SRAM Red eTAP first rides and actual weights

When we attended the official SRAM Red eTap launch last fall, we provided an in-depth look at the design and development process and first impressions.

Now, they’re closer to production, with an initial run of “P1” units ready for use in the wild. The “P1” designation, as explained by SRAM’s technical marketing manager Nate Newton, means they’re “the final preproduction run”. The idea with the P1 run is that everything: tooling, production lines, parts, are identical to production, but everything gets checked over and allocated internally rather than sold to customers.”

So, that’s what we’ve got here, in for long term testing and mounted to a Cannondale SuperSix EVO with SRAM Red 22, a Quarq power meter and Zipp 202 wheels and tires. Of course, we promptly pulled the eTap bits off and threw ’em on the scale…

SRAM Red eTAP first rides and actual weights

SRAM Red eTAP first rides and actual weights

We put the parts on the scale at the launch event, too, which includes the Blip Box controller for TT/triathlon bikes. Here, on our test bike and our scale, were the standard road parts:

  • Shifter w/ coin cell battery installed – 130g (260g/pair)
  • Blips (pair) – 13g
  • Battery – 24g
  • Front Der. (w/o battery) – 138g
  • Front Der. (w/ battery) – 164g
  • Rear Der. (w/o battery) – 212g
  • Rear Der. (w/ battery) – 236g

That’d put the total weight for shifting parts on a bike using two Blips at 673g. Here’s how that stacks up against the competition’s electrical parts (using actual weights for Shimano and claimed/actual weights for Campagnolo):

RED eTap Dura-Ace Di2 Super Record EPS
Shifter 260g 230g 265g
Front Der. 164g 107g 133g
Rear Der. 236g 213g 199g
Int. Battery 56g 130g
TOTAL 660g 606g* 727g*

*Keep in mind, you’ll be adding a 22-50 grams of wiring and junction boxes, too, which puts Shimano very close to SRAM’s system weight. Campy’s internal battery is larger than Shimano’s and contains a good portion of the wiring, hence the heavier weight. You can find pricing here.

SRAM Red eTAP first rides and actual weights

UPDATED: Final consumer packaging may vary from what’s shown here, but you’ll get a dual USB wall plug, charging cradle, USB cable, battery cover and instructions when you buy the whole group. Complete bikes will include a single charging cradle, but an additional cradle will be available separately. SRAM’s rep says they’ll charge faster with just a single cradle plugged in at a time. At launch, it’ll only be sold as a complete group and include that single charger. As parts start selling individually, the charging cradle will also be an individual package.

SRAM Red eTAP first rides and actual weights

During transport, it’s best to remove the batteries since motion tends to keep the units “awake”. The battery covers have a handle little switch that lets you mark them as charged or not, so you won’t ever be wondering which ones are ready to go, and which will leave you high and dry. SRAM claims 60 hours of ride time per charge.

SRAM Red eTAP first rides and actual weights

The shifters use a standard coin cell battery with a rubber-lined cover plate to keep moisture out. These should last you about two years.

SRAM Red eTAP first rides and actual weights

Each shifter has two Blip ports. Shown above is the standard configuration with a single set installed and a red plug covering the second port. The wires have a red O-ring to keep moisture from entering through the port. On TT/triathlon bikes, the Blip Box replaces the standard shifter levers and provides a short and long set of Blips to reach the ends of the aero extensions and the bullhorn handlebars.

SRAM Red eTAP first rides and actual weights

Blips can be mounted anywhere their wires will reach, and you’ve got four lengths to choose from (150, 230, 450 and 650 millimeters). SRAM sent the test bike with one pair installed on the bottom of the handlebar, but we’ll be moving it slightly to play with ergonomics.

SRAM Red eTAP first rides and actual weights

The brake levers have a small return spring in them to assist the rim caliper in keeping the cable taut, the first time they’ve put it in a lever body that didn’t also have a mechanical shifter paddle. Without mechanical shifting or hydraulic braking internals, the lever bodies are thinner than other RED units, making them very comfortable to grip when standing and grinding through a climb or sprint.

SRAM Red eTAP first rides and actual weights

The rest of the ergonomics are familiar, sharing the basic lever form factor with the rest of the SRAM family.

SRAM Red eTAP first rides and actual weights

The shift paddle is large but doesn’t interfere with finger movement underneath. The Function button is used to pair the shifters with the rear derailleur and make micro adjustments on the rear derailleur.

SRAM Red eTAP first rides and actual weights

A rubber seal surrounds the battery’s contact points on the derailleurs. The third contact point on the battery is for communicating with the charger to ensure proper charging. Both front and rear use the same type of battery, so you can swap them back and forth…no need to keep track of which goes where.

