New SRAM Grip Shift – Tech Details, Photos, Weights & First Impressions

SRAM Grip Shift technical description photos weights and first ride impressions

Announced earlier this year, we’ve finally got the low down on the new SRAM Grip Shift, and it’s a far cry from the twist shifters of yore.

They’ll offer XX and X0 versions at launch. Weight is the same for the two systems, differences are materials. XX gets a carbon fiber cover and Gore Ride-On sealed low friction cables, X0 gets an alloy cover and standard cables. The other difference is that X0 will be available in both 2×10 and 3×10 variations while XX remains 2×10 only, true to its name.

Some of us were beginning to think we’d never see the day, but for fans of Grip Shift, we can say the new system appears to be worth the wait…

VIDEO OVERVIEW

THE TECH

new SRAM Grip Shift clear cutaway showing three rows of 120 bearings

The original gripshift relied on grease to keep two plastic cylinders rotating smoothly, and it’s metal indent spring could easily be influenced to shift smoother (or not) depending on how much and what type of grease you squirted in it. The new Grip Shift rotates very smoothly on 120 ball bearings in three rows. It’s non-serviceable, but SRAM’s MTB PR manager Tyler Morland says they’ve outlasted the equivalent of five years of shifting during testing.

new SRAM Grip Shift internal view of return and indent springs

In addition to the bearings, SRAM gave it “Full Metal Shift Indexing” by making both the indent spring (B) and the indent ring (A) metal. The old version had a metal spring but clicked along on plastic indents. When shifting to an easier gear (up the cassette), the spring tension from the derailleur provides a little resistance, keeping you from pulling through more gears than intended. Shifting to a harder gear (down the cassette) moves with the derailleur, so the coil spring (C) inside provides some resistance to keep the twisting in check in the other direction. On the downhills, it also seemed to prevent accidental shifts over hard bumps or drops.

The front shifter has just two or three indents, depending on model, so there’s no more trimming like with the old Grip Shift. Some riders may experience a bit of chain rub on the front derailleur cage at the extremes of cross chaining, but we suspect their YAW design from the new Red group will eventually make its way across SRAM’s family.

new SRAM Grip Shift has minimal parts to undue and cable changes are super easy

The design is super easy to work on. Instead of a rubber flip-up port like the originals, cable changes are done by loosening the clamp and sliding it and the carbon or alloy cover off. Then just rotate the twister and out comes the cable. This also provides an easy port for adding a little grease if you want, though it’ll only smooth over the metal index parts, it won’t get to the bearings.

The lock ring clamps onto an internal slotted sleeve. It’s keyed so the shifter won’t rotate on the bar once it’s locked down. Because the clamp locks down an inner sleeve, it places no pressure on the bearings or any moving parts – ie. no impact on performance. This design also appears to seal it up pretty well, meaning water and mud shouldn’t threaten performance. If so, they can be pulled apart from the other direction and cleaned out. Just be warned, it’s tricky getting the coil spring back into place properly.

new SRAM Grip Shift JAWS lock on grips

They’ll ship with their new JAWS lock-on grips, and they’re designed to fit together visually, ergonomically and functionally. They snap into the shifter and have a keyed interface and lock ring so they won’t slip or rotate. If you want to use your own grips, they ship with a separate end cap that provides a smooth end to the shifter. The supplied grips are ever-so-slightly tapered and were comfortable over two days of riding…which is saying a lot from an avowed Ergon fan such as myself. They’re grippy and soft enough to offer a bit of cushion wiithout being mushy.

SRAM Grip Shift technical overview weights specs photos and ride review SRAM Grip Shift technical overview weights specs photos and ride review

Brake and/or remote lever mounts can snuggle right up with the shifters. The tool-free reach adjust knob on Avid brakes would require that you run them inboard about 1.5cm for clearance, so SRAM’s recommending the tooled reach adjust levers if you’re going to run Grip Shift. Most models, including the new X0 Trail brakes, are offered either way.

2012 celebrates the 25th anniversary of Grip Shift, the product SRAM was founded on. They’ll have most of their top name athletes running it this year, and they’ve already racked up a few podiums with it.

ACTUAL WEIGHTS, PRICING

new SRAM Grip Shift actual weights on the scale

On our scale, the rear shifter plus grip came in at 130g. Rear shifter alone at 93g and grip at 38g, but these are weighed without any cable or housing. SRAM’s claimed weights for both XX and X0 is  207g and includes the shifters, cables and clamps, and the grips are 80g/pair. Compared to published weights of 183g for XX triggers and 232 for X0, the new twisters land between the two triggers on the scale.

