SRAM stripped away the gear cables when it launched its first electronic groupset, RED eTap, last year, and it was very well received. A year later it launched a disc brake version called RED eTap HRD, the only groupset currently on the market that combines wireless shifting with hydraulic brakes.
It’s so new though that only a small handful of bike manufacturers are presently offering bikes with the new groupset. We've managed to find six bikes, and with prices range from £4,690 to £8,500 it's clearly reserved for range-topping models. The groupset on its own retails for £1,707.
The eTap HRD groupset uses the same derailleurs as the regular eTap but the brake levers are different. The hoods are smaller than the company’s previous hydraulic brake levers which get a fair bit of flak for their size, so SRAM has addressed this and the result is a more aesthetically pleasing brake lever. The new hood is taller than regular eTap but only but a small amount.
Both the reach point and bite point can be easily adjusted so you can customise the feeling of the brake levers. New one-piece flat mount brake calipers save weight and they manage heat better than the previous design. And the rotors now get rounded edges. You can read Mat's first ride impressions right here.
So here are six bikes specced with the new groupset. We expect this list to grow dramatically with the release of 2018 model year bikes.
Got a disc-compatible frame you fancy upgrading to eTap? You can get the brakes and gears for £1,397.99.
Most manufacturers have chosen an ultra-high-spec carbon fibre frame, but Dom Mason focuses on meticulously-designed aluminium and steel bikes, including this version of his Definition all-rounder. Mason says: "for our multi-surface/all-season bikes, lightness is not important without a high level of durability and dependability … this is where wireless, electronic systems really win."
The Wessex is a long-time road.cc favourite for its versatility and combination of road bike speed and big ride comfort. For this special edition, Whyte has gone with Easton carbon fibre wheels and FSA carbon bar, stem and seatpost.
This is the eTap HYD version of the Ultegra Di2-equipped Simplon Pavo Granfondo Disc that Stu reviewed in 2017. He described that bike as "so subtle and comfortable that you might not notice until you stop riding," and continued: "If big miles are your thing then Simplon's Pavo Granfondo Disc is a machine you want to take a good long look at, especially if you want to cover those miles at near race pace. The Simplon devours climbs, descents and those long tedious straights with what feels like the minimum of effort from the rider."
If you want an aero road bike but can't quite stretch to eight and a half grand for the Venge, below, Merida's speedy Reacto Disc is available in Europe with the eTap HYD groupset for €7,999. We tested the even spendier but utterly glorious Dura-Ace Di2 version at the end of 2017 and Mat pronounced it "a peach" that "responds beautifully to surges in effort when you're trying to get a gap, close one down or just trying to stick on the wheel of someone who's digging deep."
One of the most affordable bikes with the eTap/disc brake combination, the Felt FR2 is by no means low-rent (and yes, a long, long way from cheap). The flagship of Felt's racing-orientated FR family, it has a high-modulus carbon fibre frame made from what Felt calls UHC Advanced + TeXtreme carbon, and rolls on Zipp wheels.
Cervelo is the latest bike maker to adopt SRAM's pairing of wireless shifting and hydraulic disc brakes on this version of its high-end R5 race bike. When the latest R5 was announced in 2017, Cervelo said the objective was to improve the bike's stiffness-to-weight ratio rather than to chase gram reduction. This build comes with Zipp wheels, Cervelo's own carbon fibre bar, stem and seatpost and Fizik Antares R5 saddle.
Cannondale has completely revamped the Synapse endurance line for 2018, tweaking every detail to make a better bike for endurance/sportive cyclists. Given that the new line is all disc-brake-equipped it's only logical that one of the top two Synapse models should have SRAM's eTap HYD group.
After previously revamping its Defy endurance bike around disc brakes, Giant has now added the TCR to its range of disc-equipped offerings. Giant has reserved its lighter SL grade composite carbon for this top-end model and it gets a full SRAM Red eTap groupset with a racy 52/36 chainset and Giant’s own SLR0 Disc wheels and matching 25mm tubeless tyres.
If you want aerodynamics with your wireless gears and hydraulic disc brakes, may we present the Specialized Venge. An updated frame with thru-axles and fully internal brake hose routing and the latest flat mount standard give this bike a very modern edge. It’s a pricey bike but you do get the fast looking Roval Rapide CLX 64 carbon fibre clincher wheels and full carbon finishing kit, including the sleek aero stem and handlebar.
If you prefer a comfortable endurance bike to the aero efficiency of the Venge, Specialized offers the Roubaix and Ruby (the women’s version of the Roubaix) with SRAM’s latest groupset. The Roubaix and Ruby share the same redesigned frameset with the FutureShock in the head tube providing 20mm of cushioning and revised geometry and wide tyre clearance.
You can always count on Canyon to deliver a stunning package, and the latest Ultimate dressed with Mavic Cosmic carbon clincher wheels and one-piece carbon handlebar and stem sure looks a serious race-ready package. A claimed weight of 7.4kg for a medium (and Canyon weights are usually fairly on the money) is very impressive.
One of very few women-specific bikes with the eTap/disc brake pairing (the Specialized Ruby S-WOrks eTap, above is another), this is one of our Tass' dream bikes after she was very impressed with the Endurace WMN CF SL Disc 8.0 in 2017. A top-flight spec includes Reynolds Assault carbon wheels with 28mm Schwalbe Pro One tyres and Canyon's double-leaf-spring seatpost for a bit of bump protection.
Focus pulled out all the stops when it developed the Izalco Max Disc, producing one of the lightest carbon fibre disc brake framesets with the incredibly intuitive and time-saving RAT thru-axles. Now it’s available with SRAM’s latest Red eTap HRD disc brake groupset and Focus has added a fine Zipp 302 wheelset with Continental Grand Prix SL 25mm tyres.
Want something less racy? For 2018 Focus also offers an eTap-clad version of the disc-braked Paralane endurance bike for £6,499. We were really impressed when we reviewed the 2017 Paralane Ultegra.
Rose has used its endurance model, with a carbon frame, fork and thru-axles, for its sole SRAM Red eTap HRD offering. And at a under £4,200, it’s the most affordable bike with SRAM’s new groupset that we’ve yet come across. The advantage of buying from Rose, as well as the great prices, is that you can customise the specification very easily on its website. The pictured bike gets Rose’s own carbon wheels with Conti tyres and Ritchey finishing kit, but you could upgrade any of those parts as you wish.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.