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SRAM RED eTAP Wireless Shifting System In Depth Review

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SRAM RED eTAP has probably been one of the more closely followed sports tech products in the cycling industry as it worked its way to release.  Of course, the vast majority of that multi-year journey was through various media spot shots, faked derailleur cables, and all assortment of other goodness designed to throw people off the track.  It wasn’t until last August that it was officially announced with pricing details and the like.

About two months ago SRAM dropped off an eTAP system for me to dig into it.  Since then I’ve been riding the crap out of it, taking it with me on travels and planes, and figuring out where any holes in the armor are.  Based on that I’m ready to give you the mother of all eTAP reviews.

Finally, note that eTAP is considered electronic shifting, just like Shimano Di2 and Campy’s EPS.  However, remember that the term ‘electronic shifting’ is not the same as wireless shifting.  While eTAP is wireless electronic shifting, Shimano’s Di2 and Campagnolo’s EPS are not (they are wired electronic shifting).  I cover this in far more detail later on in this section comparing the technologies.

Oh, and lastly – SRAM dropped off an eTAP equipped bike as well as boxed sets of eTAP to install.  All of which (like usual) will be going back to them shortly.  If you want to support the blog, check out the links at the bottom of the post.

In the road bike box:

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Remember when I said they dropped off an eTAP system? Well, actually, it was three eTAP systems.  Initially they swung by with a full bike configured with eTAP.  I merely had to wrap the bars and I was good to go.  However, later on I had them send me over two fully boxed systems – just like you’d be getting if you ordered.  One road bike system, and one triathlon/TT bike system.  I now have enough eTAP parts to equip a 747.  Or, write text messages with eTAP boxes:

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I’ve divided up the unboxing into two sections: Road & Triathlon.  Simply pick whichever is applicable to you.  For the most part, the only differences between the two are at the handlebar side of things.

First up on the road side is the monster box that eTAP comes in.  This required me totally re-arrange my unboxing station within The Cave.  Aside from trainers (which I unbox on the floor), I’ve never had to unbox something this big.

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However, after applying an Ikea table to the situation, I was good to go.  First up, the road bike kit:

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Within it you’ve got six individual boxes.  Each containing a part approximately 1/20th the volume of the individual part box.  To begin, we’ll start with the SRAM USB stick, simply because…well, that’s how the boxes tumbled out.  Down the road this will communicate to your eTAP system for firmware updates, but for today it’s just a paperweight since no such firmware updates exist yet.

(Interwebs Pro Tip: You can click on any photo to make it bigger)

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Next we’ve got the front derailleur.  This box also includes the battery, as well as a small packet with attachment screws and a shim of sorts that you’ll use to ensure clean shifting (more on that in the install section).

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Here’s the screw bag.  It’s just one screw really.  Plus the shims.

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Next it’s the two shifters.  Both left and right; in each box, it’s just the shifter.  First, the left shifter:

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Then the right shifter.  They’re identical, except one is left, and one is right.

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Then there’s the battery charger and international adapters.  The charger is 100-240v, so you don’t need a transformer.  Just plug it in wherever you go.  It’s actually technically powered by micro-USB, so you can also just plug it into any USB outlet you’d like.

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Finally, the rear derailleur.  Inside you’ll find just the derailleur and the battery.  That is all.

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The derailleur has the bolt that you’ll screw onto your frame built into it, so no need for other parts.

Wait – there’s actually more!  Below those six boxes are actually two more skinny boxes inset into the bottom of the larger eTAP delivery box.  These include the brake cables and brake cable housing (tubes).

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Here’s what the whole kit looks like on a table.  There’s a number of quick-start guides in there, which you could use.  Though I find following various SRAM install videos on YouTube a bit easier.

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Note that by default blips are not included within the kit/box for road, only for triathlon.  Though, I highly recommend you purchase them.  Additionally, blip holders are not included either.  If you buy blips, ensure you buy blip holders (I’ll talk about what happens later if you don’t, but essentially kittens will die).

Here’s what blip holder looks like before you install it.  It’s about the least exciting piece of plastic and screw you’ll find in this review.  But, it makes all the difference in the world for the blips.

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I’ll cover blips in the next section on triathlon and more later in the install section.  With that, let’s get onto the tri setup.

In the tri bike box:

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Ok, next up is the triathlon bike variant.  This is called the ‘aero’ kit.  You’ll find many of the same parts here as the road bike kit.  For example, same derailleurs (front/back), and same USB stick.  Others will be similar but slightly different – like the Blips.  And finally there are some parts totally new – such as the receiver box.

Let’s dive into it.  First, the box:

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Now, cracked open.  Like before each interior box is labeled:

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Rather than go through all of the same/duplicate boxes again, here’s an unboxing gallery of what’s in each of those individual boxes in the aero (triathlon) kit:

Here’s the whole triathlon kit unboxed now out on the table:

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Instead I’m going to focus on the pieces that are different/unique to the tri setup.  The most unique of which is the BlipBox, which is a junction box.  Basically it’s akin to the left/right wireless shifters from the road kit being combined into a single piece of hardware.

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On the bottom you’ve got four ports.

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These are what you plug the blips into:

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Blips are remote shifters, but wired ones.  Despite all you may have read on eTAP, there are actually some wired components – most notably the blips.  They’re always wired from one of the shifters on a road bike, or from the BlipBox on a triathlon/TT bike.

Unlike the road kit, you get four blips here with the tri kit (in my case, all the same length – though they are made in four lengths: 150, 230, 450 and 650 millimeters).  Now technically you only need two of them, one for each aerobar.  But in reality, all the cool kids will also wire-up a blip to the brake handlebar area too.  That way you can shift in either location.

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With that junction box you got a small pile of mounts.  These mounts are designed to give you options for where you stash that junction box.  The BlipBox junction box is a fair bit larger than a Di2 junction box (actually, it’s a crap-ton larger).  So it’s a bit more difficult to conceal:

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Since I didn’t have a triathlon bike with a crankset on it that would have been compatible, I only did the install for the road bike side of the house.  But, I did mock-up how it would work on my triathlon bike to understand some of the limitations you might have on certain frames.

All of the fancy imagery you’ll see from SRAM marketing materials and other publications with bikes given to them by SRAM will have a nifty little landing spot behind the stem that magically fits the BlipBox perfectly.

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Of course, said magical spot doesn’t actually exist on most other triathlon bikes.  So you’re going to have to make do in a few other spots.  One would be on the top bar, but the rounded mount doesn’t actually fit there, as it’s not rounded enough:

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Next would be using SRAM’s mount, either right-side up, or upside-down in between the aerobars:

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If you did it upside-down, then you could lay a Barfly TT mount over the top of it, and it kinda disappears:

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There’s also a stem-mount option that situates it a bit further back (though that requires you purchase another accessory).

Meanwhile, the blips would be over near the brakes, allowing for secondary control there:

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It’s not super-pretty, but it works.  And I suppose my tri bike is a few years older now – so some newer ones have better/flatter spots for this.

Wait- there’s more! For a triathlon bike, I’d recommend that you look at the BlipGrip’s, which are essentially tips for the front of your aerobars, to keep that portion looking clean rather than blip holders.

Beyond those parts, everything else is the same in the kit as the road bike.  You’ve got the derailleurs which will go in their spots, and the batteries onto them too.  Same goes for the charger.

Weights:

What’s that? You want to know how much each and every possible component weighs?  And you don’t trust SRAM’s official numbers?  Ok, no problem.  Below is a massive gallery of all the components on my (hopefully) trusty little scale:

Note I didn’t weigh the brake cables because A) They wouldn’t fit on my scale, and B) You’d cut them to length for your frame, which would impact the brake cables weight considerably.  Same goes for brake cable housing.

Installation:

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In my case, SRAM dropped a bike fully configured with eTAP, but I figured it’d be fun to go ahead and take it all apart and see if I could put it back together again.  What could possibly go wrong?

First up, I removed all of the SRAM RED eTAP components (and brakes) from the bike.  That’s the easy part of course, even my dog can destroy something.  That left me with just the frame sans eTAP.

Next, I took those eTAP components that were on my bike and put them off to the side.  I wasn’t going to use those.  Nope – I’d use one of the brand new boxes.  That way it’s just like you would be installing them.

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First up after getting all your parts laid out is pairing up the wireless components.  I’m going to go through this first for road, and then note the singular difference in the triathlon variant.

eTAP works on a closed wireless network that has a set limit for the number of devices attached to it.  Devices can only be added when the physical function/pairing button is pressed, and only for 20 seconds.  Finally, you can only add the two shifters and the two derailleurs.  Meaning, you can’t add a 3rd derailleur, or a 3rd wireless shifter (blips don’t count against this limit as they aren’t wireless).  This prevents people from doing Bad Things™.

To pair, you’ll hold down the rear derailleur function button for a few seconds till it starts blinking.  The rear derailleur is the master of the system from a pairing standpoint.  Then, go ahead and press and hold function buttons on the other three components till each of them blink.  You’ll do this for the front derailleur, the left shifter, and the right shifter.

The entire process takes less than a minute.  At this point if you press the shift buttons on either shifter, it should cause the rear derailleur to shift up/down.  If you hold both shift buttons together, then the front shifter should react.

This is also the time to place your derailleurs on the table and watch them try and crawl wirelessly.  By law this is required for all YouTube videos discussing eTAP.  Go look in the fine print, it’s in there.

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Ok, next it’s time to get things mounted up.  You’ll need four tools to make this happen: A 5mm, 4mm, 2.5mm, and 2mm Allen key.  Oh, and something to cut the brake cables.  And to re-connect your chain together.

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First we’ll start with the handlebar shifters and get them mounted up.  You’ll want to fold back the hoods a bit, so you can easily access the screw for tightening.  Also, this is where the CR2032 coin cell battery lives, in the event you need to get to that in a year or two (how long it lasts).

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Note that at this point you’d have no bar tape on your bars, so things are pretty easy to slide on:

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Repeat for the other side now.

Around this point you’ll need to consider when you want to deal with running your brake cables.  Depending on your frame this will either suck or be easy.  You can do this now or later, your choice.

Most eTAP install videos/guides conveniently forget about this step, because it’s annoying.  This is where you’ll need to measure your brake cable (using an existing one is a good idea), as well as snip the cable housing too.  Along with crimping on the end cap.  The install is not hard by any means assuming you have the right tools, but it can be tedious depending on your frame.

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Next up is adding the front derailleur.  It’s just a single screw.

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Once you’ve got it loosely screwed on, you’ll go ahead and adjust the height to match the very thin line on the leading edge of the derailleur.  This should line up with the top of the larger chainring.  You can shift the derailleur to the large chainring either through the shifters, or by just pressing the little button next to it once.

Then we’ve got the rear derailleur.  Again, just a single hex wrench to get it on there.  Note at this point we haven’t put the chain on yet.

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Next up is putting the chain on.  There’s a million guides out there for how to do this and ensure it’s of proper length (if a new chain).  However, this is a good point to note that you’ll need a tool for popping the chain links back together again.

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Next will be setting the limits of the rear derailleur.  There’s two parts to this. First is using the limits screws on the derailleur to set those points.  But then you’ve got the ability on the front shifters to micro-adjust cog to cog tuning by holding down both the paddle and the function buttons together.

For the front derailleur, there’s no micro-adjustments, just screws.  However, if you use the little guidelines (etched in), then it tends to work out pretty darn well.  In the below photos, I’m pointing at the etched markings using the tip of the hex wrench.

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After all that’s set, you can use micro-shifting to adjust the shifting in the event of any alignment issues (causing noises).  Each time you use micro-shifting on the rear derailleur (by pressing both function button + paddle on the right shifter), it’ll move it .2mm.

Finally, you’ll want to install what is effectively a little brace/wedge to minimize any movement during shifting of the front derailleur.  Your kit came with a few options, so you’ll choose the one that makes the most sense for your frame:

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At this point, you should be mostly good to go on shifting.  However, you’ll more than likely want to get some blips installed.  Blips enable you to shift without having to touch the shifters.  Think of them as remote shifters.

They are wired though to your shifters, rather than being another wireless component.  So the wires run from the shifters (left and right) to an individual blip.  Blips are also used on triathlon bikes.

The blips attach to one of two ports on each shifter.  So in theory you could have two buttons on each side (for a total of three shifters per side, or six shifters per bike).  Just stick the cable in the port and then go ahead and place it where you want.

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In my case, I used the blip holders to hold the blips in a logical spot.

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Note that without the blip holders the blips would just float around.  In my case I got creative and wrapped it under the Garmin mount rubber bands, but at that point it was kinda useless as it wasn’t natural to get to.  So like I said, unless you want bike style kittens to die, just get the blip holders.

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I did that for a weekend until the blip holders came in, but it’s a bit messy.  Now they look much prettier:

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Once all that’s done go ahead and attach your brakes, wrap back up the bars using bar tape and you’re on your way!

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At this point the install is complete and you’re ready to begin riding.

Day to Day Usage:

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The eTAP system is pretty darn simple to use.  You basically need to know only three button combinations: Left shifter button, right shifter, and both shifters together.  As long as you can memorize that – you’re golden.

Unlike most conventional shifting schemes, eTAP’s shifting is setup such that BOTH the left and the right shifters control the rear derailleur.  Meaning, you press the left shifter to make it easier (on the rear derailleur), and then the right shifter to make it harder (again, on the cassette in the rear).

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Meanwhile, to change into the ‘big ring’ up front, you’ll hold both shifters down together at the same time.

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And that’s the end of this week’s episode of: “How to shift with SRAM RED eTAP.”

Actually, to be fair, you can also hold down either the left or right shifter to cascade up/down the rear cassette.  So it’d be the conventional equivalent of hitting the shift button a crap-ton of times.

In my experience, eTAP responds just as quickly (or quicker) than any well maintained mechanical set.  I know a lot of people want to weigh in on this and dissect it to all eternity.  Within my FAQ section I offer my (probably humorous) analysis of speed to shift.

Having installed Shimano Di2 (electronic, but not wireless) on my triathlon bike almost two years ago – I find that system is pretty equal in shifting speed.  I don’t see any real difference between the two of them.

Next up are batteries.  Of course, batteries are required for this whole system to work.  And much discussion has been made about the batteries.  It’s notable that in the case of eTAP there are numerous batteries, whereas in the case of Di2 there is just one.  But more on that later.

