It looks like Nino isn't the only one on Eagle eTap

More refined version of new Eagle eTap groupset spotted on bike of U23 women's leader

In a further development of what is quite possibly the worst kept secret in cycling tech, we have just spotted a more refined looking — possibly even production-ready — version of SRAM’s new eTap Eagle groupset on the bike of current U23 women’s world cup leader, Malene Degn. 

Mounted to the back of Degn’s Ghost Lector hardtail, the derailleur has an all-black finish that is reminiscent of SRAM’s current Eagle mechanical groupsets. CNC-machined parts as seen on Nino's derailleur have been replaced with proper forged parts and overall, save for adding graphics, it looks very close to finished. 

Beyond that, it’s hard to ascertain any further details as the incredibly muddy conditions at Albstadt obscured much of the derailleur.

Tom Marvin weighs in on what eTap Eagle might look like

We also couldn’t get a very clear photo, but it looks as though Stigger was also running a shifter setup similar to the one Nino Schurter has been using this season.

We’ll be prowling the pits for more sneaky peeks at the groupset, so keep your eyes peeled throughout the day for more updates on this and any other interesting tech from the weekend. 

The original story continues below.

UPDATE! Back in March we shared an Instagram image which seemed to show a wireless derailleur that hinted at SRAM's eagerly anticipated Eagle eTap groupset. Now, we've spotted the groupset in more juicy detail out in the wild at Round Two of the XC World Cup in Albstadt.

The Instagram image from March was posted by UCI mountain bike photographer Michal Cerveny and showed the dusty, wireless rear derailleur from Nino Schurter's Scott Spark.

It was the first time we got a detailed look at the component, which aside from finishing touches, such as stickers, looked like it was almost ready for production.

UPDATE! New shots of the eTap Eagle groupset
UPDATE! New shots of the eTap Eagle groupset

These new shots, taken by our very own Jack Luke, show the shifter and rear derailleur in situ on a bike in the Scott Bicycles pit in Albstadt, Germany.

It looks like the one-piece plastic shift plate on the shifter can either be pushed forwards or upwards to shift up or down the block, with relatively big paddles, helping reduce the chance of mis-shifts.

The unit itself doesn't look much bigger than a mechanical shifter, and you can see where we presume access to the charge port is at the bottom of the shifter.

This is one of the first images of the eTap Eagle shifters
This is one of the first images of the eTap Eagle shifters

The rear mech has what looks to be a button to either turn the unit on-off, or to initiate an adjustment mode. There's also the expected Type 3 clutch as well as screw-based stops to adjust the upper and lower limits of the mech. To our eyes, it looks like a more refined prototype than the shifter at present.

We've not got a closer look at the wireless eTap Eagle derailleur
We've not got a closer look at the wireless eTap Eagle derailleur

SRAM's Eagle eTap might be on the way. Photos posted on Instagram appear to show an electronic version of SRAM's top-tier 12-speed mountain bike group mounted to cross-country world champ Nino Schurter's Scott Spark.

Is Eagle eTap on the way? By the looks of Nino Schurter's rear derailleur the answer is yes
Is Eagle eTap on the way? By the looks of Nino Schurter's rear derailleur the answer is yes

The leaked images appear to show a battery-equipped rear derailleur paired to a 12-speed Eagle cassette.

Here's another angle of Schurter's Scott Spark that appears to be missing a gear cable from the right of the handlebar
Here's another angle of Schurter's Scott Spark that appears to be missing a gear cable from the right of the handlebar

Even Schurter's own Instagram account offers a potential clue. While not entirely clear, it appears that his bike is without a rear derailleur cable coming from the right-hand shifter.

Studying the image shows what looks to be three hoses coming from the left side, which would consist of the front disc brake, fork lockout, and rear shock lockout. That lines up with his RockShox suspension sponsor and its hydraulically-actuated lockouts. 

Patent drawings

As reported by the Dutch mountain bike website, Velozine, SRAM's US patent drawings have also been released. 

Interestingly, this patent drawing for an electric MTB rear derailleur is from October 2013
Interestingly, this patent drawing for an electric MTB rear derailleur is from October 2013

The patent drawings are owned by SRAM LLC for the rear derailleur and SRAM Deutschland GmbH for the shifters.

With a battery added to the back of the derailleur body, the Eagle eTap rear derailleur appears to be a mashup of the current XX1 Eagle and Red eTap rear derailleurs. 

Eagle eTap shifters

This under bar shifter looks similar to what most riders are accustom to. It does appear to use a index finger trigger whereas current SRAM shifters are thumb only
This under bar shifter looks similar to what most riders are accustom to. It does appear to use a index finger trigger whereas current SRAM shifters are thumb only

Three shifters have been presented in the patent drawings. One appears to resemble the standard under the handlebar shifter that attaches via SRAM's existing clamps.

Contrary to SRAM's current thumb-only shifters, the drawings seem to indicate thumb and index finger buttons or paddles. 

The shifter looks to be like nothing we've seen before
The shifter looks to be like nothing we've seen before

The other shifter features a clamp that surrounds the bar similar to Shimano XT and XTR Di2 shifters. Despite its mild GripShift appearance, it looks to have two buttons or paddles for controlling the rear derailleur.

This appears to be the smallest and most elegant possible shifter solution
This appears to be the smallest and most elegant possible shifter solution

The third shifting option looks to be the smallest and most elegant with the majority of the electronic gizmos tucked inside the handlebar. The patent drawings detail a lock-on grip with a very small button or lever protruding through the grip. 

When is electronic Eagle coming?

BikeRadar has contacted SRAM for comment on the development of this new group. We've yet to receive a response.

Jack Luke

Staff Writer, UK
Jack has been riding and fettling with bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork and thinks nothing of bivouacking on a beach after work. Also fond of cup and cone bearings, skids and tan wall tyres.
  • Discipline: Long days in the saddle by either road or mountain bike
  • Preferred Terrain: Happiest when on a rural road by the coast or crossing a remote mountain pass. Also partial to a cheeky gravel adventure or an arduous hike-a-bike.
  • Current Bikes: Custom Genesis Croix de Fer all road adventure wagon, Niner EMD 9.
  • Dream Bike: A rigid 44 Bikes Marauder, all black please.
  • Beer of Choice: Caesar Augustus
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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