SRAM 10-speed Grip Shift Review

Components

The new 10-speed Grip Shift was introduced at Sea Otter this year, after extensive block box testing and some race appearances, including Jaroslav Kulhavy’s 2011 XC World Championship win. The new system was reengineered from the inside out, with some excellent technology, such as their speed metal shift indexing, roller thunder ball bearings and jaws lock-on grips. The new shifters offer excellent operational capabilities, with smooth and precise shifting.

Grip Shift xx and X.0
The Grip Shift is currently available in the XX and X.0 groups, in 2×10 and 3×10 versions, and they come as a kit, which includes a shifter, grip, cable and housing. The XX model has a carbon fiber cable cover and Gore Ride-On housing and cables, and only comes in 2×10. The X.0 has an aluminum cover and standard housing and cables, and comes in 2×10 and 3×10. Otherwise, the rest of the shifter is exactly the same. The entire package minus the housing, weighs 280 grams (XX weighs a few grams less), while the grip themselves comes in at 75 grams/pair. In comparison, a trigger shifter system with the same sort of lock-on grips would weigh at least 100 grams or more. The weight weenie crowd can rejoice on a lighter total setup, as the rough difference (no grip) between the triggers and Grip Shift is around 75 grams. The XX retails for $295, and the X.0 is $225, the latter coming in silver or red colors.

Tested system: Ibis Mojo HD with SRAM X.0 2×10, with 24-38-bashguard front and 11-36 rear.

Measured Specs (X.0):

  • Grip Shift w/ cables & grips – 281 grams
  • JAWS lock-on grips – 76 grams
  • Grip Shift w/cables – 205 grams
  • X.0 triggers w/ cables – 279 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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  • ginsu says:

    These are ridiculously over-engineered! The whole reason why Gripshifts worked in the first place is because they were CHEAP and LIGHTWEIGHT! Now, they are neither. Well if you just have to shift by accident, then you’ll love it all over again!

    And trying to compare it with triggers and LOCK-ON grips to sell it to weight-weenies. PLEASE, no self-respecting WW would run lock-ons!

    • jiw71 says:

      really! You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I’ve been using grip shifts since 2008 – first on a 3×9 drivetrain and now on a 2×10. Advantages for me are: they ARE light, crisp shifting. I can dump multiple gears with a simple twist of the wrist (while maintaining my ‘full grip’), nothing “sticking out” around the shift area – I do crash occasionally, and most important for me is that 4 fingers (1 on the brake lever) are gripped around the handlebar at all times………..and PLEASE, no self-respecting WW would shift by accident. :)

    • Jeremy S says:

      People who worry about saving 30 grams on grips are misguided.

  • solak says:

    Grip shift, I tried them and they don’t work for me, particularly the front derailleur piece. Went back to triggers.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      solak: The front was my fave, it only took a simple short quick snap to change gears, none of the long hard throw required on a trigger.

      ginsu: I updated the article for clarification => “The entire package minus the housing, weighs 280 grams (XX weighs a few grams less), while the grip themselves comes in at 75 grams/pair. In comparison, a trigger shifter system with the same sort of lock-on grips would weigh at least 100 grams or more. The weight weenie crowd can rejoice on a lighter total setup, as the rough difference (no grip) between the triggers and Grip Shift is around 75 grams.”

  • dave says:

    The review omits the fact that the new front shifter doesn’t allow trimming, which to me is the best thing about grip shifts.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      dave – I’ll update the article on that subject. I didn’t find it an issue at all, as I never had any cross rubbing on the front.

    • JJ says:

      No trimming? That’s the whole reason I loved the 3×9 twist. That would be a dealbreaker for me aside from the price.

  • esch says:

    I’d like a better explanation of what ‘speed metal’ is. From what I could see, it’s just a metal ring of detents.

    Aside from marketing, what exactly makes it ‘speed metal’? I work with a lot of engineering and CNC metalwork and I’ve never heard of this ‘speed metal’. I am only imagining the ‘speed holes’ that Homer Simpson once tried to make popular.

    And “rolling thunder” for a set of cartridge bearings? Aren’t we getting a little carried away then?

  • Joules says:

    The original grip shifts had a total of 7 pieces, and the mounting bolt was the only one that was metal. They were crazy light, and you could beat them with a hammer and they wouldn’t break.
    As the models went on they got heavier, more complicated, less reliable, and more expensive. These… are it. There is officially no reason to use grip shift anymore – front trim was a big reason and they got rid of that (why? Only reason I can figure is they wanted these things to suck).
    a 75g weight savings for the ww crowd that don’t actually ride is not a reason.

