This article was last updated 6th February 2019. The original story continues below.
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 groupsetJack Luke / Immediate Media Co
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 shiftersJack Luke / Immediate Media Co
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 derailleurJack Luke / Immediate Media Co
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 yesUnknown
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 handlebarNino Schurter Instagram
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.
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 2013SRAM
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 onlySRAM
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 beforeSRAM
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 solutionSRAM
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 has been riding and fettling bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork, fixie-botherer, tandem-evangelist, hill-climbing try hard, and thinks nothing of taking on a daft challenge for the BikeRadar YouTube channel. With a near encyclopaedic knowledge of cycling tech — from the most esoteric niche nonsense to the most cutting edge modern kit — Jack takes pride in his ability to seek out tech and stories that would otherwise go unreported in the cycling media. Jack has been a Senior Staff Writer at BikeRadar for three years now and is currently testing an All-City Mr Pink as his long term test bike.