Arguably, when your most recent high-profile product launch has ended in a world-wide recall, it’s pretty important to get the next one right.
When teams at World Tour level have almost all stopped using your high-end product, it’s pretty important to get the next upgrade spot on!
SRAM, like no other component manufacturer, had a pretty major launch on their hands, playing catch-up in the electronic groupset game behind Shimano’s Di2 and Campagnolo’s EPS. 3rd place isn’t a great spot to be playing me-too.
Hailed as a “game-changer” by Sir Bradley Wiggins (who is paid to say that obviously) SRAM have launched the world’s first wireless electronic groupset.
Dubbed SRAM RED eTap. And it looks as though they’ve nailed it!
Will this be enough to gain new fresh market share in the consumer peloton? If pre-orders from Fisher are anything to go by, then yes it will. Fisher Outdoor are one of two the UK importers of SRAM products and they sold out of the entire first production batch in just one day! Raleigh (the other importer) are putting the groupset on their top-end, £6,000, Limited Edition Militis Team SRAM Red eTap bike.
With Katusha, Team Wiggins, and the women’s team of Canyon/SRAM all racing with eTap it will be interesting to see how much uptake there will be.
It will allow for wireless only bikes to be produced (seriously niche!), saving weight by not needed frame reinforcements for cable stops, potentially saving 80 grams off of a frame weight (10% right there!).
With the need for cable removed there’s even more weight to be saved, the whole groupset comes in at less then 2,000grams (non-hydraulic rim brakes). It’s weight weenie heaven!
Will it be enough? It will be an interesting year ahead as we see what the other manufacturers respond with.