If you could have your choice between the new Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and SRAM’s eTap, which electric drivetrain would you pick?
I’ve put a few thousand miles on both eTap and 9070 Di2. They are both great groups with pros and cons. And, yes, I’ve managed to find myself out on some longer riders with dead batteries on both groups…
I asked our staffers who have spent time on both, and here is what they said.
Jamie Wilkins, Procycling deputy editor
eTap. It’s clean and simple.
Robin Wilmott, Cycling Plus technical writer
I have long-standing issues with Di2’s shifters, so it’s eTap all the way for me. I have several [test] bikes with eTap currently, and it’s already become second nature, to the point where when I got back on my long termer with Di2, I tried to shift it like eTap.
Russell Eich, BikeRadar US technical writer
It mainly boils down to refinement, and Shimano Di2 has it. In my opinion, Shimano components, especially the Dura-Ace and XTR stuff made in Japan is built much, much better than the SRAM stuff. Also, I love that Shimano lets you program the buttons and shifting sequence.
Warren Rossiter, Cycling Plus senior technical editor
eTap, though I love both. I just got my hands on the WiFli upgrade kit, which is great if slightly noisier when you get up to the 32, so until the new Di2 drops with its increased 11-30 range I think SRAM is the best option for less capable climbers.
eTap just seems easier to live with even with less battery life. My Di2 bikes if I leave them unused for a few weeks seem to run their batteries down, eTap doesn’t and pulling the batteries and storing them off the bike is so easy and quick, it’s never an issue anyways.
That said I’ve been riding a couple of Ultegra Di2 bikes recently and it’s still so impressive, especially when shifting under load. Though I have had a couple of bikes over the last year where seatposts have slipped when riding in the rain and have either severed or crushed the battery wire leaving me stuck in a gear for the rest of the ride.
Matthew Allen, BikeRadar technical writer
I’m gonna fence-sit. eTap is super cool, very simple and intuitive and also nice to install because it’s wireless, but Di2 is massively customisable and works really well.
Josh Patterson, BikeRadar US technical editor
I prefer eTap for its ease of installation and clean appearance. I also prefer the shape of the eTap HRD hoods.
Ben Delaney, BikeRadar US editor in chief
They are both very good, but I prefer Di2. SRAM’s eTap system is simpler for working the rear derailleur — right lever moves down the cassette, left lever moves up — but when you have to shift the front derailleur you have to use both levers. That isn’t simpler. That’s annoying.
Because of the wires, Di2 shifts faster. With eTap there is a tiny but perceptible lag. Plus you can tune Di2 however you like, for both shift speed and button function. I also like the sprint shifters just for everyday riding; they are set up like eTap for the rear derailleur.
Di2’s chink in the armor was the cassette; I’ve seen a handful of the carbon bodies break, leaving one cog spinning freely. Shimano swears this has been fixed. My other gripe with Di2 was the junction box rubber-banded around the stem. I love the new solution of tucking it into the handlebar.
And how about you? Based on what you’ve read and perhaps what you’ve experienced, which do you prefer?