Interestingly, I went through this exact same thought process when I bought my Campagnolo Chorus groupset a few years ago. What’s more ‘interesting’, to me anyway, is that I have come to the same conclusion.
Going into this bike build I had just assumed that I would need to have the best transmission I could buy, which to me meant Record. I didn’t question this decision till the rubber hit the road and I actually began to think about clicking ‘buy’ (I will get this online for sure – the difference in price is just too large). What I did was this:
1. Scoured the internet fora (thanks Chikashi for teaching me this new plural!) for people who’ve had the same question as I have.
2. Compared each component of Chorus and Record, from derailleur to brake levers.
What I discovered from #1 was that you tended to have two different camps; lets call one the ‘heart’ and the other the ‘head’. The ‘heart’ people tended to focus on ‘tradition’ (Record is THE classic Campy groupset), ‘looks’ (‘those holes in the levers are awesome!’) and materials (titanium tends to set hearts a-flutterin’). The ‘head’ folks, on the other hand, went with ‘mechanics’ (see #2 below), ‘price-to-weight’ (the 100 grams you save by buying Record will cost you at least €600) and ‘bucking tradition’ (some stated that they had great respect for riders who have expensive frames and Chorus components, seeing this type of rider as one who is a free thinker and unswayed by emotion).
After doing a bit of research into #2 I found that there is no fundamental difference between Chorus and Record (or even Super Record for that matter) in ‘performance’, i.e. all shift the same. The differences come in weight (more titanium and carbon) and things like improved modulation (maybe) on the upper end brakes (bearings vs bushings). It appears to me that I would be forking out a heck of a lot of money on bling – along with those 100 grams or so in weight savings.
So I think I’ll go for Chorus this time around, too. I may do some mixing and matching, though, like upgrade the brakes if I can determine they are going to be worth it. The cassette was another bit recommended by some to consider switching, since it is ‘rotational weight’ (or something). If any of you have any bright ideas I’m all ears, as usual.
Now I need to find something to spend that €600 on…