For the love of the part, is an ode to my fascination with bicycle components, in the past I’ve drawn them under the guise of Super Component (which may return sometime). This fascination started young, my local BMX shop had an old haberdashery cabinet full of top-end parts for sale, from Hutch bear trap pedals to Redline flight cranks. I was in awe, jewel like objects to me. More fascination to me, than the crown jewels, more accessible (not affordable though).
That love of parts never faded. And I want to celebrate it more. I’m certainly not alone. So let’s embrace our absurd admiration of bicycle components that only like-minded freaks can. This will be a monthly feature for as long as there is appetite. Kicking off with an ultra modern part, but I will explore parts from different eras and disciplines, because once a classic, always a classic. I won’t focus on parts that are already mythical, like Campagnolo’s Delta brake caliper or the truly rare – just the parts I love. I hope you all enjoy these self-indulgent posts.
The SRAM RED® eTap® rear derailleur
The official wording from the SRAM marketing team goes like this, “The SRAM RED® eTap® rear derailleur executes shifts the instant you demand. Wirelessly. It’s easy to set up, clean in appearance and delightfully uncomplicated. Mechanical necessities such as a carbon pulley cage, ceramic pulley bearings, and anodized alloy artfully blend with proprietary electronic advancements to deliver a shifting wonder.”
It probably is all of that.
What it brings to the bicycle is the ability to clean up, minimise, de-clutter the frame and bring about a minimal look because of it, if subtle. It wasn’t until I saw Etap specific bikes that I could really appreciate it’s beauty. Take Felt’s FR1 as a prime example.
It cleans away cables, makes you look twice, like something is missing but realise you’re looking at the bike in a purer form. The mech itself is every bit modern product design, function trying hard to make good form and managing it as best it can, what you lose in cables you add with batteries and sensors. But it’s sculpted well, strong in it’s appearance, polished metal meets stark black carbon. If that wasn’t enough, it’s robotic like movement adds to the appeal. Like a severed arm joint off a terminator. That industrial look just works for me.