Opinion: How Many Batteries Does a Mountain Bike Really Need?

Nov 22, 2021 at 19:35
by Mike Kazimer  
Spinning Circles column Mike Kazimer

In some corners of the mountain bike world there seems to be an electronic arms race, a quest to stick as many batteries on a bike as possible. The recently released Trek Rail is a prime example. It’s an eMTB, so the big battery in the downtube is to be expected – that’s not the issue here. It’s the addition of the AXS battery in the derailleur and dropper post, the battery on each wheel to monitor tire pressure, plus the battery in the fork and shock (also to monitor pressure) that has me scratching my head. Does a bike really need eight batteries, not including the one that actually powers it? Are the performance gains really worth the extra complication and cost? So far I’m not convinced.

To me, it feels like electronic bits, especially wireless ones, are being launched in a haphazard, almost gimmicky way. From where I’m sitting, it’s hard to envision what the end result will be, other than a bike with enough blinking lights and display panels to make an air traffic controller jealous. Before I go any further, I should stress that, despite harboring some Luddite-ish tendencies, I’m not totally opposed to some electronic inventions making their way into mountain biking. It's part of my job to test and evaluate the latest products, and these days it seems like many of them require an app and a wall outlet. The addition of electronics does have the potential to improve the mountain biking experience, at least in some cases, it just needs to be done for a valid reason, rather than just trying to add another line to the list of features.

The new Trek Rail 9.9 has six non-rechargeable batteries and two AXS batteries in addition to the 750 Wh Bosch battery in the downtube.

My favorite rides are the ones where the bike fades into the background, allowing me to concentrate on the trail ahead and to enjoy the sensation of the world turning into a blur on either side. I've said it before, but there’s something magical about those moments of flow, the times when the countless daily distractions are pushed aside, replaced by a state of sustained bliss that’s the ultimate goal of nearly every athletic endeavor.

The thing is, I find it a lot harder to achieve that flow when my ears are being bombarded by the ‘bzzzt bzzzt’ of servos moving a derailleur or switching shock modes, or when there’s a bright screen and a bunch of blinking lights flashing at me during the ride. Now, if a bike has a motor I can cut it a little more slack in the decibel distraction department, but I still want it as quiet and unobtrusive as possible.

With the flood gates open, there’s no turning back the wave of electronic gadgetry that's on the way from SRAM, Shimano, Fox, and others, but there are a few tenets I’d like to see adhered to before things get even more out of control.

SRAM's Flight Attendant system works very well, but it does come with more noise and blinking lights.
The TyreWiz remote pressure monitor is novel, although the price makes it a tough sell.

No blinking lights unless absolutely necessary. If a component has a battery or air pressure indicator, that little LED shouldn’t light up unless a button is pushed - there should be a way to totally deactivate the lights that announce to the world that you have fancy electronics on your bike. I want to be able to focus on the trail, rather than having some LED flashing intermittently to let me know that yes, my fork still has air in it, or that my fork has switched modes. To be fair, many electronic components do have 'Dark Mode' options or the ability to dim the screen, but enough of them don't that this is worth a mention.

Wires should be well protected. Wireless everything is all the rage, but I actually don't mind wires when they make sense. Wires can mean that there are fewer batteries to charge or replace, which I fully support. What I do mind is when those wires are barely protected, the equivalent of dangling strands of overcooked angel hair pasta from various parts of a bike and hoping they survive a ride. The wire itself can be thin, it's the sheath protecting it that should be more robust and able to survive a crash or two.

App free is the way to be. The less time I need to spend staring at my phone the better, especially if I'm out on a ride. Using an app to change settings on an electronic component should be an option rather than a requirement whenever possible – nobody likes to waste precious ride time waiting for Bluetooth components to pair on the side of the trail. RockShox's new Flight Attendant system does a pretty good job of not needing the app once it's set up, which is a good thing because the AXS app can be very frustrating when all of the components don't want to show up and play nicely together.

My rant isn’t aimed at any one company in particular, either. Yes, SRAM is currently rolling out the most battery powered components, but it’s only a matter of time before Shimano releases their newest drivetrain, and I’m willing to bet it’s got a battery and a blinking light or two, and probably some really skinny wires.

Hyper Spark
There's no denying that a lack of cables does look nice and clean. Photo: Dangerhom

Will there be a day when drivetrain and suspension components that don't need batteries are only available for the lowest-end components? Possibly, but I don't think that's going to be any time soon – the simplicity and low cost of traditional cable-actuated components is really, really hard to beat. When it comes to suspension, I'm sure that more electronically controlled options are going to emerge. However, given how good modern suspension and bike kinematics have gotten it's going to need to be something really special to convince riders that adding batteries and buttons is worth the extra cash.

There are places where I can see the benefits of adding electronics, as long as they're seamlessly integrated and don't add much weight or complication. For instance, the concept of a simple, wireless, electronic lockout makes a lot of sense. A tiny blip button that firmed up the suspension in an instant, and then unlocked it with another touch could come in handy on a long travel enduro bike, especially one with a fairly active suspension design. There were hints that something like this was being tested on the World Cup DH circuit this year, and it's a concept that appeals to me more than relying on sensors and algorithms to try and pick the right settings.

I can also see integrated telemetry, something like what Mondraker is doing with their MIND system, catching on with riders who want to be sure that their suspension is set up perfectly, at least according to a computer. That's not really something that would make me pick one bike over another, as it goes against the whole 'as few batteries as possible' theme I've got going on here, although I understand the appeal. At the same time, setting up suspension properly isn't exactly rocket science, and it's far from the dark art that it's all too often made out to be.

Realistically, I'm just waiting for a 200mm dropper post that goes down by itself with the push of a button. I think that'll help me put some of my electronic skepticism to the side, at least until I forget to charge its battery.


