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Hi, I’m upgrading shortly and am on the fence between di2 and eTap, and was after real time feedback. I’ve heard that you can’t trim for example with eTap, which is a constant bug bear of mine but can with Di2. Any other points to note? 

Ta

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VeloUSA [259 posts] 4 months ago
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"can’t trim for example with eTap" Both Di2 and eTap FD's auto-trim.

One can Google and find the comparible differences between Di2 and eTap, both pros and cons. However, I find almost all reveiws omit shifting - Di2 is a mere tap of the button while eTap is more of a push of the button akin to mechanical shifting.  I have both, well actually the Mrs has eTap, and I find while climbing steep ascents on/out of the saddle Di2 is easier to shift. This also pertains to sprinting out of the saddle with hands on the drops. I have small hands so others with larger mitts may find the opposite.

One thing is for certain eTap with no wires is whole lot easier to install than Di2. After hardware has been installed it took me just under 20 minutes to run wires with Di2 and a few minutes with eTap. So, what it's going to boil down to is installation, battery life and shiffting (synchro shift, speed choices, button vs push).

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Tony Farrelly [2949 posts] 4 months ago
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This might help, 
http://road.cc/content/buyers-guide/216660-head-head-shimano-dura-ace-r9...

​as VeloUSA says, trim really isn't an issue with either groupset. I haven't used eTap in anger, but the guys round here who have do like the shift. Sounds like it's similar to the way Campag EPS shifts - which I have used - in that it's more like an electronically assisted mechanical shift than the instant push of the button experience of Di2 - I prefer Di2 myself. I might prefer eTap if I was installing it though. 

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sergius [548 posts] 4 months ago
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I'm probably going to get eTap on my new bike, having gotten Di2 at the moment.

 

Things that haven't been mentioned above:

- You've got a ton of fiddly wires inside your frame, it can be fun for example fitting a seatpost battery - I had issues with the cable not engaging properly and falling out randomly to begin with.

- You've got the Di2 junction box to house somewhere, unless you get a fancy solution whereby it goes in the frame or a recess on the stem.

- From an upgrade / firmware perspective (this is anecedotal - working in IT for many years I no longer ever update firmware without a very good reason) you have to update everything via the junction box and keep versions aligned.  I've heard horror stories of people updating firmware in the wrong order and bricking things.  As I understand it, being wireless you can individually manage each component more easily with eTap.

 

 

I like the idea of being able to carry a spare battery in a pocket/saddle bag - I've had the Di2 run out on me about 20 miles into a 100 mile sportive before (hence I now charge mine every 3 months rather than 6). 

I also like the idea of being able to "hibernate" the system over winter by removing the batteries and leaving them in the house in the warm.  I have sufficient hassle with the Di2 battery that I don't unplug it over the winter - knowing that it's not really good for the batteries to be subject to those extreme colds (or mild cold if you aren't a southern jessy like me).

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Nixster [404 posts] 4 months ago
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I have a season on eTap but not used Di2 in anger.

The ergonomics of eTap are for me very intuitive and the positive click you get when you've pushed the shift button properly is good feedback as far as I am concerned.  I have small hands and have had no issues using it.

If/when fatigued I can see 'left hand easier, right hand harder' sticking better in the brain than differentiating between two buttons on the same hand but everyone will be different I expect.  Although, as I understand it, Di2 can be configured like that too, it isn't out of the box.

eTap is easy to install but not simple to get spot on adjusted - the FD is fiddly, the RD much more straightforward.

Ironically I've been running 10sp Ultegra mechanical on my winter bike and when well adjusted it has been very satisfying to use!  But if you want electronic shifting you'll get no argument from me.

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to masks [11 posts] 4 months ago
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Personally I’d take di2 every time; the levers feel higher quality and less plasticky, they provide technical training and support to local shops, they generally have good spare parts availabilty which is also very easy for you or your local shop to look up,  many of the mechs/shifters from XT, XTR, Ultegra and Dura-Ace are interchangeable if you want to upgrade or do something unusual, di2 is much more adjustable in terms of shifter settings including speed of shifts and function of each button (I have set mine up like campag shifters, using a sprint shifter as a thumb lever), plus you can now use synchroshift and set di2 up exactly like etap if you so choose with one lever shifting up, the other shifting down and the system handling front mech shifts. Plus Shimano are generally brilliant for warranty and keeping spares for years (although I admit they can be expensive). Plus your local shop will probably have the e-tube di2 diagnostics tool and if they don’t you can just buy your own.

