SRAM stripped away the gear cables when it launched its first electronic groupset, RED eTap, and it was very well received. A year later SRAM launched a disc brake version called RED eTap HRD, the only groupset currently on the market that combines wireless shifting with hydraulic brakes.
With bike prices ranging from £4,300 to over £9,000 it's clearly reserved for range-topping models, but after the initial handful of bikes, more and more manufacturers are offering eTap HYD machines.
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 got 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 15 bikes specced with the new groupset, up from just half a dozen then eTap HYD was launched and very much indicating the direction the bike industry is going.
Got a disc-compatible frame you fancy upgrading to eTap? You can get the brakes and gears for £1,397.99.
For one of 2019's most intriguing new bikes, BMC has taken the aerodynamic prowess of its TimeMachine aero bike and added disc brakes and a storage unit under the bottle cages. It's a bike that looks like it will be both fast on the race course and practical for chasing sportive personal bests, and there's an eTap version too. It's one of three eTap HRD-equipped bikes from BMC for 2019, so if you want something more endurance-orientated or more of a conventional race bike, they've got you covered too.
Trek has just introduced the Émonda SLR 9 Disc eTap as a 2019 model complete bike in the US, but if you want one in the UK right now you can get it through Trek's Project One customisation program, so you can have it in a wild range of colours for an additional cost. Given the Émonda is Trek's lightest frame, it makes sense to equip it with the lightest disc-brake groupset, and Trek finishes it off with Bontrager Aeolus XXX carbon wheels, Bontrager XXX bar/stem combo, and Bontrager XXX saddle.
When a bike manufacturer says it thinks something all its rivals are making is unnecessary, you can be sure there's a team of engineers frantically beavering away to make it happen. In early 2017 Fausto Pinarello told Cyclingnews.com "we don't think a high-performance bike needs disc brakes", so it was no surprise when his company launched one just a few months later.
The Dogma F10 Disc isn't exactly easy to find, but it should combine the Dogma's renowned ride and handling with the stopping power of discs, as long as you don't mind Fausto Pinarello's stance that "the only people who need disc brakes are those who are heavy or are scared on long descents".
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.
Austrian bike maker Simplon has several models using the eTap HYD combination; this is the go-faster race-orientated aero model with some very clever features including an integrated bar and stem system and the 'Fast Thru Axle' design that retains the axle in the fork to speed up wheel changes and prevent loss and damage.
We were very impressed with the Ultegra Di2-equipped Simplon Pavo Granfondo Disc that Stu reviewed in 2017.
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 . 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 completely revamped the Synapse endurance line for 2018, tweaking every detail to make a better bike for endurance/sportive cyclists. For 2019 the selection has been expanded and now includes a less-expensive eTap model built around Cannondale's standard Synapse frame, as well as the previous Hi-Mod bike.
If you want a comfortable endurance bike , Specialized offers the Roubaix and Ruby (the women’s version of the Roubaix) with eTap HRD. 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 all-day SRAM Red eTap HRD offering. And at under £4,300, 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.
Want something racier? Check out the X-Lite Six Disc eTap for £4,809.21.
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David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.