  • 638 13
 Zero batteries is the answer. How many someone may want is a different story. But the bike does not NEED them.
  • 266 4
 One of the reasons I love to ride is to get away from things with batteries.
  • 26 96
flag PHX77 (Nov 24, 2021 at 13:06) (Below Threshold)
 My bike has five batteries and it’s an absolute laugh riot!
  • 36 6
 However if we do need batteries, why not have the frames pre wired so only one battery needed to run everything. Better yet conductive paint still no wires..
  • 44 50
flag IluvRIDING (Nov 24, 2021 at 13:11) (Below Threshold)
 My mom (58 ) started to commute a 20+20km mtb ride on thanks to her full suspension eMTB. I think her bike needs them. It's like golf...anyone playing it under 50 is a joke, but it's ok when you're getting old.
  • 11 1
 @whatsstinky: yep years ago all I liked to carry was my Sony walkman and maybe a spare couple of double a batterys . Nowadays you feel like you've left a piece of you at home if you forget your phone. When I had an ebike I always kept looking at the battery levels. It's just more bolloks to worry about.
  • 73 3
 None unless you're riding at night.
  • 39 63
flag formerbmxguy (Nov 24, 2021 at 13:20) (Below Threshold)
 @IluvRIDING: Lol

The amount of laps at my local park I can do per hour on my eeb dwarfs the amount I can do on a non-ebike. With having limited ride opportunities due to work + family obligations, time is my limiting factor. More laps = more fun.
  • 7 1
 Correct. Need.. none. It's people want and desire that drives the desire.
  • 9 2
 yep, zero might be the right number
  • 4 12
flag Mntneer (Nov 24, 2021 at 13:49) (Below Threshold)
 Six is the answer
  • 13 54
flag PHX77 (Nov 24, 2021 at 13:54) (Below Threshold)
 Sorry, I should have said I have 3 bikes (all of them total laugh riots!) with 5 batteries each for 15 batteries total. That’s probably why all of you were down voting me.
  • 9 9
 How many shock absorbers does your bike need?
  • 77 3
 @whatsstinky: My wife loves to ride things with batteries. Oh wait, wrong forum...
  • 12 18
flag Jmr358 (Nov 24, 2021 at 15:20) (Below Threshold)
 I remember when people didn’t want front suspension. Cheaters!
  • 3 8
flag tkrug (Nov 24, 2021 at 15:37) (Below Threshold)
 @fabwizard: Or have a wired/wireless option if we want to be specific about it. Personally I would rather have a small battery on my derailleur and/or seatpost and in the handlebar controller rather than a wire running to each as it defeats the purpose of eliminating wires.

Others see it differently so if you could (and you definitely CAN - *Cough* aftermarket idea - someone take it and pay me royalties *Cough*) make a modular wire harness that runs from the battery connector(s) of an AXS derailleur/seatpost/shock and maybe fork to a central location where the battery was stored this could be achieved quite simply and not impact current product offerings. If the current output of the battery was sufficient to run multiple devices it could be all done with one AXS battery (shorter charge intervals obviously), giving you numerous spares. The battery in the handlebar buttons is likely unavoidable.

I might have just talked myself into a wiring/prototyping project - anyone want to send me some free AXS stuff to play with......?
  • 27 1
 That’s the reason behind the bicycle! NO POWER BUT HUMAN POWER
  • 4 5
 @PHX77: winner winner turkey dinner
  • 49 7
 @TCarl11: Because MOARRR is always better. Funny how ebikers are always so short on time.

Cant find the time to ride without a motor, cant find the time to dig trail, cant find the time to learn trail etiquite, cant find the time for family + passions, seems like maybe its just a different pursuit that ya should be looking for

I hear golf is tons of fun. Those par 3 courses are getting moar popular and you can knock a lap out in an hour
  • 11 11
 @Whatinthesamhill - wrong. More is always better.

Be safe be well,
Incognito Robin
  • 11 32
flag Dustfarter (Nov 24, 2021 at 17:56) (Below Threshold)
 @burnskiez: You really think that? You should come on a dig day here in parts of SoCal. Lots of Ebike and lots of dudes that shred them.
Short on time is true because most bust their ass and work more than anything and can actually afford to buy expensive ass e-bikes in addition to their expensive ass regular bikes.
  • 8 22
flag PHX77 (Nov 24, 2021 at 18:04) (Below Threshold)
 @burnskiez: No. EMTB is what I’m going to do and I’m not asking anyone’s permission first.
  • 16 3
 @PHX77: LOL stand your gound patriot!!