Both versions will be available April 30, pricing is:

  • XX w/ grips €270 / $295
  • X0 (red or silver, 2×10 or 3×10) €206 / $225

HOW’S IT RIDE?

I was a fan of Grip Shift. I had it on my first mountain bike. I endured the “SL” versions that were nothing more than white versions of the regular 9.0. And I loved the half pipes. In fact, the only reason I moved away from Grip Shift at all was to bump to 10 speeds and test the current crop of drivetrains for Bikerumor.

The new Grip Shift didn’t disappoint, and I suspect fans everywhere will love it. Shifting is smooth with positive engagement.

You can rip through the entire cassette (see video, coming soon) in one quick turn, and total rotation seems to be about 90º or just under, just short enough to do in a single twist of the wrist. Rotate back to shift easier, forward for a harder gear.

The construction appears solid, and it felt that way on the trail. There’s no lead-in movement like on the old Half Pipes that had some “assist” built into the springs that would build up then pop the shifter into gear.

We were testing it on the new TYPE 2 rear derailleurs, which do add some resistance. Even so, shifting was smooth and light, particularly going to a harder gear. I suspect shifting in both directions would be equally smooth and light on an XX (or other non-TYPE 2) rear derailleur. I didn’t experience any accidental shifts, and the indexing seemed spot on. It only rotated when I wanted it to. In other words, it worked like I expected and it felt good doing it. Until we get our test sets in for long term review, there’s not much more to say, really.

What about Ergon style grips? “There might be some things in development,” said MTB marketing manager Tyler Morland. In our experience, that generally means they’re already working on something, but we also suspect aftermarket brands like Ergon will be quick to offer something.

OFFICIAL PHOTOS

New SRAM Grip Shift official product photos for XX and X0 twist shifters

New SRAM Grip Shift internal diagrams for XX and X0 twist shifters

WIN A PAIR OF XX GRIP SHIFT!

Don’t forget, we’re giving away TWO pair of Grip Shift XX before you can buy it! Click here for details and link to enter the giveaway!

Comments

Jeremiah - 03/29/12 - 9:27am

Ergon already offers a grip shift compatible grip. I use them on my commuter and have been very satisfied. Curious to see wether the diameter of the grip shift and the Ergon’s are the same, or wether they will have that annoying little step down.

axf - 03/29/12 - 9:36am

How do current ergons match up to these? Is the diameter of the twister different than an ergon grip? Is it true the front only has 3 detents so no more trimming the front derailleur? How does the diameter and length compare to 9s XO?

Kovas - 03/29/12 - 9:48am

120 ballbearings … … It’s allll ball bearings nowadays.

Tyler (Editor) - 03/29/12 - 9:52am

all – we’ll check with Ergon and see if we can get a pair of their Grip Shift-ready grips when we get our test set from SRAM in April and report back.

axf – You’re correct, there are only two or three indents on the front shifter, so no more trimming the FD with it. Post has been updated to add this.

aj - 03/29/12 - 10:07am

Great to see its finally here, or soon. Im still 9 speed… die hard twist shift guy. The width of the space between the brake lever and the rubber grip looks wide. Is it wider than the 9sp? Im concerned how far inbound that will put my brake levers. Cool that the grips can interlock with the shifter so no need for bolts on the inside at least. cool that it also works with non-interlock grips too. Though , Jeremiah, no, its not the width of the grip, its the interlocking ability of the grip that grip makers will need to offer. I doubt ergon has anything yet.

dave - 03/29/12 - 12:01pm

no fd trim? WTF???

For me, that is the killer feature of grip shift…

Nick - 03/29/12 - 12:06pm

93g + 38 ? 130g – lol.

Really impressed that they included a clamp so riders can run a grip of their choice.

chessclubloser - 03/29/12 - 12:14pm

Does anyone know the length of the “jaws” grip? it looks really long…

PP - 03/29/12 - 12:20pm

No front derailleur trim = no dice.
They just killed the single biggest advantage of gripshift, but I run 3×9, perhaps it is less of an issue on the 2×9/10 setup?
I guess for those who just have to go 10 speed you could run an old X0 on the left and a new one on the right.

satisFACTORYrider - 03/29/12 - 3:22pm

the brake lever looks a bit far for my preferences. My shimano short reaches might not play so well with the real estate the shifter boddies take up. wonder if you could hack 10mm off those bodies and still be fine.

