Shifting Gears - Cutting the cable with SRAM’s new eTap

The Future Is NOW!

Cutting the cable with SRAM’s new eTap

In 35 years, we’ve really shifted gears. In 1981, we used friction shifters on the downtube of our bikes. They were often imprecise and relied on “feel” to find the right gear and keep the noise down.  Over the years, drive train technology has improved dramatically.  We’ve gone from 5 to 11 cogs and from totally manual to entirely digital shifting. It’s no surprise, then, to see the all-new wireless electronic shifting system by SRAM: eTap. 

Touch and Go Controls

Much like Shimano’s Di2 and Campagnolo’s EPS electronic shifting, SRAM’s eTap is controlled by buttons on the brake levers. Shifting is fairly intuitive and logical if you think about what happens during a gear change. For example, if you shift to a higher gear in the rear cassette, the derailleur moves outbound or away from the wheel. It moves to the right from the point of view of the rider. It’s done with a quick press of the right shifter button. Moving to an easier gear (moving the derailleur inbound – left) takes a press of the left shifter button.  Holding the shifter button down moves multiple gears. “So what about the front derailleur?” you ask. Simple: press both shifter buttons at the same time to shift to the other chain ring.

Making the Connection

eTap is entirely wireless, which is why we are all so excited about it. (Remember how excited we were when cordless phones came out?) Other electronic shifting systems require a wire to connect the derailleurs and controls. These are still excellent, accurate and light systems, but they leave more room for failure: a wire can be damaged or fatigue over time. SRAM’s secure, wireless communication network (AIREA) creates a reliable connection between shifters and derailleurs. It’s specific to eTap, so your neighbors, mother, big brother or coach driving next to you in the team car can’t shift for you.  

The system uses rechargeable batteries for the derailleurs and regular CR2032 batteries in the shifters. The rechargeable batteries charge quickly and are interchangeable. The rear battery will last up to 60 hours of ride time, the front will last up to 90 hours, and the shifter batteries will last up to 24 months. An LED indicator light on each component show remaining battery life.

Customize your cockpit with Blips

Blips are quarter-sized satellite shifter buttons you can attach anywhere you like. You can add them to aerobars, to your drop position or to your hill-climbing position. They plug into the existing shifter and operate the same way as the shifter buttons.  Slice the wind in your time trial position, coil into your sprint tuck or saunter along with your hands on the tops of your bars and shift away!

We love SRAM’s new eTap wireless shifting system.  It’s a durable, lightweight precision control system. Forget that clunky old analog system.  The future is now and it’s digital.  And wireless.  And so. much. fun!



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