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How to assemble SRAM eTap

Stu Bowers
22 Mar 2016

Without any cables you may think SRAM eTap assembly is easy, but there are still a few little tricks.

Modern technology has a way of doing us humans out of jobs. We no longer need till staff to buy our shopping, in fact soon we may no longer even need shops at all, just computers. But at least we’ll always need good old bike mechanics to put our pride and joy together…or will we? Possibly not if Sram’s latest wireless eTap shifting system is a sign of things to come. The ‘dark art’ of gear adjustment is now simplified by the wonders of modern electronics, such that sweet shifting gears are just a few button presses away. Here’s how:

Even the most ham-fisted of mechanics could usually manage to bolt the shifters and derailleurs to the bike correctly. This used to be the point where a skilled mechanic would step in to work their magic with precisely cutting the cables to length and tensioning them perfectly to achieve flawless gear changes. With eTap though, once you’ve reached this point (paying attention to the specific fitting for Sram’s Yaw front derailleur) all that’s left is a quick tweak of the limit screws on each mech and a short pairing procedure, all of which takes less time than it takes to make a decent cuppa. What’s more you’ll need just a few allen keys, nothing more.

Pairing (road bike set-up)

SRAM eTap install rear derailleur

Assuming your batteries are all charged and fitted correctly, then we’re good to go. Each individual component has a small function button on it, the rear mech however is the brains of the system, so start there. Begin by pressing and holding the button, until the small LED begins to flash (indicating it’s in pairing mode and ready to receive signals from the other components you wish to add). You now have 30 seconds to complete the pairing - but you will need far less than that.

Locate the button on the front mech and press and hold for a few seconds, until its LED blinks rapidly, then release (the LED on the rear derailleur will also correspondingly, briefly blink rapidly to indicate it has received the signal). Follow the same procedure for both the left and right hand shifters. Now go back to the rear mech and press the button once. The LED will go out. Bob’s your uncle - your shifters and mechs are all paired as a system. Check they all work to verify.

Final tweaks

SRAM eTap install FD install

The mech limit screws (sometimes referred to as Hi and Low limit screws) and the B-Tension Adjust screw are important to the flawless operation of your gears and hence should definitely not be overlooked (even if your gears appear to shift correctly). The relevant adjustment need only be done this once though, so take your time to get it right from the start. 

Let’s start with the rear derailleur limit screws – Tip: easiest when the chain is not fitted. Shift the derailleur carefully up to the largest cassette sprocket. Check to see the upper jockey wheel is aligned directly under the largest cog. If it is not then use the micro-adjust functions on the shifters (press and hold the function button on the appropriate lever whilst simultaneously clicking the shift button) Operating the right lever in “micro adjust” will move the derailleur a tiny amount to the right (NOTE: it may take several individual clicks to make a visible adjustment to the mech’s position) and vice versa for the left lever. In this way you can precisely position the derailleur. Once in the desired position then using a 2.5mm allen key gently tighten the Low limit screw (closest to the largest cog) against the stop - just enough to make contact, not to move the mech out of position.

Whilst you’re at this point adjust The B-Tension screw so that the top of the top jockey wheel sits approximately 6-8mm below the largest cassette sprocket (easily gauged by using the appropriately sized allen key in the gap). 

Now shift the mech all the way down. Check the upper jockey wheel alignment with the smallest sprocket, and adjust in exactly the same way, until you are happy it’s spot on, then wind the Hi Limit screw gently in until it contacts the stop. Rear mech done. Now to the front – TIP: best done once the chain has been fitted. Shift the derailleur onto the outer chainring to begin. Adjust the Hi limit screw (upper screw as you look at the mech) so that there is approximately 0.5-1.0mm between the outer cage of the mech and the chain when in the biggest gear. NOTE: The Hi limit screw is reverse threaded! Now shift to the smallest chainring and into the largest cog at the rear. Adjust the Lo Limit screw until there is 0.5-1.0mm clearance between the inner cage and the chain. 

SRAM eTap pairing

Finally, once everything is set-up and good to go, one final check, that the appropriate “wedge” is fitted behind the front derailleur body to nestle neatly against your seat tube for additional shifting support. Several are supplied and they are easily switched around to find the most suitable fit for your frame. 

Mechanics Tip: When the system is ‘awake’ and paired, the function buttons on the front and rear mechs can be used (a short press – mind your fingers aren’t in any danger of getting squashed!) to shift the mechs up and down accordingly without the need to operate the shift levers, which is handy during the set-up process.

It might seem like a lot in ‘words’ but in practice this is the simplest set-up of any gear system out there.

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