Upgrading Campy Synchro II to Ergopower

In 1990, I spent a year or so putting together what my wife would later refer to as my Italian mistress – a roadbike based on a Pinarello SL frame that I fell in love with and mostly Campagnolo C Record parts. (The exceptions were the brakes, which were Chorus, because I didn’t like the Delta brakes, and the seatpost, which was Super Record, because I liked the look better than the C Record post.) The drivetrain was a Regina chain and 7-speed, 12-24 freewheel (not a cassette).

pinarello roadbike
Miss Pinarello, my Italian mistress

The shifters were Campy’s Synchro II, and as I’ve ridden the bike on and off over the years, they’ve proven bulletproof. But I wanted more.

A few years after I built the Pinarello, the first Ergopower shifters became available. Having spent a lot of money on the bike, I couldn’t afford an upgrade, and as the years passed, it has occurred to me to wonder if an upgrade was still possible. My main concern was that most of the older Ergopower levers that were available were 8-speed. My Regina freewheel is 7-speed, I wasn’t sure if the index spacing would be the same, and nobody seemed to have a definitive answer.

However, a recent conversation with an employee at Cupertino Bike Shop suggested that even if the Ergopower shifter wasn’t indexed exactly the same, it might be possible to replace the indexing ring with the one from the Synchro shifter. (I should say that I still don’t know whether that’s true. But I get ahead of myself.)

After watching eBay for a while, I found a nice mid-90’s vintage Record Carbon shifter set with a good Buy It Now price, threw caution to the wind and bought it. A few more bucks for a cable set and yet a few more for the downtube cable adjuster (Campy part number RE001) and the kit was complete. Time to install!

After installing the rear shifter, I gave the cranks a spin and clicked the lever. It was a bit out of alignment, but it went to the next cog. Another click, and another cog. I realized this was going to work! I made a small tension adjustment to the cable, and it was perfect. Amazing!

Here are the final results.

Lever position
Handlebars after installation
Right hand shifter
Left hand shifter
Rear cabling
Downtube cable adjuster
pinarello after ergopower installation
Miss Pinarello, updated

All told, a minor investment (maybe $200), and Miss Pinarello is finally updated from 1990 technology to 1995 technology. It shifts smoothly and quickly, and I love being able to upshift quickly with a press of the thumb (just like my 1990’s vintage Trek mountain bike, which cost less than the Pinarello’s crankset).

So there you are—if you’ve been contemplating such an upgrade, standard disclaimer – your mileage may vary, but it looks like it will work.


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