 

For reference I have worked on all 3 electronic systems in a shop environment,  ridden EPS, Di2 and etap for decent amounts of miles and owned EPS and Di2- I would never even consider using EPS again, have di2 on both race and training bikes and will have it on my future tt bike. Just for reference I would also rather cut off my fingers than deal with SRAM technical or warranty ever again (although to be fair the warranty experience itself is hit and miss with SRAM so not all bad)

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Big Jay [15 posts] 4 months ago
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Hey thanks for the feedback, not sure why but it’s not letting me reply individually; appreciate you taking the time. ETap for me seems unjustifiably expensive when compared to Di2, as I will be running hydro disc and if it was overwhelmingly better in terms of performance then I would be swayed I guess. 

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Htc [40 posts] 4 months ago
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Di2 for me too, I just prefer the way the hoods and levers are shaped with Shimano.

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OrangeRidley [29 posts] 4 months ago
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Nixster wrote:

I have a season on eTap but not used Di2 in anger.

The ergonomics of eTap are for me very intuitive and the positive click you get when you've pushed the shift button properly is good feedback as far as I am concerned.  I have small hands and have had no issues using it.

If/when fatigued I can see 'left hand easier, right hand harder' sticking better in the brain than differentiating between two buttons on the same hand but everyone will be different I expect.  Although, as I understand it, Di2 can be configured like that too, it isn't out of the box.

eTap is easy to install but not simple to get spot on adjusted - the FD is fiddly, the RD much more straightforward.

Ironically I've been running 10sp Ultegra mechanical on my winter bike and when well adjusted it has been very satisfying to use!  But if you want electronic shifting you'll get no argument from me.

Yeah I've not ridden either but I've worked in a shop where the mechanic  (Richard Jones of team Ribble) thinks that the fds are a pain in the arse to set up.

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Big Jay [15 posts] 4 months ago
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Is it possible to ‘hide’ the front junction box on Di2 that I see often cable tied to underside of the stem. I have a carbon ergonomic all in one set up. 

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sergius [548 posts] 4 months ago
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Big Jay wrote:

Is it possible to ‘hide’ the front junction box on Di2 that I see often cable tied to underside of the stem. I have a carbon ergonomic all in one set up. 

 

Canyon have a one-piece bar/stem combo item with a recess for the junction box.  Some high end bikes have junction boxes hidden inside the frame as well.

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Big Jay [15 posts] 4 months ago
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sergius wrote:
Big Jay wrote:

Is it possible to ‘hide’ the front junction box on Di2 that I see often cable tied to underside of the stem. I have a carbon ergonomic all in one set up. 

 

Canyon have a one-piece bar/stem combo item with a recess for the junction box.  Some high end bikes have junction boxes hidden inside the frame as well.

ah great, mine is the Canyon - I’ll check when I dig it out of hibernation for the upgrades.

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pwake [443 posts] 4 months ago
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Just to play devil's advocate a little... but I've used Dura-Ace Di2, SRAM eTap and Record EPS. For me Record EPS wins easily; great feel at the levers, ultra-positive shifting and plenty of adjustment/customisation options in the MyCampy app. And you now have the hydro disc brake option.

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Big Jay [15 posts] 4 months ago
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pwake wrote:

Just to play devil's advocate a little... but I've used Dura-Ace Di2, SRAM eTap and Record EPS. For me Record EPS wins easily; great feel at the levers, ultra-positive shifting and plenty of adjustment/customisation options in the MyCampy app. And you now have the hydro disc brake option.

never considered Campy, is it marmite™ ?

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VeloUSA [259 posts] 4 months ago
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Big Jay wrote:

Is it possible to ‘hide’ the front junction box on Di2 that I see often cable tied to underside of the stem. I have a carbon ergonomic all in one set up. 