Sure you shouldn't ask your mommy's permission first though?
  • 5 25
flag PHX77 (Nov 24, 2021 at 18:25) (Below Threshold)
 @burnskiez: No. She died in 2016 from ovarian cancer but I wouldn’t have asked her permission either.
  • 7 0
 @Dustfarter: Left socal a couple years ago, got sick of being able to afford expensive ass bikes without having enough open space to ride them and dig. And you edumacate me, ya I know there are great spots, they're all on youtube, laguna, wilson, topanga, simi, sb, malibu. Riding with 1000 of your best friends gets old after a while, kinda like the surf scene. To each his own, I'd be stoked to see an ebike being used to tote gear for work days, glad thats happening. The ebike community definitely could do a lot to further good will on its behalf.
  • 2 0
 @whatsstinky: this 100000 percent
  • 1 0
 @Dustfarter: What trail do you work on?
  • 5 13
flag Serpentras (Nov 25, 2021 at 0:00) (Below Threshold)
 @burnskiez: holly shieeet,
Someone has no time? How can't that be?
Some of us have whatever reasons to have to less time, this should be non of your business.
Most can't ride more because of work eh?
Freaking short daylight is a reason why some switch to E-MTBs.
  • 4 0
 @Mntneer: 6 6 6, the number of the beast.... great album!
  • 1 0
 @burnskiez: gobble gobble
  • 3 11
flag MikeGruhler (Nov 25, 2021 at 6:22) (Below Threshold)
 @burnskiez: Funny how non E-bike riders/E-haters always have some useless/shit opinion on what someone else does with their time and money.
Funny or unbelievable not sure which, but E-bikers don't need to do anything extra to show "good will" to the community no more then anyone else. That's one of the most ridiculous things I've heard yet.
  • 6 1
 How about getting an e-bikeRack, yes they do exist, great idea to lift your bike up 2ft. And while I'm at it, I will watch Wall-E, great movie from Pixar
  • 1 7
flag armeniandave (Nov 25, 2021 at 11:25) (Below Threshold)
 @burnskiez: You're a total as$#hat for talking about anyone's parents. Scummy trolls like you don't belong here so go away!
  • 1 0
 @IluvRIDING: why the downvotes? Didn't sound mean spirited. Are golfers really that sensitive?
  • 1 0
 I agree
  • 1 0
 @tkrug: Conductive paint. No wires.
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: I agree, at least then you’d only have to charge one battery, just like a motorcycle. Down the rabbit hole we go…
  • 1 0
 Only thing I take on the trails and have a battery, is a mobile phone, and for some time now, not connected to strava or other shittyy software to tell where I was, make heat maps, or anything like that. Hope more join The Cause, to stop heat maps.
  • 1 0
 @Jmr358: are you talking about Gravel, or what did you took ins 80s?????
  • 160 10
 Bikes are great when they are bikes. Start adding electronics and screens and hot damn if it doesn't take away from the simple art of riding a damn bicycle...at least for me.
  • 71 4
 Helmet light battery and bar light battery on night rides. Anything more and F_ck that
  • 34 62
flag seraph (Nov 24, 2021 at 12:11) (Below Threshold)
 Hmm, no you still ride it like a bike. Electronic components are performance enhancers. Take them or leave them, but I don't think they're detracting from the riding experience as a whole. At least for me anyway.
  • 11 0
 Exactly! This man gets it.
  • 5 0
  • 33 4
 @seraph: But that's kinda exactly the point here. Performance enhancers can actually take away from the sporting spirit and pure experience of riding a bike. To me, conquering a brutal hillclimb for example is enormously rewarding and I don't think my sense of accomplishment would be the same if my bike had a lot of electronic "performance enhancers".
  • 17 4
 @seraph: So are anabolic steroids. But those aren't ok for some reason.
  • 8 16
flag tomhoward379 (Nov 24, 2021 at 12:37) (Below Threshold)
 @BenTheSwabian: how would having electric shifting reduce the effort you put in on a climb? Or increase your speed for that same effort?
  • 5 0
 If something works it goes unnoticed, when everything's new on your bike that includes your wired gears, but I'm sure I'm not alone in eking out inner gear cables long past their best, not replacing outers because internally routed cables are a pain, etc. I reckon 40% of my riding time my gears are a rough enough for me to notice them, have to do a corrective shift or whatever to get them to do what I want. Wireless is pretty much the answer to this, granted not the perfect solution with the regular charging needed for axs, but if they could bump it up to di2 sort of range and reduce the costs, that would be about as good as you can get.
  • 7 3
 @tomhoward379: Sure mate, it doesn't. But that's not what we we were talking about. My argument was based around performance enhancers, not wireless shifting. The latter is just needlessly complex without enhancing your performance.
  • 12 3
 @BenTheSwabian: This is how i feel about e-bikes. Im sure they can be fun, but I also feel like I would lose that feeling of accomplishment immediately after completing a challenge and when thinking back on the ride later. One of the best parts of MTB riding is the personal progression.
  • 5 4
 @BenTheSwabian: speaking as someone who suffers from injured hands from years of wrenching on bikes, AXS is a very welcome performance enhancer. Without it, I can't finish a whole ride shifting as much as I need to.
  • 6 2
 @seraph: single speed son, excuses are just in the mind. As a plus you'll get ridiculous fitness for when you do hop back on bikes with gears. I don't think anything benefited my all around riding as much as my stupid little ss hardtail, hard to hide weaknesses with suspension or gears.
  • 3 0
 i came to say that a bike doesn't even need gears, so why would it need a battery - but @burnskiez: said it first and better.
  • 51 2
 Not including night lights. Absolutely none!
  • 5 0
 Unless you run a hub dynamo. Not sure whether they deliver sufficient power for faster riding but LED technology has come a long way and a hub dynamo with a LED light now is brighter than the halogen lights with the lead-acid battery in the bottle cage when I started out. When paired with a battery powered helmet light it may be sufficient.
  • 1 0
 @MattP76 at first I defaulted to 0, then I realized I ride with a battery on the bars, one on my seatpost and one on my helmet for much of the year.
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: Yeah it is a bit silly though as the question article was about how many you need on the bike itself. So the one on the helmet (crash sensor, for your helmet light or for the camera) doesn't count. If the batteries on bar and seatpost are for a dropper (Vyron or AXS) there are other options available. If it is a bike computer and a tail light, get a wrist-watch type computer and put the light on your Camelbak and you're cleared. Doesn't imply you're not riding with batteries, but they're not on the bike. Greenwashing just takes a bit of creativity but I'm sure there are experts out there making a business out of it Wink .
  • 43 2
 None. The correct answer is zero
  • 39 2
 Bikes are good because they are exactly that: bikes. They don't get better if you try to make them what they aren't by adding motors, batteries, screens other needlessly complicated stuff.
  • 16 9
 Imho, axs shifting is a simplification, not something more complicated.. so i would take that, all else can be mechanical
  • 10 3
 @GZMS Simpler to install and set up, but an infinitely more complicated system than a cable and spring.
  • 6 0
 @mnorris122: I think he means that it's simpler for the end user. You push the button and it shifts. And it shifts the same all the time.
  • 5 3
 @PAmtbiker: Unless you forget to charge it...
  • 3 0
 @mnorris122: I totally understand and agree with what you are saying, but one time I had to reassemble a 11 speed shifter that I didn't disassemble and that was quite the complicated operation.
  • 33 4
 A vibrator without batteries is still a dildo.
  • 11 2
 Guess who has never seen a “bullet”…
  • 32 7
 ??? We used to be men doing extreme sports now bunch of pansies can’t even shift gears without a battery doing it. Can’t even pedal bikes with out a battery. Any dropper is a luxury but need one with a battery?! So spoiled
  • 26 2
 I just put a computer monitor on my handlebars, so I can watch movies, check social media, surf the net, and comment on PB while riding. It was needed.
  • 16 1
 You joke, but a group I used to ride with had a rider show up on his eBike, watching videos on his cell phone on his handlebars with headphones. He is a nice, good guy. But, I couldn't handle that.
  • 8 0
 @JSTootell: That makes me so sad honestly. Just... why.
  • 17 0
 There is no need for batteries on a bike. One exclusion might be lights to see the street/trail and to be seen by other people/traffic. Besides that i don't want any batteries on my bike. If i ride a bike, i want to disconnect, not worry about battery life etc.Just saimply ride my bike until i somehow end up back home.
  • 20 1
 and its a none from me too Bob...
  • 14 0
 Just no to everything else that comes along with the batteries. Fast forward 5 years. "Sorry guys, cant ride yet. Diagnosing a wire harness issue. Bike is stuck in limp mode".
  • 5 0
 @cthorpe anxiously awaiting the day this starts to become the new normal. Couple weeks of that and we'll lose 3/4 of the ebike population overnight, beauty!!
  • 1 1
 I can use that excuse when I'm unfit or riding like a turd too
  • 6 0
 It's just a add to consumerism. More more to no ends.

