What if you could throw everything out and build the perfect drivetrain from scratch? What would you change? What would you be forced to change to get around other’s patents? And did it have to follow convention, or could they do away with things that simply weren’t needed…like wires and cables?

That was both the challenge and the opportunity SRAM had when it began developing an electronic shifting system. The starting point was asking “what else shifts?” Their answer, at the most impressive level, was Formula One race cars, the fastest shifting machines in the world.

Now, after five long years of development, we know their answers: The SRAM Red eTAP electronic groupset is here…

THE DEVELOPMENT STORY

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group

The SRAM eTAP system was designed around SRAM’s philosophy that true advancement achieves higher levels of performance for both bike and rider. With more elegant, simple and intuitive design, SRAM’s approach enhances the whole cycling experience, from set up, to reliability, maintenance and the ride. At the heart of it, it’s a bicycle, and it’s supposed to be simple. Added complexity wouldn’t really be an advancement.

So eTAP is simple. As simple as can be, actually, letting you setup a completely new bike in just minutes. Bolt the parts on and pairing can be done in about 30 seconds. It’s just two shifters plus front and rear derailleurs. Each component has its own battery, the only other part of the group is a charger. Or the BlipBox and Blips, which make up the TT bike shift button system and replace the standard shifter/brake levers.

“When electronic shifting came to market, it was a wake up call to SRAM,” says Brian Jordan, SRAM’s Advanced Development Manager. “At that time, we believed a mechanical system provided the best shifting possible.

“Our competitors had filed more than 250 patents globally. We printed them all out and it was a stack about four feet tall that weighed 44 pounds. That provided limitations, but it also made us mad.”

And it drove them. They knew they couldn’t just copy, they had to do something better than simply electrify a mechanical system.

“We wanted to leverage the potential of electronics to do something that hadn’t been done and make the most of it. We looked at every possible button location, even working with a firm that does fighter jet control sticks.”

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group shifter levers

While they looked at a lot of ideas, it turned out their current levers really did provide the best ergonomics and most logical placement.

To test it, they ripped out the mechanical internals of a Red lever and hotwired custom electronics to a competitor’s system, and everyone loved it. It was far simpler with half the number of buttons.

The biggest question looming over the whole project was how to make it reliable without wires. Turns out, SRAM felt you could make it more reliable. With wireless, there are no physical connections, so if a single shift fails, just press the button again and it’ll probably work. With a wired system, if something’s not shifting, it means you’ve gotta find the bad connection and fix it.

The heart of it is their proprietary new AIREA wireless technology. It’s not ANT+, Wifi or Bluetooth. Designed by computer scientists, cryptographers and even hackers, it’s designed on the 2.4GHz frequency for high speed (low latency), low power, and security, using 128-bit encryption that’s safer than what’s used on ATM machines. And it’s transmitted with high powered radios that have a ~100m range. That means you could separate the shifters from the derailleurs by a football field’s length and they’d still shift.

Pairing rules mean you can only pair one set of shifters to one set of derailleurs. Or one Blip Box. But not both, and not more than one set of shifters. So you can’t hack it by syncing some other controller to your buddy’s (or nemesis’) derailleurs.

To ensure it worked in a crowded peloton, They’ve also run it on AG2R’s bikes at Le Tour. Before that, they lab tested it with up to 28 distinct shifters and derailleurs all sending shift signals simultaneously. With each one sending each signal over 15 different channels, that’s 420 concurrent shifts, which is unlikely to happen on any real ride. The systems operate on different channels, but they wouldn’t divulge how the channel switching works. We’ll get into more of the testing process later…

THE PARTS

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group front derailleur

As we predicted, the batteries are small and interchangeable. Their goal was to make them small and light enough to fit directly on the derailleur. And they’re placed out of harm’s way, too, making it very unlikely they’d come off in a crash. Or come off at all…unintentionally. The locking lever is designed to provide a firm tactile click that secures the battery in place. If it’s not able to close, it means the battery’s not making contact and it won’t shift, so you’ll know immediately if it’s not installed correctly.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group front installation and setup

Each part has a built in accelerometer to wake it up, letting it go to sleep after 30 seconds of inactivity to save battery power. Each time you shift, a LED light on each one indicates battery charge level. It doesn’t take much to wake it, something as simple as vibration, so you’ll want to remove the batteries before a road trip and put the battery covers in their place. They’re also somehow nearly impervious to cold, holding their output levels even in subfreezing temps.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group battery details

A rubber seal runs completely around the contact patch on the derailleur’s body, preventing moisture from reaching the contacts and shorting the system. They’ll last for 60 hours on a full charge, which SRAM says is good for about 1,000km. They’ll recharge in just 45 minutes, and you’re likely to have to charge the rear more frequently since it’s used more often. But the front takes more power per shift, so it’s best to just charge them at the same time. Of course, if the rear dies on a ride, you’ll likely have power left up front and can just swap the batteries and get home on rear shifts alone.

