Review: SRAM X0 2×10 with Grip Shift

Components

XG-1080 Cassette
The XG-1080 is a 11-36 cassette, with gears of 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 24, 28, 32 and 36, and retails for $280. The XG-1080 cassette’s seven biggest cogs are riveted to each other using steel pins, and the largest is made from 7075-T6 aluminum, while the remaining ones are stamped 4130 chromoly steel. The outer aluminum cog and the upper cage are tied into a metal sleeve which transfers the load onto the freehub body. The last three cogs are stacked onto the cluster in the typical cassette fashion, and everything gets tied down with an aluminum lock ring. The metal sleeve had some restrictive tolerance issues on several test freehub bodies, and lightly sanding the inside allowed the cassette to slip on and off.

SRAM has come light-years ahead on the ramps and engineering of their cassettes, and they offer faster, cleaner and smoother shifting, even when used under heavy loads, and they have closed in on the silkiness of XTR. The 11-36 cassette worked ideally when combined with the 24×38 cranks, especially if you like a good granny, although you do miss the crankability at high speed (38-11). I liked the 38×36 ratio (Big ‘Uns), as it could be used on quite a few mild hills, and those with lots of rolling and undulating terrain, and it shined on steep grunt fire roads. I have been pretty happy with the longevity of the cassette, and it keeps shifting just fine, long after the chainrings have started to give wear issues.

X0 Grip Shift
The X0 Grip Shift is light-years ahead of its predecessor, and offers some amazing technology and features, and everything works together for precise shifting that operates in a silky-smooth manner. You can refer to a full review on the Grip Shift. The X0 Grip Shift is an excellent system, offering smooth, crisp, distinct and solid shifting, without any mis-shifts or dropped gears. The front gives a decisive and short throw that almost feels effortless to move between the chainrings. The rear allows huge swaths of gears to be rolled through on the cassette, or just one at a time, making for precise and easy selections. It is available in Black and Silver, and retails for $225.

X0 Triggers
The X0 trigger shifter is MatchMaker X compatible, and comes in Silver, and Black, Blue, Red and Gold graphic colors, and retails for $258. It has adjustable forged aluminum levers, forged body and alloy covers. In contrast to the Grip Shift, it takes a higher level of effort to switch gears, though the changes offer nice tactile clicks. An excellent thing about triggers, and especially the X0, is the ease and quickness of a down shift, and it only requires a slight dab of the finger to pop down. The forward lever has a nice subtle grittiness to it, so gloves or fingers adhere to the surface without sliding around, even when bumping down a jarring trail. The strong click and movement when shifting gives good feedback, so you are aware of gear changes, and I never had any sort of over shifting problems.

X0 Measured Specs:

  • Front – 125 grams
  • Rear – 201 grams
  • Cassette – 239 grams
  • Gripshift w/ cables 282 grams
  • Trigger w/ cables + MM clamps – 226 grams + 53 grams = 279 grams
  • Cranks – 794 grams total = drive arm w/ spindle -506 grams + non drive arm 181 grams + bb 107 grams
  • Chain – 257 grams

 

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Wilhelm ritter says:

    Did you test the gripshift with new style Simano brake levers? Will they clear the shifter?

    • JS says:

      I know one person with this set-up – they will clear but you will need a long index finger/have to stretch. If you brake with your middle finger, forget it.

  • Rich says:

    Nice job Brian
    Wilhelm- I have used the old style 9 speed twisters w/ XT’s. The levers are short but not bad. The new style XO appear to be wider yet at the body,but w/ a lower profile. No problem w/ clearance, just reach.

  • Reformed Roadie says:

    Sram 10 speed, road or mountain, is not 1:1. That is why 9spd rear derailleurs are not compatible with 10spd shifters, and vice versa.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Per SRAM =>

      Exact Actuation
      When we launched our road technology from scratch we reapplied our MTB proven SRAM 1:1 actuation ratio (shifter cable travel : derailleur movement) for 10 speed rear shifting. EA helps to simplify/stabilize the uneasy act of balancing rear derailleur hanger design, tight cog spacing and exact cable tension. The result: the easiest index shifting system to set up and it stays that way.