I think it also plays towards bikes being more like cars, i e. You upgrade a car as a unit rather than a collection of part that you slowly upgrade like triggers broom. More integration, harder to separate.

It's a personal choice and partially how you view the past time / hobby and equipment. I prefer a more core mindset where equipment should be less important and DIY ethos both in building features and maintenance of bikes and your scene is very important.

Do you consume the hobby or try to create it? I have to admit that although I am not into chasing the latest equipment I am consumer as I do next to zero trail building or maintenance, but do feel this is the more important side of the sport rather then what equipment is sold / bought. :/
  • 14 0
 Anyone remember when bikes had generators that spun off the tire for lights?
  • 3 0
 They still exist.
  • 7 0
 You know I heard some Dinah Moe Humm.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 @seraph: And they sap a shitload of energy, switching one on is like instantly mounting DH tires on your commuter bike.
  • 2 0
 @Tasso75: I'm going to guess most dynamo hubs use low pole count motors (or brushed DC, gross) at best a fairly inefficient power stage. There have been so many leaps in power electronics materials and industrialization over just the past 5 years, which is what's really fueling the ebike industry growth right now.
  • 2 0
 I run a Remedy with a SON Dynamo hub. It takes about 5W of my energy to produce 3W of electrickery. The drag is barely noticable if I turn on the front light. This is more than enough power to keep all these electronic doohickeys charged, but my bike is happily analog. If my legs can move, I have light at night. It's actually kind of liberating. I hate having to charge stuff before a ride. So eBikes make no sense to me.
  • 2 0
 @MildMildWest: just took a look at SON, damn those are nice hubs. I'd expect to see hubs/generators of that efficiency at less than half the cost in about 5 years, some large electric motor manufacturers are already experimenting with AM processes to get that level of hand crafted precision (minimal air gap, more windings in the rotor, lower loss materials) at a fraction of the labor and material costs.
  • 2 0
 @MildMildWest: I like that. Wish this technology got more attention.
  • 10 0
 CLM ( Career Limiting Move) there Mike! The answer is how many Electronic gizmos do Outside advertisers want on PB readers bikes....It isn't zero based on all the eBike content coming out of ALL the brands.

It needed to be said but next time post under a ghost writer....we do not want NotOutsideCEO firing you!
  • 10 1
 Saw a guy on our local trails had driver over 100 miles to stay for a few days. Has AXS shifting and Reverb. He left one of his batteries at home and was swapping them over at the climbs and descents. Battery in the mech for climbs and swap to the dropper for descents. He was laughing about it to be fair and we were definitely laughing "with him"

No batteries for me I'm afraid. The net gain for a normal rider is non existent imo.
  • 7 0
 He could just ride a regular seat post with a rapid seat clamp and job done ,like the old times
  • 4 0
 Or better yet, pick a saddle height and leave it there.
  • 7 0
E Bike
Front light
Rear light
Front tyre wiz
Rear tyre wiz

"I'm nearly charged guys, S%#t its the afternoon already"

Not even sure you can buy a usb hub with that many outlets..
  • 6 0
 0 except maybe in the dark or when you add in navigation

But it's easy to "innovate" by duplicating existing things with a motor so brands will keep doing so.

This "make it electric"-wave has been seen in different industries already.
  • 11 2
 "....where the bike fades into the background"

So...singlespeed hardtails only. I can get with that.
  • 8 0
 Same here. That’s my backup plan for when I get totally fed up with everything.
  • 9 2
 I would 100% rather ride a rigid SS HT than a bike that needs a battery.
  • 3 0
 I’m already here! My single speed belt drive is the shit! Best bike ever! No batteries, no excuses. Pedal hard up, shred hard down. Put it away wet and sloppy. Repeat. Thank you Spot bikes!
  • 6 1
 I love all the Single Speed love but I'd venture a guess you're all under 40? and have been riding SS only for how many years? Let me know how that lower back holds up in 10 years. SS is so nice but the only reason we ride one is for the ego. Been there done that, have fun while it lasts. You're definitely becoming a better bike handler but not better at pedaling. SS breeds a whatever it takes mentality and that doesn't always add up to be better on a geared bike. Completely different cadence and style of power output. SS for life!...or until you have 5 herniated disc's and can't be bothered to try and muscle a SS up a hill anymore. Lol
  • 2 2
 @JSTootell: No you wouldn't, that's pure BS.
  • 2 0
 Hi Mike,

The only part I agree with is that single speed is way too hard for most people and I think that is okay! Everyone doesn’t have to like everything.

I understand many people can’t be bothered to try and muscle up a hill - I see them on all the time in life. They make Ebikes, ski lifts, and truck racks to assist people who want to go that route. That’s okay - have fun however you like as long as you don’t hurt others.

That’s why they sell so many ebikes. People are free to ride with as many batteries as they want.

I’m sorry to hear you have herniated discs and I hope you feel better, that sucks.

With that said you have to ride single speed bikes differently or you might get hurt. Same as any other hardtail.

I’m over 40!

My pedaling is pure awesomeness!

I know many other amazing riders who are over 40 on single speeds too!

“We” are doing great and having fun!

