Gear of the Show 2015: SRAM eTap Red
Electronic shifting goes wireless
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Given that SRAM is bringing an electronic drivetrain to market six full years after Shimano released its first road Di2 group, the company had to deliver something truly groundbreaking if it hoped to be relevant. Impressively, eTap Red takes SRAM from playing catch-up to leading the field.
Unlike both Shimano Di2 and Campy EPS, which use wiring harnesses to connect all the parts of the system, much like a standard mechanical group, eTap Red is completely wireless. All major components in the group, including shift levers and front and rear derailleurs, are self-contained units with their own batteries and wireless transmitters. This not only makes for an elegant look and easier manufacturing for frame builders (ports and housing are no longer necessary), but it also makes installation and setup a five-minute process of attaching the parts and pairing.
SRAM also did what Shimano and Campagnolo failed to when they went to electronic drivetrains: rather than just make it look and work like it always has, the company rethought the shifting process to take advantage of the technology. The right shift lever makes gearing harder. The left shift lever makes gearing easier. Move both levers at the same time and the front chain ring shifts either up or down depending on where the chain sits.
It's a simple, logical configuration, and it also accommodates SRAM'S single-ring road groups, which the company is also currently pushing.
From $2,758, including shifters, derailleurs, crank and bottom bracket, cassette, chain, brakes, battery charger, and USB stick. sram.com