Skip to main content

SRAM Red wireless electronic group details discovered

Image 1 of 22

Little appears to have changed since we saw SRAM's upcoming wireless electronic group on the team bikes of the Bissell Development Team at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge last May, which suggests the bits are in final testing and are soon to be released

Little appears to have changed since we saw SRAM's upcoming wireless electronic group on the team bikes of the Bissell Development Team at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge last May, which suggests the bits are in final testing and are soon to be released (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 2 of 22

SRAM's upcoming wireless electronic group has made yet another appearance on the race circuit, this time at the Tour Down Under with the Ag2r-La Mondiale team

SRAM's upcoming wireless electronic group has made yet another appearance on the race circuit, this time at the Tour Down Under with the Ag2r-La Mondiale team (Image credit: Dave Rome)
Image 3 of 22

The electronic components appear to be relatively well protected in a crash

The electronic components appear to be relatively well protected in a crash (Image credit: Dave Rome)
Image 4 of 22

Each component has a function button and LED indicator, used for adjustments as well as to pair all of the associated bits together

Each component has a function button and LED indicator, used for adjustments as well as to pair all of the associated bits together (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 5 of 22

The gap between the cassette and upper pulley wheel is adjusted via a standard bolt

The gap between the cassette and upper pulley wheel is adjusted via a standard bolt (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 6 of 22

A view from below reveals quite a bit of extra hardware as compared to a standard rear derailleur but considering everything is self-contained, it's impressively small. Remember, there are no wires and each component has its own battery. Also seen here are the two limit adjuster screws

A view from below reveals quite a bit of extra hardware as compared to a standard rear derailleur but considering everything is self-contained, it's impressively small. Remember, there are no wires and each component has its own battery. Also seen here are the two limit adjuster screws (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 7 of 22

The motor unit is located on the lower knuckle of the rear derailleur

The motor unit is located on the lower knuckle of the rear derailleur (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 8 of 22

None of the components bear model names just yet but they're otherwise looking like they're made on production tooling, which suggests an official release might not be far off

None of the components bear model names just yet but they're otherwise looking like they're made on production tooling, which suggests an official release might not be far off (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 9 of 22

Both derailleurs are independently powered with their own on-board Li-ion rechargeable batteries. Simply flick the lever up top and remove the power pack when it's time to recharge

Both derailleurs are independently powered with their own on-board Li-ion rechargeable batteries. Simply flick the lever up top and remove the power pack when it's time to recharge (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 10 of 22

The front derailleur looks impressively finished and polished. And with no wires, the group should be a breeze to install

The front derailleur looks impressively finished and polished. And with no wires, the group should be a breeze to install (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 11 of 22

Each lever sports a single shift paddle, just like with standard DoubleTap but the shift actuation will be a completely different scheme called 'eTap'. Visible on the backside of each paddle is the function button and a small LED indicator

Each lever sports a single shift paddle, just like with standard DoubleTap but the shift actuation will be a completely different scheme called 'eTap'. Visible on the backside of each paddle is the function button and a small LED indicator (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 12 of 22

SRAM has apparently abandoned its long-running DoubleTap style of shifter operation on the new wireless electronic group in favor of a new one-button-per-side format called 'eTap'. Tap the left lever to downshift and the right one to move to harder gears. Push both to initiate a front shift

SRAM has apparently abandoned its long-running DoubleTap style of shifter operation on the new wireless electronic group in favor of a new one-button-per-side format called 'eTap'. Tap the left lever to downshift and the right one to move to harder gears. Push both to initiate a front shift (Image credit: Dave Rome)
Image 13 of 22

Sources have confirmed to us that the front and rear derailleurs do, indeed, use rechargeable batteries that are both removable and interchangeable

Sources have confirmed to us that the front and rear derailleurs do, indeed, use rechargeable batteries that are both removable and interchangeable (Image credit: Dave Rome)
Image 14 of 22

SRAM apparently wouldn't allow close access to the new components at the Tour Down Under. Zoom lens it is!