  • 1 0
 @Pacificashredder: nice! I miss it, truly nothing better then a SS. Personally I can't even ride anymore. Every once in blue, but nothing like I could before. Only had gears on the DH, other then that SS for 30yrs. Have fun out there!
  • 1 0
 @MikeGruhler: I am an ultra runner. I would rather run than ride something that requires a battery. SS HT is an upgrade to running.
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: I'm an ultra not runner..lol Sorry, sarcasm was lost on my previous comment. I'll try this again..running is bad for you and so are rigid SS bikes. /s
  • 1 0
 @MikeGruhler: SS FOR LIFE. Does that mean it's the only bike in the stable? Hell naw. Dont let your ego force you to run steep gears. My current SS spins out at 9 mph (32x22). It's a killer upper body workout. Throw an oval ring on the SS and it takes the edge off the knees.
  • 8 0
 Sounds to me like someone might have been inspired by Mike Ferrentino's Beggars would ride article last week on NSMB. Oh, and 0 batteries for me thanks.
  • 9 3
 Due to all the internally routed bike frames these days I really love the SRAM AXS wireless shifting. Here in the PNW if you ride in the wet, you will have to service your shifter cables more than you would like. Going wireless for shifting is great for setup and long term shifting performance. If they were not so expensive I would consider a wireless dropper post also due to the internal route pain. I'm not as interested in batteries for suspension or tire air pressure.
  • 2 0
 I ll keep AXS all day for 2 batteries. One of them you don’t need to worry about for 2 years.
Yes it s not needed to ride.
Do you all use a cell phone? Do you charge it all day everyday? probably...is it needed to live?, NOT

  • 2 2
 I love the sound of a crisp electronic shift on a muddy wet day riding.
  • 7 0
 If you MUST have electronic equipment, then the answer is 1. And everything electronic should be incorporated into 1 master battery for the whole bike/system, and it should charge itself off the energy of rotating wheels.
  • 12 2
 Pinkbike is really going straight to shit
  • 29 2
 Glad you liked it.
  • 14 2
 @mikekazimer: Actually, the article was decent. I just can't take the daily e-bike/e-component bombardment. I don't even recognize this site anymore.
  • 3 1
 @chriskneeland: Articles like this are written fully knowing it will cause
a lot of negative discussion and therefore traffic. This site's purpose is
to make money, not help the community come together.
  • 6 0
 I’m not usually one to shit on new technology, but I gotta say, f*ck this electronic shit. They are fixing something that isn’t broken. I’ll do all I can to avoid AXS, I’ve tried it, it worked well, but not incredibly better than a well setup X01 kit. I also got to watch a buddy miss a ride recently because his freaking battery wasn’t charged. He felt like an idiot and we laughed and went riding. And who the hell wants a $400 or whatever derailleur??

And live valve suspension? 99% of riders done have any clue how to set up their regular suspension and probably don’t know that it’s even set up poorly. Are they really gonna notice live valve? I have a hard enough time keeping my fork and shock serviced and operating well, I ride a lot. Making them more complicated is not the answer.

I like riding bikes because they are simple. I can fix virtually anything in a pinch with a small toolkit and a box of old spare parts. That’s one of the best attributes compared my other toys like dirt bikes and snowmobiles. Adding unnecessary electronics like axs and live valve etc is f*cking stupid. And I bet pretty soon we won’t be able to get a high end bike without it.
  • 9 0
 I vote one. For the gps.
  • 3 0
 and lights if you are riding at night
  • 6 2
 As someone who has owned multiple road bikes and MTB rides with and without electronics, I can see the appeal. That being said, as time goes on, I find myself less and less excited and willing to put it on my bikes, and now on all mechanical shifting.

Di2 on a curly bar bike was great for me, but take it from someone who paid full price for AXS….it’s expensive, over-hyped, and just doesn’t shift that great.
  • 3 0
 I love electric!!!!! Elite road bike technology accidentally bridges gap between mountain bike and BMX!!!! For the most part I agree with everyone saying its an expensive alternative that does the same thing as regular cable shifting. However, ... If you are inspired by guys like Brandon Semenuk, this technology allows you to spin bars with zero affect on derailleur alignment!! Not for everyone, but definitely a game changer.
  • 3 0
 What trickles down to the more budget oriented builds is what truly matters. It shows that a technology is mature and ready to serve the public rather than showcase its superiority.
Already in early 19th century electronic clock was a thing, but it took more than a century to make the quartz clock mainstream and cheaper to produce than a mechanical movement.
We need to get to the point when an electronic shifter/mech combo will be more precise AND cheaper to produce/install than an equally capable mechanical system.
  • 3 0
 It's pretty cool that you can get a bike with anywhere from zero to eight (or 10 if you put Garmin Rally power meter pedals on your Flight Attendant/AXS equipped Rail). You pick what you want. No one is forcing you to get a bunch of electronics on your bike.
  • 5 1
 The best part about a bike is its 100% powered by a human in every way. Pedals, shifting, brakes, etc. That person can then choose their fuel source and all is well and beautiful.
  • 3 0
 Watch battery so I know when it’s time to ride. Car battery to start the car so I can get to the trail head. Phone battery in case I get hurt and need help. Garmin battery so I can track my rides. Heart rate monitor battery so I don’t go to far in the red and black out. If I can keep all those running fine, a couple extra won’t be that hard.

Dads life, don’t get old kids!
  • 3 0
 One in the Garmin cuz sometimes you need to know if you've passed 10k feet, a few headlight batteries. AXS seems cool on paper, but without a front mech the gear by gear adjustment seems excessive.

But a battery powered bike, battery controlled suspension, battery powered tire pressure monitoring? HARD NO.
  • 1 0
 AXS is fine but tire pressure valves are where you draw the line?

It’s a bit of a process to unscrew your valves, check pressure (likely with a standalone gauge, not your pump) or just assume it’s low, connect pump, check final pressure, tighten valves, EVERY ride or two, and if the batteries die on the pressure gauge (which I assume takes a lot longer than AXS) you lose literally no functionality. Probably doesn’t weigh much either. That’s seems fine with me. It’s like the battery on a digital pressure gauge, it lasts a year+, is it really a “battery” in the same sense as derailleurs with a weeks worth of charge or a bike motor with 3 hours worth?
  • 3 0
 Like 99% of everyone else... "want -vs- need" applies to batteries and any number of other technical bling things. A bike can be incredibly simple and very capable with very little tech.

Even though I'm an old fat dude I refuse to buy a battery "assisted" bike as I can't imagine not hauling my fat ass up the hill to earn my turns down, even if it means fewer round trips.

If I want something with a motor I'll go hop on my son's CR450F and play.
  • 2 0
 Would love if I could tap into a single easily-charged central battery for headlights, and also gain other features thanks to it, like ride tracking (GPS), video capture (GoPro/dashcam), smartphone functions (navigation), and a USB recharging port. I only have a single serious bike that could use this stuff anyway.