      • Howard says:

        Brian,

        I am sure that is what SRAM says, however from various forums it appears you cannot use a 10 spd RD and 10 spd chain with a 9 spd shifter and cassette.

        So it must be close to 1:1 ratio on both, but not exactly the same.

        • Brian Mullin says:

          The spacing on 10-speed is different, so 9 isn’t compatible with 10, it’s 1:1 on 10 vs 1:1 on 9, so they’re not the same

          • Howard says:

            Yes I understand 9 and 10 speed spacing is the same. My point is that if actuation is 1:1 exactly on both systems then you should be able to replace your 9 speed RD and chain with 10 speed and have backward compatibility. Theres a few reasons to do this like having an RD that is designed for a 36 tooth cassette or to replace an ageing or damaged 9 speed RD with a new 10 speed or to gradually morph your drivetrain from 9 speed to 10 speed a component at a time. I am currently using an X7 long cage 9 speed RD with an 9 speed X0 gripshifter with a 12-36 9 speed Shimano cassette with no problems even though the RD is only supposed to go to 34 tooth. I have considered replacing the chain and RD with 10 speed components but the reading I have done says it won’t work.

  • Hefe says:

    The small chainring options for the crank don’t seem to really exist for normal consumers – they are not available anywhere.

  • John Sokuda says:

    Impossible to find the small chainring version of the cranks. I’d like SRAM to point to any retailer that has the XO Silver with a 24-38 in stock, or even to point to one that has EVER had them in stock.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Colorado Cyclist seems to have them in stock? BTI only shows 170mm BB30 versions. Not sure why the lack of those micro drive models, but I’ll see if I can get any information. No silver though.

  • rael says:

    I’ve been using nearly this exact set-up since August 2012. First installed on a 2008 Yeti 575, and recently transferred to a new build 2012 Yeti SB66c.

    For the cranks, I had to buy the 39×26, then buy separately the 38×24 with bash. This was only available in GXP when I bought. Anybody want an unused 39×26 chain ring set? :-) Or Maybe I’ll put it back on when I get in shape this coming summer!

    The X0 gripshifts are great, no issues in the last eight months. It does take some fine tuning to get everything working on the rear derailleur, especially when brand new. Once I get it dialed-in, can go months without any twiddling. I use the Type 2 X0 with medium cage, very sensitive to chain length. I’d say you have a two link +/- before the chain binds on big/big combination (cross chain) or rubs on itself (small/small) due to not enough cage to hold tight the chain. But once I got this set, no issue using all 20 speeds.

    When I transferred to the SB66c, went with Chris King BB, nice and smooth and bling. Bought a X7 3×10 to rebuild the 575.

    Also went with X0 Trail brakes, very happy once I bled them a few times (had to shorten rear line).

    I use a lower end cassette, as my wheel maker said not to use a “spiderless” version, like the one shown. Big savings in price, not sure about performance.

    Here’s a link to my build:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/yeti/sb66-carbon-build-thread-777433-14.html#post10018345

    dave

  • Talabardio says:

    A very well-known high-end Ti bike builder is building me a 650b hard tail to compete at the upcoming NAHBS show (the bike will be mine after the show!) and he could not find the Silver XO crank in a smaller chainring configuration anywhere – so we went with XX instead. But really, smaller chainrings and a Silver crank would have fit the rest of the bike beautifully. So lame – SRAM should either pony up the actual product to the public or withdraw it from their website.

  • David993 says:

    Tried the twist shifters some months ago now. The rear proved faulty after 15 kms and defaulted straight to 10th unless held. Waited for 4 months for a replacement but no joy so dumped the front shifter too!
    However the front shifter was faultless and used successfully with an XT front derailleur and triple crank!
    The ability to shift masses of cogs in one twist is great, but reliability wins, so if we are talking triggers then my preference is for Shimano!

  • Shane jones says:

    I’m wondering about chainring combos. Any problems with running a 28/39 combo? Wanting to go 2×10, but seems like a 28 inner would be better than a 26 for most of the riding I do. I ride a 29 er so I do want a 39 outer.

  • tim walsh says:

    Can you use the XO type 2 rear derailleur with this?

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