The derailleurs’ LEDs blink green on each shift until there’s about 15 hours of power remaining, then red down to about five hours, and a five-flash red burst when you have less than five hours of ride time.

The shifters use CR3032 coin cell batteries, one each, which give them up to two years of service. When it does come time to change them, everything stays paired between battery swaps.

The included wall plug has two USB ports, and battery cradles use a Micro USB, so you can use any convenient cable and USB port to charge them…like in your car, though it may take a bit longer than 45 minutes on weaker chargers. It’ll come with the derailleurs or complete bike. The third contact on the battery is a thermistor used to detect pack temperature for protection purposes during charging. In the unlikely event yo don’t touch your bike for a long, long time, a fully charged battery should take about 18-21 months to fully discharge if left completely alone.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group shifter levers

The new parts offered an opportunity to redesign everything, so they tweaked the brake levers’ shape, giving them a slightly broader front profile that they say better fits a wider range of hand sizes. Reach adjust is still on board.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group shifter levers

The electronic shift paddles are large enough to fit any hand size. A small return spring pushes them back, and the backside shows the LED and Function button. Under the hoods are two ports on each shifter to add their remote Blips shift buttons.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group shifter levers

They were pretty happy with the way the standard levers felt, but the new ones are a little slimmer in diameter. The rubber’s texture is improved, and it fits tighter and and remains flush at the edges for a smoother appearance and feel.

Mechanical brake versions are coming first. Hydro is in development and will hopefully follow shortly thereafter.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group front derailleur

The front derailleur relies on their YAW design to eliminate chain rub regardless of where the chain is on the cassette. There is electronic trim, it just doesn’t adjust the front derailleur as you run up and down the cassette. Instead, it knows which cassette cog the chain is on and will under- or overshift slightly to provide a smooth shift without dropping the chain to the inside, then quickly move into its proper YAW position. Check the video further down to see it in action.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group front derailleur

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group front derailleur

The front derailleur’s movement is handled by a small lever that pushes the outer parallelogram outward, and a return spring helps bring it back down.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group front derailleur

Limit screws are easily adjustable from the outside, and it’s hiding rotational adjustments on the backside. You’ll see those, along with the the LED and Function buttons on the front of the derailleur, in the Setup overview below.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group rear derailleur

The eTAP rear derailleur is the master device for the whole system. It initiates the pairing process, joining the other parts together and making it all work.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group rear derailleur SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group rear derailleur

The motor is housed in the lower portion of the derailleur, near the upper jockey wheel.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group rear derailleur

It’s connected to the battery with a well insulated cable, one of the few wires visible in the entire group.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group rear derailleur breakaway

The motor drives a lever (A, see below) against a raised nub (B) on the lower parallelogram. It’s held firm against the nub by the return spring (C). This picture shows the derailleur pushed into its breakaway safety position, which pushes both the lever and the spring away from the parallel arm. Here are those parts from the inside:

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group rear derailleur breakaway

When the lever (A) pushes against the nub (B), it’s not so much moving the parallel arm as it is rotating the entire lower knuckle, which forces both arms to move in relation to one another and thus slide the upper wheel along the cassette’s profile.