I'm not going to refuse pedal-assist, electric shifting suspension, anti-theft, accident response, and other electric functions if it improves the ride quality, esp if it beats the value of other upgrades (carbon frame/wheels, airtag).

Figure I can then stash my smartphone in a safer spot (and feel like I can afford to own a fancy pricey one), and not have to plug in so many diff stand-alone gadgets when I get home, nor feel like I missed out on some opportunity by not bringing them.
  • 2 0
 Still the ONLY person that I don't mind seeing on an eBike. You're elite lol
  • 3 0
 Are we really talking about NEED on 1st world problem bicycle that costs as much as most people's only car?
We don't need any of this, so how many it needs isn't really a legitimate question. It's how many do you want.
  • 2 0
 I don't have any answers and accept that the answer of the correct number of batteries is up to whoever is buying them.

I'm cool with my AXS and use bike lights a few times/ year. The Garmin I used for a few weeks was just too much to keep up with, for me.

However for an e-bike, clearly everything needs to be ran off 1 large battery as it just makes sense. You could have lights, your Garmin, your shifting (which really should be a proper transmission, your suspension, the dropper, etc.
  • 2 0
 We don’t “need” dropper posts, 1X drivetrains, tubeless tires, suspension, or disc brakes either. I started riding when those didn’t exist. That being said, I’m not a fan of all the battery stuff. My wife bought me an AXS dropper for Christmas and it is sitting on the shelf collecting dust. I went back to a cable dropper because having to worry about the battery being charged isn’t worth it for me.
  • 1 0
 I have an AXS dropper as well and as soon as I couldn’t get my seat height right and bottomed out the tire on the battery I put it away. Hard tails only I guess lol
  • 1 0
 Prove it and send me your AXS dropper for a mechanical one. You have no skin in the game since it was a gift. Better to have it collecting mud than dust.
  • 1 0
 @yourrealdad: Nice try! I would happily trade it for a high quality mechanical dropper, though.
  • 2 0
 As a rider running a Sram AXS drivetrain, I can say that I like the novelty of it and that it works quite well. However, if I go on a ride out into the backcountry, where it's just nature and my bike and me, it just feels better to have mechanical stuff. I want to have the subconscious knowledge that I know how everything works and I'm not relying on a little battery and a motor. I want to know that if something goes wrong, I can take it apart and fix it out in the wilderness.
  • 2 0
 My main feeling is zero but for those who really feel like they need it:

1. Why not run everything that needs a cable off an e-bike battery and then for the techheads who really feel like they need all this stuff, it will be more integrated. Also better environmentally because of not having additional small, often non recyclable or disposable batteries.
2. Selling these features as performance enhancing is a joke, its just marketing. Most e-bike riders are of a level of competence where they will not feel the minute benefits of on trail shock tuning. Most are below average weekend warriors who often cant even tell if their tyres are pumped up to 60psi.
3. Ill be honest that I like the clean lines of cable free droppers and mechs but not the price.
4. Most of the 'ride enhancing stuff' can be replaced by cheaper (or free) alternatives. A digital tyre pressure gauge costs very little and lasts forever. I tried a shockwizz once and it simply told me my set up was already optimum. Why? Because the suggested factory settings from Fox with a few tweaks was pretty much spot on. Funny old thing that!
  • 2 0
 Most of this electronic novelty stuff isn't for us, it's for this new cohort of first time buyers who are new to the sport and have lots of cash. It's for exactly the same sort of person who buys a PDK gearbox over the manual, or who sell their GTI with dials so they can have one with screens that will then break at some point. Those people aren't in it for the perfect driving experience, or the purest biking experience, they just like shiny and bike manufacturers know they will count the number of shiny things and buy the bikes with the most.
  • 1 0
 This isn’t entirely true. The action of the AXS dropper is definitely superior to any cable operated dropper. That is until the battery dies in the middle of a ride, which happened to me. I don’t ever want to worry about that again, which is why I went back to mechanical.
  • 2 1
 Bicycles are not design holistically. All we're seeing here is the side effect of how the industry has worked for a long time. The company that makes the drive is often not the company that makes the dropper, and not the company that makes the wheels... to get them to all interconnect, they'd have to agree on some standard. We have a hard enough time getting wheels to fit in frames.
  • 1 0
 Bikes do just fine without a battery but I can imagine it is different for some. If an athlete needs a cadence sensor, power sensor or whatever in order to properly perform their training program then so be it. Similarly for suspension tuners who rely on certain systems. I do think however that for e-bikes, considering they already have a powerful big battery on board, it makes most sense to power everything (except for tire pressure sensors) from that same battery using wires. I wonder whether it could be possible to power these wireless crank and wheel sensors using mere induction. That would remove the need for some batteries though possibly the added weight for induction might put some off.
  • 2 1
 The multitude of batteries for every little thing could be consolidated into an e-bike by having universal (USB-C maybe?) ports accessible in areas that make sense (near the derailleur, near the seat post, maybe near the fork?). So if you like to have all those gizmos, you don't need to have 3 or 4 different batteries. You charge your e-bike and everything just runs off that. It does add cables, but those could be hidden through the same internal routing that's already in use. If you don't have an e-bike, but still have all the electronic gizmos, single battery gets placed above the bottom bracket and all power cables connect there. minimal routing, still wireless for the controls on the bars making for an ultra clean cockpit. I'm guessing this will start to happen around 2023-2024. Or this comment could age very poorly, I don't have a crystal ball.
  • 5 4
 You'll have to pry my AXS derailleur from my cold dead hands, but other than that no more batteries. Only other I'd consider is a dropper once the current system evolves past having to push it down to go down and not having to carry a big ugly contraption including the battery at the bottom of the seat.

I see bicycles splitting into two distinct segments: the traditional "analog' bike, and an e-bike with more bells, lights, and whistles than anyone could ever want.
  • 1 0
 For the dropper post, I don't know why they don't just use an electric motor for it, and wire it into the ebike battery. Also the shifter and suspension electronics could be wired to the big battery so that you would only have to charge one battery and could reduce unsprung weight.
  • 5 0
 Pinkbike: you need this.

Also Pinkbike: you don't need this.
  • 3 0
 How many batteries does an ebiker need to make up all that “lost time” they’re always talking about?

Also ofc 0 batteries required Wink
  • 1 0
 " Realistically, I'm just waiting for a 200mm dropper post that goes down by itself with the push of a button."

