DI2 6870 or SRAM Red eTAP AXS

Getting a new bike and options include the DI2 6870 or SRAM Red eTAP AXS 12 spd. I’m leaning towards the DI2 as I have several wheelsets, and my other bikes are all Shimano. Never used SRAM and switching to SRAM would mean buying 2 new cassettes (which are not cheap). Anyone else choose one over the other or have any other thoughts?

I have both (on different bikes, obviously). I like them both, but if I was buying a new bike and could go either way, I’d go ETAP.

  • Fewer wires and other crap to route. Takes about an hour to install, including re-sizing brake lines and re-bleeding brakes.
  • Shift action is better at the shifters
  • Shift logic is better. We have this criterium over in Wenatchee that has 15-second climb at what feels like 100% gradient, then a 5-second descent to finish the lap. Toward the end of that criterium, downshifting for the ascent becomes a bit of a prayer on Di2 just because everything is shenanigans and everyone is trying to move up and you’re probably gripping the bars a little too hard because, shit, some guy just swung through the corner wide in front of you. This also becomes clear at the tail end of a 4-hour endurance ride in the rain (I live just north of Seattle) when your hands are frozen and finding that stupid, tiny, downshift button on Di2 is nearly impossible.
  • Ergonomics and looks of ETAP shifters leave lots to be desired



I would go with etap.
The battery you can remove and recharge and potentially have multiple batteries.
No cables.
you can probably go 1x12.

BUT you do need new stuff for the 12 speed. The spindles are not cheap.


ETap for me. Stupidily I let my RD battery die yesterday (mid session) so I just swapped it with the front and cracked on.

Plus it looks better.
Plus shifting is better and makes more sense.

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Not sram

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I have heard of things like this before!

Wait - I have neither - I run Sram Red mechanical (road) and Ultegra mechanical (tri)

but doesn’t everyone complain about the shift lag with Sram Etap AXS - I think Nate even moved to Di2 just because of the timing lag when shifting gears.

Wireless would be super nice - ymmmm

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…I wonder if SRAM can be programmed to do 11 speed? $185 per cassette x 2 additional cassettes is a bummer… Totally first world problems, but transitioning from rim brake to disc is messing up my world enough, let alone mech to electronic, and now adding Shimano to SRAM… uuuggh.

You can always start from 0.
Get the bike with stock wheels and eventually get wheels later for this bike.

If i eventually get a new bike i know my fancy carbon wheel will stay behind (they were $1600 new).
Its just how the cycling world works. Down with the old, up with the new

Is there much of a price difference? 6870 is the prev gen Di2 Ultegra Level while the AXS is super new top of the range.

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The previous-gen Ultegra Di2 against current-gen Red eTap, that’s easy, SRAM Red eTap. I find the ergonomics of SRAM much, much better, especially when I wear long-fingered gloves. The shift logic is simple, you can easily configure your drivetrain via an app and everything is wireless.

You can use SRAM Force 12-speed cassettes, which are substantially cheaper. You will also need a new freehub body, though. Think of it as an investment into the future. 11-speed is the past :slight_smile:

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I have ETAP on my gravel bike and when we end up in mud and crud others start having shifting issues. I’m clicking along like a champ. Even shifts under power without a hitch.

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I had etap on a previous bike, and it wasn’t that great. Slow shifting, and one gear no matter what wouldn’t shift into it unless I down shifted two and then up one.
Di2 is just more precise and faster.

I’ve got 6870 di2 on my road bike and Eagle AXS 12 spd on my MTB. I’ve also ridden the old etap 11 speed road. I much prefer the shifting of di2 over either etap system. Just more precise and quicker overall and much better front shifting with di2 compared to 11 spd etap. I have not ridden the new etap road axs system, but I know some guys who have it and they are happy with it.

The wireless aspect of etap is nice when building up a bike, but I actually prefer the di2 system with a single central battery so I don’t have to worry about coin cell batteries in shifters and multiple batteries to charge. I just plug my bike in every 2-3 weeks and never screw with batteries. I find di2 also lasts much longer between charges.

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No real experience with etap, but love my di2. I test rode an etap and really liked the shift buttons, so I reprogrammed my di2. Right hand side does all the up shifting (bigger button does rear, smaller button does front) and the left hand side does all the down shifting.

The shifts are sharp and work every time. Battery has never been an issue, charge every few weeks and the one time I forgot, my garmin eventually reminded me well before it was actually an issue and charged when I got home. Don’t care that it’s not entirely ‘wireless’ because I didn’t build the bike.

General feedback I often hear is that di2 shifts faster, but many like the battery setup of etap. Running out of battery to me is like running out of fuel in your car and can easily be planned for (and your front derailleur will stop working when the battery gets low to give you that final kick that you really need to charge) so for me that’s a non issue and just really like the faster shifting (and being able to program the buttons how I like! Control lights and garmin from the hood buttons).

See if you can test ride each and decide for yourself what’s more important. Don’t think either is better, just one is better for some people and the other is better for others. Can’t go wrong with either!

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I set my di2 up the same way after riding an etap bike several years ago. It’s a better setup using the big buttons to control the more frequent rear shifting. It also makes it consistent with my remote sprint shifters (left to go down a gear, right to go up).

…reached out to the shop, the DI2 would be $600 more expensive due to their supply chain. After reading above it seems that going the SRAM route would make me have to buy another wheelset…It comes with Enve 45’s or 65’s, so I’d need to get a additional set for training (1 training 1 racing). I have a cross/gravel bike that is Ultegra 11 spd disc (with 2 wheelsets), but ultimately wouldn’t be interchangeable with the new SRAM bike. Cassettes are $185 each!

I don’t think I like the bike enough to go through having another standard to deal with. Between bottom brackets, disc brakes, electric shifting, 12spd/11spd, and now having to look at freehub standards, I’m a little annoyed w/ bike manufacturers :frowning:

You can always train with what you race, unless you race with a disk.
Or use the cheap wheels that the bike would probably come with (unless you are building your own) as trainers and get nice wheels as racers.

But I agree that is a huge pain to have to deal with multiple standards.

I would 100% still get the Sram AXS.

$600 more for the previous generation Ultegra Di2 seems crazy over the latest top of the line Sram AXS
The Enve wheels are lifetime warranty, so no need to worry about training vs race wheels there.

Any reason you’d be swapping wheels between your gravel bike and this bike?

…yeah, not going to go w/ the $600 ultegra… good point about the enve wheels warranty. Only reason to swap wheelsets would be training or just in case one is being trued, etc. I like having some interchangeability between bikes/parts. The stock wheelset is the Enve Foundation (either 45 or 65).

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