SRAM apparently wouldn't allow close access to the new components at the Tour Down Under. Zoom lens it is! (Image credit: Dave Rome)
Image 15 of 22

At least by our eyes, it appears that the SRAM electronic wireless levers have slightly longer brake lever blades than the standard Red package

At least by our eyes, it appears that the SRAM electronic wireless levers have slightly longer brake lever blades than the standard Red package (Image credit: Dave Rome)
Image 16 of 22

The Ag2r-La Mondiale had the new SRAM wireless electronic components on at least four bikes at the Tour Down Under

The Ag2r-La Mondiale had the new SRAM wireless electronic components on at least four bikes at the Tour Down Under (Image credit: Dave Rome)
Image 17 of 22

If the protrusions on the front and rear derailleurs look similar, that's because they're batteries that are fully interchangeable, according to our sources

If the protrusions on the front and rear derailleurs look similar, that's because they're batteries that are fully interchangeable, according to our sources (Image credit: Dave Rome)
Image 18 of 22

The removable battery juts out from the back of the rear derailleur

The removable battery juts out from the back of the rear derailleur (Image credit: Dave Rome)
Image 19 of 22

Team mechanics have clearly been hard at work testing the weatherproofness of the new SRAM wireless electronic components

Team mechanics have clearly been hard at work testing the weatherproofness of the new SRAM wireless electronic components (Image credit: Dave Rome)
Image 20 of 22

Team mechanics don't seem too leery of getting the new components wet

Team mechanics don't seem too leery of getting the new components wet (Image credit: Dave Rome)
Image 21 of 22

Just as with the Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical and electronic analogues, the new SRAM Red wireless electronic group appears to have slightly slimmer and smaller hoods than the standard Red

Just as with the Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical and electronic analogues, the new SRAM Red wireless electronic group appears to have slightly slimmer and smaller hoods than the standard Red (Image credit: Dave Rome)
Image 22 of 22

SRAM apparently still doesn't want to reveal the name of its new wireless electronic group

SRAM apparently still doesn't want to reveal the name of its new wireless electronic group (Image credit: Dave Rome)

This article first appeared on BikeRadar.

SRAM still isn't yet talking openly about its upcoming wireless electronic road group but sponsored teams and riders are continuing to test the new bits in competition, most recently in Australia at the Tour Down Under with the Ag2r-La Mondiale squad. Although not much appears to have changed since the group's last public appearance, we've since learned that the novel shifter actuation will likely be called 'eTap or 'ETAP' (a play on SRAM's long-running 'DoubleTap' moniker) and that group will most likely simple be called Red with a stylized 'e'.

SRAM is at least no longer forcing team mechanics to fabricate fabricate faux wiring since we blew the lid on the wired charade last May. Mechanics are still covering up the badging on the lever blade, however, although we can still make out a faint 'Red' outline. Between the highly finished look of the components themselves and the fact that SRAM has apparently already finalized graphics, we expect an official release some time this season.

SRAM's upcoming wireless electronic group looks ready to go, despite the company's continued insistence on remaining tight-lipped

Otherwise, everything we have hypothesized so far is holding true: the system uses no wires, each component is powered by its own battery source, pairing and adjustments are done via simple buttons and single-LED indicator lights, and the system is lighter than comparable setups from Shimano and Campagnolo given SRAM's unique low-power data transmission protocol. As we had guessed, each derailleur's Li-ion rechargeable battery pack is indeed both removable and interchangeable, meaning you could not only easily limp home on a single battery if one is depleted but pack spares if you're worried about running out of juice on a multi-day trip off the grid.

Sources have informed us that each lever is powered by conventional CR2032 coin-type batteries instead of bespoke rechargeable units

In contrast, sources have told BikeRadar that the levers will be powered by conventional, non-rechargeable CR2032 coin-type batteries since the power requirements are much lower. While some will undoubtedly be disappointed with the idea of repeatedly buying batteries (not to mention environmental impacts), we've heard that the batteries "will last ages", suggesting that run times as long as a year or more might not be out of the question.

SRAM will introduce a new shifter actuation with the new Red wireless electronic group called 'eTap'. Shifts are performed in the manner we disclosed previously with each lever bearing a single, one-stage button. Push on one lever's shift button to move the rear derailleur in one direction, or push the button on the other lever to move the chain in the opposite direction. Front gear changes are accomplished by pushing both buttons at roughly the same time. So far, it seems that SRAM has built a fair bit more tactile feedback into the button action as well – a long-standing criticism of Shimano's system – while some clever programming suggests that riders won't have to be unreasonably precise to make those front shifts, either.

As with the rest of the system, the rear derailleur requires no external wiring. Wireless data hardware and a power source are all built right in, which should make life easier for mechanics