This is what I want, and Need. That, and steps to the retraction.

Knees that bend barely to 90 degrees really make it difficult to get a post down, without further injury. Go too far down in one go, which all too often happens, and my knees 'cam out', on the synthetic ACLs I have, and the wear pockets in the joints. It's not fun at all.
  • 1 0
 I have Magura Vyron droppers on my bikes. They are way worse than cabled ones in everyday use. But for changing between bikes they are brilliant. Assembling bikes is probably one of the more labor intensive processes when building a bike. When wireless trickle down to entry level components, maybe it will become cheaper to fit them instead of cabled ones.
  • 1 0
 My bikes are a healthy mix of practicality and experimentation. The technology being invented to “improve” various aspects of riding is super awesome. I have zero issues with trying out some electronics, but please make them run off a single battery. There’s no reason for there to be 8 identical USB charging ports on my bike…
  • 3 1
 I say this as an EE who designs and builds complicated unmanned systems and robotics, none. Purely mechanical systems are inherently more reliable and require less attendance than battery powered electronics systems.
  • 1 0
 Cycling to me is about the freedom to travel explore on a machine that needs nothing but your own human power, aside from manufacture, having a minimal impact on the enviornment in use. Seems human advance is about making things easier to use but way more complicated, complex and damaging as a consequence. I remember hand wind up down windows in cars, now there electric, lazy easy to use, global warming helping more floods, now you cant ecape the car once it submerges in a few feet of water coz the electrics shut down.
  • 1 0
 Option of electric handbreak? That will be £1500 extra. No one buys it.

Make it not an option and you can sell all the cars for £1500 more.
  • 2 1
 I live in an enclave surrounded by a state park. There is no tv reception and no cell service. Cable arrived 20 years after everywhere else. My circumstances formed my preferences as I have never had a cell phone, Never any Facebook or such. The occasional inconvenience of being out of the loop is a worthwhile trade off for peace and privacy. The battery on my bike is in a Spot locater. For most of us riding and trail work are a way of getting away from all the crap. I had a medical issue that put me on an e bike. That bike became my salvation. Otherwise the bicycle is one of the most efficient machines ever built, batteries not required.
  • 1 0
 "Will there be a day when drivetrain and suspension components that don't need batteries are only available for the lowest-end components? Possibly, but I don't think that's going to be any time soon"

Welp, the newest generations of Dura-Ace and Ultegra (the top two road groupsets from Shimano) were announced a few months ago, and they are Di2-only (no mechanical shifting options). As foreshadowing, I don't like it one bit.
  • 1 0
 Pretty obvious this article was written to inflame the eBike haters and cause traffic from the posts. Everyone knows that talking about politics, religion, and eBikes on Pinkbike will cause feathers to fly and arguments to ensue!
  • 2 0
 Funny how they call these motorcycles Ebikes, just trying to confuse the issue so they'll be allowed on bike trails. Very glad to see them being restricted to moto trails in many areas.
  • 2 0
 So funny to read a comment section of any E- related topic. All these haters of everything that not what they like/have/expect things to be. Why do you care how many LEDs on someone's else bike?
  • 1 0
 When the first battery operated shifting mechanisms came out I remember thinking ‘Sadly, a mountain of spent batteries will eventually result from our insistence on everything being electronic, upside is that we’ll have a new mountain to ride our fat tire bikes on!’ Not sure we really want/need this, I agree that it’s time to take a half-step backwards.
  • 4 0
 Tyrewiz uses a CR1632 battery, just saying
  • 6 2
 Pick your favourite number of batteries and be a dick about it
  • 3 1
 Straight to the heart of things. Bravo. Can also replace "Batteries" with : Suspension travel, number of suspensions, wheel size, total bike weight, total $ digits to purchase bike...
  • 1 0
 I've never used any electronic shifting/suspension components, but I definitely would like to. It isn't a need by any means, but wireless derailleurs/droppers definitely serve a purpose and solve problems.
  • 3 0
 The only battery-powered thing on a bike that will actually make you faster is a power meter. Think I can tolerate one.
  • 2 0
 I'm so conflicted in 2021! I hate Ebikes but love electronic shifting. Even worse really interested in riding Fox's Live Valve although my skills aren't up to that level.
  • 3 0
 Only batteries you need this time of year are for your headlamp, and handlebar lights.
  • 4 0
 The internet of sh*t has come for mountain biking
  • 1 0
 Preferably 0 batteries, but I don’t mind some for night riding.

With the current trend to stick a battery in almost everything on a bike, when will we get a decent heated grip?
  • 1 0
 Isn't it 10 batteries rather than 8? There are 2 on the handle bars, 1 in the crank hole, 1 on the shock, 1 on the fork, 1 on the post, 1 on the derailuer, 2 on the wheels and 1 big one in the frame.
  • 1 0
 These type of questions start, when new people arrive to the sport, and don't even wait to absorve it's culture.

If they would absorve the MTB cult, there wouldn't even be E-Moped (aka ebikes)
  • 4 1
 I got 99mAh/but a bike ain't one
  • 5 1
  • 1 0
 I would say zero but I love my Garmin (for new terrain) and AXS shifting. Can't go back. The dark side has swallowed me up.
  • 2 0
 I'm keeping my two batteries - one for the wireless speedometer head unit and one for the sending unit on the fork.
  • 2 0
 In a non-binary world - zero.
In a perfect world - one.
In a binary world: 0, 1, and more.
  • 3 0
 Just batteries for your lights on awesome ride nights
  • 3 1
 Ugggg, why is it so hard to have a dropper post that descends without my help?!?!?! Well said!
  • 2 1
 I don't get the hatred of "bzzt bzzzt" electronic shifting. No different (actually probably quieter) than the click click of the ratchet in the manual shift lever.
  • 2 0
 Coffee is the only battery you need...

(Oh, a battery pack for my phone because it's old and Strava DRAINS it lol)
  • 2 1
 Call me when I can get that 200mm dropper that goes down and up by itself. I don’t care if it has three batteries, I’m in.
  • 8 8
 The amount of people in the comments section that are angry at Ebikes baffles me. You guys need to calm down. The type of bike someone else rides has no impact on your life. Worry about yourself.
  • 12 2
 @ThunderChunk downvoting just because

but since I'm here, When you've got great trails getting absolutely destroyed by kooks compensating for lack of technique by flying into corners, skidding the entire thing and then pulling out of it in a higher gear than humanly possible, I beg to disagree.