Those same parts create the breakaway design that allows it to be forced to move inboard in the event of a crash. It does so without harming the motor, then pops right back into place. The lever (A) is slotted so that the return spring (C) is captured.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group rear derailleur

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group rear derailleur

The unit is comprised of hard steel and alloy with a carbon cage. The initial run will fit a 28-tooth max cassette, not their WiFli wider range road cassettes. But they’re working on it.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group TT group with BlipBox and Blip buttons

For TT/triathlon bikes, the eTAP Blipbox is the alternate wireless shift transmitter that functions the same as the shifter levers, but mounts with a standard 1/4 turn (read: Garmin) cycling computer mount.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group TT group with BlipBox and Blip buttons

It has up and down shift buttons and a Function button, and serves as the home base for the Blips remote shift buttons:

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group TT group with BlipBox and Blip buttons

Blips are the only wired part of the system and can be mounted anywhere, even under the handlebar tape. They’re as light as 6g each and are sold in sets of four, coming in two sets of two lengths and include nylon clips to mount them on traditional road handlebars directly adjacent to the stem, too.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group TT group with BlipBox and Blip buttons

They’re the only part that could be “hacked”, too. It’s just a simple button, so we suspect Fair Wheel Bikes is already scheming on how to do something with it.

This shows the group running through several shifting sequences and touches on Setup, our next section…

INSTALLATION & SETUP

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group front installation and setup

The front derailleur will ship with three different Wedgies that brace it against the frame. (Yes, “Wedgies” is the official branding…gotta love SRAM’s product naming team!) These are critical because they prevent the powerful motor from twisting the front derailleur during a shift. Beyond that, set up is just like the mechanical YAW derailleur – it has lines and guides on it to ensure it’s properly positioned in relation to the chain and large chainring.

Once on, chain length is determined the same as their other groups – wrap it around the big chainring and biggest cog, then add two links. Once cut, run it through both derailleurs and install the PowerLink connecting link.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group rear derailleur

To pair everything, you simply turn on the rear derailleur by holding the button down until the light blinks slowly. Then you hold down the buttons on each of the other items until they blink rapidly (it took about three seconds in our demo), then press the button on the rear again to finalize it.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group front installation and setup

To micro adjust the rear derailleur for perfect shifting, simply hold the function button on the shifter while depressing the shift button and it makes up to 13 microscopic changes to the derailleur’s position, allowing for an incredible amount of precision. There’s no special adjustment mode, you just hold the shifter’s function button and tap the lever to make an adjustment. So, not only is initial setup easy, but if you’ve got to make a wheel change mid-race or ride, you can get shifting perfectly aligned in seconds. Limit screws manage upper and lower limits like normal.

While they didn’t mention it explicitly, it’s prescient that the rear derailleur is the parent component, teeing up 1x applications in the future without any functional changes.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group front derailleur

The front derailleur’s Function button can be pressed quickly to initiate a shift without touching the levers, helpful when on the bike’s on the stand. Likewise, a quick press of the rear mech’s Function button will shift it outboard (harder), and a quick double push makes it shift to an easier gear.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group front installation and setup

Under the hoods are two ports for the Blips remote shifting buttons – one is shown installed in the top port. The screw-on cover plate hides the CR3032 coin cell battery that powers the shifters.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group front installation and setup

The Blips simply plug in and then you tape them wherever you want them under the bar tape, or use the mount to clip them next to the stem.

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group Blip Button placement

You can wrap them so they’re seen, like on the TT bike shown earlier, or cover them completely. Or run the wire through the handlebar and use double stick tape to secure it to the bottom. Or top. Or anywhere else you want.

Excluding brakes, you can set up a completely new bike in minutes. It’ll take you longer to pull the old group off your bike than to install eTAP.

COMPATIBILITY, SYSTEM UPDATES & HACKING

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group gear display on Garmin 520

While all of the shifting is done through AIREA, the derailleurs also have ANT+ transmitters to send shift data to compatible cycling computers. They partnered with Garmin to show gear selection on the new Garmin 520 at launch. Additional Garmin models and other brands’ computers should just be a firmware update away, too, since it’s using a public shifting protocol within the ANT+ standard. Smart developers will find a way to show that data graphed against heart rate, power output, incline and time spent in gears, among other things, so kudos to SRAM for making the data available to all…and without requiring external antennae.

According to SRAM, eTAP is the most thought-out, most tested and most carefully developed product they have ever made. And yes, the Hydro disc brake recall was a big driver behind the extensive testing done here…which we’ll cover in a second post. With all of the development work that’s gone into it, they say there are no immediate plans for updated tech or design changes in the near term, which should ease concerns for early adopters.

