SRAM eTap – Possibly the Perfect Upgrade for an Older Frame

SRAM eTap – Possibly the Perfect Upgrade for an Older Frame

We have been a part of creating some beautiful riding bikes through the years. If you have a frame that you love, but you would also like to start enjoying some of the great progressions in cycling component technology that have happened in more recent years, SRAM eTap might be the perfect component group to put on your old(er) frame.



Electronic Shifting. No External Wires.

In 2009, Shimano’s Di2 system revolutionized bikes with its well executed and very functional electronic shift system. In general, Shimano’s Di2 system is well thought out and very well executed. While it uses wires to connect all the shifting components with each other, many bikes made today have internal routing and the system’s connections are well concealed.  However, many specialty frames designed initially for mechanical shifting do not have internal routing and thus updating them to electronic shifting means installing the wires and battery on the outside of the frame. Some folks aren’t thrilled about how this looks on their handcrafted bike and have discarded the notion of upgrading to electronic shifting. If this is you, it is time to reconsider. SRAM eTap has no wires that run from the handlebar junction box to the back of the bike – it is wireless. With eTap, your beautiful frame remains unscathed and clean looking and you get to enjoy the benefits of electronic shifting.

“Why Would I Want Electronic Shifting?”

Since electronic shifting first came out eight years ago, we have heard many riders ask, “Why would I want electronic shifting?” In fact, more than a few have straight out exclaimed that they don’t want electronic shifting. While a small number of those folks really don’t want electronic shifting, many others think it sounds extravagant and is unnecessary, but haven’t tried it. For the majority of riders, electronic shifting offers a host of nice features that can truly enhance the riding experience. Here are a few of those features:

  • Very little hand and wrist motion is required to shift. Unless you have small or arthritic hands, you may not realize just how much hand and wrist motion is required to shift a mechanically actuated shift lever. It becomes very apparent when you just have to push a button with a single finger.
  • More frequent shifting = more constant cadence. If you are like me, you will sometimes talk yourself out of doing that last shift near the top of a hill and to just grind it out with mechanical shifting. I don’t do this nearly as much with electronic shifting. It takes so little motion and effort to get a quality shift that I just shift when it makes sense.
  • Shifting under load. While modern mechanical shifting systems do this better, electronic shift systems are the best when it comes to shifting relatively smooth under load.
  • No mechanical degradation. Cables and housing don’t tend to work better as corrosion, wear and time work their magic. Electronic shifting gets rid of this weak, wear related mechanical link.
  • More ergonomic. Because they are just buttons, as opposed to complicated ratchet systems, electronic shift levers are not ergonomically constrained like mechanical levers. This is particularly evident on hydraulic disc brake levers where both a mechanical shifter and brake reservoir have to exist together.
  • More shift points. Would you like to shift from the tops or drops easily? Electronic shifting offers this ability.
  • Precision. In general, electronic systems shift smoother, are quieter and are more reliable in their day-in and day-out performance. Instead of adjusting cable tension, replacing frayed cables, lubricating cables and ratchets, with electronic you just keep charge in the batteries and it it ready to go.

Breathe New Life Into That Great Old(er) Bike


If you possess a beautiful frame that is no longer new, but that rides great, fits you well and is designed to last for a very long time, it is worth upgrading components. Components have progressed rapidly. SRAM eTap offers a clean and simple way to put electronic shifting onto most any bike.


Contact us with questions about how easy it likely can be to convert your favorite bike to electronic shifting today.

About Ian

From first time riders to Olympians, Ian has helped thousands of athletes achieve their cycling and triathlon goals. Ian develops much of the Fit Werx fitting and analysis protocols and is responsible for technology training and development. He is regarded as one of the industry leaders in bicycle fitting, cycling biomechanics and bicycle geometry and design. He is dedicated to making sure the Fit Werx differences are delivered daily and provides Fit Werx with corporate direction and is responsible for uniting our staff and initiatives.

Find out more about Ian Here


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18 Responses to SRAM eTap – Possibly the Perfect Upgrade for an Older Frame
  • roubaix rider

    Hi. I have an older Specialized Roubaix comp with a sram 2×10 drive train and rim brakes. Is there any possible way to convert this bike to etap?

    • Ian

      Hi Roubaix Rider,

      Yes, it is usually possible to convert a bike like yours to an Etap AXS setup. If you would like to discuss the details further, feel free to email us at

  • Jeff

    Hi, I just got my hands on a cherry Look KG 181 that I’m wanting to set up with red axs (wheelset is hed. Jet 6 with xdr freehub body). Do you foresee any fit/ compatibility issues? Thank you so much for your time.