 

Yes, the EW-SD50 jucntion box A mounts inside your handlebar.

 

 

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Pilot Pete [59 posts] 4 months ago
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I’m another Di2 advocate. However I do have a few comments about earlier posts;

Shifting whilst out of the saddle climbing, or sprinting - well I know it can do it but I personally still think it bad practice which will put unnecessary strain on your components and possibly damage them. It’s no different to mechanical in that respect - but, especially in the case of the front derailleur you have a very powerful servo motor driving the chain from ring to ring, so I cannot see how changing whilst honking on the pedals is anything but bad.

Regarding  the comment about length of time to install either system. 20 minutes to fit all your di2 wires - unless you are running a production line how can that possibly be an issue? Would you seriously consider not buying and fitting di2 because it took some 15mins or so longer to install? It surely cannot be a serious consideration when contemplating which groupset. Anyway, from the comments of others it sounds like you could spend considerably longer fitting and adjusting an etap FD so will lose that insignificant time saving anyhow...

Regarding battery life I suspect di2 lasts longer between charges and of course you only have one to think about - simply plug in to Junction A and leave for a few hours. It lasts ages and the previous issue of it running flat whilst out on a ride can easily be avoided by fitting the inline Bluetooth unit which allows you to display di2 battery charge on your Garmin (and I presume other brands of bike computer). I have done this with my latest build and it works really well not only displaying battery life, but gear position and of course allowing you to run eTube software via a tablet using an app wirelessly.

The customisation options with di2 are fantastic, especially being able to configure the system however you want it, from a ‘normal’ setup, to sequential left and right, synchro, semi-synchro etc etc. You can add climbing or sprint shifters, positioning these where you want them. You can now get bikes that secure the battery in the steerer tube of the fork as well as in the seat post. 

Also, back to the wiring, it is like a canbus system so you can just plug anything into anywhere, you don’t have to plug each wire into specific terminals. The bar end junction A is neat, but bars that are set up for internal cable routing are limited at present. I opted for a one piece carbon bar/ stem that was semi-internal - wires from the shifters run into dedicated ports towards the stem, but no access into the main bar to get to the bar end. I fitted a stem mount junction A, but did away with the ghastly rubber band and affixed the box mount direct to the stem underside using Sugru - which makes for a very neat and tidy setup. 

This leaves two wires eminating from the handlebars which plug into the junction A. They are virtually invisible as there is only a few inches of each from the bar to the junction box. The wire from the junction box into the frame via the headtube access point unites with the rear hydraulic brake hose using spiral wrap as it leaves the junction A until it enters the frame at the same port. Thus you only really see a pair of  brake hoses eminating from the bars, which you would see whatever setup you have. It just takes a bit of thought and some experimentation with the wires to see how best to run them to leave the cleanest look. The Bluetooth sender unit can be placed in the frame and does not have to be fitted externally as shown on Shimano docs. Mine works perfectly sat in the downtube.

And finally, the new Dura Ace and Ultegra shifters also have hidden buttons under the rubber hoods, which are again customisable to any function you want. I have set them up to scroll left and right through the pages of my Garmin, which I think is fantastic as you can keep both hands on the hoods whilst changing pages - useful if climbing or descending...

So di2 gets my vote for the many reasons alluded to. I have 9070 on one bike, which is fantastic and have just dived in with 9170 on my recent build, which is even better.

PP

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MoutonDeMontagne [108 posts] 4 months ago
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I've not used, but have just ordered Etap and was having a similar debate to you. I'll give you the reasons I went for Etap over Di2 incase its helpful.

First and formost was the wireless aspect, and thus the simplicity and lack of bits to connect and go wrong. It also means that I could use my existing best bike frame that is externally routed, rather than switching to the new internally routed version. I also love the clean look of jsut two neatly routed brake cables, no junction boxes or fiddly additions. 

