When Campagnolo announced its app for iOS and Android in August 2015, I was—how do I say this?—less than enthusiastic. I have plenty of cycling-related apps on my smartphone. What do I need another one for? But after getting a preview of MyCampy at Interbike and testing an almost-ready-for-prime-time version recently in the Canary Islands, I’ll say this app is practical and even innovative.
Campagnolo’s press manager Joshua Riddle joked that the app is available at the very low price of “free,” which is a first for any product made by the Italian company. It’s a steal really. One feature that is useful for both Campy and non-Campy riders is MyGarage. In this section, you catalogue your bikes and their parts. Upload a photo of your rig, and then list its groupset, crank, wheels and cassette. If the products aren’t new, you can enter the number of kilometres you’ve logged on the parts. When you replace your chain, you can reset the kilometres to 0.
As you can imagine, you get the most detail with Campagnolo products. For other component makers, you can choose “SH” or “SR,” but not particular groupset lines. The same goes for non-Campy wheels; your options include “other full carbon wheelset,” “other full aluminum wheelset” and “other alu-carbon wheelset.”
The desktop version of the app (mycampy.campagnolo.com) let’s you manage your gear even further. You can swap components and wheels to other frames, while still maintaining millage information. You also see a recommendation for the next checkup for your bike: “5,000 kilometres to next check,” for example. The app will give Campy riders notifications when it’s time to replace parts. The company plans to expand the functionality of this section by enabling you to export and share your bike and its components with your mechanic.
Once you have your bike catalogued in MyGarage and you’re ready to ride, you fire up MySessions. This section will log ride data gathered from your smartphone, such as speed, distance, duration and elevation. If you have the app running with your Garmin Edge 520 or 1000, you can record heart rate, power and cadence in the session, too. These head units can also display gear selection if you have an electronic Campagnolo groupset: no need to look down to see if you have any gears left during a long climb. I uploaded some .fit files from my Magellan Cyclo505. The new mileage from these files was added to my equipment in MyGarage. I could also see heart rate and power information.
The usefulness of the app really comes to the fore for riders running Version 3 of Campagnolo’s electronic shifting system, EPS (electronic power shift). With your phone, you can perform firmware upgrades via Bluetooth, no need to plug your bike into your desktop. In the MyEPS section, you have many options for customizing the functionality of the system. You want to do all your shifting with your left hand? Or your right? You can do that. (This setup isn’t a gimmick; it offers accessibility options to paracyclists. Also, if you damage one lever in a crash, you can transfer controls to the other.) You can have a sprinter setup in which the shift levers behind the brake levers control the movement of the rear mech and the thumb shifters control the front derailleur.
You can set the shifts to hard, medium or soft. Program how the rear derailleur behaves when you hold down a shift lever with the multishift setting. The chain can zoom across 10 cogs or move through three in this mode. You can even tweak the activation time for multishifting up and down, separately. The system can provide a shift assist. With the assist, when you drop down to the small ring, the chain will move to a smaller cog at the back. The chain goes up to a larger cog when you jump to the big ring. This assist is designed to keep you from grinding and losing momentum when you go to the large chainring or spinning your pedals wildly, and losing momentum, when you go to the small chainring. When I tried this feature on my ride in the Canary Islands, it wasn’t totally dialled. To make sure all the shifts are made accurately, the front derailleur completes its movement and trimming first, and then the rear derailleur makes its adjustments. A company representative said Campy is working to speed up this process for a quicker shift assist. I feel this feature is more for the novice rider who is still working on shifting, cadence and leg speed. When I had to dump gear, shifting manually with the EPS system works much quicker. As I played around with these features, I was impressed by how easy it was to make changes. When you change the settings, the update is almost instantaneous, all done easily with your smartphone.
Back in MySessions on the web app, after you’ve finished a ride on your EPS groupset, you’ll see a record of all your shifts. You’ll also see, for example, what gear combination you had on the short, sharp climb you rode. This information is unique to the app and EPS. It’s also so new that I’m not exactly sure how it can be used. According to Riddle, the fitness experts aren’t sure either. “During the development phase, we talked to a lot of biomechanics experts, we talked to a lot of trainers on some of the professional teams that we sponsor, in addition to some of the cycling labs in northern Italy,” he said. “When we said we had this information, people were taken aback because it had never been available before. We’d ask, ‘What would you like to see out of that?’ It takes them five or six minutes to get their heads around it.” Riddle said these experts still don’t know how this drivetrain data can affect training plans. Possibly, you can discover a better gear for launching your sprint. Or, maybe you’ll discover you need a compact crankset instead of a standard one. We’ll see yet where this innovation leads.