Review: SRAM X0 2×10 with Grip Shift

Components

Introduction by Francis Cebedo:
SRAM revolutionized drivetrains with their introduction of the modern 2×10 system a couple years ago. They wanted to give you more functionality with less complexity. They then went back to the archives to resurrect Grip Shift by perfecting its accuracy and shifting action. Have they succeeded in both endeavors? Read on and find out.

If you are itching to ride and want to jump ahead to Brian’s conclusions, take the leap over HERE.

SRAM can trace its roots back to the Grip Shift, and through time the drivetrain company has evolved into one of the leading bike component companies in the world, and now has mountain, road and urban drivetrain systems. The SRAM 2×10 system is a couple of years old now, and what was once an oddity has become commonplace. The 2×10 system has some great virtues, such as reduced cross-chaining, quicker and smoother front shifting, more efficiency, decreased overlapping gear ratios, weight savings and a narrower Q-Factor. SRAM’s 2×10 X0 got the trickled down technology from their flagship XX group, which was the first mountain bike oriented 2×10 on the market, but the X0 comes with a better price point and greater durability and toughness, and only a slight increase in weight.

SRAM X0 2×10
The trick Truvativ X0 crank arms are made from carbon fiber with a hollow foam core construction, and utilize a separate bolt-on spider for the chainrings, which use their fast X-Glide shifting technology. It comes in a variety of gear options, including 22-36, 24-38, 26-39 and 28-42, which then mates to the 11-36 cassette.  The X0 front derailleur has a narrower design to match up with the 2×10 system, while the X0 rear derailleur accepts the large 36-tooth cog and retains their quick 1:1 actuation ratio. The X0 shifters are available as the ultra sweet Grip Shift or the normal trigger shifters.


Testing Rig and Terrain
Testing was performed on my medium Ibis Mojo HD with the Cane Creek Double Barrel Air rear shock, and multiple forks, including the Magura TS8 and FOX VAN 160. I am 5’9″, weigh in at 155 lbs, and I have mostly ridden in the West, including vast portions of the Colorado Front Range, Sedona, Moab, Fruita/GJ and many parts of the Colorado mountains. The testing terrain is predominantly loose rocky conditions, with many long steep climbs and descents, rock gardens, slick rock, an occasional smooth singletrack and lots of ugly, loose gravel. I tend to enjoy gnarly technical terrain, where precise steering and maneuvering are required and intricate follow-through, and full commitment is advised. The local conditions are usually dry, with lots of gravel, sand and fine dirt, which gets into everything, and tends to wreak havoc on seals, bearings, chains, cassettes, chainrings.

Tested:

  • Cranks  – X0 GXP 10spd 175mm 24-38-Bashguard in Silver
  • Rear derailleur – X0 long cage 10spd in Silver
  • Front derailleur – X0 High Direct Mount, 2×10 in Silver
  • Shifters  – X0 Trigger in Silver and X0 Grip Shift in Silver
  • Cassette – XG-1080 11-36
  • Chain – 1091R

X0 Front Derailleur
The 2×10 X0 front derailleur is available in four mounting options, High Clamp, Low Clamp, High Direct Mount (tested) and Low Direct Mount, and retails for $74. It can be used in a wide range of 2×10 gearing with a maximum of a 15-tooth differential between the smaller and larger rings. It was specifically designed for 2×10, so the cage is shorter and narrower than a 3x system. The widely spaced pivots of the aluminum links offer stiffness, while the steel cage gives durability and is shaped to work in harmony with their X-Glide front shifting technology. The X0 front worked nicely, and rolled up and down smoothly, without any stickiness, slop or clunking. There has been a great deal of improvements in the SRAM front over time, and they feel on par with Shimano’s offering. Using Grip Shift made the front shifting short, quick and lightning fast, in contrast to the long throw on the triggers. Setting the height of the high direct mount version was simple, and it only needed minor high and low screw adjustments. I didn’t have any cable stretch issues, and only minimal trimming was required. The front has done its job admirably with great durability, and the parallelogram has retained smooth operation through its arc, without any issues during the test period.

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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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