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Although Campagnolo stepped into the external bearing crankset market a bit late, there's one thing that you can expect from a company that still makes all of its parts in Italy -- quality. The same care and precision that's used to make the Record and Super Record parts are employed when making the Athena Carbon Crankset. Only a few minor differences separate Athena from its older brothers, but those subtleties create an inherent value without sacrificing quality.

A major improvement to the Athena crankset are the chainrings. The 53/39 and 50/34t rings you see are still round, but take a look at the shift pins. This is where you'll find the first sign that the rings have been re-engineered for faster shifting. Campagnolo calls this its eXtreme Performance Shifting System. There are now eight dedicated sectors for upshifting, with ramps and pins working in conjunction with a new tooth profile. But up is only half the story. Campy also optimized two new down-shifting sectors, with the new tooth profile working with ramps on the way down, as well.

Then Campagnolo turned its attention to its Power Torque bottom bracket spindle. Though the Athena crank falls into a mid-range component groups, it benefits from trickle down technology used in the Record gruppo. Instead of the Ultra Torque, two-piece axle system, a single-piece, aluminum axle is fixed to the drive side arm. This system eliminates potential play between the two material types. To maximize efficiency, the inner-axle received a makeover to make it lighter. This created a sequence of thickness inside the axle -- reinforcing areas of high stress and decreasing material where it wasn't needed. The newly renovated axle system is designed to maximize stiffness and power transfer, with the dimensions reflecting the U- and Q-Factors used on the Ultra Torque. To keep the weight low, and to make the installation simple, the drive side bearings come locked to the axle.

The Campagnolo Athena Carbon Crank comes in Black carbon coloring. It's available in crankarm lengths of 170, 172.5, 175mm and with chainring sizes of 50/34 and 53/39t.

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