With more and more electronic doodads on our bikes, it’s not a matter of “if” you’ll ever experience a dead battery on the road, but “when” you will. It’s going to happen, but with proper planning and some pro tips on your side, the impact of a dead battery can turn from catastrophic to a minor inconvenience.
First, let’s flashback two months when I replaced the CR2032 coin cell battery inside the my left SRAM Rival AXS shifter. Yes, I just replaced one side because the right lever still had some juice left. And, I wanted to see what would happen. The process for changing this battery was simple: roll back the rubber hood cover, open the battery cover, replace the battery and roll the hood cover back in place. SRAM has a great video for this and you can easily check your battery life based on the following diagram.
With the left battery replaced, I continued riding for a few months until I noticed some degradation. The shifter would sometimes require a few taps to start responding if it wasn’t used for a few minutes. But, like most of us, I got home and racked up the bike — forgetting about it until the next ride. Well, eventually, that caught up with me and today it died completely in the middle of a ride. So, what did I do when my AXS shifter battery died? I switched to manual mode.
Manual shifting with SRAM AXS
As I explained in the video, it’s obviously not ideal, but I continued on my ride and just conserved gears between manual shifts. The process is the same whether you lose right or left shifting. It’s a process of shifting all the way up or all the way down the cassette to allow the opposite lever to continue working.
Since my right shifter was dead, I would shift into the highest gear using the AXS button, then continue using my left shifter as needed to change to a lower gear. My shifting threshold changed because I wanted to avoid dismounting as much as possible. As a result, I climbed some hills like I was riding a single speed. If the left shifter was toast, I would do the opposite.
How to manually shift SRAM AXS derailleurs:
- Single-tap the AXS button to go down the cassette (higher gear)
- Double-tap the AXS button to go up the cassette (lower gear)
Keep this process in mind should your shifter battery die mid-ride or if you’re working on your bike in the stand. And, once you replace the battery, you’ll likely have to re-pair your shifters. Don’t worry… that’s also an easy process that’s explained in this video.
So… if your shifter battery dies mid-ride?
Take a deep breath and think through your remaining route — carefully metering out any shifts as needed. And, when you need to reload the cassette, just dismount and manually shift to the top or bottom using the AXS button on the rear derailleur. Oh, and even if one battery still has life, it’s probably wise to just change both batteries. Lesson learned.