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Here’s the simple rules of eTAP batteries that you need to keep in mind:

Types: There are two types of batteries in the eTAP System: Two rechargeable ones (one per derailleur), and two coin-cell ones (one per shifter).
Ride Time Part 1: The big rechargeable derailleur batteries get about 1000KM of riding time per charge.
Ride Time Part 2: The little coin cell batteries in the shifters get about 1-2 years of riding time per $1-$2 investment.
Charge Time: The derailleur rechargeable batteries take an hour to recharge fully.
Swappage: The two derailleur batteries are interchangeable.  So you can swap between front and rear derailleur in case one dies.
Lights: The derailleurs have a status indicator on them, allowing you to see how close to empty you are.
Extras: You can buy extra batteries, which you could put in your saddle bag for that time when you somehow forgot to charge it.
Weight: Each battery weighs 24g.  For reference, a single double-stuffed Oreo cookie I just ate weighs 6g.  Obviously, the double-stuffed doesn’t give as much energy though as the eTAP battery.

Note that SRAM recommends you pop off the two rechargeable batteries if you travel long distances (i.e. a plane flight).  That’s because movement can keep the system awake. Note that keeping awake is still far less battery than shifting with it.  Of course, taking off the batteries only takes about 5 seconds.  So it’s easy.

And that’s about all you need to know about batteries.  The kit comes with that charger you saw earlier, which charges a single battery at a time.

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Note that you’re far more likely to have your rear battery die before your front battery.  That’s because most of us shift quite a bit more on the rear cassette than we do to/from the big ring.  And if you’re in southern Florida, you may never even need that front battery.

The practical benefit to knowing battery depletion differences though is that in the event your front battery dies in a bad spot, you can swap the battery to the front to change the gear, and then move it back.  Same goes if your rear dies and you don’t need front shifting anymore.

Speaking of batteries, now is a good time to talk about why bike computer integration is interesting – as it solves this battery status problem for us.

Bike Computer Integration:

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SRAM RED eTAP is the first electronic shifting system to use the ANT+ Shifting device profile to transmit gear status information.  As of today, April 13th, 2016, two different companies have released support for eTAP: Garmin with the Edge 520/1000 & Wahoo Fitness with their ELEMNT.

(Note: Depending on what time you read this, it may be a few hours until the new Edge 520/1000 updates show up.)

This update to the Edge 520/1000 adds support for the ANT+ Shifting profile (it already has Di2 support).  You’ll have noticed that the rear derailleur had the ANT+ logo on it, taunting said ANT+ Shifting profile compatibility:

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Let’s go through how it works on both the Garmin & Wahoo units.  Starting with Wahoo (since they were first), you’ll dive into the menus and pair the eTAP system just as you would any other sensor (like a HR strap or power meter):

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It’ll find eTAP and ask you to confirm it.  Once that’s done, you can see the battery status of each of the four batteries in the settings panel:

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Next you’ll head into the app and add electronic shifting related data fields to your display pages.  This is totally customizable.  Here’s a page I made with every possible shifting metric:

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As you shift, you’ll see these numbers update.  It takes about a second or two for the fields to show your current gear.  And at present on the ELEMNT you can’t change chainring/cassette sizes (that’s coming though).

Also of note is that at present the ELEMNT doesn’t record eTAP (or Di2) data yet.  That’s also in the near-term pipeline, but today the data is only visible on the head unit during the ride.

Next up we’ve got the Edge 520 & Edge 1000.  In this case, I’m demonstrating a beta firmware.  The final firmware version should be released today to the world at large.  You’ll remember that Garmin has long had Shimano Di2 support in the Edge series.  That started with the Edge 1000 nearly two years ago.

To begin on the Garmin, I’ll go ahead and go into the sensors menu and search for ‘Shifting:

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You’ll want to press your eTAP shift buttons a few times to ensure the system is awake, and within a second or two the Garmin will find it and show the ANT+ ID:

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Next you can open up the sensor and rename it, such as I did:

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Further, by going into settings you can select your gearing configuration.  This ensures that subsequent displays are correct, as well as recorded data:

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There’s both some handy common preset options, or you can go all rogue and manually enter yours in.  With that – you’re done on the config side!

The only thing left to do is add the data fields you want to a data page.  In this case, I just added all of the applicable gear/shifting data fields to a data page.

You can see the battery status displayed on a standard data page.  In the case of Garmin, they list the lowest battery out of the eTAP four (compared to Wahoo not having a data field on the main page, but instead showing each battery individually via the settings).  So a bit of Apples to Oranges.

Garmin also displays individual battery status, though it’s deep into the sensor settings.

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Otherwise, the shifting scheme is very similar.  Like Wahoo, most shifts are displayed within 1-2 seconds.  Unlike Wahoo though, Garmin already records this data to the .FIT file within your unit.  While this data isn’t displayed on Garmin Connect, it is displayed on some 3rd party sites.  For example, the site ‘Di2Stats.com’ displays the data without issue.

Both Garmin and Wahoo noted to me that one of the ‘challenges’ of eTAP is that it goes to sleep very quickly from a transmission standpoint over the ANT+ Shifting stream (within 30 seconds).  So you may see connection/reconnection messages.  It’s not a sensor dropout, it’s just..well…going to sleep and waking back up again.

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Finally, note that other 3rd party head units can all add similar functionality over ANT+ to support eTAP.  Right now, none do.  I of course expect that to change in time.  Also note that while Mio was the first company to add Shimano Di2 support, that’s running a very different language.  So even though a product (be it Mio, Garmin or Pioneer) has Di2 support, it doesn’t make for a hill of beans when it comes to eTAP support (which uses the ANT+ Shifting standard).  So those devices would need firmware updates to make them compatible.  That said, I fully expect to see that happen quickly, likely more for Pioneer than Mio.

The USB Adapter:

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And this will be my shortest section ever written in a review.  See the above USB stick?  The one that came in that massive interior box inside the even bigger exterior box.  It doesn’t do anything.  But don’t throw it away.

Someday it might grow up to do something, but not today.  Unlike Shimano Di2 & Campagnolo EPS, there is no programming the eTAP system or otherwise customizing it.  Interestingly enough, SRAM has an entire page dedicated to questions on programming (13 questions at last count).  Where all the answers begin and end with ‘No’.  It’s like one of my favorite commercial series.

How it’s different than Di2:

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At first glance you may be thinking that Di2 (or Campy’s EPS) and eTAP are virtually the same, but in reality, they are much more different than you’d think.  The only thing they share is that all are electronic shifting.  After that, it ends.  Here’s a bit of a consolidated/bulleted list of how they differ:

Wired vs Wireless: We’ll start with the most obvious.  eTAP is totally wireless, while Di2/EPS is wired.  It’s just that instead of mechanical shifting cables, it’s electronic signals on Di2/EPS (like a fly by wire airplane).  So with eTAP you don’t have to run any shifting cabling for a new bike build, whereas with Di2 you still need to run cabling and add in junction boxes.

Extra shifters: Both systems allow secondary shift points, aka blips in eTAP lingo.  Note that these blips are actually wired to your main shifters in eTAP on a road bike (though the junction box on a tri bike). In Di2 they go into a central junction box.

Battery: eTAP has batteries at each control point (i.e. one per shifter, derailleur, etc…).  Whereas Shimano has a single battery that’s connected to everything centrally.  There are both benefits and drawbacks to both approaches.  With eTAP, if a rechargeable battery dies mid-ride, you can swap them around to make it work (with Di2, it’s all over).  On the flip side, the singular Di2 battery lasts a heck of a lot longer than eTAP’s does (estimated at 2,000km vs 1,000km for ETAP).  eTAP also has CR2032 coin cell batteries in the shifters, but those last years, so really less of a concern.

Integration with Garmin/Wahoo/etc…: Both products have integration points with Garmin, Wahoo, Mio, Pioneer and others.  So that’s really a wash.  In the case of Di2 you need to purchase the extra ~$70 SM-EWW01 adapter, while with eTAP it’s built in with no additional required stuff.  Neither use Bluetooth.

Compatibility: Both have pros and cons when it comes to compatibility.  In general Di2 has greater compatibility, simply due to being in the market longer.  Ultimately though, you’re really going to want to check your specific bike config (current or planned) to figure out if you’re in luck.

Weight: Exact weights will vary depending on how many blips (shift points) you install, as well as length of brake cabling.  But in general eTAP will be slightly lighter (barely) than Di2.  Note that sometimes sites forget to include the brake cabling/housing.

Cost: Generally speaking (again, depending on the exact components you select), eTAP will be a little cheaper.  Especially once you add in aspects like the Di2 ANT wireless transmitter.

Ease of install: eTAP is easier, there’s no question there.  But, does that really matter?  For most of us, the install is a one-time thing (potentially done by someone else such as a bike shop).  However, the trickle-down effect here is that eTAP will be a cleaner/more streamlined layout.

Ease of use: Having both, they’re both pretty easy to use.  There’s a small learning curve for either one when you switch into it, but realistically if you’re just riding that one bike – you’ll adapt within a few minutes.  While some (including myself) would note that eTAP is super-easy to learn, I guarantee you that if you have multiple bikes (some without eTAP), you’ll occasionally forget to double-hold to shift the front ring.  Usually happens to me once a ride, even after two months of riding with it numerous times a week.  But that’s also likely because I’ve got numerous bikes.

Shifting performance: As one who’s spent a fair bit of time now on both (2 years on Di2, 2 months on eTAP), I just don’t see any real-world difference between shifting performance.  If you read all sorts of reviews, everyone gives different opinions.  Some say Di2 is faster, no wait, eTAP is faster.  No wait, eTAP is faster in the front but not the back.  Correction – eTAP is faster on both between 9AM and 11AM, but Di2 is faster on a Sunday at exactly 10:30AM.  For four minutes only.  Seriously folks.  These shifts happen at millisecond speeds on both systems – and they’re just as fast as each other from a practical standpoint.  Perhaps someday I’ll rent a crazy high-speed camera and try and figure out which one is truly faster.  But realistically, it doesn’t matter, they both respond instantly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

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I’ve decided to start a bit of an FAQ here.  I’ll add more questions to it as I find common questions within the comments section.  For now, most of these are security/wireless focused simply because my brain floats that direction first.

Is it truly wireless?

Mostly, yes.  It’s wireless between each of the front shifters and the rear derailleur and front derailleur.  However, it is not wireless between any of the blips (little extra/accessory buttons) that you may have added.  Those communicate via a thin wire to the shifters (where the signal is wirelessly transmitted back to the derailleurs)

If it’s wireless, is it hackable?

Anything is hackable with the right amount of time and resources.  Anyone who says otherwise is lying.  However, what matters is how viable an attack is.  Either from an ease of execution standpoint, or whether it’s worthwhile (cost/time).  At present no vulnerabilities have been disclosed by SRAM, nor have there been any rumors of any such vulnerabilities.  In a ‘worst case’ scenario, should a method be found to shift on behalf of another rider, then someone could shift into a non-ideal gear at a non-ideal time.

My hope is that when the time comes that a vulnerability is found (and eventually, there will be one), that SRAM moves just like any other software company would to get people to update their units via wireless firmware update.  After all, they did include that USB updater stick with every kit.

Can the signal be blocked?

Sure, it’s possible.  And it’s certainly an attack vector that many have discussed.  Especially amid sprint finishes.  A wireless signal jammer could prevent a racer from shifting into the gear and cost them the stage (or race) win.  But that hasn’t happened…yet.  Or at least, yet that we know about.

Can someone snoop on my gearing data?

Yes and no.  Right now eTAP transmits the signal via the ANT+ Shifting Profile, which is open.  Just like power meter data and heart rate data is unencrypted and broadcast across the pro peloton and amateur races alike today.  Despite all the worry about this, there’s never been anyone who’s done anything of true interest with this.  Of course, anyone aside from me trying it out last summer.

Could someone attach another pair of shifters wirelessly to my bike?

No. The system maxes out once two shifters (left/right) are attached.  It won’t allow any more.  That said, if someone had access to your bike at the start of a race and you didn’t realize it, they could (physically pressing the buttons on your derailleur) pair your derailleurs to their shifters (or an extra set of shifters).  That’d leave you hosed.  While unlikely to occur, it’s certainly a possibility. On the bright side, assuming you figured out what was occurring, repairing them only takes a few seconds.

Should I buy an extra (3rd) battery?

It depends on how much you’re riding.  Or, how lazy/forgetful you are.  I fall more into the lazy/forgetful camp than the vast quantities of riding camp (so much so that just yesterday I found I finally went through my first eTAP battery and it wouldn’t shift up front).  If I were to pickup a 3rd battery, it’d be to put inside my saddlebag, so in the event I forgot, I’d ideally have one in there.  I’d probably come up with some sort of scheme to quarterly rotate it through to my main system and onto a charger.  I haven’t tested how long a unit will hold a charge, but my guess is many months.

What cranksets  and cassettes is it compatible with?

First off, only 11-speed right now (not 10-speed).  So that might be a deal killer for some.  Next, on the crankset standpoint, SRAM states that it’s compatible with “the same road drivetrain components as RED 22, Force 22, and Rival 22”.  From there you’ve gotta work backwards and figure out if your crank is compatible with those components.

Will it fit my bike frame?

I’ve got no idea, I don’t make a habit of memorizing frame dimensions (I can’t even memorize my apartment door code).  But SRAM has put together the mother of all tech specs to figuring it out.  While it’s kinda complex to wade through, it is at least detailed.

Is there a super-secret FAQ that you can point me at?

It’s rare that I link to company informational pages, mostly because many of them suck.  But I’ll give SRAM credit here – their eTAP support pages/FAQ are surprisingly detailed.  It’s divided up into a bunch of different categories, so it’s relatively easy to navigate.

Of course, if you fail finding your answer in this post  (or in their support pages), definitely check out the comments section down below.

Should I get Blips?

In my opinion, for a road bike, yes (it’s included in the tri/aero kit).  I see it as part of the appeal of eTAP (multi-point shifting).  Note that if you get blips, be sure to get blip holders.  Getting blips without blip holders is like getting car wheels without hub caps.  They just look silly.

Summary:

IMG_9512

If I were to use one word to describe the eTAP system, it’d be ‘clean’.  And if it were three words? ‘Clean but pricey’.  And that’s kinda where this all ends.  Sure, some will debate whether or not you need electronic groupsets at all.  And that’s a perfectly fine debate to have sitting around a backroom card table smoking cigars talking about the days airplanes allowed smoking onboard.  But since you got this far in the review, then you’re likely past that point.  You’re probably trying to decide which electronic system is best for you, or, perhaps, whether or not this is the right time to get into an electronic groupset.

