had tried Campy, and I loved it. This was in comparision to my Shimano 600 STIs. (probably not a fair comparison)

The stock 5200 comes with Ultegra. I can get the Campy Centaur for an additional $250. My question is whether the differences between the Ultegra and the Centaur are worth it.

Unfortunately, I cannot demo the Centaur. My LBS says that the main difference between the Centaur and the Record, which he believes is a big difference (other than the asthetics and some weight reducing) is that the Record uses bearings in certain movable parts inside the shifter while the Centaur does not (he told me the term for what the Centaur uses but I cannot remember what he said).

He went on to say that he prefers the Centaur to the Ultegra but admitted that this is based upon his campy bias rather than any significant functional advantages over the Ultegra(although he did point out the whole campy can be fixed while shimano can't thing)

I would love to hear from anyone who has used the Centaur/Daytona and Ultegra for some input. If the Centaur works as well as the Record, then I am sold.

re: Is Centaur worth the upgradeDave Hickey
May 21, 2002 7:48 AM
Centaur is the third best Campy group. Ultegra is the second best Shimano group. Without starting a Campy vs Shimano war, Centaur in not an upgrade.
IMO- Nomixinbeatz
May 21, 2002 7:50 AM
Centaur and Ultegra are both very very good IMO. I have have both, and while the campy shifts a little smoother, they both shift right on every time. I ride about 50% of the time on each bike, one being my rain and one my race bike, and to be quite honest, I don't like either system better than the other. They are both great, and while campy is repairable, shimano is much, cheaper to replace parts. Some people have a strong preference over how the STI levers are designed(small hands ect,), but my body seems to fit both fine.
Campy is repairableMel Erickson
May 21, 2002 9:08 AM
but at what price? Take levers for instance. By the time you pay for the parts and labor you can buy a new set of Ultegra STI levers and have some change in your pocket. I understand the repair vs. throw away argument but by price alone it's not necessarilly a bargain to repair. BTW, Ultegra levers are also repairable, to a point. Depends on what's broken. I've replaced parts. Opening one up is not for the faint hearted but some repairs can be done.
For what its worth...MSA
May 21, 2002 7:59 AM
I am a recreational rider relatively new to the sport, but both bikes I now own are Campy equipped: the first one came with a ten speed Daytona/Centaur, and I just bought a new Colnago with a Record. I do not appreciate a big difference between the Centaur and the Record in terms of shifting or ergonomics. It seems to me to be mostly in the weight. I buy Campy because my brother and my LBS recommended it, and I have been very happy with both gruppos. If you want to get into the Campy line, I highly recommend the Centaur.
Internet pricing for ultegra and CentaurMSA
May 21, 2002 10:38 AM
i looked at a site called Wise Cycle Buys. The centaur gruppo is $595 and the ultegra gruppo is $575...
Check out
better price at this sitenyedid
May 21, 2002 12:03 PM
they have both the ultegra and centaur groups for 465, not including shipping and tax. this is not spam, and i don't work for them-- they just have the best prices by hundreds of dollars over every other competitor.
centaur compares to ultegra...C-40
May 21, 2002 7:59 AM
Both groups are priced almost identically. You should not pay more than $50 more for Centaur. If you pay another $250 you should be getting Chorus, not Centaur. With Chorus you get all the performance of Record, with just a little extra weight.
agree with c-40koala
May 21, 2002 9:05 AM
Yes, but $250 more??Breakfast
May 21, 2002 8:01 AM
I don't understand why there is a $250 charge? These groups should be much closer in price, for $250 more you should be getting Chorus.
reason for $250 more??pa rider
May 21, 2002 8:30 AM
Trek has this custom package web interface on their site. I asked a trek dealer how much more a centaur group would cost and he told me to price the bike on the website.

The website custom feature says $250 to upgrade the 5200 model from ultegra to centaur.

Just a FYI, not ment to step on the posters thread.

Go with Record forget the Centaur. nmonespeed
May 21, 2002 8:02 AM
actually chorus is the best bang for the $ IMO (nm)ColnagoFE
May 21, 2002 11:51 AM
re: Is Centaur worth the upgradeweiwentg
May 21, 2002 8:19 AM
as lots of other people have said, it's not worth $250 to go to Centaur. they are comparable groups. Ultegra is lighter, though.
re: Is Centaur worth the upgradeweiwentg
May 21, 2002 9:02 AM
another option if you want Centaur is to get a Centaur groupset from abici or gvh bikes. then have the LBS install it, and sell the Ultegra group off (disclaimer - don't know how much you can sell the groupset for).
Yes, even with the over-chargePdxMark
May 21, 2002 9:07 AM
You might look into getting a 5200 frameset, and then ship it to gvhbikes to have a centaur (or chorus) group installed. The over-charge is a nuisance, but even if you pay it, it's much less than the cost of wheelsets that many buy with much more dubious benefits. The group is what you handle every minute you're riding. Get the one that feels good, even if you get over-charged $200 for it.
Sounds like a racket to megrandemamou
May 21, 2002 11:00 AM
Either through Trek or LBS. Picked up the most recent Excel catalog and the Centaur build kit is 649.00 Ultegra is 619.00. Functionaly Centaur-Record will be very close the biggest difference is in the finish,weight and durability.

