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There are very few brands in the world that evoke instantaneous emotion, generate fierce debate, and conjure vivid memories whenever their name is mentioned, or a glimpse of their work is seen.

A lot of those brands happen to be from Italy, a country so extraordinarily gifted at producing beautiful objects that it has become a worldwide shorthand riddled with cliché to describe them using terms like timeless, passion, excellence, and style.

But it’s true. We all roll our eyes and think ‘oh here we go again’ but deep down our heart beats a little faster, the hairs stand just a little more on end and our inner monologue leans over and says, in hushed tones: “quite nice, that”. We use those terms because these historic and prestigious artisans have worked long and hard with peerless standards and a desire for perfection. Or a decimal point away from it.

You don’t have to be an Italophile to appreciate the relentless desire to make every detail as functionable as it is fashionable.

And it’s on that note of fashion and function that you may we wondering one thing:

CAMPAGNOLO? ON A DIRT BIKE?

Blasphemy you may say. All kinds of wrong, you may cry. Like wearing an Armani suit to the beach. Well, Lamborghini made tractors and Lancia made some of the finest and most fearsome rally cars of the 20th century. But, Campagnolo have been making bike components before tarmac was even a glint in someone’s eye.

Campagnolo are pioneers, a word that fits well in an unpaved world. Riding off road is about adventure, exploration and treading new ground. Something the legends from Vicenza know a thing or two about. Dirt is in their DNA, just like racing is in ours. On Campagnolo, in fact. David Millar rode their groupsets for 7 years at the start of his career. Now he’s back on their latest iteration, Ekar. Named after the mountain next to their northern Italian HQ, made up of 70 alloy, carbon fibre and stainless-steel moving parts designed to stand up to the rigours of the Trentino wild.

The worlds lightest off road groupset. Rowdy and robust. Refined and rarefied. 13 speed, for the first time ever. That’s 4 more than back in 1997. Some things change, but others remain. Thumb shifters forever. The shamal wheels with that iconic spoke lacing which carried David to wins on the roads of the past remain, albeit wider, deeper and ready for 40mm + tyres.

Campagnolo returning to their dirty roots reflects what we think is best about CHPT3 Dirt, a return to where it all started. Those off-road tracks we begin on as children, a time in our lives where everything is wide-eyed and innocent, where there are no rules yet, where everything is new and joyous. Where we’re at play.

Taking a turn off the tarmac is a journey into a natural playground. Our new Dirt bike, released on Friday September 24 is the perfect piece of apparatus. It’s a bike that we wanted to be different. To reflect who we are and where we’re at. A go-anywhere race bike that looks dirty when it’s clean and clean when it’s dirty. A bike as elegant on the streets as it is playful on the tracks and trails. A place we have recently realised offers a shortcut to fun. We’ve done road, we’ve done street, now it’s time for Dirt, our third chapter.

If anyone has the god given right to make the finest off-road componentry, it’s Campagnolo.

Which means maybe it’s ok to wear Armani to the beach…

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