The first step is deciding whether or not you want it wireless.  If the answer is yes, then your decision has been made: eTAP (there’s only one wireless system).  But if you’re after electronic in general, then you’ve got Shimano Di2, SRAM RED eTAP, and Campy’s EPS.  At which point things get far more complex.

Both Shimano and Campy have a more customizable system than eTAP does.  In that you can program functions and do other cool stuff.  With eTAP, it’s very straightforward and minimalist.  Or…clean.  And clean is often elegant, as it the case here.

While Shimano and Campy have more customization, the downside to a Di2 install (for example) is that you need more parts and figuring out those pieces can be more complex.  Of course, most bike shops can easily do that for you.  With eTAP, you can easily install it yourself.  I have no doubt that if I gave my wife these oversized box of parts, a few YouTube install videos, and a Starbucks drink – she’d be able to install it solo without too much issue.  I highly doubt she’d have the same result with a Di2 install.

All of which boils down to the most basic question of: Is it worth it?

To be honest: I don’t know.

As a guy who’s not a bike mechanic by any stretch, I actually feel more in control of my shifting situation than I do with mechanical.  The thought of re-running shifting cables or dealing with all of that is simply messier. In this case, there’s none of that to deal with.  I can micro-adjust shifting alignment by merely holding two buttons down.  And done.

Yet at the same time, the whole setup is one more thing to charge.  Or, 2-4 more things to charge or ensure have sufficient power.  But realistically, for most cyclists you’re talking remembering to charge only once a month or two.

As I said before – I really don’t know if it’s worth the cost.  Nor do I know if it’s worth the cost for whatever your use case is.  Perhaps so, perhaps not.  That’s up to you to decide.  As for me?  I do have a sneaking suspicion that my next bike I’ll install eTAP on it.  But then again, I’m the guy with at least three power meters per bike.  So one should probably put my purchasing choices into perspective.

Thanks for reading!

Wanna save 10%? Or found this review useful? Read on!

Hopefully you found this review useful.  At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device.  The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love).  As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers an exclusive 10% discount across the board on all products (except clearance items).  You can pickup the eTAP kits from Clever Training. Then receive 10% off of everything in your cart by adding code DCR10BTF at checkout.  By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get a sweet discount. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

SRAM eTAP Road Kit
SRAM eTAP Aero/Triathlon Kit
SRAM eTAP Blips (road)

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the unit or accessories (though, no discount on Amazon).  Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells).  If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.  Though, Clever Training also ships there too and you get the 10% discount.

Thanks for reading!

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325 Comments

  1. Pieter

    Great Review,

    many thanks Ray!

    • Mankul

      Hi Ray,

      You didnt show all the possible shifting metric field on the Garmin 520 page. Do you have a photo of that?

      Thanks and regards,
      Lukman

  2. Flo

    Thanks for the super detailed review!!

  3. SuperQ

    I really want eTap for my next cross bike, basically an eTap version of the CX1 group.

  4. Radek

    Great review. Really bad name for Polish market Sram mean in Polish SH**ING.

  5. Rally

    Great review Ray.

    Anything on the price and how it compares to Di2.

    I was considering to get a Di2 kit, but now that I read this… I’m going to have to review my original choice.

  6. Chris C.

    Thanks for the review Ray.
    Just got a Di2 equipped TT bike but I still found it really interesting

  7. lok

    Great review!

    Have you tried 11-32 cassette?

    Also, when will SRAM release the hydraulic brake version?

    • ronald

      11-32 doesn’t work. 11-30 does perfect, with the 33 in front you’ll have a good ratio

    • Niels Henningsen

      Have you tried the 33/50 and 11-30 setup in “real life”, that would make my life a lot easier, when I get my group (and my Canyon Ultimate CF SLX frame) hopefully in the near future.

      And as allways a great review by DC !

    • Mike

      I’m also very interested in how the 11-30 works in real life. Officially eTAP only works up to 28, and that’s the biggest thing pushing me toward Di2 as I don’t want to give up my 11-32. A 30 is close enough to be tempting.

    • ronald

      of course i did! it works brilliant. bare in mind that a 50/33 front and a 11/30 cassette is not the same as 34 front and 32 rear. you can compare this with 34 front / 30,5 rear. it works flawless no adjustments to make. i also added the quarq powermeter and all is working perfect als under pressure.

    • Tim

      Do you think it would cope with 34 front, 32 rear then?

    • Ronald

      As i said, 32 doesnt work!

    • ronald

      almost forgot to mention. you have to extend your chain with 1 or max 2 pieces for an optimal result. tested it last wknd during amstel gold 240 km tour and its brilliant now

    • Charles Saliba

      Hi There,
      follow your advice would a 53/39 works with a 11-30!?

    • Tom

      Thanks Ronald. Man, that’s too bad. Not that I have $1600 burning a hole in my pocket, but I just threw a 32 cog cassette on my bike to do the Assault on Mt. Mitchell, and definitely could tell a difference between a 34-32 versus a 34-30.

    • Wic_ed1

      Hi – where did you get the 33 front chain ring from? I’m talking to our local SRAM distributor and they say they only do a 50-34 front. Thanks

  8. Chris

    Thanks for a great review! Any news on etap shifters for hydraulic disc brakes?

  9. Gavin Erasmus

    Hi Ray

    Great review thanks. The one issue not addressed is availability. There seems to be a shortage especially for us here in South Africa. Do you have any idea when the tri system will be easily available?

    Thanks.

    • It’s a semi-global shortage. But it’s somewhat self-inflicted. SRAM is trying to force people to buy the entire groupset (including cranks and brakes), so they’re largely limiting distribution of eTAP to the complete sets (more than just the eTAP components). Of course, most people don’t want that.

      My bet is that you’ll see that clear out over the next month or so.

  10. Bernard

    I love the part where you let the derailleurs crawl wirelessly!

  11. Griffith

    Excellent review as usual, thanks!

    Instead of using the blip holders you could have used double sided tape to fix them to the bar; I’ve done so on mine and it looks much nicer than the holders (and saves probably about 3 grams…;-).

  12. Sebas

    Maybe I’m the only one, but I feel like electronic shifting is a solution to a non-existing problem.

    • Paul S

      I don’t know. No more going from 27 to 3 with a broken cable, no more having a cable freeze up in cold weather (with a little help from some ground water spraying up) and not being able to shift. It has different failure modes, and possibly a little more accuracy in shifting. I’m not going to go out and replace the mechanical shifters on my existing bikes, but if I got a new bike with electronic shifting, I wouldn’t tear it apart and replace it with manual shifting.

    • On a road bike I tend to agree. On a Tri/TT bike it makes a pretty big difference to being able to shift gears in a number of positions. Going up a steep hill to find you’ve got the wrong gear, can facilitate an, at times, comical hand game in order to change gear.

    • Andy

      Ive had electronic shifting since it came out and its been faultless. There’s no way i would go back to mechanical shifting now, even if you paid me.

      Ive nothing agains mechanical at all, but electronic just works, no cable maintenance, shifts without fuss, no ‘guessing’ if its engaged the gear you wanted, no having to ‘hope’ its going to shift up or down when you press the lever. Its fit and forget for me, with just the odd battery charge here and there, but the battery (Shimano) lasts ages between charges.

      For me, mechanical is now a problem being kept alive purely to appeal to people who fear electronic shifting.

    • H M

      Its being “kept alive” because its fundamentally cheaper…

    • Tom

      My concern with electronic shifting is obsolescence. Imagine buying your new bike, riding it for a year or two, and hanging it in the garage while the kids grow up. Then after 20 years, you pull it off the wall to get back in shape. The derailleur batteries are dead. Where will you get new ones? My commuter bike is a 20 yr old mtn bike. It sits outside and, although is neglected, abused, and obsolete, works reliably. Electronics don’t age as well.

    • Kelly

      As a tandem rider it’s a huge difference… If you can imagine the shifting slop and adjustment issues with seven feet of cable and associated housing. I’ve been running DI2 for years and can’t wait to get the eTap on my next build.

  13. Mikkel Andersen

    Hi Ray

    Thanke for the review as always. A couple of comments though:

    – It is only compatible up to a 28-cassette (so a 11-32 won’t work). Might affect peoples choice if they plan to do a lot of mountain riding and like to spin quickly. If your testing shows otherwise it would be very interesting!
    – Couldn’t you just place the blips under the bar tape? Then no need for blip holders and would also give a cleaner look.

    • The challenge there (I did that initially), is that the blip button portion will kinda ‘float around’, unless you tape the button piece specifically. So basically it flops around.

  14. superdx

    With all things in the SRAM ecosystem, there is a very good possibility of a recall. That should be factored into a buying decision if you only got a single bike to ride. While the recall is free, the process takes weeks. You may not be able to get out on your bike during your recall, and reinstalling a wired groupset is a pain in the ass.

    A 2nd or 3rd year purchase would be pretty sturdy.

    • Lok

      I find your lack of faith disturbing…

    • John

      In the case of SRAM’s road hydraulics, the full recall was months (weeks to get mechanical disc brake group sets installed, then months to replace _those_ with redesigned hydraulic disc group sets).

      Not that I’m bitter or anything…

  15. Happy Runner

    What do you surmise is Garmin’s thinking in having the Edge 520/1000 support the ANT+ Shifting profile? They might sell a few more Edge units, but canabalize Di2 sales and legitimize eTAP as a competitor.

  16. Jon Niehof

    For wimps like me who occasionally have to shift off the big ring, is that the same hold-down-both combination?

    I think this would drive me nuts. Double-tap is so engrained that I’ve killed myself going uphill on a rented Shimano. Click. Why can’t I push it further? Try again. Click. Now three gears harder than I want to be and OH RIGHT!

  17. Steve

    Thanks for the review Ray.

    The one thing that surprises me is that in releasing a TT/Tri specific setup, they have gone down this “blip” route. The integrated buttons in the di2 brake levers and extension bar ends just seems so much cleaner? It kind of goes against the “clean” upside you mention of eTap.

    I do get the purpose of them, on a road bike setup at least, but in that sense they are no different to the di2 satellite shifters that you can get (climbing, sprint). And again, those different di2 options seem to be designed so that they ergonomically work in a much more natural fashion, and are visually attached to look much cleaner.

    Any word on whether Sram intend to actually produce proper eTap TT components (brake levers, bar ends), or are they “all in” with this blip approach?

    I’m planning on a TT/Tri bike purchase later in the year, and planning to go electronic to give me multi-point shifting, and based on this, di2 looks to be winning purely on aesthetics.

    • Luis

      Cleaner on DI2 Yes but those brakes are aero bricks!

      You could easily pit a blip on the brake and hide it from the wind.

    • Fran

      SRAM is selling bar ends (google for “etap blip grips”). But I agree they are still missing a clean solution for brake lever integration.
      That, and the oh-so-fugly junction box. Ouch!

    • Yup, they do sell the bar ends for tri bikes, but the junction box specifically is uglier on eTAP than Di2 (granted, it’s doing a lot more).

    • Fran

      What I just don’t understand is why Blip Grips are not part of the Aero package and have to be purchased separately.

  18. Don

    Ray,

    Great review (as always)! With respect to shifting speed, Shimano shifting speed is actually programmable. It has 3 different speeds that you can set the shifting to. I was wondering if you tried the fastest speed and compared it to eTap’s. I actually have my di2 set to the second level speed because the fastest speed was too fast.

    One last question: you mentioned estimated battery life (in miles), but what were the real life results for you?

    • I only had a single eTAP battery die on me in the last two months (rear one), that I had to re-chrage about 10 days ago. I let it basically go till death rather than waiting. The front one didn’t require re-charging.

    • Jasper

      I had my front one die after about 150 miles. Rear was OK. I hadn’t charged them since I bought the gruppo. Not done too many miles since.

  19. Ken

    Only Garmin Edge 520 and 1000? What about Garmin Edge 510? :(

    • Fred2

      And Edge 810. I imagine our head units are getting a little old an may never get this upgrade. But to be fair, I’ll probably stick with my mechanical shifters, too.

  20. Chris

    A quick add-on to the review.
    Last weekend I tested the eTAP system (on a unforgiving Spesh Venge) on the cobbles of the Paris-Roubaix route.
    In comparision to the rider, the system was flawless.
    And might I add, I found usage to be easier than it’s mechanical version, as each shifter only does one thing.

  21. Brian C

    I think one key difference between Di2 and eTap that wasn’t captured in this review was the relative ease of adjusting FD or RD trim with each system.

    With an external Junction A box on Di2, it _seems_ much easier to enter trim adjust mode as you’re not hunting around for a function button.

  22. Erik

    Ray, this is super important (amazon.com same-day shipping deadline is relatively early in the day):

    You said: “Extra shifters: Both systems allow secondary shift points, aka blips in eTAP lingo. Note that these blips are actually wired to your main shifters in eTAP on a road bike (though the junction box on a tri bike). In Di2 they go into a central junction box.

    I have Di2 and I’m tracking that the sprint shifters wire into the shifters instead of the junction box. This is a big deal because I (and many others) would like to use the sprint shifters as climbing shifters (the Shimano “Climbing Shifter” is butt-ugly), but the wires aren’t long enough to have them reach back to where I would want them (roughly where you put your blips). There are guys out there who are “hacking” (quite literally) the cables to make them longer, but I’m just not in the mood for that.

    If you’re right and I can somehow wire Di2 sprint shifters into the junction box (the shop that built up my bike put in the 5-port junction box instead of the 3-port – their reasoning: “it gives flexibility”, my interpretation: “we had one laying around”), then I need to order those ASAP.

    As always, thank you!

    • (This comments somewhat perfectly explains the complexity of Di2…)

      So in doing some digging, there are two different secondary shifter types on Di2. It looks like model “SW-R610 Dura-Ace Sprint Shifter” allows you to go to go straight into the back of either the ST-9070 Dura-Ace or Ultegra ST-6870 Road Dual Control Brake Levers/Shifters, rather than the junction box setup as with all others. At least, that’s my understanding of reading it.

      I defer to this post for all things Di2 (even when getting my own figured out): link to carltonbale.com

    • Erik

      Your comment in your review made me look at it further (again). The site you linked to states: “Note: Any momentary switch can be attached to the sprint shifter port on the Dual Control Levers by splicing into a standard EW-SD50 wire to act as remote shifters.”

