The current Campagnolo bar-end shifters looks like something out of the 90’s, because they are. They literally haven’t updated their design for more than a decade, not even to their 11-speed standard that they converted to in 2008. It’s atrocious, and I really think they’re missing a solid chunk of the triathlon market on that.
The only way to run 11-speed Campagnolo casettes with bar-end shifters is by using non-indexed friction shifters (both Shimano’s and, as far as I know, Campagnolo’s own can do this), just like the 80’s where I got my first race bike with down-tube shifters and SunTour components. Ah, nostalgia… I could get used to that again, possibly even enjoy it, but I don’t think people who learned to ride race bikes within the last 15 years would feel the same.
So I sent this email to Campagnolo:
Dear Brilliant Campagnolo Engineers
Please make bar-end shifters compatible with your 11-speed groupsets, it's very important to us triathletes, because triathlon is not just like bike time trials. We really need low gears to get through to the run in good shape (and an 11-speed cassette helps here), and because we're just not as bike fit and with the same top-end as our bike racing specialist brethren.
I think you're missing a significant market by not having such shifters available.
Roughly 2 million bonus point if you come up with something as elegant and ergonomic as the SRAM R2C and Zipp VukaR2C levers. Maybe even license the R2C system, although I can understand if you think you can do better.
I have an original full-size Campagnolo wine-bottle opener, and it's amazingly brilliant in its simplicity and function, I drink more wine just because I enjoy using it; apply that kind of thinking to triathlon/time-trial bar-end shifters and world domination on all better triathlon bikes is assured.
Oh, and by the way, if you feel like writing Campagnolo and telling them something like the above, please don’t hesitate, but be aware the the contact page require you to fill in a “state”, but it’s greyed out when you select Denmark as country because we don’t have states (duh!), so I lied and claimed to be from Hawaii. Stupid little validation error. I’ve alerted them to that too.