In bringing 12-speed wireless shifting down to just slightly more than $1,400 for a complete group, SRAM has pulled off a neat trick. In a handful of short and long rides around Colorado, I’ve been impressed with how similar it feels and performs to its more expensive Red and Force siblings. In a few ways, in fact, it’s better: the hoods are more comfortable thanks to reduced height on the front of the shifter knobs, and the more gentle curve up to them. And, of course, the price is nice. Beyond the expected weight-for-cost tradeoff, the primary downside is the lack of remote shifting, which is one of the great benefits of electronic systems over mechanical ones.
Also read: SRAM brings 12-speed wireless shifting to Rival, starting at $1,190
The pros: Ergonomics, gear reconfiguration, price
Smooth shifting and shape
The Rival eTap shifters keep SRAM’s shift logic but with a greatly reduced, more gently curved — and, in my opinion, improved — upper hood shape. Photo: Ben Delaney
At the shifters, SRAM has for years done a good job with a very smooth bar-to-hoods transition. This shape lets you rest your palms anywhere along the continuum of the bar extension and hoods without feeling a divot or lump. And the simplicity of SRAM’s one-shifter-per-level system leaves a lot of room for your fingers to wrap around the hoods.
While the levers don’t have the luscious curves of Campagnolo, the outward slope at the bottom makes for secure braking from the drops.
And the shifters have positive feedback when depressed, both in clicking sound and in snappy, tactile feel.