If there is one new piece of bike kit that is sure to generate tons of discussion amongst cyclists of all stripes (and draw crowd if it is present) it has to be the SRAM Red eTap Electronic Upgrade. Whether you think that electronic shifting is the best thing since sliced bread, or completely unnecessary, the fascination with having completely wireless shifting is hard to deny. In keeping with the allure of this new technology, SRAM spared no expense in the presentation of their SRAM Red eTap Electronic Upgrade Kit, creating an impressive box that houses all of the components that you need to turn your 11 speed road bike into a wireless shifting wonder bike (complete with a nifty magnet-secured front flap – trust us, it’s nice).
So what comes in this giant box of road cycling goodness? The SRAM Red eTap Electronic Upgrade Kit includes SRAM Red eTap front and rear derailleurs, each powered by separate batteries (although you can interchange batteries from front to rear, if one of the batteries is running out of juice). Up front the brake/shift levers are powered by coin batteries, and only have one shift paddle each – to shift to a harder gear on the rear derailleur you click the right lever, to shift to an easier gear you click the left lever, and to shift the front derailleur you click both levers at (about) the same time. A SRAM Red eTap battery charger and firmware update dongle round out the package.
But it’s not all about the packaging with the SRAM Red eTap Electronic Upgrade Kit, although it is undeniably cool, but also about the innovative and outside-the-box performance of the components in action. We got a chance to try out a demo bike with SRAM Red eTap installed on it, and it works exactly like an any wired drivetrain, just with a whole lot less hassle when you install it!