That said, there is a USB “Bootstick” that’ll be available that allows it to be updated wirelessly, because if they’re completely honest, firmware updates will likely happen at some point. But, there’s no GUI that lets you tweak it like you can with Di2. So, the multi shifts with a continuous button hold are there to stay, and you can’t speed it up or slow it down. By our count, it takes about 3.25 seconds to move up the derailleur (hardest to easiest gear) and about 4 seconds to move down it. And it’s 11-speed only, so you can’t program to work with 10-speed cassettes.

As for hacking it, as we mentioned, it’s a closed, proprietary system. In other words, you aren’t likely to be able to break into it since even their own developers couldn’t hack into your system wirelessly. AIREA uses advanced 128-bit encryption keys with layers and rolling codes, and the high powered transmitters further reduce outside attacks that may try to overpower them or confuse the system.

PRICING & WEIGHTS

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group actual weights

Actual and claimed weights are:

  • Shifters: 130g and 131g with batteries (260g/pair claimed)
  • Rear derailleur: 237g with battery attached (239g claimed w/battery, 215g w/o)
  • Front derailleur: 135g without battery attached (187g claimed w/ battery, 163g w/o).

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group actual weights

  • Battery: 23g
  • BlipBox: 33g with battery and 3/4 plugs installed (31g claimed)
  • Blip: 6g with 150mm cable (Available in lengths of 150mm: 6g, 230mm: 7g, 450mm: 8g, 650mm: 9g, claimed)

Prices for the standard eTAP parts and necessary 2016 SRAM Red cranks, brakes, etc, are:

2016 SRAM RED eTAP wireless group pricing for standard shifters

…and for aero parts:

2016 SRAM RED eTAP wireless group pricing for aero shifters

All parts will start shipping in Spring 2016 for both aftermarket and on complete bikes. When it does ship, it’ll come with an extensive owners manual that’ll cover all of this again (and more, they say). And they’ll have all the support videos and info online, too.

Want to know more? Above, we’ve covered the technical details, development story, setup, installation and actual weights. First ride impressions and testing protocols will follow shortly as a separate post…

SRAM.com

56 COMMENTS

  1. Cool things: Blips. Not using ANT+ or BT for intra system communications. Simple pairing and set-up procedures.

    Pretty uncool thing: Still using springs to actuate the derailers. That’s…. awful, and i’m sure, patent driven.

  2. 300g more than the mechanical groupset is dissapointing, epecially when Shimano managed to make their electronic DA weight less than the mechanical one. That is a big disadvantage to me. 300 grams is a lot and the price difference compared to the mechanical Red 22 is big too.

  3. Well done to SRAM, I think more teams will go back to SRAM now, it’s well overdue but well planned out I’m sure. I think I’ll wait for the Hydro brakes before (and it’ll be a good amount of testing time). Luckily I ride a Ti bike so if I stick with wireless I can have my cable tabs removed. Always been loyal to SRAM since they released Rival back 8ish years ago. Can’t wait for 1 x wireless for my MTB

  4. I’m trying to like it, I really am but I can’t help but feel that this could have been a LOT better and the reason it’s not is more than likely patent infringement which is a damn shame.

    The group looks great with the exception of the blips, those are hideous and poorly executed. The battery life blows and you need to use wedgies? Wtf seriously.

    The weight doesn’t surprise me, you can’t really beat SRAM red mechanical for weight and even removing all the cables and housings their battery packs always looked a little heavy.

  5. The RD does not shift as good as a Shimano Di2 RD, looks a bit unprecise and sounds not as crisp as I’m used to from a Ultera Di2 6870, sems to shift slower also. FD looks good, but not better than the system from Shimano or Campa.

    Pricetag between Shimano and Campa, its OK, I was expecting more.

    I have some veeeeery big electric power transformation substations around here, which even give cable-bound speedometers a hard time. (not to mention wireless ones, a complete mess). Would like to know what hapens with the eTap there.

  6. As a former roadie turned phat, I can’t help but snicker a little when somebody complains about 300 grams for an entire group set, as being “heavy”….and I’m not poking fun of you I promise. I just find it interesting how quickly mountain bikers and fat bikers go from being weight weenies, to “whatever”, on those kinds of issues. My tires weigh almost 5lbs each now…and I love it.

