The new SRAM Eagle AXS Rocker Paddle is an optional replacement for your wireless mountain bike shifter, but is it worth making the switch? Well, yes, probably, but it’s not that straightforward.

Honestly, I never loved the ergonomics of the original AXS paddle shifter. The upper half sits considerably higher than any mechanical shifter lever, and the whole things sits a bit farther behind the bar, too. Meaning, thumb movements are exaggerated and require more effort.

And, no matter which way I made it work through the AXS app, I couldn’t consistently remember which way shifted up or down. Because it’s hard overcoming 15+ years of muscle memory, amiright?

So, I was really excited to see this new trigger-style rocker paddle option. But, after installing it, it’s not as simple as just swapping the paddles. Here’s what you need to know before making the switch…

Video Comparison of SRAM Eagle AXS Shifters

In this video, I’ll show you exactly how the different paddles affect your brake and grip layout. Or, rather, how your brakes and grips affect the placement of the shifter paddle. You will have to make some adjustments. Below, are pics showing closer detail and some measurements.

Visual Comparison of SRAM Eagle & AXS Shifters

sram mechanical shifter for eagle 12 speed groups

This is the SRAM Eagle 12-speed mechanical shifter, which is what most of us (SRAM riders anyway) are used to.

I’m showing this first for a visual comparison of where the thumb paddles are for both downshift paddle (bigger lever, pulls cable into easier gear) and upshift trigger (smaller, releases cable into harder gear)…and to clarify those two terms going forward.

custom position setting on sram mechanical trigger shifter

For my personal setup, I move the downshift paddle closer to the upshift trigger so that I can minimize thumb movement as much as possible. This is usually about as close as I can get it without interfering with trigger access.

And this is where my hand and thumb end up on them. Note how low the paddle is compared to what’s coming up. Depending on the situation, I may have to actually move my thumb down and under the paddle to get to the trigger.

OK, here’s how the new AXS Rocker compares:

new sram eagle axs shifter paddle for wireless shifter straight on view

This is the new SRAM Eagle AXS Rocker paddle, which moves the thumb pads to more closely mimic the position and feel of their mechanical shifters.

sram eagle axs rocker paddle shifter upgrade fit shown on handlebar

Watch the video see the concessions and changes necessary to fit this new rocker. The biggest thing most riders will likely have to do is slide the brake lever inboard…IF you’re running SRAM’s fully integrated, fully adjustable Matchmaker X clamp for both brakes and shifter.

The photo above shows how far inboard the clamp needs to go with the shifter mounted using it’s left-side hole, which sets it further inboard.

sram eagle axs rocker paddle shifter upgrade fit shown on handlebar

For the paddle to clear my lock-on grips, which are admittedly among the thinner ones out there, the clamp had to be about 30mm inboard of the grip.

sram eagle axs rocker paddle shifter upgrade fit shown offset from brake lever

I also had to rotate the shifter a few degrees rearward/upward to be able to full depress the “trigger” and initiate a shift. Admittedly, I run my brakes angled downward slightly more than most people I know, so you may not have this issue.

original sram eagle axs wireless shifter paddle

This is the original paddle that comes stock on SRAM Eagle AXS shifters (unless you order it with the new rocker). Note that the concave rocker on the back of the shifter sits considerably higher than the new one. And, the “paddle” sits much farther inboard.

The shape required my thumb to move further back and up to shift in either direction, which took fractions of a second more. By moving my thumb farther off the grip, and for slightly longer, it also reduced my overall grip for the milliseconds it took to shift.

original sram eagle axs wireless shifter paddle

It’s worth noting that I could nudge the paddle’s front section, or the backside of the stock paddle, to initiate a shift…but it wasn’t always intuitive, especially in the heat of a frantic shifting situation. Basically, every shift with this paddle sucked a little more mental energy out of me, and that crap adds up over a long ride. Maybe it’s just me, but we humans only have so much decision making energy, and I’d rather use mine for handling. Or which taco shop to hit after the ride.

original sram eagle axs wireless shifter paddle
The original paddle has more clearance before hitting the brake…IF you’re running it in the outboard shifter mount position.

The upside is that the original can be positioned much closer to the grip. So, if you prefer your brakes or levers sitting farther outboard, this might be the better option for you. And, you can rotate the shifter farther down/forward.

Hand position comparisons between SRAM Eagle AXS shifters

Lastly, here are my hand positions on the new Rocker (top) and original (bottom). Note how much higher my thumb is on the original versus the new one.

Overall, I’m much happier with the new Rocker. Even compared to the mechanical shifters, it requires far less thumb movement to hit the “trigger”, because there’s more open access to it.

The downshift “paddle” click seems less satisfying than before, which I can’t explain, but the “trigger” click is more so. Neither feels like the mechanical shifters, which have a very gratifying tactile “click”, but the shifting performance of AXS is top shelf.

Final thought: If you like the new Rocker but want to run it farther outboard (closer to the grip), you could also file down the “paddle’s” wing…which I’m seriously considering doing.

What do you think? Have you tried the new Rocker? Like it? Leave a comment and help others decide which version is right for them.

SRAM.com

12 COMMENTS

  1. It’s early days for me on the new paddle but I do prefer it to the original which was a massive disappointment after spending so much on a shifter, I don’t know who signed off the first paddle but I would like to see their hands and shift setup, what were they thinking!!!
    Admittedly I was slightly hamstrung by running the shifter on a Hope matchmaker clamp which would allow for left right adjustment but not angle.

    I was so pleased Sram made a new rocker, it made me feel a bit less fussy for not getting on with the original, and at just £20 here in the uk I thought good value, plus the fact that it is so easily replaceable gives me hope for other versions in the future, anyone with a 3d printer needs to get in touch with you about a better version, (could call it the rumor switch or something)

    I did find the same issues you found, mounted on the Hope matchmaker it did clear the grip but was too far back causing me to bend my thumb far back, also it was rubbing my thumb whilst riding and couldn’t move any further towards the stem, so I mounted it to the original clamp which positioned it forward, better for the thumb action but made it hit the grip clamp so I had to move it more than I would have liked as the brake lever had to move over as well. Oh and I had to file an edge to clear the Hope Tech 3 clamp but only because it was only 21mm away from the grip clamp.

    So to sum up, better but needs a MK3 to nail the shape me feels, others might find it perfect, for £20 and the ease of fitment it’s well worth it.

  2. That video is hilarious. Works on the bike in his gloves trailside with leaves all over the ground to hide the parts he drops. I like the new paddle design.

  3. Just mixed xtr drive train with axs shifter. Absolute butter. Only thing I have never been happy with is the paddle. Can’t wait to try this one.

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.