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  • OverIt

    I think “restricting” eTap to the Red group and having only 60 hours life is an oversight. One of Di2’s biggest strengths is it’s battery life, and this makes both Ultegra and Dura-Ace a real option for those that use their bikes daily as commuters and tourers, not just racers (who are a small market). I’ve had Di2 on a commuter and the no fuss nature, consistent shifts, and low maintenance are great, but the LOOOOONG battery life is the standout (maybe 2-3 charges a YEAR). And something that makes it a far more logical solution to those that just want to jump on and ride, not worry about remembering to charge every week or two. The clean install is certainly a bonus, but with good frame design and routing ideas, you can hide ALL of Di2 except for small lengths of wire to the derailleurs.

    The other gripe i have with eTap are those 2 little batteries in the shifters, OK sure they last a 2 years maybe… but you’re still going to throw them out and also your talking about a toxic object and in the case of small kids potentially lethal one. They should be banned, and any device that needs them should be made with a serviceable/recyclable rechargeable battery.

    • Mel

      But wouldnt one downside of the Di2 battery be trying to remember the last time you charged it? With the eTap, a weekly or fortnightly charge would mean everytime you clean your bike, throw the batteries on charge for 45minutes. Easy as that. But I do agree with your point on the small batteries in the shifters. Maybe its a future upgrade or modification that they will bring in

      • OverIt

        You could argue that for sure, but with the ‘check light’ illuminating with a long shift it’s easy to see when it needs it.

    • Secret CritPro

      I have to disagree with a lot you said.

      Red is their top of the line Groupset, and just as Campagnolo and Shimano did, they released their electronic version to their respective top of the line

      I recently spoke with the SRAM category manager of drivetrain, and after the issues with Hydraulic Brakes, they were keen for this not to happen, and have spent 2 years longer field testing.
      We live in a world now, where charging something is the norm, be it mobile phones, gps devices, portable speakers, and now bicycle components. I personally feel, as did another poster, that often reminds you that you need to charge. I have etap and I charge mine when I charge my lights and Garmin, no big deal!
      Collectively the mass of the SRAM batteries combined, is insignificant to that of Shimano and Campagnolo,
      2032 batteries, as well as SRAM’s rechargeable batteries, are fully recyclable,
      Here is some further info http://www.cr2032.co/environment-article.html
      In short, they are not toxic, and like anything else in life that is small enough to harm children, should be left in the proper packaging until used, and disposed of properly afterwards.
      I have ridden di2 and it’s not obvious when to charge, and a pain in the ass when you have to. This is great innovation and I look forward to further enhancements.

      • OverIt

        I agree with you on most of your points, but to perhaps explain my view a little more.

        Regarding only issuing top tier, I can see how a smaller company (relative to Shimano) would want to introduce at the top level, most companies do this to create an aspirational product and wanting to stage their investments. I was thinking though that they might at least get a MTN version out at the same same time along with hydro, and at a stretch a Force variant. Reason being that even though it’s arguably ahead of the game tech wise, they’re entering the market for electronic shifting years behind, so i thought they’d want to catch up ASAP.

        Your charging regime suits you, but I don’t have a Garmin, and charge my lights on my PC at work. So for me that’s my habit that keeps my batteries topped up. You’re right about the 2032 batteries, but you cant tell me everyone follows those procedures, that’s why we should avoid potential ‘throw away” as much as possible wouldn’t you agree?

        You say Di2 is a pain to charge, but you say you’re accustomed to plugging in lights, Garmins, etc. to charge. Can you elaborate? Maybe for those not storing their bike near a power-point is that your position?

        I too think it’s great innovation and am tempted by it as well, as I do love my SRAM. But it would get most of its use during commuting so the battery life and charging regime is a factor, maybe a small one once new habits are formed. Perhaps there’s a market for a nice internal battery pack with long life that powers both derailleurs via a jumper wire? I better jump on that idea ;)

    • Albert

      I think 60 hours of battery life from such a small battery is incredible!

      • OverIt

        Yeah certainly, I guess given that eTap (while riding), is always on, so even though it’s a low power signal, it’s still ON and waiting, while for Di2 it’s on ON on-demand.

  • jules

    interesting to hear a woman’s perspective on E-Tap /sarcasm

    seriously thanks for the review. I run Di2 (old version) and my observations are that:
    1. it’s been pretty reliable, although I’ve had to change the battery mount which apparently is a known point of failure. other than that, no probs.
    2. the Di2 wire plugs are known to fail – the indent where the plug snaps in place wears out with repeated removal/insertion of the plug. this happened to me. fixed with a dab of PVA glue – not ideal though.
    3. it’s very fiddly whenever I need to muck around with the wires as routed internally. so wireless is definitely an advantage.
    4. the battery life indicator may sound good and work well when new – but over time the battery life deteriorates. obviously you replace the battery when it deteriorates to a point where its life is intolerably short, but before that – what I’ve found is that the indicator loses its accuracy. basically the indicator lies to you and the battery runs out more quickly than what it is telling you it will.

    without having tried ETap, I reckon wireless is the future.