  7. I’m really excited to see a wireless drivetrain set become available. I’m generally a fan of my Sram drivetrains – road and mountain. I’ll admit that the Shimano system seems smoother right now, but wired shifting is like 8track tapes – it’s great, but you know it’s just a stop-gap technology given the current state of the art. Perhaps this will force Shimano’s hand on their own wireless system. Competing technology on this scale certainly gives riders access to fantastic equipment these days. Battery life seems okay to me as a user of mechanical drivetrains. Hell, I have to charge my tailight blinky every other ride, charging the shifter batteries every 600 miles seems reasonable.

  8. I think the blips look cool, and versatile. The climbing switch from shimano is hard to do anything with other than mounted how they intended.

    Very surprised that it weighs more than mechanical. Not that weighing less was going to be easy, but for the price and time to develop, you think that would have been a big objective.

    smart to put the “smarts” in the rear derailleur, for 1x use.

    It still looks first gen to me. Not in graphics, but in function. It doesn’t seem like they really innovated, but rather spend 5 years trying to get something to work around other’s patents.

  9. “Push the left one and it shifts easier. Push the right one and it shifts harder. Push both and the front shifts.”

    So you can’t change the front chainring and rear cog at the same time?

  10. @john: No. So all in all slower sifting.

    Plus, the smartes thing abut shimanos system is, that you can program the buttons. I know a guy who had a stroke and is not able to move his fingers independetly since then. He can grab the STI, but cant shift. So the bike-shop decked his bike out with the Di2 and simply put the climbing-shifters near the right STI an just programmed it to shift the FD.

  11. Imagine how much weight you save without the batteries? Because hey, weight weenies keep the bike on the wall anyway next to the scale.

  12. Having setup Di2 before both dura-ace and ultegra, I am so PLEASED that this system is wireless!!! Great job SRAM. Haven’t tried it yet but even if shifting is not as quick as Di2 due to patent infringement, I would totally go for this system just for its simplicity only. The fact that more and more frame manufacturers are going for integrated stem/bar/frame systems, SRAM wireless will be a winner to setup any bike with ease.

  13. Bad news. The front derailleur battery, because of its placement behind the upper mounting portion of the front derailleur (see photos) is going to rub wider tires. This means that you would probably only be able to use narrow tires with this wireless groupset.

  14. Hats off to SRAM. Looks like a great intro and very cool start to what will likely become the norm for the peloton. Suspect that no wires etc might well lead to lower costs than competitors electrical systems.

    The Goats

  15. Ajax…that’ll only be a problem with square tires and bikes with 38.5cm chainstays. Your tire will rub your seat tube, long before rubbing your FD…or you may not even be able to get that tire in your frame

  16. Does anyone know if the Wedgie things are essentially the same as Shimano’s set screw? I’m thinking they are not exactly the same in function as the set screw is used on mechanical and Di2. I think this is pretty awesome and really priced a lot more modestly than I expected. Couple of thoughts, the derailleurs look huge, especially the rear. Obviously you can’t do much about the battery that has to be integrated in, but the unit looks large. I also had the same thought about the front der battery. Even in a larger tire, i.e. 28/30 doesn’t rub, it’s going to get very close which will result in tons of crap being deposited all over the der body and battery. In the long run, it’s probably not an issue.

    The real question is when is Shimano introducing DA wireless? Unsubstantiated rumors on forums indicate that they’ve been playing with it for quite some time, perhaps even before eTap was in development. Shimano is also known for some quite glacial R&D cycles – like Di2 was in development for over 10 years I think. It’s getting excited.

  17. Oh. I thought of something else. “It’s impossible to make a programmed shift routine that can think for you” says SRAM, eight months after Shimano released that very thing with XTR. I fully expect that capability to come to Shimano Road in time. The XTR A-junction is already fully compatible with Ultegra 6870 and DA9070 systems.

    Sure. There’s no GENERAL program that is going to fit every application, but when you can change every single detail of the shift routine, then you can fit a shift pattern to the rider and course.

  18. is anyone really doing 1000km+ rides and actually needing to worry about battery life? Plus, even if it dies, you can still pedal the damn thing. Jeez, do any of you charge your cell phones every night…..

  19. sram has a habit of rushing products to market and dealing with the fallout later. I don’t expect this to go any differently.

  20. Shimano’s sweating BULLETS right now!

    I’m a die hard Shimano fan (SRAM has always felt like breaking little pieces of plastic in my hand every time I shift, plus front shifting is pretty awful), but a wireless electronic group probably would alleivate that.