Wirelessness aside, I tested Dura-ace Di2 last year and didn't really like it in terms of ergonomics, hence why going for the sram solution. I found the buttons small and unresponsive, and when wearing gloves despite them not being overly thick, kept catching the wrong button. I like the tactile nature of mechanical, and the 'one lever one job' idea (i've got doubletap on my winter bike and don't like that either). Thus when playing with Etap at a bike show, the more pronounced 'click'  and movement of the lever really appealed to me. No risk of getting the wrong button and thus no changing up rather than down etc. Depending on whether you've used either, if you're in a club maybe try and ask if you can ride their bike around the carpack, or sneak into a shop and press buttons, see which arrangement feels best in the hand. 

I appreciate the arguments over customisation, but I've always been very happy with slick mechanical, and indeed, were it not for living in a place where cables get shot due to crap weather so frequently, I'd potentially have consided switching to dura ace mecahnical or the new Ultegra and saved myself a wedge. My main criteria is a crisp shift every time, and I'm more than happy to just hold the button to sweep accross the block rather than programme a funtion for it.  Likewise, I don't race and tend to use the same screen on my garmin all ride long so thats not an issue either. For me its one of those functions that sounds great, but I'd probably never use. I guess its up to you how much that matters. 

It's not arrived yet, but depending on your timescale, more than happy to report back on installation, set up and first impressions. FYI Vanilla bikes, Sigma Sport and Wiggle have some great deals on the standard and Disc upgrade kits at the moment (keep your old/choose your own cranks/cassette etc). After asking around in my club, I've chosen to go with an Ultegra cassette as by all acounts it makes no difference and they're £50 as opposed to £200. 

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Johnpmc35 [8 posts] 4 months ago
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I too have just decided to go etap, main reason being that my lbs doesn't think my frame will be able to internally route the di2 cables.

I've read that I will be best going for sram brake calipers for etap but reviews for the red aero link seem to be mixed. Would the ultegra r8000 calipers prove unsuitable for the etap shifters? I'm also having trouble deciding between the sram red & ultegra r8000 chainset, I'm upgrading my entire group set from Shimano 105. Any advice would be appreciated.

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fuel [12 posts] 4 months ago
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Johnpmc35 wrote:

I too have just decided to go etap, main reason being that my lbs doesn't think my frame will be able to internally route the di2 cables. I've read that I will be best going for sram brake calipers for etap but reviews for the red aero link seem to be mixed. Would the ultegra r8000 calipers prove unsuitable for the etap shifters? I'm also having trouble deciding between the sram red & ultegra r8000 chainset, I'm upgrading my entire group set from Shimano 105. Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Shimano calipers will work fine with etap. I use the new Dura Ace ones on my setup. 

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Nixster [404 posts] 4 months ago
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Johnpmc35 wrote:

I too have just decided to go etap, main reason being that my lbs doesn't think my frame will be able to internally route the di2 cables. I've read that I will be best going for sram brake calipers for etap but reviews for the red aero link seem to be mixed. Would the ultegra r8000 calipers prove unsuitable for the etap shifters? I'm also having trouble deciding between the sram red & ultegra r8000 chainset, I'm upgrading my entire group set from Shimano 105. Any advice would be appreciated.

Red aerolink calipers I have found don't keep true very well which can be an irritation.  They work fine though in the sense of applying braking to the wheel rim, dura-ace may be better but the Reds are plenty good enough I'd say.  They are the lightest of the mainstream options, depends what's important to you. 

I have been told that Etap doesn't like Shimano chainring spacing although I have also read of others using that combination successfully. It definitely works with Rotor, Cannondale and some more exotic options.  Again, the SRAM chainset is considerably lighter (in percentage terms at least).  Some people like to have a matching groupset across the whole bike, you may be one of those or not but if you went with Red throughout you wouldn't be making a bad choice.  I use eTap with SRAM and Shimano cassettes, a Rotor chainset and KMC chain and it works fine.  I've taken a torque wrench to the brakes to address the truing issue but it hasn't been good enough weather for the best bike to test this yet!

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uscric [5 posts] 2 months ago
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Di2 for me because in addition to shifting excellence, the shape of the R9170 Disc lever is awesome and amazingly small. The Etap disc levers are pretty ugly with huge humpbacks.

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sergius [548 posts] 2 months ago
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I ended up buying R8070, the new Ultegra Di2.  I *love* the hoods. 

 

Massive improvment over the previous version and the e-tap hoods I tried briefly in the LBS.