SRAM Red eTap wireless groupset finally debuts

Shifters control derailleurs via SRAM’s own encryption system

Cost of the complete groupset will run $2758.

Cost of the complete groupset will run $2758 (click to enlarge).

After an extended development and testing period, SRAM has finally launched its new wireless electronic groupset for road bikes called Red eTap. Shifters and derailleurs communicate with each other via SRAM’s own encryption system. And for those worrying about your riding buddy’s shifters being able to shift your bike, SRAM says the derailleurs will only pair with one shifter at a time.

Each derailleur has its own rechargeable battery. Those batteries must be removed from the bike for charging. Shifter batteries are the standard disk type that you see in the grocery store. Those are a little harder to get to, but SRAM says they last a long time, so this might be just a once-a-year issue. The derailleur batteries are good for about 620 miles between full charges, claims SRAM. Full charge takes about 45 minutes on a charging port that’s included with the system.

LED lights on the battery indicate when the charge is getting low and a recharge is necessary. Also batteries are interchangeable, so if the rear goes out and the front is still good, you could switch the two and still have 11 gears to get yourself home.

The derailleurs add weight compared to traditional SRAM Red 22 mechs, but overall the difference is claimed to be minimal.

The derailleurs add weight compared to traditional SRAM Red 22 mechs, but overall the difference is claimed to be minimal (click to enlarge).

Gear shifting is also different from all past systems. Pressing the left shift lever moves the chain up the cassette into an easier gear; pressing the right shifter moves down the cassette into a harder gear; and pressing both shifters at the same time moves the chain to the opposite chainring that it’s currently on. Unlike Shimano’s wired electronic system, you can’t make changes to the SRAM system’s operation, so no reversing lever function.

SRAM also went to work on the brake hoods, decreasing the diameter for better ergonomics. Reach adjust is also built into the levers.

The new eTap system also comes with remote shifters (called Blips) that can be placed in various places on the bars, say on the tops for climbing, or along the sweep of the drops for sprinting. You can run up to two Blips per side, so there are countless set-up options.

Continue to page 2 to see how the new system is set-up and complete pricing, plus a pair of videos and photo gallery »
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the / staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.

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  • conscience of a conservative says:

    Shame SRAM can’t figure out how to recharge the batteries from energy derived from cycling. Seems a natural. Can’t understand why a bike becoming dependent on more and more batteries is an advance.

  • conscience of a conservative says:

    So now the older versions of EPS that used a wire are now ‘obsolete’.

  • Amy says:

    But don’t we still need wires for brakes?

  • Mark G says:

    Finally, a wireless system that I can use to upgrade my steel frame to electronic shifting. No special frame required! Bring out a WiFli version and I’m all in!!!

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