What Is Etap

SRAM Red eTap, the wireless 11-speed road group, will be available sometime this spring. If you want to dig into the details of the group, or the thoughts of four testers who have ridden it, we have those stories below.

If, however, you just want the highlights, here we present nine critical things you should know about the groundbreaking group. Free of shifter cables and featuring only a single paddle shifter on either side, the Red eTap levers offer great ergonomics.

With your fingers wrapped around the hoods or the drops, you can easily shift with just a knuckle. This is great for shifting while out of the saddle; whether climbing or sprinting, you can keep your fingers close to the bar, and just reach out slightly with a knuckle to shift. Shimano Di2 features two buttons per lever with a stock configuration identical to mechanical Shimano.

While critics contend that this can lead to mis-shifts with cold, gloved hands or over rough terrain, it also means your left hand can shift the front derailleur both ways and your right hand does the same for the rear.

Electrical Transient Analyzer Program (ETAP)

With Red eTap, you need both hands on the bars to move the rear both ways or to move the front at all. This isn’t a big deal, but something to keep in mind before you head off on a short errand with a cup of coffee in your hand.

If you sneak up on an unsuspecting eTap group and ever so gently touch a shifter without moving the bike in the slightest, nothing happens.

  • The group is sleeping.
  • Accelerometers in the derailleurs wake the group at the slightest movement and keep it awake for a time even when still.
  • When you are riding, it’s always awake.
  • This auto-pause feature allows for a longer life (a claimed 60 hours or 1,000km) with the 24g battery.

The eTap group as a whole is about 1,970g, roughly 60g heavier than mechanical Red but about 75g lighter than Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070 for comparably configured setups. Most cycling computers do their wireless communication on ANT+, whether for heart-rate straps, power meters or speed sensors.

References[edit]

A distant but gaining second for wireless communication in cycling is Bluetooth, primarily for tethering to smartphones. SRAM eTap uses neither of these, instead relying on a proprietary wireless language to ensure a closed system. However, eTap does speak ANT+; look for integration with Garmin Edge computers in the near future for things like gear-indicator and battery-life graphics.

Primarily used for maintenance, each derailleur has a function button that does multiple things. On the rear, pressing the button once shifts it outboard. Two quick presses moves it inboard. On the front, pressing the button once moves the derailleur to the opposite ring.

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