      So, the deal is apparently that the “Sprint Shifters” have a unique plug that prevents them from plugging in anywhere but in that port on each of the shift lever units (which means the cable for the sprint shifter is not long enough to reach out to the flats). It does not, however, prevent other e-wire plugs from going into that same port. So people are either buying sprint shifters and splicing in additional wire or buying a momentary switch (Catseye apparently makes a good one for this application) and a e-wire, cutting the e-wire in half, and then splicing the momentary switch to terminate in the e-wire plug and plugging that in the third port on the shift lever unit… I guess I’m going to have to break out the soldering iron.

      Sigh. Yes, complicated. However, for my application, it’s less expensive than replacing the Di2 with eTap. Also, going the Catseye route is less disconcerting than buying sprint shifters and cutting those wires. At least I have some EE classes under my belt, but I think you’ll agree with me when I say that it shouldn’t be this hard… However, I don’t think that Shimano could care less that people don’t like the climbing shifter and resort to hacking… then again, maybe SRAM’s innovations make them actually do some innovating/meeting customer needs of their own. HA HA HA!

    • John

      Shimano can definitely stand a little competition in this space. Here’s hoping Campagnolo’s smartphone-based MyCampy app will wake up both Shimano (who have a crappy configuration program) and SRAM (who don’t have one at all).

    • John

      For the record (and realizing I’m replying to myself!)…

      Today Shimano announced wireless iOS/Android-based Di2 setup and configuration (but not wireless shifting) today with their Di2 XT rollout for MTB that will also be compatible with Di2 road setups with a battery upgrade — you just can’t mix road and MTB derailleurs on the same bike. Private ANT communication to bike computers, but at least it’s compatible out of the box with the Garmin 520, Wahoo’s new computer, etc. Apps due this summer.

      Props to Shimano for taking away my last need for a PC!

  23. George

    Thank you Ray
    I already own Red eTap Groupset and I agree it is as simple as it can get. Very impressed with performance and still no chain drop or any kind of issue. I even test a new DuraAce shimano cassete / chain and it works flawlwesly

    I hope I can see Garmin update today to test the new features.

    • Andy C S

      Off topic, I know, but how do you like those Ritchey wheels? Haven’t seen a review of them anywhere. Have you written about them by any chance?

  24. Steve Harvison

    Thanks again for the review, nice job!

  25. John

    Fantastic review Ray, real food for thought, also a big fan of the extra helpings of humour!

  26. Ray,

    Is there any specific reason why eTap wouldn’t work with other cranksets? I don’t understand why it wouldn’t go with a Dura-Ace crank if you already have one?

    Adds a bit to my expected costs if it won’t!

    Cheers

    • George

      It seems the clearance of the front derailleur and crank arm due to its size its very small.
      I do noticed during installation using my red crank the driver side arm is very close to FD cage (only 2mm) when is is set outwards. This could be an issue with other types of cranks which may contact the cage.

    • Kai

      Among other potential issues, there are several reports of FD limit screws contacting the inside face of the crank arm. Some contributing factors:
      -Limit screw backed out to accommodate certain frames/cranks/chainlines leaves the grub screw sticking out too far. Apparently SRAM is providing shorter limit screws to retailers to fix this.
      -When upshifting, the FD overshifts slightly, no more than 1~1.5mm, for less than a second before settling back down. If you’re lucky (unlucky) and happen to have your crank arm at 12 o’clock during that split second, it could contact the screw.

    • Robert

      I’m happily running eTap on my P5, with a Campagnolo Record chainset. And a Dura-Ace cassette!

    • Thiago Nicoluci

      I have just installed eTap with Hollowgram crank arms and right arm does touch limit screws on FD. Had to abort my first ride…
      Anyone could help me with that?
      Where can I find these shorter limit screw screws? Hope they are not eTap specific…

    • Lee Sutton

      You have to file them down apparently

    • Thiago Nicoluci

      What is the best way to do that without ruining the screws?

    • Kev

      My low limit screw was backed out so far that I just removed it entirely (I’m using rotor 3DF chainset).

    • Thiago Nicoluci

      I have been reading a lot of reports of this issue in other forums – even for people using the actual Red crankset, which is weird.

      So I need to whether trim the limit screws (what is the best way to do that?) or find shorter ones (anyone know a supplier?)

    • J Ford

      Did you ever get your issue sorted? I also use hollowgram cranks (with a cannondale Synapse), which frame do you have the hollowgram cranks on? I was hoping to upgrade my current SRAM red 22 mechanical to eTap, but now this has me worried… definitely don’t want to buy a new crank, too.

      Any information you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

    • ALEX P

      You can get the smaller limiting screws from SRAM but you would need your local dealer or the company/store you bought it from to contact them. I asked Backcountry.com to get it for me.

      Having said that, I have a 2016 CAAD12 with Hollowgram Si and I didn’t need the shorter screws but it is close.

  27. Andy

    I just wonder how long it will be before someone invents a way to hack this or create a wireless shifting blocker.

    Can you imagine being at Paris-Roubaix, Flanders or a sprint stage on a Grand Tour and some mug in the crowd presses a button as the riders fly, blocking the shifting.

  28. Patrick

    I totally laughed at the boxes spelling “HI”. And continued laughing throughout the first half of the review. Ray, your review humour is reaching new levels.

    What a waste of packaging though, they could have fit it all in one box. Hopefully you got paper recycling in Paris.

  29. Great review and blog! I love my eTap, which works great on my Ritchey Break Away, where wireless = -2 cables.
    Yet, I had the weirdest thing happen during a ride with hefty cross wind in Palm Springs, CA: after 1hr, my right shifter no longer worked! Very annoying: was at top of hill in little ring. Could no longer shift rear derailleur BUT also NOT front derailleur. I was stuck riding in little gear downhill.
    Then I found the mechanical buttons on the derailleur so at least could put in one gear and ride home in that gear.

    So I though the “2-year lasting CR shifter battery” needed replacement. (I just had the eTap for 3 weeks), but weirdly, the next morning all lights were green and everything worked again.

    Weird, annoying, lost some confidence… Perhaps I should share this with SRAM: did some sand (from dessert wind) get into the shifter battery? Unlikely, no? What could it be? Note that changing the CR battery is not as easy as the big batteries.

    Moral of the story: the weak point is the shifters, not the derailleur or derailleur batteries
    Weirdest thing

    • Andy

      It would make sense that the front woruldnt work either, as you need to press both buttons to engage the front mech on this, so i would expect that if just one of the shifters loses battery power you will lose power to both front and rear mech. Just thinking logically.

      Maybe it lost its connection for a brief while? this is the only thing that worries me about it being ‘wireless’.

    • Jan Van Mieghem

      Yes, of course, with one shifter out, you loose front ring shifting by definition;
      and, depending on the left or right shifter, you loose shifting down or up in the back too so you cannot reverse the rear derailleur:

      therefore, if one shifter is out, once you’re at the smallest or biggest sprocket, that’s where you stay for the remainder of your ride :). Hence, I then stopped, manually pushed the derailleur buttons to get into an acceptable gear and then stay there.

      No, the connection was gone for the remainder of the ride (1+hr); every 10′ I tried shifting with no avail…

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      Did you try removing any of batteries to reset it? It is funny to think but there is software in your derailleurs. Maybe just got in a funky state.

  30. Derek

    Waiting for the release of the 1x version!!

  31. Kai

    Question: With the RD in the most inboard position, is your pulley cage perfectly aligned with the cog or slightly turned outward? Mine turns outward slightly, and exactly one other user on another forum sees the same thing. I’ve verified that my hanger is straight, and it shifts fine on the stand and out on the road. It seems like some kind of Yaw or design for chainline-improvement, but you’d think SRAM would advertise that if it were. Hopefully, I don’t have a lemon.

    SRAM’s own eTap setup video on Youtube looks this way as well. Notice that the largest cog is straight-on while you can see a bit of the outside face of the pulley cage. Then again, this is just a demo video. Obviously eTap is still rare in the wild so I can’t just compare notes with my mates.

    Also: Garmin eTap support, is this in the form of a new firmware 5.30 or something? My Garmin Express only sees 5.20. That said, there is a CIQ data field that works with eTap gears which works as advertised.

    Thanks for the review!

  32. Thanks for the review. I have one on order and am delaying the completion of my custom ti bike until it arrives. I have the perfect use case- it’s a travel bike with S&S couplers. The fewer cables that need to go back, the better. This means I only have one cable to deal with.

    Plus, I’m like you, and I think eTap is really appealing because everything becomes a software problem. Adjustment is “digital” instead of being an artform.

    • I should note that the bike with eTap is my Ti S&S one. Perfect – only 1 cable to split (rear brake) and you can take the rear groupset off and put it in a padded bag very easily.

    • excellent. That’s what I’m hoping.

      Apparently eTap is available in Europe even though it’s not out for another 6 weeks in the US. Ah well.

  33. marc steingrand

    as usal very good post and review.

    I ordered mine yesterday for tri-bikes, but the bike shop told me ti works for 10 gear and 11 he had installed it on both? can you elaborate a bite more on this point, and the other question any chance you see for integration with fenix 3?

  34. Michael Casey

    Save a kitten: When you install handlebar tape, wrap the tops toward the back of the bike instead of the front.

    link to youtube.com

  35. Oleg

    As usually great review, thank you Ray.

  36. Nick

    The article mentions “I really don’t know if it’s worth the cost” yet you didn’t specify the cost, MSRP/ballpark cost of it anywhere. Am I missing it somewhere?

    • Yeah, I was starting to put a table together, but it’s messy. It’s also complex because you can’t actually buy the exact parts you want right now, as SRAM wants you to buy full groupsets. But, looking at the parts in the review, the ballpark is:

      Front derailleur: $370
      Rear derailleur: $590
      Shifters (Left/Right Set): $580
      Set of 2 Blips: $100
      Battery kit: $40

      So roughly $1,680 for the road kit. Roughly. Prices will fluctuate, etc…

    • Nick

      Woah, that is pricey.

    • Risandi Pradipto

      I’m always enjoying every DC Rainmaker reviews and updated like this really interesting part about getting the information about per parts price.
      What about using eTap for CycloCross/ Gravel bike? I know most sites recommend Ultegra DI2 to minimize the chain-drops. What about eTap? is it as good in preventing the chain drops, moreover on the RD parts? Thanks.

    • Etap on a gravel/CX bike is problematic because the front derailleur really limits rear tire clearance. You will have trouble putting > 28-30mm on with a standard-geometry bike.

  37. Just to let you all know I’m running eTap with a front Dura Ace Crank of 7950 vintage and it’s absolutely fine.

    Installation is as easy as the review states – lovely levers that also work for small hands with a lovely positive click that is louder than the noise from the groupset whilst you are changing gear :)

    • Alain

      This crank is 10-speed, Right? Are you using an 11-speed chain and chainrings?

    • Lee Sutton

      Chainrings are the same 11/10 speed as the internal dimensions of the chains for both are the same. On 11 speed it’s effectively the plates that are thinner.

      Manufacturers will sometimes still advertise chainrings as 10 or 11 though but just ignore them :-)

      Main issue with etap is just the shape of the crank arm as the front mech sticks out a long way so some cranks don’t have enough clearance on the arm.

  38. Tommy

    At current prices, this is over double the price of 6870 (£2000 vs £850)

    • Are you sure you’re not looking at the full groupset (more than just the eTAP components)?

    • Tommy

      I was. The entire 6870 group set can be had for £850. I assumed (possibly wrongly) that I would need to swap out my 6800 cassette, chain and crank for this to work at its best?

    • Andy

      Yes in the UK i can get a full Ultegra Di2 group set for £850.

      You can buy just the Di2 gear kit (basically everything you need for Di2 shifting excluding a cassette, crank and brake callipers) for just £699.

      eTap seems a bit pricey to me but i expect it will come down in time.

    • Tommy

      The brakes, cassette and crank are work way more than £150 so you’d always be better off buying the full group

  39. A

    What about tire clearance? Some were looking at pictures of the front derailleur – the space between the battery and tire might be a concern for 28+ mm tires.

    • Murray

      I have a Specialized Dirverge with 32c Roubaix tires, I have about 4mm clearance to the battery, but it’s all going to depend on your frame.

  40. John

    When changing the front derailleur to the small ring I instinctively change three or four cogs smaller in the back to compensate. During my (albeit five minute) eTap test ride I could change the chainring and then the cogs, or vice versa, but I could never make it as smooth as I get with stock Ultegra. IMO, if they are going to stick with the both-buttons-shift-the-front-derailleur paradigm, they need a programmable solution to allow for some type of simultaneous rear derailleur adjustment.

    I get that a lot of early adopters are giving SRAM a pass on this, but that’s entirely too much cash to spend on a groupset that I have to soft pedal while shifting chainrings. I can get that with Rival for a lot less cash.

    • Hmm, I shifted many times without soft-pedaling.

    • Griffith

      That’s very easy to do. When changing to the smaller ring you start by pressing the right button, keep holding it, press the left button shortly afterwards, release it immediately, and a fraction of a second later you release the right button. The whole sequence is done in probably less than half a second.
      Very intuitive and after 2 or 3 rides you don’t even have to think about it. Couldn’t go back now, especially with the blips on the bar tops.

  41. Vinci

    Do you have to install the front derailleur at all? It seems like a 1x setup with eTap would be as simple as just not installing the front derailleur, but I haven’t been able to find any information confirming this.

  42. Julien

    Love the review – and especially the conclusion / summary Ray. Great perspective. And thank you !

  43. Alex

    Thanks for the heads up on the Garmin/eTap update. I’ve been waiting to add that to my Garmin to make the eTap completely integrated.

    Thank you for the detailed write-up!

  44. Artur

    “For reference, a single double-stuffed Oreo cookie I just ate weighs 6g. Obviously, the double-stuffed doesn’t give as much energy though as the eTAP battery.”

    Thats actually not true, i would guess the cookie has around 30kcal=125kJ. Not knowing the specifications of the eTap battery I’ll take the values from a typical mobilephone battery: 4000 mah and 5V = 20 Wh=72kJ of electrical energy.
    It is astonishing how much energy our bodies use :)

    • On the other hand, that battery gets your shifting 1,000KM. One double-stuffed Oreo would not power me that far. ;)

    • Ah, but would one double-stuff Oreo power your hands hitting the shifters for 1000km?