The first rides on home roads felt just as good as our first rides near their German R&D headquarters. Shifting is precise and intuitive, ushering in a new (and arguably much better) interface between rider and bike. Left to shift up the cassette, right to go down it…both to shift front. It really couldn’t be easier and takes all of two minutes for the brain to retrain itself. In fact, I anticipate having a harder time going back to my Di2 or EPS bikes (which already operate opposite each other!) than this one. I know, I know #firstworldproblems. The Cannondale they sent it on is no slouch, either, nor are the Zipp 202’s, so long term testing should be doubly fun. And I’m already scheming a few nifty things to experiment with…

SRAM.com

66 COMMENTS

  1. I suddenly want to have a bike blog and test stuff like that as well.. thanks for the pictures and details, that was much more interesting than what I read on another site last week!

    • You don’t have to. If you put your bike in your car for a 30 minute trip before your ride, it’s like going for a 30 minute ride that you never shift. I imagine that won’t drain the battery too much.

  2. So.. if you throw the bike on a rack to go on a trip (or get to a trail when this makes its way to MTB), you must remove all of the batteries? Sounds like a complete PITA.

    • Garrett, bro…seriously?! the batteries are so easy to remove, they’re designed to make it easy to remove and replace, How is that a PIA? Are you just looking to complain about something? e-Tap is revolutionary.

    • SRAM could’ve wrote “we recommend removing the batteries before transport – procedure takes about 10 seconds – to prevent theft.” Better? Before someone goes total internet kamikaze after their eTap batteries are ripped off while the bike is locked to the rack. Imagine a Garrett-type blasting “SRAM could’ve at least told us the batteries are easily removed and are a target of theft, man, I hate technology.”

  3. All – just updated a few tidbits about the brake lever return spring and battery chargers, so if you read the post before this comment was added, a couple small things have been modified.

  4. Garrett, you don’t have to, and honestly, unless you’re driving across country or something it probably won’t put much of a dent in the battery life of each full charge. The real energy is used moving the chain from one gear to another, not in keeping the system awake. But, if you really wanted to maximize battery life, then that’s their recommendation.

  5. @Garrett I can’t believe you think this is a deal-breaker. One only has to remove the two derailleur batteries (which have a quick-release). We’re talking about 15 seconds of work.

    • Agree, SRAM should be ashamed of using 2032 “baby killer” batteries. So many small scale USB chargeable options available these days. Would it have even been so bad to wire the shifters together with a shared battery, given their proximity?

  6. @Alex not big deal if you have never misplaced something! Pitfall… Go to a race 200 miles away from home and forgot the bats were still on the charger…. I rather the batteries be fixed. I also think the shifters should of had rechargeables instead of 2032’s…. I suppose it was more of a longevity issue.

  7. @Myke how is that SRAM’s fault that you’re forgetful?

    @Tyler what’s SRAM’s take on this being used in cx? Is it pressure washer proof?

  8. I have Dura-Ace Di2 set up on one of my CX bikes, but honestly the idea of no wires is much more interesting to me. Especially for 1x setups.

    And wired blips: yeah, wires make WAY more sense for that location than a battery. The bulk from a battery and Tx/Rx setup would be much bulkier.

  9. @Myke- You could just as easily forget something important when traveling with bike that is completely mechanical. You could forget one or both wheels for example. The way you plan your travels combined with the tendency to forget are not problems created by Sram or E-tap.

  10. Might be a dumb question, but I haven’t heard it addressed anywhere yet… Can the shift levers be pulled back to the bar independently of the brake levers, like they can be on mechanical SRAM groups?

  11. @dypeterc never said it was SRAM’s fault for anything. It’s a redundancy issue. You remove the terminal and make the battery fixed and only removable with a tool. You can

    A. Add more capacity
    B. Better weather sealing
    C. A system that weighs the same and has better performance.

    External removable batteries on somethings that moves pretty fast is generally a bad idea.

    You would say it’s my fault forgetting the batteries at home. Would you say the same thing if it’s knocked off and damaged….

  12. Bluefire, the shift is activated when that little button on the shift lever is pushed against the stop on the brake lever, so the position is fixed.

    Love this group, will wait for the Force iteration. too $$$

  13. I like the idea of just having a pair of the Blips instead of the integrated shifters. For off-road riding I’m just not that keen on my very expensive shift levers being integrated with my very expensive hydraulic brakes. Blips plus TRP Hylex brakes could be a great way to go. For longer rides (like Paris-Brest-Paris or other self supported multi day rides) carrying a spare battery wouldn’t be that big a deal and would provide some peace of mind.

