In addition, there were two versions released of their Syncro indexing shift levers, plus Centaur and Euclid mountain-bike groups.
By 1991, virtually all of them were either completely redesigned, or phased out.
One might think of our distant forebearers, the Neanderthals (Homo Neanderthalensis) -- not a direct ancestor exactly, but more like an evolutionary cousin, whom some anthropologists believe may have even co-existed with early Homo Sapiens, but eventually died off, becoming an evolutionary dead-end.
In looking at bicycle derailleurs over the past couple of articles (HERE, and HERE), I couldn't help but see a similar phenomenon -- evolutionary dead ends in the line of bicycle components.
With those smooth-acting levers, I've found that the Athena is a really nice shifting little derailleur.
If it had been designed with a spring-loaded top pivot, instead of the little toothed stop, it might have been even better. The Syncro levers themselves also were redesigned in that 5-year timespan.
Not content to just copy the Japanese design, Campagnolo designed the Chorus with a special 2-position parallelogram that could be tilted a little or a lot, depending on the range of the freewheel being used. 1988, said, "We found Chorus worked better than any other Campy derailleur -- including the top-of-the-line C-Record.
The Chorus derailleur shifted more precisely and was a lot quieter than past Campy derailleurs." They went on to say, "If you want indexed shifting on your all-Campy bike, Chorus plus Synchro is the best combination." As glowing as that review was, I don't believe that opinion was shared by all.
At first glance, the Athena appeared to share the traditional Campagnolo parallelogram structure. If one looks a little closer, it becomes apparent that the parallelogram is actually canted at an angle.It looks like a traditional hanging parallelogram, but its angled movement would carry it downward as it moved inward towards the larger cogs, or upwards toward the smaller ones -- mimicking somewhat the movement of a slant parallelogram design.Another detail was that it had a small toothed "stop" at the upper pivot to set the angle of the derailleur as it hung from the dropout. I've used the Athena, not with Campy's Synchro indexing shift levers, but rather with their excellent "retrofriction" levers (another nice bit of componentry that didn't survive the indexing era).The only real addition was to include a spring-loaded top pivot (like Simplex) which was an improvement, but not enough to make it index like Dura-Ace, or even the much cheaper Shimano 600 (soon renamed Ultegra) or Sun Tour's Accushift models.Although an improvement, the C-Record's basic parallelogram structure was on the verge of extinction.