    • Artur

      Hmm.. according to some websites (although i couldn’t find the original article) one mouse-click burns 1.4 cal. so assuming the shifting is somewhat similar and shifting occurs every 500 m we get around 12 kJ for 1000 km… so the cookie is still winning :)

    • If one mouse click burns as much as 1.4cal, then I’m immediately going to eat a Costco sized tub of Double-Fudge Ice Cream. And not feel bad about it.

    • Tim K

      Sorry guys. Oreos are measured in kcal. I would guess that the 1.4 cal for a mouse click is OK – but you have to do 1000 clicks to burn 1.4 “oreo” calories

  45. David Walker

    Ray, Great review as always. Any prospect of you giving away an eTAP group?

    • Perhaps down the road once they’re a little easier to come by. Clever Training is intermittently stocking them, but the distributor doesn’t have a super-clear inventory timeline, so CT hides the listing until units come in stock since it’s so unclear.

  46. Terry

    Thanks for the review Ray, great detail as always. The biggest problem in the UK is actually getting hold of it. The whole first imported batch sold out & we’re still waiting for the next batch.

  47. TomH

    The 2 separate controls for rear shifting is almost a showstopper for me. If you’re holding a food bar, or a bottle, it would necessitate swapping hands just to shift.
    Two handed shifting for the front also seems awkward.
    If SRAM had just stuck with long-established, single handed “right – rear”, “left – front” controls, it would be a more seamless user experience — and more practical.

    Maybe I missed it in the review, but does the Front Der automatically trim itself depending on which rear cog is selected?

    • Ken Silbert

      If you want to shift the FD with one hand, you can run a blip from the left shifter to near the right shifter (or vice-versa), then you can use the blip and the nearby shifter button together to shift the front derailleur. In fact, you could do all the shifts with just one hand.

    • Changren Y.

      @TomH: Late reply. The front derailleur does not auto trim. It works independently from the rear derailleur. Because of this, i think the SRAM eTap system will not work on all bike frames. For my old (2012) Cervelo R3 size 58, it was quite frustrating that i could never eliminate chain rub on many gear combinations when i had the SRAM Red yaw front derailleur.

  48. DLinLV

    I have a tri and road bike both with Ultegra DI2 11sp. When it comes time to replace either, then eTap is in the realm of possibilities.
    Need price to come down, battery life to go up. I figure the next gen in a few years and I will switch. Love electric, never going mechanical again. Even looking at upgrading my mtn bike to DI2. Love it.
    Great review, Ray…many thanks for all you do to help the sports community!
    Dennis

  49. Marc steingrand

    Do you have tested how it does work changing from a rear wheel to the kicker still even shifting?

    Other question how water/sweet resistant is the blub box. Swear when on the kicker and water biking in poring rain as we have sometimes here in Brazil

  50. Marc

    Any thoughts on Fenix 3 HR integration as I use only this on my tri bike…

  51. Mike B.

    Thanks for the usually great and hyper attention to detail review, Ray.

    Basically what I’m seeing in the summary is that it mostly boils down to the on the bar shifting; some people prefer Shimano’s dual finger paddles, some prefer Campy’s finger and thumb paddles, and some prefer Dual Tap. Outside of that, if you’re retrofitting a frame that won’t easily run Shimano or Campy’s wires (internally or externally), this is the best option out there. Otherwise I don’t see the advantage in setup over Di2 or EPS as for most it’s a once and done event.

    Once question though; I don’t see a Di2 review on the site. Have you thought about doing one for fairness? Assuming I haven’t missed such a review, the lack of one for Di2 or EPS does in it’s own way imply a certain bias which is very atypical.

    • eTAP is simply my first foray into reviewing electronic shifting. One has to start somewhere, and this makes the most sense as a starting point. No bias in drawing a line in the sand and calling that the starting point.

      I don’t think I’ll go back and review Di2 at this point (even though I’ve used it for 2 years now on my tri bike), simply because I think it’s well covered out on the internet by numerous places. But, if we fast forward down the road a little and Shimano goes and releases a group set with a (rumored) integrated power meter, then that’s probably the point in which I might do a groupset review inclusive of Di2.

      I haven’t decided on EPS yet from a review standpoint.

    • Ottó

      Campagnolo EPS now talks to your Garmin GPS cycling computer

      If you’ve added the V3 wireless transmitter to your Campagnolo Record or Super Record group and have the MyCampy app on your smartphone (iOS and Android), you can now get those groups sending gear data to a Garmin Edge 520 / 1000 GPS cycling computer. The added compatibility comes by way of a software update from Garmin, and it’ll also show gear ratio and EPS battery status. The Garmin uses the gearing data to provide more in depth post-ride analysis, too.

  52. Michael H.

    Newton, great review, I’m confused though, which button combo gets the motor started

  53. Robin

    Hi Ray, thanks for the review!

    Fancy doing a give-away of one of your eTap groupsets or shift-setups? ;)

  54. Kev

    Hey Ray, great review but can you help me understand the blipbox mounting options that SRAM provide. It looks like you get a standard stem mount with elastic bands (similar to Garmin), an tri-bar mount and (two?) circular mounts. Are the circular mounts flat bottomed and attached with double sided tape? Could this attach to bottom of a flat base bar? I have also read that the bottom of the blipbox is threaded so you can mount it with a screw – can you confirm this? I’m just trying to figure out where I could hide this thing! Another option I’ve considered is a fetha out-front mount (like this http://www.fetha.com.au/#!product/prd1/3773292221/adjustable-faceplate-mount-22mm—30mm).

    • Robert

      I mounted the blipbox on my P5 by drilling a hole in the stem top plate and passing a screw through to the blipbox. There’s a notch in the stem that can accommodate the four wires quite neatly The blipbox is pretty much out of the way between my elbows.

  55. John B

    As you say this is your first foray into Groupset review and its pointless going back to review Di2 (i agree) what about the Rotor Uno (Fully Hydraulic) groupset that the Dimension Data guys are riding? would be and interesting alternative to the current electrical and mechanical market?

    • Andy

      From what I’ve read about it and the reviews I’ve seen, the new Rotor group set sounds rubbish, almost like its something from the 90’s. Shifting was hit and miss, brakes were ok but not great…

      I don’t know why they bothered when Shimano, Sram, Campag all have fantastic systems out there.

    • Given the Rotor group set doesn’t include any electronic transmission component (i.e. gadget piece), I don’t see it likely I’d review it.

    • Patrick

      Those articles were the initial prototype impressions, seems a lot of things were not yet finished.

      The unveiling reviews (YouTube videos, including one from GCN) from a few weeks ago seem to show that the shifting was very clean and precise. Simon Richardson was riding one on Rotor’s demo bike and he didn’t have much complaints, though it was clearly an exclusive so they might have been very nice about it.

      I love my Di2 setup so don’t see myself going over by hydraulic rim braking would be something I would be very interested in. Shimano should really release something like this given all the controversy of disc brakes.

  56. Joshua

    I am using search and can`t find a review for Dura-Ace or Dura-ace Di2, so it means you still haven`t made such yet? Please do so at least for mechanical dura-ace. Thanks.

  57. Jed

    Is your battery comparison between Di2 and eTap an apples-to-apples comparison? I’ve experienced battery life decreases ~30-40% when using the D-Fly compared with normal usage of Di2.

    • Patrick

      I’ve seen similar reports of battery drain. Solutions seem to include upgrading the Di2 firmware to latest as well as checking for a frayed Di2 cable.

      I have the D-Fly unit and battery usage is normal for me, 5-6 months between charges.

  58. zac

    They need to come up with a way to charge the battery from the hub of the either wheel or crank.

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      Why? The batteries last for a long time and you can also bring an extra battery. Seems like a waste of energy (yours) and complicated (run wires to the battery) for little benefit.

      Like most devices now (headlights, taillights, GPS units) it charges with USB. It is usually pretty easy to put a 4 port USB charger near your bike and keep everything charged up.

  59. Chris

    Nice review! I would like to ask if you think it is possible to use the road version of etap on a tri bike with road base bar and clip on aerobars? Is the blip’s cable long enough to run from the levers to the aerobars as there won’t be any junction box? I think the tri version of etap has two many cables for a wireless system, the box is very big, needs improvement.

  60. Gabe

    I’ll say what i tell others about Di2 which has a similar upsell. It’s nice to have but not necessary.

    Even better in triathlon having the shifters on the brake levels though!

  61. Maxdaddy

    Great review! Grateful for the joy that you are able to convey when evaluating these products.

    Can the brakes and shifters be used with hydraulic disc brakes?

  62. Tim Shears

    Great review as usual, thanks.

    Do you think it ‘might’ work with an 11-32 cassette? Shimano, for example say Dura-Ace does not support 11-32 but it works fine for me.

  63. Colin

    Has there been any talk of Shimano producing a wireless system?

  64. Brian

    Hi Ray. Regarding rear derailleur alignment, I think from your description you used the limit screws to er, set the limits, and then micro-adjust to tune the shifting within the limits? But the Sram installation video says you should use micro-adjust to get the low limit right, and then the screw just seems to used as a physical back-up, presumably if anything goes amiss with the motor.

    Assuming I’ve interpreted your description correctly, any views on which process is right? To be honest, yours seems to make more sense to me but I don’t think it’s what the Sram video describes.

    Thanks

    • My wording may be confusing, but I did check with the SRAM guys this week at Sea Otter. Specifically the guy in charge of eTAP from a technical standpoint (plus other SRAM tech folks that read it). They said there were no technical accuracy issues with the post.

      One person did raise an eyebrow to simply popping the chain link out, rather than using the SRAM PowerLink chain connector (which would have been 10 times easier). Though, didn’t even occur to me to check that. Plus, they said since I was doing it more than once, my way would have been better.

      But I’m betting this (limits screw) is one of those things that the exact order can probably differ from person to person.

  65. mike

    Is there no way that it works with 32? Will there be also a disk version? when?

    • Martin Bower

      good point, I’m in mid decision between moving to a road bike with disk brakes, and the only option from Shimano is the RS785 , which looks huge and also has a silver section instead of being plain black. Be nice to see another option out there

  66. Mike Beauchamp

    Definitely looks intriguing! Like to see them support up to 11-32 though, some of the sportives I do have some wicked grades that the 11-28 just doesn’t cut it, any indication they are moving this way?

    And how does it shift with Rotor Q-Rings?

    • Kev

      SRAM state that etap has same compatibility as SRAM red/force/rival 22 so should be fine. I’m planning on running it with q-rings. Having said that I’ve heard of people having problems with di2 and QXL rings (dropping chains) so will be interesting how etap copes.

  67. Great review as usual Ray! I’m curious if there is any info on whether the shifters may come with a hydro brake option some time for those of us who favor hydro disc brakes?

    • Kelly

      Another “bike component review” site just recently released “spy” photos of Red eTap with hydraulic brakes. Rumor is they are a ways down the road (thought being SRAM is revamping the calipers) but assumedly both rim and disc options will be available like the mech groups.

  68. Kelly

    Any option for extending the blip wires to allowing mounting in the stoker position of a tandem?

  69. marc steingrand

    a quick question don’t know if you tried that out but how resistant of sweet is the blip box meaning if i use my bike a good part on a trainer and sweet will definitely droop down..

  70. Lok

    link to road.cc

    SRAM eTap with hydraulic brake appeared on unreleased Canyon Aeroad!

  71. Oz

    thank you for the great review!

    You mentioned 11-30 works just fine; I usually run 53/39 and 11-30, do you think this combo would work too?
    cheers
    Oz

    • Mark Manner

      Hi, I missed the reference to 11-30 being ok in the article. If it is there can someone direct me? I did find on the web a reference by someone who says they have used an 11-30 with the eTap rear derailleur. I have eTap set up on one of my bikes, and just ordered a SRAM 11-30 11 speed rear cassette. I will report how it works when it arrives. I have had pretty good success with Shimano and Campy rear derailleurs going up 2 or 3 teeth over what the spec was, but no experience with SRAM before.
      Mark

    • M

      Hi, I installed an 11-30 rear today on my eTap setup, and it shifts well, no problems. I sized the chain properly for a 30 tooth max rear cassette. No droop with small-small and enough chain and derailleur capacity when large-large (not that I would do either combo other than for testing purposes–or as a mistake). I am running a 50/34 up front.
      Mark

  72. Salva

    Great review Ray,

    I work with 52 * 38 q ring. and I have two questions: one development (this development is not among the supported) …. and the other question is the roundness of the chainring..

    as you think affecting both point to the front derailleur?

    Thanks!!!!

  73. Rod H

    Well, I have cancelled my pre-order of the E-Tap mini group. I placed the order in November and really have no idea if SRAM will ever really get these components to market. The company I had the order with said if I was willing to buy the whole groupset they could deliver it. I already have a SRAM Red groupset. I won’t be held hostage to get what I’ve already paid for.

    DC if you get to tell the folks at SRAM anything, tell them they are pissing off a once loyal customer base.
    R

    • Kevin

      Coudn’t agree more Rod H! I’ve got the money sitting here ready to finish my TT build and it looks like the TT season will be over before I can get the upgrade kit! So frustrating!

  74. Michel

    Hi Ray,
    I have installed the tap. Great new system! Very happy with it. Thanks also to your review.
    I must say that in combination with a hollowgram BB30 SISL, the crank is coming VERY CLOSE to the front derallieur limit screws. When riding even 53×11 in clear no scraping mode (chain deralieur) even touching it.
    Did you find the same probleme with the SRAM crank?

    Br,
    Michel

    • Mark Manner

      Hi, using a new Red crankset I also notice the crank is very close to the FD. Doesn’t touch though, so ok I think.

    • Michael

      I had a custom build done with eTap and s-works frame. The first time I road it in the shop getting my custom fit done the front crank made a clicking sound on every pedal stroke. I mentioned the sound but no one really said anything. When I got it home I noticed a mark on the drive side crank arm. Took it back and the derailleur had moved to where the adjustment screw was hitting crank arm. Was nearing the end of a 30 mile ride when it really started making the same sound. Derailleur had moved again. Took it back to the bike shop again. They replaced the crank and derailleur and it’s been working the past 500 miles without issues. Not sure what really ended up being the issue.

  75. Kevin

    Ray, any comment from SRAM regarding the new end plug ETAP TT shifters spotted at the Giro (Velo News)?

  76. Michael

    which length blip cables did you use on the road bike?

    • Mark Manner

      The shortest one is what I used. However, I have narrow compact geometry bars. The shortest one is almost too short, so if I had to do it again, I would get one size up and just manage the extra cabling appropriately.