    Honestly, Sram, you could have had an intern spend 2 hours designing a new index plate for the 9s models and come up with something vastly superior to this.

  • Tim says:

    May not be a reason for replacing triggers but what about a totally new setup. Triggers or GS?

    I have been riding GS since 1997 on my GF Paragon. Last Nov I bought a new GF Hifi Deluxe with triggers and I hated them. Too easy for my big thumbs to accidentally hit the up-shift. Been waiting for the 3×10 GS but in the mean time I adjusted the location of the triggers and they work better now as I have gotten used to them. Still might go GS. I did love the trimming for the front but my current setup needs no trimming.

  • DJ says:

    I would agree with basic comments from jiw71. I have the 2004 XO grip shifters (with XO rear der, and XT front…) on my old ’04 Titus Switchblade. And its been nothing but bliss and full reliability. I love how I have virtually no unintended shifts…can hold to the bar much easier and can drop gears like crazy whenever needed. Its been very solid for me, and the bike has definitely crashed several times a year and the gripshifts just keep going. I will probably take a chance with the new ones when I get around to a new bike this year. Happy Trails to all…. -DJ, Ridgway CO 81432.

  • Nick says:

    Any chance we’ll see a price drop on 2×10 gripshifts any time soon? All this new tech is so expensive these days. I have love GS for years, (using them since 94 I believe) but can no longer afford them on by budget. :-( I have x9 triggers on my bike now b\c it came with them. They work very well but I really miss the ease of the GS!

  • Alex says:

    I just installed these (actually only one since I’m running 1×10) last night. Here’s the lowdown:
    Agree about the cable cover. It does not snap in but relies on the adjacent lock ring to hold it in. If you’re careful to put inward pressure on the lock ring when you’re tightening it, that should eliminate any movement of the cable cover.

    I was disappointed that the whole shifter (without grip) is actually a little wider that the old one! I was sure they’d make it narrower if anything.

    The grip seems like total garbage. The rubber is not soft at all, and also the grip is longer than necessary. No worries though, because I’m using ODI Rogue shorties anyway! By the way these grips are the best and they last forever!

    To the guy who said the “blind” piece (I call it the blank-off ring) didn’t fit, it’s because you didn’t remove the existing metal piece from the inside first. The instructions were TERRIBLE and I also took a little while to figure it out.

    I’ve only ridden around the block so far, but here’s my observation about the feel. The action is much lighter than before and quieter too. Of course the detents are closer together now with 10 speeds. I think after a little getting used to, the light action and closer detents will be a nice change. The familiar SRAM clunk is totally gone! I also installed an X9 Type 2 derailleur, so it’s all ghostly quiet now!

    Really my only significant complaint is the width. Even 9 speed GS forced you to mount your brake too far in. Now it’s even worse! The old cabling system was fine for me, and by using that system they would not have needed to use the space-consuming inner lock ring.

  • Alex says:

    I’ve put in two real rides now, and I’m glad to say it’s super smooth and so quiet now with the new GS and Type 2 derailleur. I didn’t need to readjust anything on the trail either. And for today’s ride I totally removed my MRP 1.X chainguide. No chain drops at all thanks to the Type 2. Here’s my setup:

    2010 Anthem X
    2008 RaceFace Deus XC cranks (triple w/ middle ring only – Blackburn Mono Veloce 32T)
    Grip Shift X.0 10 speed
    Shimano XT M771 11-36 cassette
    SRAM X.9 Type 2 Derailleur
    KMC X10L chain

  • Irideon says:

    I have ridden about 500 miles now with the SRAM X0 grip shifters. I have to be up front and say I am not an advanced rider but I ride usually four days a week in Annedale State park in California. I am an older guy and tend to be a cruiser on my bike. At this point, I made two changes to my biking in the last year that I will never change back from. The shifters are one of the changes. The shifters operate exactly as advertized. Lowest to highest gear in a fraction of the time of lever shifters without changing my grip on the handlebars… I don’t really think about shifting anymore, I just do it. To me it is a more natural movement to twist rather than change my grip and reach for a lever. The only problems I ran into were having to change the front deraileur from a sram x9 to an xo to get the shifter to work. The hand grips also were too thin, long and tapered too much which put my thumb joint into a position that caused it to ache after 30 minutes of riding. I put shorter, thicker grips on that are as thick as the twist part of the shifters. Also the lining on the rear shifter cable was causing the rear shifting to hang-up… We changed it to a regular cable and the problem went away. I love the shifters and as I said will never go back. The other change I made was upgrading to a 29″ bike.

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