Back in 2013 we tested a set of XX 10spd Grip Shifters (SRAM 10 Speed Grip Shift). It’s a system we were quite keen on as all our testers had fond memories of the original Grip Shift and one even has a somewhat disturbing obsession. It is a personal thing though, but there’s a loyal Grip Shift following that will be quick to relate the strong arguments for Grip Shift, namely, being able to shift across multiple gear selections in one go, a more ergonomic feel, simplicity and robust operation along with cleaner aesthetics.
All of this has been transferred across to XX1 Grip Shift with some subtle differences, besides the obvious 10spd/11spd.
Firstly, a serious diet. With XX1 at 143g and XX at 287g, that’s nearly half the weight with a difference of 144g and about 24g lighter than XX1 triggers. Actuation is slightly different, given that this is an eleven-speed system, with narrower chain and cassette, hence a tighter shifting index (Speed Metal™). SRAM give this shifting the snazzy moniker ‘X-Actuation™’ yes it’s trademarked as such. Our favorite though is ‘Rolling Thunder™’ for the bearings sealed in the housing, helping deliver and maintain smooth shifting.
And shift smoothly it did, all through the rain and damp of Karkloof to the dry dusty and rocky trails of Kings Kloof. We never had any issues with the XX1 grip shift and, being a 1×11 setup it was beautiful in its simplicity and ease of operation.
If we were to nitpick, we could say it was slightly less sharp on shifting than the triggers. That said, we do feel that’s down to a refinement in setting the indexing during service or setup. Some riders may feel the space of the shifters and long grips push the brakes too far in, but again this can be altered by cutting the grip to size or using your own preferred grips (with some careful fitment).
If you ride in winter when it’s cold and wear thick gloves, you’ll find the Grip Shift a pleasure as opposed to fumbling to reach your trigger shifter. Every one of our testers gave it high accolades – for year-round riding. Even if you’re not used to the action, Grip Shift does become intuitive rather rapidly. Highly recommended if it’s an option for you.
CONTACT: www.sram.com; 021 761 3528
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*Originally published in TREAD Issue 29, 2014 – All rights reserved