  77. FatTed

    I have SRAM eTAP 50/34 at the front and 12-29 Campagnolo at the rear. Works faultlessly.

    • Mark Manner

      Hi, as I noted above, I have been using an 11-30 rear cassette with my 50/34 setup. I just tried today an 11-32 rear cassette. I can report that if you are very careful in how you size the chain, on a bike with 16″ chainstays and a compact 50/34 front, you can use an 11-32 with the etap. I think if you have longer chainstays, or a 53/39 front, to make the large/large combo safe, the chain will have to be too long to avoid the rear derailleur dragging when in the small/small. If you do have a 16″ or so rear stay and compact front end, then try 105 links plus a sram powerlock link. It fits perfectly and no issues small/small or large/large, or in shifting. [just to be clear, I don’t purposefully run small/small or large/large, but it is possible to accidentally get there, and I don’t like to set up a bike in a manner that that type of accident causes a problem].

  78. Lachlan Simpson

    Ouch in Australia the complete groupset is $3,999.99 and the upgrade kit is $2,599.99. That’s a lot of coin to upgrade my Red 22. Hopefully they come down a lot in the next year or two.

  79. Mark Berry

    With regards to chain ring compatibility have you tried other types of chain rings with the system? Currently using SRAM 10 Speed TT rings on an InfoCrank classic power meter and really hoping that the front derailleur will accept my crankset.

  80. Ken Silbert

    I have a Garmin 520 with 6.0 firmware. It will display Etap gear info, but not battery info. The article says displaying individual battery info is “deep with sensor settings.” How do you get there?

    • Ernest

      Hello, maybe you found out already, you can go to the senor menu, look for the eTap senor, and go into the about page – you can see individual battery status for all 4 parts – left lever, right lever, front D and rear D. However, it only shows simple status such as good, but won’t give details like 60% batt left.
      I am using Garmin 1000, I guess it will be similar if not the same on 520.
      Hope this helps.

  81. Kev

    I’ve recently just installed the ETAP aero gearset on my TT bike. However I haven’t been able to attach the front dearilleur wedge because I can’t access the bolt hole since my seat tube is very deep and obstructs access. Is this part absolutely necessary? If so any suggestions?

    Also just wanted to inform folks that I’m using a rotor 3d+ crankset with Q-rings and there are no issues with crank arm clearance from the fd.

    • Mark Manner

      Kev, I can’t easily get the wedge inserted on my setup, and I haven’t had any issues with shifting without it

    • Kev

      Thanks Mark. Just had this response from SRAM regarding the wedge – I’ve done what they said and it works easy enough:

      “The wedge is rather essential, as the electronic pivot movement of the derailleur can put a lot of load to the braze-on alone. What we suggest doing: since you have your derailleur installed already, remove the battery, and lightly mark the set up with a thin light colored marker (silver sharpie works well) where the derailleur aligns with the braze on tab. Slip a wedge behind the derailleur as it is set up now to see which wedge would work best. Mark where the wedge stops behind the derailleur if you can, so that when you remove the derailleur you can install the wedge with the wedge screw in this location. Re-install the derailleur back to where you’ve marked your derailleur’s original set up. You can remove the sharpie markings with a cloth lightly sprayed with isopropyl alcohol. If you need assistance, please bring to your local bicycle dealer for support.”

    • Mark Manner

      Thanks Kev, based on your note I have gone back to the bike and fiddled with it and got it attached.
      Best,
      Mark

  82. ea

    Hi Roy, any info about eTap and 1-30 and 11-32 cassette support, please?
    I know di2 can take 11-32 although it’s not officialy supported and works well. Anyone tried to rape eTap? .)
    Thank you.

    • um. typo? “race”?

    • Mark Manner

      See reply 172 above. 11/32 works ok for me, but I think you won’t get it to work unless you have a compact crankset, and chain stays that aren’t significantly longer than what I’m using.
      By the way, Ultegra di2 IS designed to work with an 11-32 cassette, it has a medium cage rear derailleur, unlike etap which has a short rear cage derailleur. Di2 will also work with 11-36 cassette (again assuming compact cranks and correct asjustment of chain and b-screw).
      Mark

  83. I finally got my eTap in the US. I’ve been using it for a couple of days and really like it.

  84. Greg

    Hi, great review, i got the following question – is it possible to build eTap shifting for a road/ero hybrid? If one wants to have shifting in the hadlebars and on the blips as well – will they work together and which is the best way to go – buy an road upgrade and a separrate blip box with blips?

    • Mark Manner

      Hi Greg, if I understand your question (you have regular road dropped handelbars with aero extensions), you can definitely run the regular road shifters AND the blips at the same time. You can use two sets of blips in fact, placed wherever you want. I dont use aero extensions, but I do use the blips as shifters when my hands are on the top of the bars while climbing. Sorry if I misunderstood your question.

    • Mark Manner

      mean to add that if you have the regular road setup, you don’t need the blip box, the blips plug into the brake/shifter on the dropped bars. you do have to buy a pair (or 2 if you want) of blips.

  85. I just upgraded from a 2×10 SRAM Red 2013 setup to the SRAM eTap Upgrade system. Not the full upgrade (cassette, brakes, crankset etc..).
    I am using my current 10 speed SRAM Red crankset and everything works faultlessly.
    Thought I would share.
    Thanks DC, your site is the first one I look at when I need a review. A+!

    -Wes

    • Oh and I am also using Q- Rings on a standard crankset.

    • Craig

      Wes, can you confirm that you are you still using a Sram Red 10 speed crank, chain and cassette?

      I currently have the same Sram Red groupset in 10 speed and am thinking of upgrading but don’t want to have to replace everything (just shifters and derailleurs ideally).

  86. Tony

    Anyone know if the eTape aero upgrade kit will work with specialized s-work crank/chainring that comes with the Shiv Sworks?

  87. Peter

    Hi

    Want to know if etap can connect with the GArmin 735XT?

    Thx a lot

    Peter

  88. Patrik Jonsson

    Hi!
    What is the best thing to do with the redundant front and back shifter cables/tubes? I’m planning on building a new bike with internal routing (only had external before) so i’m not familiar with this. Is it a way to “secure” the shifter tubes “inside” the frame or what does anyone think?

    Thanks in advance

    /Patrik

  89. David Peake

    Just confirming that the 11-30 rear cassette with full compact front works perfectly fine with the SRAM red etap. I’ll get some photos up today.

  90. Albert

    For the eTAP, does making shift adjustment on one cog affects the whole range of the cassette?

    For example, if I make micro-adjustment on the smallest cog(11th cog) by clicking 5 times on left shifter (i.e. 1mm in board)… does this affect cog 10th, 9th etc. ??

    • Wic_ed1

      Hi Albert, yes is it does affect them all. Do the adjustment with the chain in the middle of the cassette. If it’s not getting onto the inner or outer ring properly check your high/low stop, that may need backing off a little

  91. Tevz

    Hay,
    I’am currently running Sram red 22 mechanical groupset and I don’t like it because it’s very noisy-sounds like poorly adjusted but it isn’t. Is the new eTAP quieter than mechanical red 22 or if I want a silent drivetrain should I buy Dura ace DI2.
    Thanks for any response, and have a lot of good rides!

  92. Lee Sutton

    Hi

    Does anyone know roughly how much weight you save in gear cables? i know it will vary but just thinking of a rough figure 100g, 200g etc?!

    Cheers

    Lee

  93. Bill Ramia

    I purchased eTap from my LBS about a month ago. In general, I love it. Specifically, I have one small complaint. When pedaling, the chain seems to click ever so slightly on the front derailleur. It seems like the solution should be a simple adjustment, but after 2 tries, the LBS is unable to get this clicking to disappear. Is this a common problem with a good solution? Otherwise, I am really enjoying the smooth shifting, the wireless system in general, and the clean appearance.

    • Bill Ramia

      I have the exact same problem….. LBS has tried twice, with no success to remedy this clicking sound. It is like Chinese water torture listening to this on every bike ride, and it has really started making me question the wisdom of buying the eTap in the first place. did you ever find a solution?

    • Ray

      Take it to a different LBS imo. Are you certain it’s the chain? It could also be the BB

    • Bill Ramia

      Definitely not the BB. I have that checked twice, since I had the same thought, but there are no problems there. Thanks for the thought, though.

  94. Ed

    Excellent review. My next purchase will be the eTap. Which Zipp handlebars are on that bike in this review?

  95. Peter

    Just got my Etap a couple of weeks ago. Have read the comments here. A few quirks in by the sounds of it. Mine is set up on a trek Madone 9 series running chris king 11 speed hubs. There appears to be some clearance issues on the rear mechanistic on some after market wheel builds. Like anything running a J spoke instead of a straight pull spoke.

    Any thoughts or experiences?

    Mine set up running a Dura ace 9000 crankset in a 52/34.

    Cheers

  96. Edward Cahill

    I just had the SRAM eTap installed on my best road bike which previously had the 11-speed Red 22 group. I am totally blown away with the eTap’s ease of shifting. I started serious cycling when only downtube friction shifting was available (a “10 speed” bike). Electronic shifting is as revolutionary, or perhaps more so, as indexed shifting was 30 years ago.

    In fact, it is so easy I think the bicycle companies have their business model backwards. They should be pushing the power train companies for electronic shifting that they can put on entry level bikes instead of making it a high end luxury item. Many newbies to cycling are often deterred by the shifting demands of mechanical shifting as well as their maintenance. The eTap is so easy and simple that it would make cycling much more appealing to newcomers. Millennials especially would see electronic shifting quite normal.

    Thanks for the great review.

  97. Dinesh

    Finally got my etap have been running the Sram force 22 groupset on my canyon so got the upgrade kit. Shifting is crisp and the mouse click feels so good. Just wanted to ask that will upgrading to a Sram red 11Speed chain give me more good and quit shifting ? does a chain really makes a lot of difference ?. The current chain is just 2000km old.

  98. MICHAEL HUNTER

    DC Rainmaker,

    Great article, “SRAM RED eTAP Wireless Shifting System In Depth Review”!

    Will the eTAP front derailleur shift Rotor Aero Q-Ring Chainrings?

    Thank you.

    • Kev

      I also ride with rotor Q-rings (52-36t). No problems here either (except clearance issue with rotor 3d crank arm and limit screws on fd – as mentioned in previous comments).

    • Thiago

      Just got in touch with Sram in US through a good bike shop and they’ve just informed me they are shipping me a pair of screws to solve the issue. Way to go Sram! When it arrives I’ll let you know if it worked. Hope so!

  99. Michel

    I ride with etap and qrings (52). It shifts flawless. Just awesome combination.

  100. Marc steingrnd

    Hello
    I was wondering I have the ETAP and an Garmin f3 HR any chance that garmin will integrate the shifting I would live to see at which time I used which gear to draw conclusions.
    Please let me know
    I understood somone could even develop it in the internal programs corrects

    • It’s hard to know. I always figured they would, but it seems like for whatever reason they’ve held off there.

      But certainly someone could develop a Connect IQ app for it, since it just uses the standard profiles.

  101. np70

    I have the full Etap groupset and I like it a lot, but I have dropped the chain twice when shifting up onto the big ring. I believe I have the high and low limit screws pretty much correctly set.

    Has anybody else experienced this? If so, how did you fix it? Or do you think I need to look again at my limit screws?

    Also, has anybody noticed that you need to back off pedalling power a lot more with etap than you do with Di2 when shifting up to the big ring?

    • Ken

      I had the same problem. The high limit screw is quite sensitive. Set the screw so the chain won’t shift to the high ring, then back it out a small amount until the chain shifts. For a few rides, I took a hex wrench with me so I could adjust it on route. Once I got it right, it was never a problem again.

  102. al.p

    1600 miles in and first major problem. Rear derailleur failed half way through a race losing ability to change gear. Inspection revealed the battery-mounted plastic tab securing the battery to the bottom of the rear mount had broken so that the battery was no longer held securely against the terminals. The road surface was not especially rough and no recollection of any unusual jolts or impacts. I have seen a couple of identical reports on the web.I don’t think this was user error on my part and fear this could be a design fault putting undue stresses on the plastic tab.

  103. Rodd

    I want eTap so bad I can taste it. But being an old guy who lives in hilly country, I’d really like to run a 32 (or even larger) rear sprocket. I know SRAM says it’s not supported, but will it work and if so, what problems might I encounter?

    • Bill Ramia

      SRAM has just released a new rear derailleur that will accommodate a 32-tooth rear cassette with the eTap. Talk to your LBS and they should be able to order it for you. I think it is available now.

  104. The clearance issue is problematic. SRAM needs to either make a differently-shaped battery for the front derailler, make an adapter, or change the design of the derailler. It actually seems like something that could be done with a 3D printer.

  105. DrPete

    My road kit is on the way, but I must be missing something. Where could there possibly be a frame fit issue? I’m guessing it would have to be something with the front derailleur but I honestly can’t figure out how, where, or why. I have a Lynskey R230 with a straight seat tube so hopefully it won’t be an issue.

    • I have an older Orbea with a non Di2 compatible frame and I had no issue to install the eTap road bike upgrade, so I think you will be just fine as well.

    • Bill Ramia

      The only issue I had with my Lynskey (2013 Helix) was that the front derailleur for the eTap requires a braze-on fitting, If you don’t have a braze-on fitting, you will need to buy the eTap adaptor ring (approx $30).

  106. Would SRAM offer a similar functionality as the Shimano DA shifters that can control the Garmin headunits? I am assuming this is private ANT and not part of the ANT+ shifting profile so it will be something custom made (they can use one set of blips for this easiliy, as you can connect 2 blips to each shifter).

  107. Isaac

    Hi Ray,
    Building my new tarmac sworks, and originally was thinking of Di2, but after reading your review, I’m thinking about etap. If budget is not an issue, taking the plunge with etap is a good choice over Di2? Would you do the same? As of today, are you happy with etap functionality?
    Great review
    Thanks

    • I’ve just placed an order for eTAP for re-doing my road bike. While I have Di2 on my tri bike, I just don’t want to deal with the complexity of that install again for my road bike. Looking forward to it.

    • R B

      Perhaps someday I’ll rent a crazy high-speed camera and try and figure out which one is truly faster…

      Ray! Just record the audio and look at the waveform. It would tell you the difference down to 1/1000 sec. :)

      Nice review! Thanks!