  14. I’m trying to work out why there’s so many “Luddites” in cycling? I know there’s the whole “romance of the road” steel frame thing, but how come people nitpick the eyes out of eTap? For example the battery thing . . . the chances of both front and back going flat on the same ride must be minuscule? I mean do you charge your Garmin / Polar etc after every ride? If you don’t you’re just dumb. As for the shifter batteries, if you’re really paranoid just get in the habit of changing them evry 6 months or shock horror carry two in your valuables bag. Guys, this is the future. Shimano will have the same thing in 18months and Campy will be close behind. It’s the difference between an IBM PC and the Mac . . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCen5fCHnAQ

  15. @Myke I didn’t know you were a bicycle component engineer. If it’s removable people will complain that they’ll forget them. If it’s not removable then people will complain that they will need a tool to remove. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t… How about this, don’t buy it if you don’t like it.

    • I’ve shown up to multiple races where friends forgot shoes, racing wheels, helmets, their jersey etc. It’s your fault if that happens, not SRAMs. Just leave the charged battery on and you’ll be fine. Lots of people top of their Di2 batteries for an event, even if they don’t need to. It’s not a big deal at all, and soon enough, if you forget your batteries, someone will have an extra on them once these things become more common

  16. What if I want to run the blips in lieu of bar-end shifters… Must the blip’s wires connect to the redundant road shifter?… Or will there be a bar-end specific transmitter rolling out?

  17. Let’s do the math:

    Battery – 24g
    Front Der. (w/o battery) – 138g
    Front Der. (w/ battery) – 164g

    138g + 24g = 162g

    Is this 2g extra whithin the weight tolerance?

  18. @ibcyclist, Unfortunately, Shimano will not have a wireless setup in 18 months. The next Dura Ace set up which will be released to the public late March 2017 will have hydro disc, but will not be wireless. Which means that if Shimano is releasing wireless, it will either be a mid cycle release or we will have to wait until the next “next” DA release in about 5 years from now. Though it’s not public info, Shimano reps that are willing to spill any of the beans will eventually confirm that the next DA still uses e-Tube which means no wireless. If you want info, go to trade shows, races etc, seek out reps, and pepper them for info :).

    However it will be hydro, although weight reduction probably will not exceed 200 grams from what we have now (785 shifters and brakes). There will be a slight reduction in caliper size etc which will lead to weight savings but those looking to take a pound off their disc road bikes won’t. If Shimano did have wireless we would have seen test mules a long time ago in some fashion, even if they were disguised with wires we would have seen some rougher looking proto’s – so far nothing.

    Above Category has a very interesting write up on their website on eTap (which I am seriously considering combining with My DA drivetrain parts). They’ve been riding it for a couple weeks. According to them, it works great – you already knew that – but it is a tad slower than wired systems, shifts a tad “rougher” SRAM has always had a less refined shift / chain noise etc (has nothing to do with eTap) and the battery only lasts about a week, so the battery life is shorter than advertised in real world usage.

  19. eTap will own the industry in less than 2 years. It’s simple, easy to install, easy to use, intuitive, and brilliant. Di2 was poorly executed and SRAM is now going to make powered shifting accessible to all levels of riders and mechanics. I’m still a true believer in mechanical, but eTap makes so much sense that I’m definitely switching at least one of my bikes over.

  20. @ghouse – how was di2 poorly executed? It works incredibly well. Yes, it does have wires. It’s also been extant for 7+ years. 7 years. Every industry, every innovation has to start somewhere. The second gen DA is incredible in terms of weight, shift performance, robustness, longevity, weather proofness, finish quality, etc. Sure, it has wires. After speaking to folks who have ridden eTap (I haven’t had the chance yet), the consensus is that it’s awesome, it’s a great alternative, it will be robust etc. But past initial setup, there’s not a lot of difference if any at all in how it changes the way we ride bicycles. I guess can be said of electronic versus mechanical.

  21. Ghouse, never heard of latency? Due to the poor design choices by SRAM this ETAP group will never shift as fast as other groupsets (mechanical including). Eliminating the wires between shifters and the rest of the systems would be nice in my opininion, but removing the wires between a central battery and the derailleurs is just stupid.

  22. Having ridden Di2, mechanical and Etap, Etap is much faster shifting than mechanical, not quite as fast as Di2. Shifting logic is much more intuitive than Di2. Set up is so easy. If you’re going to forget batteries than don’t buy eTap. But you should probably double check you have your shoes, helmet, water bottles, gels, sunglasses, gloves, etc…

    With Sram’s proprietary signal, it would take a Sram engineer to hack the system. If you want to mess you’re buddies, you can pair your shifters to their derailleurs but you wouldn’t be able to use yours.

    This is awesome stuff. The benefits definitely outweigh any negatives.

    • Ironically, this setup will still be semi-still wired in that you’ll need the blip box then, which seems to be the least cool part of the most cool group available.

      • You can also put a stick in your buddies spokes, but that doesn’t keep me from ridding around trees. The point is you really can’t affect anyone else’s system unless you give up control of your own. Lighten up.

