Tech of the Week: SRAM Red eTap tested, Shimano automatic shifting, and more

The biggest tech stories from the last seven days

SRAM Red eTap put to the test

It’s here, it’s finally here. After literally years of waiting, we’ve finally got our hands on SRAM Red eTap, and have been putting it through its paces to see if the only wireless groupset on the market can live up to the huge hype surrounding it.

>>> Are electronic groupsets necessary?

And the good news is that it certainly can. Most importantly the shifting is clean and precise, but the new groupset also hits the mark as having the easiest installation process out there, and with a shift logic that makes more sense than other electronic systems.

Shimano introduces automatic shifting

shimano steps groupset

Automatic shifting is on the way for all the Shimano Steps users out there

Ok, so it’s not the next generation of Dura-Ace, but it’s still quite interesting that Shimano has introduced automatic shifitng on its Shimano Steps e-Bike groupset. What’s more, this has been introduced through a firmware update, so existing users can upgrade at their own leisure in the comfort of their own homes.

>>> Bioshift promises automatic gears for your bike

The system works by detecting your speed and cadence, shifting into an easier gear if they drop too low, and shifting into a harder gear if they go too high. It also has the ability to adapt to your riding style, so if you’re the type of rider to churn away at 60rpm all day, then it will use lower thresholds for shifting.

Pro bikes galore

With some of the peloton having just finished the Tour Down Under, and most of the rest being somewhere in southern Spain on various training camps, the season is very much underway. And that means we’ve got the chance to oggle at some of the shiny new bikes that the pros will be using in 2016.

>>> 2016 WorldTour team bikes guide

Looking at the selection of bikes, there’s no doubt that the peloton has definitely gone fully aero, with Adam Blyte and Marcel Kittel on board the Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS, Mark Renshaw on the Cervelo S5, and Chris Froome on a Pinarello Dogma F8. The only exception is Ryder Hesjedal, who has been riding a Trek Emonda SLR on some stages of the Tour Down Under.

New Rotor power meter

rotor inpower 2

Details on the Rotor 2INPower power meter are a little sketchy

Unfortunately there were no new bike models to admire at the Tour Down Under, but we did spot that Dimension Data were testing a new power meter from Rotor, which is the second generation of the Spanish brand’s INPower model.

>>> Are power meters killing the art of cycling coaching?

We contacted Rotor for details of the new model, but with an official launch due in spring, the company was not willing to give too much away. So all we know is that it is called Rotor 2INPower, and it will offer dual-sided power measurement where the existing INPower is only single-sided.

Wood you wear this?

wooden helmet

The wooden Cellutech helmet claims to offer gold standard protection

And finally, at the end of a very high tech edition of tech of the week we come to this: a wooden helmet. Developed by Swedish scientists, the helmet is environmentally friendly being made entirely from tree parts.

>>> Buyer’s guide to road bike helmets

Most impressively, the scientists claim that it offers the same level of protection as a normal helmet, with a material called Cellufoam that is made from wood cellulose nanofibres combined with a wooden veneer outer casing keeping you safe in the case of a crash.

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