Its not the ebikes, its the morons using them who have no business being in the sport. Sorry but if you couldn't manage to find the motivation to pedal a bicycle to the top of the hill without requiring any motor assistance, then you've probably found yourself in the wrong sport.

But fear not!! There are many great alternatives including a rather novel invention, colloquially known as a dirt bike. 50 hp and 1 battery!! Amazing huh. And of course as mentioned in previous posts, there's always golf......

I mean should everyone on the planet be able to get to to the top of Everest? We've seen how that once great mountain has become a joke in the world of alpinism thanks to this "by any means necessary" attitude. This is all eerily similar to the sport climbing revolution. Which I will concede did bring quite a few really cool things to the table, but also broke so many others along the way. You'd think we'd have learned a little bit.
  • 3 3
 @burnskiez: honestly I've been seeing non ebikers doing exactly the same for years before ebikes even existed. These morons ruining trails on their ebikes were already riding like this on their regular bikes. The real damage from ebikes is done on climbing trails but most climb trails have banned them
  • 6 1
 @ThunderChunk: definitely agree with you to a certain point, but lets be honest, most people dont have the fitness to skid through all the corners and jump on the pedals a couple gears too high and jam outta there repeatedly throughout the ride.  Thats why that type used to quit mtb after a few rides, prior to emtbs.  

But in general, I just dont see how encouraging a large influx of these morons is a win for the sport.  To me thats the problem with ebikes, just makes it too damn easy for idiots to enter the sport.  Agree to disagree though, you didn't escalate the post into an argument and I appreciate it. Cheers!
  • 4 0
 The answer is 42
  • 2 0
 Dw link bikes I’ve owned and ridden do NOT need electric suspension band aid beulschit. NoT ONE BIT!
  • 2 0
 1: The battery on my phone so I can convince the boys to shuttle this weekend
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer What’s the quietest ebike you’ve ridden to date? To me the motor on the Rocky PowerPlay bikes is pretty muted.
  • 1 0
 Flight attendant might be the first Rockshox suspension product that doesn't lose all its adjuster knobs in no-time-flat, haha!
  • 1 0
 Besides night lights on my helmet and my phone in my pocket, ZERO batteries. DAMMIT go ride a singlespeed hardtail and smile and get exercise.
  • 1 0
 Spot on mike. Also if the bike has a two pound battery on it and that battery can’t run all of the electronic devices the designer didn’t understand the assignment
  • 2 1
 I don't need any batteries. Usually a kick start will get both my pedalbike and my motorbike going.
  • 3 1
 not one single sodding battery
  • 2 0
 If the auto down dropper is the white whale, call me Ahab!
  • 3 0
  • 1 0
 Companies caring about their carbon footprint would put any batteries on ther bikes!
  • 1 0
 I’m fine with batteries, as long as they give improvement over the current solution. IME they do.
  • 3 0
 Zero it is!
  • 1 0
 I will have a battery for an electronic-shifting gearbox. (wide ratio, no more than 10 speeds) But only for that.
  • 1 0
 I want 15 non-rechargeable non-changeable batteries... so I throw out my bike when it stops working...
  • 1 0
 Another excellently written article on same topic here: nsmb.com/articles/embracing-singularity
  • 1 0
 My battery’s ran out halfway through reading the article

My synopsis is .. profit because

NEW sells

Its that simple
  • 1 0
 I've batteries in my Garmin, forget to charge it haha the time and in my night lights. Do I *need* those batteries? No
  • 1 0
 "setting up suspension properly isn't exactly rocket science" - call me whatever but it is for me
  • 1 3
 This is a super common argument on Pinkbike, and I don't get why people keep making posts about it. It boils down to, if you want batteries have them, if you don't, don't. No one is forcing you to ride with electronic stuff. Please let this be the end of it.
  • 1 0
 Electronic suspension is like winey flipping vocal harmonized rap music, Destroyed hip hop. Don’t destroy mtb’ing
  • 1 0
 Just how many times me tell ya that bikes doesn't need any fuckin batteries.
  • 2 0
That’s how f*cking many.
  • 3 0
 Why no voting tool?
  • 4 2
 Zéro , E-bike is not mountain bike , it is a different sport
  • 1 0
 One. For my pacemaker. Everything else is fluff you may want, but don't need.
  • 1 0
 AXS looks great but I probably would only put it on an e bike. Either I deal with no batteries or the batteries.
  • 1 0
 *or all the batteries.
  • 4 2
  • 1 0
 Looking back at it now, SRAM's old tagline "Powered by SRAM" was spot-on.
  • 4 3
 Zero ideally but an axs drivetrain is acceptable.
  • 6 4
 I pReFeR aCoUsTiC bIkEs
  • 2 1
 Not a question I thought I'd ever hear.
  • 3 3
 You’ll act like you don’t bring your phone everywhere with you. 99% of us would not leave without it
  • 4 1
 A batteryless phone is pointless, A batteryless bicycle is not.
  • 1 0
 1 only for ligths on nite rides!
  • 1 0
 You can have lights without batteries
  • 2 0
 You can but should you?
  • 1 0
 @boozed: yes - save the planet
  • 2 0
 Technically 0...
  • 1 0
 I would like negative 8 batteries on my bike please
  • 1 0
 Does a bear shit in the woods?
  • 1 1
 Just the one really for the motor. Wouldn't fancy going back in time and having to ride a retro pedalbike.
  • 1 0
 Already the charging of my lights annoys me
  • 1 0
 Well, if you really have to, just one, for your speedometer.
  • 1 0
 Just one…for my lighting system.
  • 2 1
 eMTB could not be without battery, so at least one
  • 1 0
 Non, except for lights or a shockwiz while tuning
  • 1 0
 1 for GPS & light combined.
  • 1 0
 N+1 ?
  • 1 0
 It’s Mona, not Mina
  • 1 0
 Breaking news... duh
  • 1 1
 Your content these days is boring AF. Bunch of news and flufff
  • 1 0
 All of them.
  • 1 0
  • 4 6
 How many damn articles in a day do I need God damn.... Pinkbike is the new Facebook .... Shit sucks dick
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