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Campy Targets OEM with Athena Groupset

Published May 19, 2009

LAGUNA HILLS, CA (BRAIN)—Campagnolo has rounded out its family of 11-speed groupsets with the introduction of the all-aluminum Athena 11S, a lower pricepoint option designed to reach more consumers.

Last year Campagnolo redesigned its components and released the 11-speed Chorus, Record and Super Record groupsets. The Athena carries the same features and technical design as its lighter, pricier counterparts, but is aluminum (it is available with a carbon fiber crankset).

Pricing on the Athena won’t be finalized until June 1, but Tom Kattus, general manager of Campagnolo North America, said Athena would fall in line with the competition from SRAM Force and somewhere between the Shimano 105 and Ultegra gruppos.

One of the primary reasons behind the development of Athena is to help Campy grow its share of OEM spec. Currently, in North America, about 80 percent of Campy’s business is aftermarket and 20 percent OE. Campy would like to grow that number, but faces logistical challenges because all its manufacturing is done in Italy or Romania while the majority of bicycles are made in Asia.

“[OE managers] need a short supply chain. They need someone producing in the Far East and we are not,” said Lorenzo Taxis, group head of marketing and communication for Campagnolo in Vicenza, Italy, where the company is headquartered.

While Campy recently opened a factory in Taichung to produce low-end wheels, it has no intention of manufacturing components in Asia. Still, Taxis believes Athena will be attractive to OE managers because of the unique 11-speed design, which has been very well received in the marketplace.

Athena will be available to retailers in June through Campy’s 10 U.S. distributors.

Also new at Campy, Dan Mayer is back on staff as the marketing manager in the Campagnolo North American office in Carlsbad, California. Mayer worked at Campy between 1998 and 2003, then left to head up Canari’s custom apparel division.

—Nicole Formosa

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