    • Ian

      Hi Jeff,
      As long as your HED wheelset is spaced properly to match the frame, there is no reason that it won’t work fine with a SRAM eTap groupset. One nice thing about the SRAM AXS eTap system is that the lack of wires makes it pretty universal in terms of frame compatibility. If you have a wheelset that can accept a XD/XD-R cassette body, the rest of the AXS parts bolt on the same way as components have for decades.

  • Chad King


    Im quite new to upgrading and tinkering with bikes so I thought I’d drop the golden question in here….

    I have a 2018 cannondale supersix, it’s currently spinning on dura ace mechanical gearing but I’d love to put either Sram or Di2 electronic gearing on it….

    Do I need to change my rear cassette or can I just buy the etap and have it all installed?



    • Ian

      Hi Chad,

      Compatibility between components is more limited these days than it used to be. Your bike currently has an 11 speed cassette and SRAM eTap AXS is currently 12 speed, so you would need a new cassette and cassette body (in some cases a new wheel is required) to install current generation SRAM with SRAM’s recommended cassette. This being said, Shimano recently started offering 12 speed road Di2 and the cassettes from these new groups have so far shown themselves to work with SRAM’s AXS shifters and derailleurs. Based on this, you could potentially get a 12 speed Shimano cassette (which would fit on your current cassette body/wheel) and use it with SRAM AXS eTap or Shimano’s latest 12 speed Di2 components.

      There aren’t many straight-forward answers when it comes to compatibility between groups and manufacturers. If you are interested in talking more about what could be done to put a new group on, feel free to call our service department at 802-596-7570 ext 2.


  • Adrian Haban

    I have a 2014 Roubaix and want to upgrade to a SRAM Force Front & Rear Derailleurs and Shifters. Currently it has a 52/36 gear up front and a 11-34 cassette in the rear. Do I have to run a medium cage derailleur for the rear? What set up will work with my combo?

    • Ian

      Hi Adrian,

      If you go with the current generation of Force AXS eTap components, you will be changing gearing in general as the current gearing options are different. Regardless, with the new gearing options, you will be within the normal range of any of SRAM’s current generation Force AXS 2x rear derailleurs (standard or “Wide”).

      Be sure to pay attention to your wheels. Not all wheels have a cassette body that can be upgraded to accept AXS 12 speed cassettes. Feel free to contact us direct if you want to talk through options.


  • Renjith Sadasivan Nair


    I currently have SRAM(1 X) force on my diverge and I would like to convert it to electronic. I understand that I could replace the derailleur to electronic without much effort but how could I use the existing shifter? Do I need to replace the brake hood completely or is there a separate shifter switch that I can easily attach to it?

    • Ian

      You could add SRAM’s accessory shifter “Blips” to your existing shift levers (they work pretty well stuck to the inside of the hood). This would be the least intrusive and lowest priced way to convert. This being said, the most common way to covert to AXS is to replace the levers.

  • Peter

    Can i put sram etap onto a raleigh criterium elite 2016 thanks

    • Ian

      eTap will fit on just about any relatively modern bike. You shouldn’t have a problem putting it onto a Raleigh Criterium Elite. Regards, Ian

    • Raphael Koikoi

      I have a Giant gravel bike with 11 speed 105. I am interested in upgrading to Sram etap. What do I need besides the brakes/shifters, both derailleurs and the battery? Thanks

      • Ian

        It really depends, Raphael. If you want to call us at 802-496-7570 we can discuss your specific situation and let you know the options.

  • Tim

    Good mornin, I am thinking of converting my older (04) carbon frame to wireless shifting. Currently the front derailer is clamped-on. How does the Sram unit mount?
    Thank you, Tim

    • Ian

      Hi Tim,
      The front AXS or eTap derailleurs come from the factory set for a braze-on. This being said, this is done with the understanding that many people will use an adapter clamp with it for clamp-on applications. SRAM makes adapters in both 31.8 and 35.0mm. -Ian

  • chris hamel

    Hi. Sram’s website seems to say that the etap isn’t compatible with 10spd. How would you wor around this?

    • Ian

      Hi Chris,

      Do you have a 10 speed only wheel that you are trying to convert with? Otherwise, you can usually use an 11 speed chain on 10 speed chainrings, so you most likely wouldn’t need to buy a new crank to convert to 11 speed. This being said, if you have a 10 speed only wheel that you are working, there are a couple options.

      1) You can “pull a cog” in an 11 speed cassette and turn it into a 10 speed.

      2) You can use Shimano’s R800 11 speed cassette. This cassette is not available in all gearing combinations, but does cover some common ones and fits on most 10 speed wheels.

      Hope this helps and contact us if you have other questions or if you would like to work on putting an eTap kit together.

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