It's your call. I wouldn't pay the premium but then again I've never bought a complete bike. IMO choosing the frame and groupset are two seperate decisons.

I have a bias toward Campy and would never consider buying a frame if all I could get was Shimano. There is nothing wrong with Shimano, I just think Campy's solution is better. But if you must have this frame and it's the only way you can get it Ultegra will work perfectly well.
The best reply I've heard in the Campy vs Shim warsDave Hickey
May 21, 2002 11:20 AM
"I have a bias toward Campy and would never consider buying a frame if all I could get was Shimano. There is nothing wrong with Shimano, I just think Campy's solution is better. But if you must have this frame and it's the only way you can get it Ultegra will work perfectly well"

Indeed both groups work well. It is a personal choice.
Good Stufftexfan
May 21, 2002 12:53 PM
Thanks for all the responses. I think, and was confirmed by the LBS and by your posts, that this really is a personal choice and that both systems are very good.

Re: the price. As correctly pointed out by one of the posters, the $250 is what Trek charges for the upgrade. Now knowing the premium charged for the Campy I really am more inclined to go with the shimano. If I ever want to upgrade in the future, then I can consider moving into Chorus.

Finally, re: gvhbikes, or ordering on-line, at this point I do not have enough confidence to do it myself. Also, I am really enjoying going into this LBS and talking to the owner for several hours at a shot (my wife, however, is not amused.) At this point, I believe that this relationship is worth a premium paid on parts/bike.

Again thanks for all the input.

I wonder whygrandemamou
May 21, 2002 1:59 PM
there is such a big difference in group prices. Is Trek pocketing the upcharge? Or is it some type of contractual thing with Shimano?

I understand why some LBS can't match Internet pricing but why couldn't Trek. I'm not bashing either company just curious if anybody has an answer.
Just guessing here, butdjg
May 21, 2002 2:24 PM
it seems that Trek has to get about as good a break from Shimano, any outfit in the world? I mean, isn't Shimano standard gear on all Trek road bikes and a bunch of their mountain bikes? (Then add Klein and Lemond for good measure.) Now, if Trek consumes campy only for "custom" orders, they may buy a whole lot relative to the LBS, but not enough to work the same kind of deal as with Shimano. And if that's the case, we may be some way towards explaining why groups that are comparably priced from other sources have very much different prices if bought through Trek (think: whatever the difference is to Trek, magnified by each step in the commercial chain that leads to the consumer). So then a spectacular upcharge gets relabled as an "upgrade." Again, it's just a guess.
Another "no."djg
May 21, 2002 12:49 PM
I have campy on both my road bikes--record 10 on one and a combination of record and chorus 9 on the other. I like it--no complaints. But I've had shimano fairly recently (on a bike I sold) and I have to say that it works well too. I just plain don't understand the campy/shimano flame wars--both groups work just fine and apart from a few ergonomic differences (which may really matter to people with either very small or very large hands) and some slightly different gearing options, I don't see anything on one or another side of the war (which I find idiotic) to radically change your experience of cycling. Centaur may be more-or-less comparable to Ultegra (I don't really know)--certainly the US retail for the 2 groups is roughly comparable--but there's just no way I'd pay an extra 250 bucks for it; for that price you should get Chorus. Centaur will give you an extra cog. Ultegra will give you a slightly stiffer crank. And I believe the Ultegra group may be slightly lighter (in a way that likely won't matter for your performance). Seems like a toss-up to me.
$250 is too much, I'd find a store with more flexibility.Leisure
May 23, 2002 4:02 AM
Aesthetically I prefer Campy. But Centaur and Ultegra do retail at approximately the same amount. It's probably because Trek can purchase Shimano in bulk quantity at cheaper prices. Quick rundown, I think the main differences are better hubs for Campy (and the Centaur hubs are basically identical to Record), better cranks for Shimano, and different aesthetic between STI and Ergo shifting. If I were you I'd primarily compare what I liked about the shifting, and then I might look around and see if another store would do the swap themselves for something less substantial. My LBS would likely work something else out for me, but admittedly I think they're the exception to the rule.