    • “If you want to mess with your buddies……”
      That seems extremely dangerous, for both you and your friends. That you can even do that is a huge turn off.

      • You can also put a stick in your buddies spokes, but that doesn’t keep me from ridding around trees. The point is you really can’t affect anyone else’s system unless you give up control of your own. Lighten up.

  23. @Chris – I suddenly want just a set of blips on my adventure bike with the Hylex brakes instead of the bar end shifters. That would rock. Wireless technology makes so much sense for shifter application. Wired electronic shifters will seem like an odd stop-gap technology in just a few years, like eight tracks after cassettes came out.

  24. The best thing about this new group is SRAM is really going to enforce MAP pricing. Plus from what I hear the UK websites will not be able to ship to the USA. Plus dealers only get one strike and they are put on a do not sale list. This could be a big win for the local bike shop.

    • Well then I guess that’s too bad. I’m not in favor of price fixing, so I guess etap will remain a dream that I’ve never had…

  25. it seems to me all hardware is now in place (except mouthpiece to accept commands) with the Etap wireless system to advance to voice-activated hands-free shifting. so, when will this take place? and who’s working on it?

    i think it’s the next logical step in the evolution of cycling. imagine (after installing new software and mouthpiece and setting up such a system with user-defined control commands [‘up’, ‘down’, ‘front’, for example] that you will be able to climb or sprint while concentrating on your effort instead of searching for a ‘blip’ or a ‘lever’. you just shout out ‘UP’ or ‘DOWN’ or ‘FRONT’ and the shift is made without moving your hands! COOL!

  26. Dumb question: are blips required? I hate that they disrupt the otherwise smooth flow of the bars. Looks like big warts on the bars. I love everything else about this kit, but those blips look sloppy.

  27. Can’t make everyone happy, always a treat to read the comments on bike rumor. I don’t really get why people poo-poo di2 wires so much. After initial installation, you don’t have to worry about it. Wires are always better in terms of data transmission and has higher reliability, transfer speed and better latency.

    I played with eTap at a race and the batteries seem very secure and I don’t think they will pop off in a crash. If they do, you have worse problems to deal with, like a smashed rear derailleur or broken hanger. I would keep the batteries plugged in unless you are making a cross country driving trip. They didn’t have battery covers so if you are traveling with your bike on a rack, I’d keep the batteries plugged in so the weather doesn’t foul up the connectors. The battery charging thing is a non-issue. You still have to charge Di2 batteries and we all charge our gamins, cell phones, etc.

    I’ll see how reliability holds up on eTap but at the moment Di2 is still on the top of my next group purchase.

  28. a little late to this thread, but one thing that nobody has addressed is the lack of security. Hear me out.

    If you watch the entire setup video from sram and even others that have set this up it’s fairly easy right? Press and hold button on rear derailleur for x seconds and do the same on the shifter and then click the shifter and they are now paired. There is no code or pattern, you simply do that. Matter of fact, you can supposedly do it from 100ft. away. Bravo for ease, but wait….

    Lets say I am evil jerk racer or sabotager on rival team or just a jerk (think tacs at TDF and other jerkwad stuff), What keeps me Bad Guy from simply walking up to a rivals /other teams/persons bike with etap on it, press and holding the button on the rear derailleur and putting it into “pair” mode, and simply using my shifters and pair those to the rivals rear derailleur? I can do this from 100ft. away. That user rides off and starts his race, etc, and all the sudden I can control his shifting. You think this is far fetched but it’s not. Worse has been done (hacking into the laptop that had chris froomes power data, etc). Heck you could even reach down at the start line or while the bikes are on the racks and do this. There is no safety feature to prevent other bikes shifters from being paired with your rear derailleur.

    • I think it’s hilarious that you think this is a thing. If someone has physical access to your bike, he can render it ineffective regardless of whether the bike is equipped with SRAM eTap or not. All it takes is a pair of snips. Also spare bikes exist.

    • The eTap are secure against unsophisticated hijacks like that. The dérailleurs know what they are pairing with and will only ever pair with *one* left shifter and one right shifter at a time. So if you pair your shifter when the rider isn’t looking, when they get back they will notice the shifters on their bike aren’t working. They will repair, until their own shifters work and yours do not.

  29. If it’s a proprietary wireless protocol that SRAM controls, then it might take some effort to hack. The question is, how is it protected against a wireless denial of service? How resilient is it against a strong jamming signal coming from a van following a peloton, for example? If the wired bikes start shifting to speed up, how will the wireless bikes keep up if they can’t shift? The last mile of a race, a jammer can create a focused radio interference along the final few hundred yards that can potentially mess with wireless shifting, and influence the outcome of the race. Wild idea? Radio is radio, guys. And there’s a lot of bored nerds out there. But that’s just my 10 cents.

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