  108. Bill Ramia

    I am having a frustrating problem with my eTap. there is this slight clicking sound on every pedal stroke. LBS has tried twice to find and fix the problem, with no success. SRAM tells him I should have upgraded my Force cranks up to Red…. but that was never told to me prior to spending $2000 on the upgrade, and it doesn’t make sense that I should have to do this. Does anyone know of another solution? It is like Chinese water torture to listen to this on every bike ride, and I am about ready to scream.

    • Kev

      That noise is likely the low limit screw touching the crank arm. I had the same problem with my rotor crankset. To solve it I simply removed the low limit screw entirely since it was pretty much backed out fully anyway. FD works fine now however I’ve contacted sram recently about this so will let you know how that goes.

    • I had the same issue with a Rotor crank, I contacted SRAM and it is a known issue.

  109. Chup

    Having built my Di2 bike, I’d go for eTap next time for the beauty of simplicity.

    Just go figure how many parts you need to buy, and then actually buying them and build it.

    Money well spent on wireless.

  110. Nick

    Has anyone tried getting replacement parts? Im UK based and it seems like a great idea on my race bike, but if you cannot buy spares it seems pointless? Any thoughts?

  111. Tobi

    Hello Wireless Wizzards,

    I am trying to configure a hybrid aero race & tri-bike with detacheable aero-bars. The idea is – of course – to have one versatile do-it-all bike for races and the occasional triathlon. Ideally I want to be able to use Etap shifting at the aero-bars but am not sure of the best alternative. If possible I would like to set this up without the Blipbox. As you are familiar with the real-life possibilities of Etap, could you please comment on these options:

    a) “Blips with a long cable”. In roadbike mode I could use them as second shifters with Blip-clamps (and push the excess cable-length into the drop-bar). In Tri mode I would use them with the Blip-grips and tape the cable to the aero-bar.
    b) “Clics attached to Road-Shifter”. To make this detacheable I would need to invent some sort of plug on/off mechanism that is small enough to be hidden when in roadbike mode.
    c) “Blipbox”. I´d love a setup without Blipbox, but just in case – could I use Etap shifters AND Blipbox?

    My preference would be option b) as the Clics are really nice and clean :-) However, I am not sure if a DIY-plug is really practical… or is there some sort of extension cable that SRAM offers?

    Would be nice if you could share your experience and ideas with me.

    Thanks from Berlin,
    Tobi

  112. MWS

    Anyone else have issues with the battery tab where it seats into the derailleur breaking off? The first tab that broke I figured maybe I did something wrong but now I have a second battery where the tab has broken off. I super glued both tabs back on and so far after a few months it’s holding up. Just curious if its just me. After 5300 miles on my eTAP system it’s been working great after the initial growing pains with the front derailleur.
    Thanks

    • Simon

      Yes, I have had two batteries fail in this way – when the first one broke, I assumed it had been knocked or something, but now a second has failed in exactly the same place I am a bit concerned.

      I am now looking at ways that I can secure the bottom end of the battery so that even if the tab breaks, I can still shift. I had this happen in a race yesterday and have another very important race coming up, so can’t afford to have no rear shifting again!

    • MWS

      Mine are still holding up after the super glue fix but I’ve had to do it multiple times now since they start to fail again. So far they haven’t failed during a ride and fallen out. Also the spare battery I bought has also failed at the same location. LBS has told me to bring them back and they should be able to get them replaced. I just haven’t done that yet.

  113. Claude Biron

    I’ve been riding eTap on my 2015 Cervelo R5 for a couple months. I had SRAM Red 22 mechanical before. There’s no doubt in my mind that with eTap, there’s no going back. They’re that good! No missed shifts, faster shifting, precise mostly silent rear shifts. No problem shifting under power, standing or sitting (precise micro adjustments front and back required) Once set up, no further adjustments necessary. Build quality impressive. I love it!

  114. Steve Crawford

    Hi there, just a small point of pedantry here.

    You’ve said that the eTap battery has more energy than an Oreo cookie.

    Etap battery is 300mAh at 6V which = 1.8kJ

    Oreo cookie is 53 kCal = 221 kJ

    Of course, your eTap derailleur won’t thank you for stuffing an Oreo on the battery dock but it does go to show how amazing plants are at storing energy.

  115. Clarence taguiam

    Hi Ray,

    Quick question. I currently have the sram red road etap kit, and i want to transfer it to my tt bike, would buying the blipbox still work with my existing etap fd and rd?

    Thanks

  116. Brian

    Hi
    Is sram etap compatable with dura ace 11 speed chainset,cassette and chain?
    Thanks

  117. Luca

    I have the etap on my tri bike since september.
    It works really well apart the fact that on my Garmin Edge 820 the selected gears continues to appear and disappear.
    Now I have the etap also on my road bike and with this the selected gears on the Garmin Edge 820 never disappear.
    I cannot understand why there is this difference as both seems to work correctly.
    Does anyone have had the same problem?

  118. Darryl Brigham

    Well written, very informative. Enjoy your sense of humor/perspective.
    Thanks.

  119. Lawrence E Young

    great review and thank you

  120. Edd. S.

    Hello, good Review ! I build um new allround Bike in 01-2016. I saw the eTap and placed an Order in same Second.
    The Idea of Wireless is awsome. I`m on the Road all Year round. In Reality after more than 8000km i can say it Works PERFEKT ! Rain, Snow, Ice, -5° Cold Weather, Summer Heat up to 28° … no Problem. Shifting Battery last log enough. Charging no Problem … must Charge my Garmin also (and more to …. ). I LOVE my eTap.
    THANKS to SRAM for this MILESTONE. More Less than Wireless is not Possible ! I wondering that SHIMANO dosent do this BIG Step ???? Sorry for my bad English ….. Edd from AUSTRIA / Europe

  121. Bryan Blake

    With an aging worn set of mixed SRAM Red\Force 10 speed stuff on my cross bike I decided to get crazy and move the SRAM RED mechanically currently on my Cannondale SuperSix EVO hi mod to to the cross bike and roll with SRAM ETAP for the road this season.

    Ordered up a road set with 2 blips. The setup was VERY straight forward and after the requisite pairing the shifters and terrorizing the dogs with it I had shifters and derailleurs installed and dialed in about a half hour. Actually sad to say, took me longer to fish brake cable to my rear brake and setup my brakes

    I’ve only done about 6 trainers rides on it but I’m pretty excited about. The blips on the top of the bars is sweet and I ordered another shorter set to run down to the drops.

    I do have a question. I’ve done some research on running ETAP with Absolute Oval rings and people are having issues, anyone have thoughts? I ran an 36t inner oval ring most of last cross season and was thrilled with the results and would like to run inner and outer on the road this year

  122. Luca

    I’m a little disappointed about etap lack of development in the last months.
    It’s now quite an year since etap has been released and, in the meantime, Shimano has done a lot of software improvements on thier Di2 system.
    I was hoping Sram would follow closely as I thought it would be very easy for them to do a syncro shif mode, if not to make a full proramming app as Shimano did, but till now nothing seems to move…

    • Tobias

      Yes, this is indeed strange. Wireless is really a milestone, eTap shift-logic is as easy as it gets, and SRAM seemed to have caught Shimano in some sort of surprise attack.
      Next thing I would have expected that they would use their unique-selling-point and try to conquer the market “Blitzkrieg-Style”, e.g.:
      – more SW-features and -Apps,
      – more variety in Blips and Clics (e.g. wireless Clic for (clip-on) aerobars),
      – eTap Force,
      – maybe even eTap with one chainring.
      Nope… nothing… The only “innovation” since launch is WiFli (after more then a year!) and a disc-brake version.
      I still LOVE my eTap and don´t want to miss it. It is just sad that SRAM seems to let their opportunity diminish like if they don´t care. But who knows – maybe the next big-bang is just around the corner :-)

    • One thing to keep in mind is that the gear/shifting industry tends to move very slowly. And there aren’t too many announcements either.

      For example, Shimano’s recent shipping achievements are all basically stemming from their press conference last June – and some of them still haven’t happened yet (i.e. the power meter).

      And SRAM is somewhat in the same boat. Their last major PR event was in August, where they made numerous announcements – some bigger and some smaller.

      That said, keep in mind that SRAM tends to double-dip each year with announcements: Once around Sea Otter (mid-April), and once again in August at Eurobike. Shimano generally just does one big event each year days prior of the Tour de France.

    • Edd. S.

      Hello, often i say: What we not have you didn`t need ;-)
      No .. .seriously, i don`t know about the Features Shimano have.
      My View as Hobby Cyclist is:

      X Don`t change a running System
      X eTap works without troubles
      X Absolutely NO RF or mechanical Failures !
      X Shifter Battery (CR2032) since 8000km in use and “green”
      X ANT+ Integration with Garmin works !
      X No Firmware Upgrade necessary … it Works !

      For me that`s enough! I (!) don`t need a App … I don`t need Firmware Upgrade every 2 or 3 Months. I will sit on my reliable Bike with free Mind. Look @Garmin……always new
      Firmware (thanX for eTap Interation !!) but no Milestone in Menu Structure but always new Problems. One Time eTab Gear Display not Working. New Update necessary.

      I spend enough Time Upgrading Phone, Tablet, Apps etc.
      But when i Sit on Bike i am in “free Space” ;-)

      Wish nice Ride … i get one now.

    • mordechai

      I’m set on buying the Etap Aero upgrade for my P5 (currently on Ultegra). Do you expect any major or even minor betterments in the 2017 version (available mid-March) or it’ll be same as 2016 and I can go ahead and get one now?

      also, I ride on Rotor QXL 53/38 chainrings – anything I should worry about? thanks!

  123. Reinhard Loch

    Great reviews!

  124. Peter

    HI Guys. I have a 10 speed cassette on my Scot Solace hybrid bike and having only 10 speed kept me away for so long until i recently heard somebody had got the system to work on a 10 speed too. So went ahead and bought the kit last week and set it up. It works perfefct

    So all of you who have only 10 speed but still wanted this kit just go ahead and get it. It worked for me.

    The only hitch is there is no 11th gear. so when you shift that last time it does nothing. Similarly when you downshift the first press does nothing. You just need to get the limiters set in correctly and all is perfect. Super stuff

  125. Robert Stroud

    Great review as always.
    I’ve been running Etap on my TT bike for a couple of months now. I ve got battery display on my Garmin 520, but where can you display individual battery levels.
    Didn’t think you could until I read this:
    “Garmin also displays individual battery status, though it’s deep into the sensor settings.”
    Any help appreciated.

  126. Hi, just tried to pair the brand new eTap – without success :-(

    Do have any advice? A short google search says that there may be an issue with the batteries …

    The pairing process itself seems to work as the led starts blinking faster when pressing the button on the front derailleur / shifters.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance and best regards
    Christian

  127. Marc

    hi guys. i run sram etap. if i wanted to go with a quarq power meter, do i just need the spider and use the existing etap cranks or do i need to buy the quarq dzero with the chassis.

    thx

  128. Mr. W.

    I can’t help but feel this is a solution to a problem that does not exist. Isn’t the entire idea of a wireless connection to connect two communicating objects that are separated by a variable distance from one another? (which is clearly not the case for derailleurs and shifters?) I am all for progress in cycling equipment (such as electronic shifting, and disc brakes, eg), but why would one want to introduce the additional hassle of 4 separate batteries to keep an eye on and additional battery drainage, without really getting any surplus value over a hard wired di-system?

    A standardisation of electronic wiring in bike frames, with connections at the bar ends and the attachment places for the derailleurs, including a central power source to power up all electronic devices. Now that would be progress.

    • Claude

      Well as an eTap user for several months now, I have to disagree. I love eTap and would buy it again. From the POV of battery, I see it as not having all your eggs in one basket, when compared to Di2. On eTap, every device flashes once an LED green or red when you shift. When green you have up to a thousand KMs left on the derailleurs and on the shifters many more. When red you have 6 hours on the derailleurs. Now here’s the advantage. If you’re really negligent and your derailleur battery dies, you can switch the front derailleur battery with the rear, and easily make it home being able to shift the rear only. I’ve never had to replace shifter batteries, and they still flash green. Not having wires travelling through the frame to corrode or break is a relief. Simplicity of assembly and setup is unsurpassable, Shifting is faster and more precise than mechanical in my experience. If properly adjusted, no chain mishaps or miss shifts. I’ll go with the SRAM design any time.

    • cppatrik

      Hi Mr. W!
      I will try to explain why i think this is a better solution in comparison to the other electronic systems out there:

      1: Ease of install. Hopefully we can all agree upon that this system offers the easiest installation ever seen in cycling history.

      2: Ease of maintenance. The derailleurs batteries are interchangeable. This is good if you missed the “charge battery” indicator.

      3: You don’t have to charge the bike. Simply detach the battery that needs charging.

      4: Wear and tear etc. As there is no cables running criss-cross in the frame there is less likely that annoying noise or wear of cabling will produce themselves.

      5: Replacements. If you need to replace a battery, then just replace it. Done in seconds. In comparison to other systems this is a no-go.

      /P

    • Mr. W.

      Hi cppatrick and Claude,

      Thanks a lot for your perspective. Appreciated. To be clear: I have an electronic system on 2 of my bikes (ultegra di), and I would never shift back to mechanical. Electronical shifting in itself has obvious benefits.

      Some good points wrt the battery swapping convenience, which I did not consider before. Shimano definitely has some room to improve their system in that respect.

      kind regards

      W

    • Claude

      Hi W.

      They’re both great systems and like you said, there’s no going back to mechanical. Enjoy :)

      Claude

  129. Dave

    DC,

    Finally got my eTap, so awesome. I’m trying to set up my Garmin Edge 520 as you discussed, but I don’t have the same battery fields that you show. The only ones I see appear to be Di2 related. Can you point me in the right direction?

    Thanks,
    Dave

    • Claude

      Hi Dave,
      Look under Gears and the one I use near the bottom that displays a graphical representation of the gear you’re in, two vertical lines on the left for the big chain ring and the cog set on the right that fits all on one line (so don’t but it in a spot that has a side by side view. Sorry I can’t remember the exact name. You also have to tell the sensor detail how many cogs you have and what the range is. Elininates having to look down at the gears to see what gear you’re in. The battery level works also, but I never use it.

    • Dave

      Thanks Claude. I’ve got the gearing figured out, I’m trying to get the battery life display like DC does with both shifters and derailleurs listed individually. All that I have is one battery icon so who know what battery life it’s showing.

