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The sparkling legacy of Campagnolo is surely known to every road cyclist, but it extends far beyond this little world of ours.
Even those who might hear the Italian brand name and utter a clueless “campa-what-now?” are familiar with the oft-copied corkscrew design created by namesake founder Tullio Campagnolo nearly six decades ago.
Mostly unchanged since its development back in the 1960s (which company legend states took mere minutes for the initial design to take form), the Big Corkscrew is one of those products that is about as perfect at its job as possible — and looks quite elegant doing it.
To celebrate the iconic design, Campagnolo is releasing a limited edition Big Corkscrew plated in 24-karat gold as well as an 18-karat rose gold version. The price, as you can imagine, reflects the lustrous coating.
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At €1,950 for either version, the limited edition gold versions cost nearly 11 times the standard version that comes in a humble satin or bronze finish for €179. Suddenly the prospect of dropping $200 on a corkscrew seems more palatable in comparison, doesn’t it?
New finish, same performance
As the drivetrain has developed over the years, with the cassette growing to a baker’s dozen and shift cables replaced by electronic wires, the Big Corkscrew has been a cornerstone of stability in the Campagnolo lineup, a testament to the staying power of good design.
Despite its blinged-out finish and astronomical asking price, the golden Big Corkscrew, whose 30cm x 13cm footprint (about the size of a wine bottle) assures you there’s no hyperbole in the name, is otherwise functionally identical to the plebeian standard satin finish version and should deliver the same lauded performance.
A self-centering telescopic bell positions the screw precisely in the center of the cork every time for clean extraction, preventing cork residue from being left behind. The design also prevents the screw from poking through the end of the cork, ensuring no pieces fall into the wine. And the corkscrew’s large arms provide plenty of leverage for easy cork removal without moving or damaging the bottle.
Campagnolo still manufactures the impressive piece of hardware in Italy in the same plant as its bicycle components. Even the levers are fastened in place using screws from a 1970s edition Super Record crankset.
Campagnolo isn’t alone in the cycling world with its gold fever, either. Just last month former pro and GCN commentator Adam Blythe revealed a one-off 24-karat leaf bike he had made.