    That being said I think mechanical makes more sense for my style of riding (and income bracket), and I just prefer the connected feel of mechanical shifting. Electronic always felt a little “disconnected”.

  21. To the people rolling their eyes at 300g not making a difference, you are probably right. However, that doesn’t matter, because MANY people nowadays are very much tied up in the “weight weenie” concept, rationally or not. Perception is huge, and if someone is looking to shave weight, many are going to go with the lighter setup, regardless of any other factor (again, rightly or wrongly, doesn’t matter).

  22. @Veganpotter

    It is unfortunate bad news. And it is legitimate…
    Its starting to be noticed by the photographers at Velo. You can even see the issue in the photos of the front derailleur on this picture…

    The placement of the front derailleur battery will interfere with wide tires on road bikes with standard chainstays of about 400-415mm chainstays. This is very similar to an issue that writer Greg Kopecky of Slowtwitch.com had in mounting a 28mm tire to Kona road frame with a new Shimano front derailler. The back portion of Shimano front derailleur rubs the side edge of the rear tire. See here: http://www.slowtwitch.com/Products/Smooth_miles_with_Kona_4427.html
    Scroll down near the bottom of the page where the paragraph reads, “Second, with the new derailleur on, I noticed that my…”

    Now, look at the picture that Bikerumor has posted of the front derailleur. See here-
    http://brimages.bikeboardmedia.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/SRAM-RED-eTAP-wireless-shifting-front-derailleur-details02.jpg
    You can see that with a large enough tire (maybe a 28mm), the front derailleur battery would scrub the side edge of the rear tire.

    It is unfortunate, but Velo photographers are also picking up on this. Big wide tires with road bike length chainstays will most likely NOT be compatible with using SRAM’s new Red eTap wireless front derailleur. See the photos for yourself.

  23. From BikeRadar:

    “The eTap system does not need cabling and housing, of course, which saves 115g. So that gives you 686g for eTap vs 609g for Red 22, taking into account levers, derailleurs and (for the mechanical groupset) cables/housing.”

  24. Have you ever been on a climb, suffering as you start seeing the wheel infront of you gradually get inch by inch further away, and as a last resort your malfunctioning brain just wants to be 100% sure you’re on the little ring, in the hope you can gain a bit more cadence? You know its futile, but you’ll try it anyway. So your try a big ring -> little ring shft. Nothing happens, and you get on with it and either man up, or blow and thats the end.

    With E-Tap that’d stick you on the big-ring, grind you to a halt, and most likely dump you on the road in a heap.

    Also, out the saddle shifting from big to little (bad idea on mechanical as it just dumps the chain most likely into your BB, but on Egroups its a smooth shift down perfectly possible to acheive, and so something you do without really worring) as the gradient takes a turn for the worse (or better depending on who you are!), is no longer a 1 finger switch, its going to take 2 co-ordinated switches to do. Never tried (never needed to) but is it a thoughtless/natural thing to do? Or is it going to take focus from your riding?

  25. to those freaking out about the “weight penalty”, SRAM Red mech is already the lightest road group on the market. And I think a lot of people are forgetting how much steel cables and shifter housing weighs. And you aren’t replacing that with little electronic wires either, you’re replacing it with *nothing*.

    so there’s that.

  26. “There is electronic trim, it just doesn’t adjust the front derailleur as you run up and down the cassette. Instead, it knows which cassette cog the chain is on and will under- or overshift slightly… Doesn’t that mean to trim, you have to shift the front twice?

  27. @uk100 no, it means it’ll shift to a position to shift the chain, then shift back after a moment to a better running position. No manual trimming required.

  28. @Steve I’ve been riding 2x bikes on integrated brake lever shifters since 1991. I have LITERALLY never, ever done that. Who does that?

    I have, however, crashed more than once / dropped the chain racing cyclocross owing to the fact that shifting an STI lever can tend to apply the brakes, due to small hands and poorly thought out ergonomics. That coupled with poor / mushy shifter feel meant I never rode Shimano systems after 1996.

  29. Do not like the price. Do not like the double push thing for the FD for the road (I’ll stick with mechanical red).

    But, as a 1X cyclocrosser, I kind of love the simplicity of this for a 1x setup. I already have Dura Ace Di2 setup this way and it’s great.

  30. This looks like the perfect electronic setup for my much traveled Ritchey Breakaway. Just need to wait for the wifli long cage rear derailleur I think.

