After years of prototype spotting and speculation, SRAM pulled the wraps off their new electronic shifting groupset, RED eTap. Of the bat, something that you’ll notice is that it is a wireless groupset — no wires tucked in anywhere — it’s all completely wireless. Aside from that, the shifting patterns are entirely-new.
Drivetrains are changing to accommodate the new wave of hydraulic discs in the pro peloton, but advancements in electronic and even hydraulic drivetrains are coming into the mix as well — thus adding to the complexity of choices for consumers. There is no doubt that people love Shimano’s Di2 drivetrains. Shifting is quick, precise and robotic. SRAM’s wireless take on electronic drivetrains takes that to another level with some key features.
How does it work? To shift the rear derailleur, simply tap the right/left paddles a single time — right for down, left for up. To shift the front derailleur, simply tap the paddles simultaneously. This pattern seems logical, but will take some time to get used to. I can see some issues with this, however. If you’re riding one-handed and need to shift, you’re now limited to a single shifting direction, depending on which hand is off the bars. Most of the time, this won’t be an issue, but it will happen.
SRAM RED eTap Highlights:
- Revised Ergofit controls with smaller-diameter hoods
- Large shifting paddles with new shifting pattern
- Wireless front and rear derailleur using 128-bit AIREA wireless protocol
- Interchangeable battery packs are the same for both derailleurs
- Available Blip shifters for aero bars or on the tops
- Max cassette size is 28t (no WiFli at the moment)
- Compatible with existing SRAM cassettes, chainrings and cranksets
- Includes charging base for both batteries at the same time
- Can sync with certain Garmin devices
- Uses accelerometers to detect movement and turn the system off (to save batteries)
- Availability: Spring 2016
- Price: $2758 for the complete groupset
I’m sure we’ll get our hands on an eTap-equipped bike in the coming months, so stay tuned for more details and impressions at that time.
More Info: SRAM.com