SRAM has joined the peleton of bicycle manufacturers offering up electronic shifting for high-end roadbikes. The SRAM Red eTap is a wireless shifting system that promises precise, simple shifting like that offered by electric systems from Shimano and Campagnolo.
Electronic shifting systems boast a number of benefits over traditional, cable-operated gearsets. Whereas cables stretch and snap, a wireless system isn't impacted by wear and tear, which potentially offers precise, instant gearchanges every single time.
At the rear, the RED eTap has been designed to look clean and simple. With a carbon pulley cage and ceramic puller bearings, the system has been designed to neatly integrate traditional design elements with the electronic components.
As nice as the idea of perfect shifts is, the unit won't win many fans if it's heavy and clunky. SRAM claims the rear derailleur and battery unit weigh in at just 289 grams (10 oz).
Up front, the derailleur executes shifts across a specifically designed wireless protocol, all the while using SRAM's Yaw system to make sure riders don't need to worry about trim. All up, the front derailleur assembly and battery weighs in at just 187 grams (6.6 oz).
For riders who use aero bars, the system can be paired with eTap Blip satellite shifters that allow you to pair up to two remote shifters on each side of the bike through a specific BlipBox control unit.
SRAM has not released details about the life of the battery on its unit yet, but if it's anything like Campagnolo's system, one charge should be good for anywhere between 1,500 and 2,100 km (930 to 1,300 mi).
All up, a complete road groupset will cost you US$2,758 (€2,691/£2,059). Upgrading to the TT pack, which includes four Blip Remote Shifters, the BlipBox relay unit and a set of parts to make the shifter system fit neatly onto aero bikes, will set you back $2,835 (€2785/£2140).
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