  31. @Interesting that appears to still require hitting the blip and the shift lever at the same time, just on the same side. Whereas if you hook up a double pole switch, you can emulate two simultaneous inputs.

  32. No wires, always in tune, excellent battery life, simple installation? I’ll take it and never look back. Unlike some skeptical posters here, I bet I can master the shifting in less than 15 minutes and only be vaguely aware that it shifts nano-seconds slower than Di2. Within an hour I think I could jump into a race/group ride and be completely comfortable with it. I bet most anyone could. If not, you’re either profoundly uncoordinated or you just don’t want to.

  33. Symon, you got me!
    I hadn’t even thought of that, but you’re right, this is actually amazing for travelbikes! But you’d have to remember to bring the charger and a spare batt in case of emergencies. But not having to mess with wires or cables when packing the bike away but still having a significant gear range, is pretty sweet. Especially good news for frames with S&S, or Ritchey Breakaways.

    That being said, it’s not for me.

  34. I have a Ritchey Breakaway and I definitely want this for that! This also makes SRAM look super smart, wireless is brilliant.

  35. So…If the front derailleur requires actuation of both shifters to move the chain, then how are you supposed to pedal the bike to check the front shifting while on a work stand?

  36. From the middle of the article, Concerned Citizen:
    “The front derailleur’s Function button can be pressed quickly to initiate a shift without touching the levers, helpful when on the bike’s on the stand. Likewise, a quick press of the rear mech’s Function button will shift it outboard (harder), and a quick double push makes it shift to an easier gear.”

  37. @lonefrontranger I feel the same was about shimano shifters and can not use them at all. They also have a flaw where if you are slighly pushing on the brake lever, the cable release lever will not function. I found this out during a CX race when i was wearing thicker gloves and couldn’t figure out why i couldn’t shift to a harder gear. I’m pumped for this Etap system. I can’t wait to try it out. I always wondered what the point of an electronic system was if you needed to have wires.

  38. can’t believe people are still asking how you shift it in a repair stand.

    READ, you morons! watch the videos!
    learn how it works first, then you can at least be accurate with your complaining.

  39. yea after this week when I recabled my red22 hydros on my adventure/cross bike owing to cracked housing, then three days later spent a ride faffing with the cable tension to get it properly adjusted owing to cable stretch/bed in, I CAN. NOT. WAIT. for this to be available in the hydro disc groups. Hell I’ll retrofit it if it can be done. After riding drop bar hydro discs for a year I’ve sworn off ever buying another rim brake bike, so I can see in maybe another 2-3 years feeling the same way about mechanical / cabled shifting systems.

  40. Ajax @Veganpotter pipped me on the FD battery question. That looks tight. I wonder what might happen on an aero frame such as a Cervelo S5? I want to like this, I want to get this, but, … I guess if you want to retro mount you’ll want to take your bike into a SRAM centre to check all the possibilities.

  41. “As for hacking it, as we mentioned, it’s a closed, proprietary system.” – Hahaha, never had a better laugh. Ask any serious IT-sec guy about the concept of security by obscurity. Keyless car entry systems anybody?

    I bet the protocol could and will be hacked.

  42. A couple of concerns:

    1) 2.4 Ghz? Too close to a microwave would be a problem, and there are 2.4 Ghz jammers available. You can build your own… I’m not that knowledgeable about the 2.4 frequency, but it is a surprising choice given how many other devices use it.

    2) The batteries are swappable, but I missed what happens when the battery dies. As someone mentioned, ambient temperature will be a factor in battery life. Depends on the area, and most who run this will be fair-weather riders. But lots of local cyclocrossers jumped on Di2…

    3) Triggering the wakeup seems problematic to me. It’s unclear how sensitive the system is, which is a concern for a race start/etc. Will backpedalling be enough?

  43. If you threw a dura ace or ultegra cassette on here, the shifting would probably speed up. Love sram, their cassettes are junk though compared to the beauty of the shimano shifting.

  44. Does anyone know if the rear derailleur will be 10 speed or 11 speed or both? The only thing that would stop me from buying at this point would be having to buy new rear disc because SRAM is not 10 speed compatible. Shimano made their electronic group so that you have to have an 11 speed hub, stupid! I would think that with the high number of older model disc wheels out there it would have been smart to make it so that it could do both 10 speed and 11 speed.

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