Word on the street is that SRAM is soon to start shipping its new wireless shifting systems and that it won’t be long before you will be able to find it at your local bike shop. The media launch for eTap happened late last year and there are groupsets on Focus demo bikes at the Tour Down Under this week.
The New Zealand recruit at the French team, AG2R La Mondiale is Jesse Sergent. He’s been using eTap shifting and Quarq cranks in competition this year – on both his road bike and TT bike. So we caught up with him and asked for a quick appraisal of this revolutionary ensemble.
Click the SoundCloud file below to listen to the exchange before stage two of the Tour Down Under and/or read the transcript below…
Interview – Jesse Sergent on eTap
RIDE: I’m with Jesse Sergent and we’re going to have a little chat about eTap.
You’re on one of the teams that’s using the wireless shifting, you’re new to it, how are you adjusting? And what do you think of it?
Jesse Sergent (AG2R La Mondiale): “Coming from the last five years on Shimano, it’s actually been a really easy change – the way the shifting works, right for down, left for up, almost like a paddle shifter in a car – it makes a lot of sense.
“It’s a lot of logic.
“Changing over was so easy.
“It makes sense the way they’ve made it and developed it.
“The wireless part of it is extra cool and I can imagine the mechanics are loving it.
“All the riders are liking it.
“The TT stuff as well… I’ve got to use it already at the nationals and that works really good.”
How many little [shifting] ‘nodes’ do you have on your TT bike?
“I have four: one on each ‘bull horn’ and one on each extension.
“They’re really nice. They just fit under the bar tape even so it’s quite undercover and on a TT bike it looks really nice.
“The most important thing is that it works.
“It works awesome: it changes up and down and they work in synch with each other – the front and the rear derailleur – and so far I’ve had no problems whatsoever.
“The batteries charge fast and they last long.
“It’s just perfect, hey? It’s what you want.”
Any accidental shifts with the nodes on the TT bike – when you just bump it or…
“Nah. I’ve got them on the inside, so not on the top… but I haven’t had anything like that yet and so it’s good. It’s real cool.”
If you had to go back to the engineers and say, ‘I want a little minor adjustment for generation two…’ what would you suggest?
“Phoar, it’s hard to say actually.
“I suppose I’m still really impressed by the stuff I’m riding now and I haven’t really thought about anything they could do better.
“I mean it’s light as well and I guess there are things that they’ll refine over time but for me, so far, I don’t have anything bad to say about it or even [suggest] any improvements I could make.”
Are you paired up to a power meter?
“Yeah, we’re using the Quarq power meter this year and, again, that’s been really easy.
“It’s an easy change in between bikes…
“I’ve been doing a lot on the TT bike and then been changing back to my training bike and that’s super easy just with the head unit. It’s good.
“I haven’t had to change the battery yet but it sounds like you can change it at home with… just your hands – so that’s good. There’s no sending it away and waiting two weeks and [having] to find another set of cranks to use and all that kind of stuff. That’s all gone, so that’s cool.”