    • Anne-Marije Rook

      I agree. I, too, think wireless is the future

  • You mention that the shifter batteries are easy to change. Do you think the attachments are sturdy? The look of them made me wonder if they could wear over the months, and be liable to falling off.

    • Anne-Marije Rook

      Hey Chris. The derailleur batteries you mean? They’re held firmly in place by a hard piece of plastic. You have to ‘click’ them in and they don’t even so much as wiggle. Could you break that plastic lid? I bet someone could but it would almost have to be intentional. After various months of swapping batteries, I have had zero issues. The batteries inside the shifters are secured behind a small cover on the top of the hood and need to be changed only every two years or so.

      • Thanks A-M. I did mean derailleurs. Glad you could decode my confusing question, as well as give the answer I was looking for!

  • Conscience_of_a_conservative

    The beauty of E-tap is that opens the market for electronic shifting for mechanical bikes that weren’t built for DI2. But recharging batteries every 60 hours and carrying a spare battery during rides, adds just another item to the ride check-list which at some point I know I’d forget. As far as installation that’s a plus for the bike shop , not the user as most of us do not install our own group sets and its only done once. The idea of wireless is mostly hype. Who cares if there’s a wire or not, the important thing is how shifts occur.

    • Mike

      Not so sir. “…. wireless is mostly hype” couldn’t be further from the truth. The one thing, the single one thing, a bicycle should be is elegant. All the best inventions have that quality, they employ the bare minimum to the greatest effect. A spiders’ web of wires, junction boxes, connectors and cable clips could never be described as elegant.
      PS I have never, and never will, own any electronic gears. I am quite capable of pushing a short lever a short distance.

    • Rude Bwoy

      Well Mafuka, don’t buy it.

  • Derek Maher

    Hi Anne- Marije. Those frame holes maybe a dab of silicon would solve that issue. On rechargeable batteries how many recharges allowed ?.
    Do you get any wireless interference from other devices ?.

    • Anne-Marije Rook

      Hey Derek,
      Some aero frames (like my Envie depicted) have quite big holes for internal routing of cables. Thus far, some pieces of electrical tape has been the best solution. :-)

      As far as the battery goes, I think the number of recharges is infinite if they’re taken good care of.

      Interference is the biggest concern with wireless yet I haven’t had any issues at all. Many feared that when you’re around dozens of other eTap equipped bikes, there could be some interference but SRAM tested this extensively. Each SRAM eTap front derailleur, rear derailleur, and shifters are paired together as one system so there is no interference with other eTap groupsets.

      • Lyrebird_Cycles

        Battery life is dependent on chemistry which is Li-ion in this case so you can expect 300 – 500 charge cycles at full depth of discharge and room temperature use. You can quadruple that by halving the discharge depth, see http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries

        That’s 18,000 – 30,000 hours operational life or put another way 450,000 – 750,000km at 25 kmh, more for you quick people.

      • Derek Maher

        Thanks Anne-Marije for your quick reply to my questions. Oh and tape is also a quick and easy solution.

  • Coach

    Hmmm… I’m getting 300-500 hours out of a $5 Campagnolo gear cable plus I never have to charge my bike. I guess that’s progress for you.

  • Marty Smith

    Curious, Still trying to figure out the woman=eTap thing.

    Many have commented on the slower shifting-Love to hear a bit more about that-single vs multiple shifts, lag time ve shift speed etc.
    Is it a real concern?, for someone who has never had Di2 and rides Ultegra?

  • Marcus

    I think they’ll all head to wireless in time, so kudos to SRAM for being the first on that. That said, one thing I love with di2 that I do quite regularly, is shift both front and rear at the same time – e.g. any time I shift down to the little ring I’ll nearly always hold down the opposite lever’s button to shift to one or two sprockets smaller, which will leave me in a gear ratio only slightly smaller than what I was in, and therefore no sudden jump in cadence required. It’s a small thing, but it sounds like this would be impossible with etap’s design (as clever as it otherwise seems).

    • winkybiker

      I also often shift front and rear simultaneously. My mechanical shifters do it just fine. You don’t need Di2 for simultaneous shifts. And you certainly don’t need eTap.

      But It’s worse than that. Imagine you approach a steep ramp. You’re tired, the rolling terrain has meant you’ve been shifting often, front and rear. You think you’re on the big ring, but you’re actually still on the small ring. You go shift to the small ring and your bike dutifully puts you in a gear that’s now way higher than you wanted. And two shifts to recover. A system that requires you to remember the existing state or it will potentially do the exact opposite of what you expect is poorly engineered in my view. Spam maybe had to go with this stupid “same action for opposite effect depending upon prior state” system to work around patents.

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