12 of 13 customers found this review helpful.
I've had a lot of riding time on electronic groupsets from Campagnolo and Shimano, so it was interesting to compare the performance of SRAM's new electronic gruppo.
There are a lot of things to like about this groupset. It is incredibly easy to install on any bike, even one that was not designed for electronic. For people upgrading from a mechanical group, I'd highly recommend taking a look. I like the approach to the batteries. Charging is easy and fast (easier than the other two systems since the batteries can be very simply removed and brought inside for charging instead of trying to find a plug near your bike), and it's nice to be able to easily switch between the front and rear derailleur if you forget to charge and run out of juice while you're on a ride.
My favorite electronic Groupset is the Campagnolo Super Record EPS, and my time with SRAM e-tap hasn't changed my opinion. However, the SRAM e-tap is significantly less expensive. much easier to install, and works quite well. The availability of the Quarq SRAM e-tap crankset is also a plus if you want power measurement.
I was surprised how easy it was to get used to the very different controls on the e-tap. I think the fact that the controls are so different than Shimano's or Campy's makes it easier to switch back and forth without being confused. On my first 50 mile ride, I think I only hit the wrong paddle once. It's actually quite intuitive once you start using it.
In case you're not aware, SRAM e-tap has a single paddle per side. Pushing the right paddle shifts the rear derailleur to a smaller cog. Pushing the left paddle shifts the rear derailleur to a larger cog. Multiple shifts can be accomplished by simply holding one or the other paddle. Shifting the front derailleur is done by pushing both paddles simultaneously. This may seem pretty weird, but it's actually quite easily to get used to and works well.
The pressure required to trigger a shift is a bit higher than Shimano, and quite a bit higher than my Campy EPS. This probably took more getting used to than the radically different control functions. After an hour or so of riding, this was less of a distraction, but if you're looking for electronic to reduce the pressure required, I'd recommend one of the other systems. On the other hand, there has been more than one occasion when I've accidentally shifted my Campy front derailleur when I hit an unexpected bump, so this may not be a bad thing.
The speed of shifting was probably my biggest gripe. I've gotten used to almost instantaneous shifts on my Campy EPS. On the SRAM e-tap, I had to be a little patient to avoid hitting the paddle again thinking that I hadn't hit it hard enough on the first attempt. It's really not that slow, but in comparison to EPS or Di2, it definitely takes an extra half second or more, particularly on the front derailleur.
Out of the box, the brake levers have quite a large reach. Fortunately, this can be adjusted. I have fairly large hands, but felt the default brake reach was a little excessive for my taste.
I've never been a fan of the shape of Dura-Ace brake hoods (Di2 included). They are just too long, narrow, and deeply sculpted, and my hands start to cramp after 50 or so miles. The shape of the Campagnolo Record hoods is ideal for me, but the SRAM e-tap hoods are pretty close.
Overall, I think this is an excellent initial electronic offering by SRAM, and in several ways is ahead of the competition. As an upgrade for a mechanical-shifting bike, it's the obvious choice.
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