    • Claude

      Yes that’s a problem. I don’t know what the one battery level signifies which is why I don’t use it. The best thing is to check the colour of the derailleur LED’s when you shift at the end of a ride. A change to red only means you have 6 hours or less left. The shifter LED’s stay green a long long time. I’ve had my eTap for 6 months and they’re still green. The rear derailleur is the first one to turn red so I recharge rear and front at the same time. Recharging is quite fast.

    • Dave

      That’s why I’m hoping DC will reply, he has a picture in his article that shows the four different batteries…link to media.dcrainmaker.com

    • np70

      I posted on here shortly after getting Etap. I binned it about two weeks ago – sold the entire groupset. Too many front derailleur problems, and no solution in sight. I like electronic shifting for the fact that it’s rock solid reliable, so I went back to Di2 and I am now a shimano man until the day I die.

      I know Etap is rock solid for most people, but there seem to be a proportion of people having problems with the front derailleur dumping the chain.

    • Claude

      Interesting. Looking forward to a replay cause that would useful.

    • claude

      It’s too bad you didn’t check here first before “binning”. It’s crucial when setting up eTap that you follow setup instructions precisely! The front derailleur especially. One very important setting is the outer stop screw. The tolerance is .5 mm or less! I have the chain coming off the big ring when shifting until I religiously had it aligned per the instructions. Since then it has worked flawlessly. The pros use it so it can’t be useless.

    • Edd. S.

      Hello @all,

      hmmm …. as i wrote @ #257 i drove eTap also in Winter approx 1500 km.
      Now my eTap have 9700km on the ODO.

      o First Battery in the Shifters (!!)
      o Absolutley NO Malfunction -> No Mechanical …. no Wirless Connection.
      o I love it !
      o Pairing is sooo easy ….

      I mean …. absolutely realiable !!

      Have a nice Day.

    • mordechai

      just back from my maiden first century ride with eTap Aero on my P5 with lots of rolling hills at that: I’m speechless! not touching mechanical or wired for the life of me

      my bike tech did the installation and it went flawless, even as I was much concerned with the FD as I run a Rotor QXL 53/39 oval chainrings on an Ultegra crank

    • np70

      Claude, I’m an experienced mechanic. I’m well aware of all steps involved in Etap setup, particularly with regard to the FD, as I’ve been researching it and tweaking it for months. You said it was useless – not me. I said that “Etap is rock solid for most people”. If you do some reading online you will find that there are some people who have had constant FD problems. I believe this is a minority. I have spoken to professional mechanics who tell me they haven’t had any complaints about Etap, so it’s not a general problem. Maybe there are some frames that don’t play well with Etap – I don’t know? What I do know is that I was sick of the problems, I’ve found I don’t like Sram brakes, and I prefer Di2 (I’ve never had a bad shift on Di2 ever).

    • Claude

      That’s quite strange then. Must be an alignment issue, cause as you say the vast majority have no problems and love it. But like I said, both systems are “to have” items. Whatever work best for you. Cheers

      btw for what it’s worth. The mechanics where I bought it are experts and I trust them, but I had alignment problems with mine from the start. The big ring would dump when riding. It wasn’t until I got into the installation manual and did the precise tweaks mentioned that it became rock solid. Locked down no further adjusting required.

    • np70

      Claude,

      I believe it’s a great groupset. I loved the rear shifiting, and the way the paddles work is really nice (so nice that I’ve setup my di2 to work that way too – or as close as you can get). Some are just finding the FD chain dump problem insurmountable – but the vast majority are not.

      I did so much tweaking, and so much detailed consultation of the manual, sram videos, etc, that I do not believe the problem could have been solved on my bike by any mechanic (maybe I got a faulty FD). I spent months on it. I considered contacting SRAM for expert advice, but part of me wanted it gone as I don’t like Sram red brakes at all. I found out the hard way that I prefer shimano brakes, and the di2 system.

      If you are considering buying Etap don’t take my experience as representative. I believe what happened to me happens to a small minority.

    • Claude

      It does sound you did everything you could. I did everything you did. I think the Durrace brakes work really well and likely better than Red, but I don’t have any issues with the brakes. I use Zipp carbon pads on Zipp wheels and just love it all.
      Stay safe while riding!

    • Hmm, I don’t have eTAP re-installed on my bike at the moment (and am 5,000 miles away from it at the moment). I wonder if the firmware changed some of how that has been displayed since then. :-/

    • Ken Silbert

      With etap, if you display “battery” on a Garmin 520 it shows only the level of the weakest of the four batteries. To see individual battery levels make sure the Garmin is connected to your etap, then find the etap sensor in settings and open the sensor information. You will see the four sensors and their levels

    • claude

      OK I did this but each sensor under battery just say Battery Status = New …. don’t know if this relates to battery levels. Maybe it’s a 3rd party control that can be added to the Garmin to display all 4 sensor battery levels.

    • Dave

      Ken thanks for the info! That does get me to the screen that DC shows in the one picture.

      Claude I get the same info as you with regards to the battery info.

      I guess time will tell if the battery status truly is the weakest battery. In my dreams we’d have batter status of all four batteries, how nice would that be?

    • Claude

      Seems to me that if the level of the weakest battery is reported to the Garmin, all 4 levels should be transmittable to the Garmin. We’ll just have to wait to see if 4 battery display is made available.

    • Claude

      Here’s a good thread to read. The last two posts are very interesting.

      link to forums.garmin.com

    • Changren Y.

      @np70: Your FD issue may be chain-line related, that is, the bike frame geometry. The yaw FD will probably work on most bike frames but for some, the issues of chain rub and chain drop won’t be eliminated because the FD does not auto-trim. As i noted in my other comments on this post, i could never get rid of chain rub on quite a few gear combinations on my 2012 Cervelo R3 when i had the SRAM Red yaw FD (I had the entire SRAM Red groupset). It was quite frustrating because getting rid of chain rub was the main reason why i went to the SRAM Red groupset in the first place!

  130. Brian

    I found your review to be the most helpful and insightful of all. Your writing skills are dead-on. Just want to thank you for the hard work that went into this article.

    Custom Trek Madone 6 Series / Dura Ace everything / thinking of Di2 or ETap.

  131. Bryan Blake

    Anyone have thoughts on where to buy a set of shifter clamps\bands for ETAP? They (etap ones) appear to be off set and not like the other standard SRAM shifter clamps.

    Would like to be able to more easily switch from my road to cross until I get the cash to get another whole set

    Cheers

  132. Vinny Marsden

    Just like to reiterate DC’s comments re the incredible packaging overkill!!
    The box is essentially a small suitcase for 5 items, none of which are that big!!

    Over commercialisation on a VERY VERY epic scale!!!

  133. Hussam

    I was under the impression the “Synchro Shifiting” is a standard feature of electronic shifters; however, I can’t seem to confirm whether SRAM RED eTap supports Synchro Shifting… or whether it’ll be supported in the future… Thanks!

    • Changren Y.

      Synchro shifting is not a standard feature of electronic shifters. Shimano only introduced Synchro shifting to its road system quite recently.

      SRAM eTap does not support synchro shift. In order for synchro shift to work, the FD and RD have to know what each other is doing. Presently, the FD in eTap does not care/know which cog the RD is in.

  134. Patrik Jonsson

    Hi!
    Have had ~500km on my etap now and the function is perfect. My problem now is that i’ve had a couple of flats (due to badly sweeped streets after winter gravel), and i find removing and installing rear wheel to be problematic. Feels like the rear-mech is tilted counter clockwise a little to far. Question: Is there a means to rotate it clockwise? Its hard with the chain in place, feels so so tight.
    Feedback highly appreciated.

    /Patrik

  135. Ken Silbert

    Has etap been upgraded? I installed the first release of etap in April, 2016. I just replaced the original RD with a new mid-cage wi-fli RD. My immediate impression was that the new RD shifts faster and more accurately than the original one. It occurs to me that SRAM may have upgraded the RD technology without announcing a new version or making a software upgrade available for older models. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

  136. Quincy McDonald

    Is the etap compatible with shimano. Can I keep my shimano crank, cassettes and chain and just add the etap front and rear derailleurs?

    • Claude Biron

      That’s a good question. I know from experience that eTap is very precise and has to be micro adjusted with the levers. Once adjusted, the shifts are fast, precise, and quite. I wonder if Shimano 11 speed cassette will differ across low and hi cogs in terms of micro adjustment? Maybe SRAM, a mechanic, or someone who has tried it will know?

    • Quincy McDonald

      I called a bike shop in Atlanta today, and they said that it can be done. However the shifts won’t be as precise as having all SRAM components.

  137. Wondering what alternative chainrings people have tried. I especially want sub-50, like 32/48 or 32/46.

  138. Cate

    I have had trouble with waking up my shifting. I am unsure if I need to pair each time. Doesn’t make sense to have to do this. Is there a very basic user guide?

  139. Mike S.

    7000+ miles and I’ve never had problems waking mine up. How many miles do you have on yours? Dead shifter battery? I haven’t replaced my shifter batteries yet so I’m not sure how much longer they might last.

  140. Lothar Wieland

    Hi, i have this red etap since a few days. Everything works perfect, with the exeption the switches from 2nd to 3rd ans sometimes to 4th gear is hanging if pedaling the big front gear. So you have to double switch and switch one back. (No problems with the small front gear and the high rear gears.) Does anyone has experience how the gears work over the whole range?

    • Claude

      You need to micro adjust the rear detailer using the inside small button an the shift paddle, by holding down the button while you shift left to move the derailleur in (left paddle) or right (right paddle). I always listen to whether the the gear I’m in makes any noise while peddling in the big chain ring on the back cogs. You micro adjust until the noise stops.

  141. Steve Scott

    great article!

  142. Mike Baxter

    Thanks Ray

  143. Jimbo

    Holy crap! Just looked at this due to your link about the gif of crawling derailleurs from your Kona power meter count post.
    That was too damned funny.
    E systems are well beyond my budget, but that was priceless.

  144. wondering

    Can both levers be programmed to operate the rear derailleur simultaneously while using in a 1x setup? Yes, I know it isn’t available in clutch configuration yet.

  145. Kevin E Smith

    Have been running etap for a year now. should i consider adding the blip holders to my tri setup? currently wrapped underneath the bar tape.

    • Tobi

      Hi Kevin,

      I run eTap on an Aero-Bike that I also use for Tri with clip-on bars. Thus I change setups now and then. I started with Blips that were either on top of the road-bar, or underneath the bar-tape of the extensions. However I found that inconvenient as it is a bit challenging to push the blip exactly where and how it should be (especially if wrapped). So for my Tri Setup I now use the Clics at the end of the extensions – and that is MUCH better! Clics are a lot easier to use, especially in Tri/Aero position.

      If you also switch between Road/Tri setup let me know. I tried various ways to make it eays and clean and now have an almost perfect compromise (I know that´s an oxymoron :-) ).

      Regards,
      Tobi

    • Rob

      I was just looking for that very info here. I was trying to come up with a clean setup to run on an aero road bike. Standard road shifters, but then occasionally add clip-ons. I was wondering if the Blip Box and Road Shifters can work together? The thought was to have the Blip Box on the underside of the extensions, wired to the Blips on the end, so one complete unit. Just attach the clip-ons when needed and sync with the road shifters. Remove when not needed and no unhooking wires etc.

    • Tobias

      Hi Rob,

      bad news: Road Shifters and BlipBox don´t work together… and SRAM also does not plan to support this in the future (I contacted them). So, my set-up is this:

      I use a 3T Aeronova Carbon Dropbar for three main reasons: a) the reach is quite long so you can use a shorter stem. Thus in tri set-up the clip-on pads are easier to place underneath the shoulders while in road set-up you still maintain a race position, b) it has internal cable routing with large holes for the cables, c) it can be used with clip-ons. It has also killer looks, 6° flare and is super comfy.
      The Dropbar is only taped until the hole behind the shifters is covered (about an inch). The top is untaped.
      In road set-up I use Blips with Blipholders right where the clip-ons are attached. When I switch to Tri set-up I remove the Blips and replace them with “Clip-On Unit” (to be described later). To do that I only have to untape about an inch to get to the shifter, pull out the Blip cable with an attached pilot-line. With this pilot line I then pull the cable of the clics into the dropbar, plug it into the shifter and re-tape the said inch of bar tape. All of that takes about 15 minutes.
      Funny enough the 3T Dropbar came with factory installed pilot lines that are very little plastic hoses. The diameter of these hoses exactly fit the plug of the Blip-/Clic-Cable. What I do is “plug” the eTap cable into this hose, use it as pilot line, and then change to the other cable. Super easy!
      As a result you always have either Blips on the top of the bar, or you have Clics on the “Clip-On Unit”.
      The “Clip-On Unit” is 3T Clip-Ons, extensions and a Bridge (link to store.3tcycling.com). The problem with the Aero Drop-Bar is that the clip-ons can only be mounted right next to the stem which would make the pads very close together. To avoid that you can use the bridge. The second benefit is then that both clip-ons are attached together: so it is really one unit with fixed distance and very easy to install.
      All this might sound complicated, but in reality it is not. I use this set-up now since march and it works very well. To switch between road and Tri is about 15 minutes and in both cases it´s a clean solution. There is really only one downside and that is that the stack of the 3T Clip-Ons is to high for my taste. I would love to be an inch lower in Tri but not in Road Set-Up, but I am too lazy to also change the spacers each time (we´ll see… maybe 2018 :-) )
      Sorry for the long post, I hope it helps. I also try to attach a pic so that you can see a bit of this setup.
      Good luck, Tobi

  146. Bryan Blake

    So my experience with etap.

    I started out running etap on my road bike compact rings setup. Which I switched back and forth to my cross bike for gravel races

    Ended up buying a 2nd set in wifli and decked out the cross bike and ran a absolute black oval 36 tooth ring and a standard 46 outer have done about 5 cross races and its been absolutely spot on with shifting.

    I have now ended with a new Cannondale superx which is 1x and of course converted that to etap. With the narrow wide 40 tooth crank a chain catch and narrow wide derailleur jockey wheels and 3 bumpy ass cross races in the books no issues with chain drop and shifting has been spot on.

    I will say blips on the handle bar tops near the stem are wonderful on climbs!

  147. Herbie Leinster

    The most comprehensive review in all the world.

  148. Ken Sibert

    My etap RD was previously paired on another bike. I am trying to pair it with new shifters and a new FD. The green light on the RD blinks to start pairing, but the shifters and FD do not pair (solid green light only). Could this be because the RD was previously paired to other components? Any suggestions as to how to get the new components to pair with the RD?