We’re still hugely impressed by the simplicity and fuss-free operation of SRAM’s electronic wireless group, eTap. Our only criticism had been the lack of a wider cassette and mid-length mech to cope with the extra teeth, and no sooner had we voiced that small criticism than SRAM announced this WiFli option.
The differences between the standard mech and this one are the extra length of the cage, which ups the weight to 219g (just 6g more) not including the 24g battery plus a couple of extra links from the chain, and the 11-32 196g cassette (14g heavier than the 11-28 option).
Once the mech has been replaced it can be synced via a couple of button presses. Setting the limit screws is a little trickier than the standard cage; expect plenty of dancing between sighting the rear mech and pressing the shift buttons in micro-adjust mode.
It helps if you can grab a mate to press the buttons for you. Unless you’re confident in your mechanical skills, and have lots of patience, it’s probably a job reserved for your local bike shop mechanic.
On the road, shifting is as quick as standard eTap, though I did notice a slight increase in chain noise especially when approaching the top end’s 32-tooth sprocket.
Strangely, the 32-tooth feels far better at handling a fully crossed chain, using the 52 ring and 32. Yes, I know it’s a no-no in polite riding circles, but occasionally you do resort to it, and things here run remarkably smoothly.
The range offers comfortable two-tooth jumps up from 11 to 22, then three to 25 and 28 then four to 32, which is a more noticeable jump, but as I mostly reached for these on the steepest gradients where cadence is slowing it’s not an issue for even the smoothest of pedal turners. Shifting speed over the bigger jumps at the top of the block feels marginally slower than across the 11-28, but still stable, and engagement is nice and positive.
If you’re already using eTap and long for a more climbing friendly range, or you’ve been holding off on investing in wireless technology, this is the combination you’ve been waiting for.
If 32 is a bit too much then the new mid-cage mech also has the option of an 11-30 should you want just a bit of help when the road starts to really climb. The upgrade kit includes WiFli rear mech, battery, Red 22 chain and Red 11-32 cassette.