ian - 03/29/12 - 7:19pm

wow, they really over-engineered the hell out of these, huh. All those ball bearings and metal index plates… expensive, heavy and pointless. I had a set of 8-speed grip shifts that were still going strong after 13 years, except the grip wore out. So is replacing light plastic with heavy metal buying you anything?

the interlocking grip: Hasn’t been an issue for the last 25 years they’ve been offering grip shift, but suddenly is now?

and getting rid of fd trim?! Seriously?

come on sram, you could have redesigned 1 part in the rear shifter and had the old 9s x0/x9/x7 grip shifts be 10s. It’s the type of task I would have given to an intern rather than waste an engineer’s time. Would have been so simple, and most likely every gripshift rider would have been happy with it.
These new shifters don’t make shimano less attractive to me.

tim o - 03/29/12 - 10:58pm

Wait: $225 and $300? For GripShift? At least SRAM has a reputation for being pretty free with warranty parts.
Now that triggers have proven themselves and they’ve done away with the trim, I’m guessing that these will make about seven dudes very happy. The rest of us will be just fine with triggers.

axf - 03/30/12 - 12:02am

Or we’ll be just fine w/ 9 speed XOs, as long as we can still get them.

Gerald - 03/30/12 - 8:31am

@ian Read the article…”The original gripshift relied on grease to keep two plastic cylinders rotating smoothly, and it’s metal indent spring could easily be influenced to shift smoother (or not) depending on how much and what type of grease you squirted in it.”

It’s obvious that metal on metal will provide a consistent smooth feel throughout the life of the product. If you’ve never had to lubricate your old 9speed plastic on plastic you obviously don’t ride enough.

Interlocking grip….who cares? Does the performance suffer b/c of this?

FD trim? IMO worthless if you have your derailleurs setup right esp if running 2×10.

Lastly, go ahead, hire an “intern” and make your component line. It sounds to me like you could start a company with a 10th the overhead of SRAM and make superior components…..ummmm yeah.

Viper - 03/30/12 - 9:32am

Can’t wait to try these out, ok maybe I’m 1 of the 7 people but if we all liked the same boring stuff the world would be a boring place.

Topmounter - 03/31/12 - 12:12pm

At least they now include the (all but mandatory) Gore cables with the shifters.

Pat - 04/01/12 - 8:54pm

I’ve been a Gripshift only guy for close to 20 years, from the days when the company was called GripShift and the only model was called GripShift. I have 2 bikes with X0 and one with x9 currently. Not too pleased with the new ones. Haven’t seen them in person yet, but not crazy about the pricing, losing the front trim, don’t like the added complexity, and the interlocking grips are a problem for me, since I cut down my grips to the exact size I like. I ride my bikes in the woods probably 150-200 days a year, and have at least one set that’s at least 6 years old, and I’ve never messed with the grease or anything else except new cables. The Gore cables make a big difference in the performance. Not thrilled, but would probably still go for them if I need new shifters in the future.

kamil - 04/02/12 - 2:32pm

I wonder it’ll be work with new sram red yaw FD? I hope so. It would be mean that we could ride on 26/11 or 39/36, great
Less gear changing = faster riding

mongo - 04/03/12 - 7:50pm

@Pat
According to the article, you can use the new system with or without the interlocking grips and even comes with an extra end cap to accommodate this. As for pricing, I assume that is MSRP. Regardless, what’s money if you’ve been “…a Gripshift guy for close to 20 years”?

Mindless - 04/06/12 - 4:56pm

Weight weenies are NOT happy.

maria - 06/13/12 - 2:51am

will the XX gripshift be with 5mm or 4mm gore cables ?!

Ventana - 08/14/12 - 7:32pm

I cut my ergon grips and it works prefect. maybe 1 or 2 mm step down, but worth it, as I didnt like the long grips provided

Ventana - 08/14/12 - 7:35pm

The other issue w gripshifters I find, is that if your running 1×10, which I have for 3 yrs now. It will bring your brake lever in more on bar, than your left side. Still fine tuning this issue. Love the shifting, as I was an ole 9 spd gripper back in the 9 days. Thanks SRAM for your awesome products !

MTBBLISS - 09/25/12 - 1:10pm

Has anyone tried removing the collar lock down clamp so short 988 XTR brake levers can be moved out? Was hoping to use the XTR mounting clamp to go over where the lock down clamp is so I my finger can reach the brake lever better and also my KS LEV toggle.

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