new SRAM Grip Shift install notes real weights and first ride review

When I first rode the new SRAM Grip Shift, it was on a test bike from Giant and mated to their new Type 2 X0 rear derailleur.

This combination didn’t provide the ideal opportunity to form an opinion. Yes, it worked great. And Giant’s Anthem 29er is a great bike and the derailleur seemed to work as promised. But, it wasn’t my bike with my handlebar and cockpit set up, and the Type 2 rear derailleur adds some resistance to the downshift (easier). In other words, it was a nice start, but putting it on my own bike lets the real test begin. And it’s begun.

First things first: Performance. I have the X0 model Grip Shift. The rest of my set up is XX with Magura MT8 brakes. The lockout is the X-Loc for a SID 29er fork. Grip Shift fans, which I count myself among, won’t be disappointed. Mated up to the XX rear derailleur, it’s quick, light and simple to shift. I suspect the action would be similar on any non-Type 2 rear derailleur. Normal first rides cable stretch aside, it’s shifted flawlessly. The action is lighter than the old-school models. Basically, if it proves durable over the long term, it should please fans and delight newbies.

However, there are a few things worth considering before making the horizontal upgrade from triggers to twisties. They surprised me once installed on my own bike, and depending on your set up, may make you rethink a few things.. The photo above shows my normal hand position with the outside of my palm at the edge of the grip…

new SRAM Grip Shift install notes real weights and first ride review

This photo shows my palm lifted slightly. Basically, riding on the edge of the included JAWS grips means my hand is just barely on the shifter. Translation: I have to move my hand to shift, which wasn’t the case with the originals. Narrowing my grip temporarily to shift felt weird. Besides requiring non-forward-motion-making-effort, it reminded me too much of my super narrow handlebar from a decade ago.

My hands are on the large side of things…I wear an XXL Giro MTB glove or XL Jett (shown) and most others. Riders with smaller hands will have to move their hands even more to shift…IF you use their JAWS grips.

new SRAM Grip Shift install notes real weights and first ride review

For a comparison of the width, here’s the Ergon grips I was riding. Ergon width: 5-1/8″ (133mm). SRAM Grip Shift width with JAWS grips: 6-3/4″ (172mm). Difference: 1-5/8″ (39mm) per side.

new SRAM Grip Shift install notes real weights and first ride review

Another issue with the wide grips is brake reach. With the Magura MT8 levers, I’m barely reaching the outer edge of their lever.

new SRAM Grip Shift install notes real weights and first ride review

For comparison, here’s where I typically grabbed the Magura lever when using the Ergons. Right in the sweet spot of the lever. To get the same reach, I have to dial in Magura’s lever quite a bit closer to the bar.

new SRAM Grip Shift install notes real weights and first ride review

To be fair, SRAM is probably designing Grip Shift around their Avid brakes, which use a flatter lever blade with a pivot much closer to the bar. The design has lots of merit. Reach is more consistent across the width of the lever and it doesn’t slope in so much toward the bar the further in you pull it. Even with Avid levers, though, the blade is still much further inboard than it would be with traditional grips and trigger shifters. Just something to think about if your cockpit is a mash up of brands.

new SRAM Grip Shift install notes real weights and first ride review

One last thing to consider: Depending on your handlebar, the new Grip Shift may push any remote levers so far inboard that they start hitting the curvature of riser bars or the expanding taper to the 31.8 OS clamping standard. This was the case with my Easton Monkey Lite XC riser, so I was very cautious to only lightly clamp the fork’s remote lockout. If I were running Avid brakes, I could use one of their various Matchmaker clamps to combine the lockout with the brake lever, which would eliminate the issue. As is, I would need about 8-3/4″ (224mm) of flat bar area to comfortably mount everything shown here.

So performance is great, but is the install a deal breaker?

No. Using other, shorter grips would solve the width problem since that would move the hand further onto the shifter barrel. Though the brake lever is always going to be a bit further inboard than with triggers, shorter grips would eliminate most of the brake lever reach issue, too. As nicely integrated as the JAWS grips are, I’m likely switching to something aftermarket that I can trim down. I think SRAM would be wise to offer a 1″ shorter JAWS grip as an option.

One more statement in fairness. The shifting action is very light. For a single shift, I could just rock my palm in a bit and twist and it shifted one gear just fine. It just wasn’t a very confident shifting movement, but that’s with only about 3/8″ of palm actually twisting the shifter. If I wanted to throw two or more gears at once, I had to grab more shifter. SRAM did a great job of balancing easy shift effort with enough “retention” to prevent mis-shifts.

One last thing I noticed: If you don’t get the inner clamp snugly against the alloy (or carbon for XX) barrel cover on the inboard side of the shifter, the cover will rattle. Bad. Make sure it’s tight.

new SRAM Grip Shift install notes real weights and first ride review

Rear shifter weights with cable: X0 Grip Shift is 106g versus 118g for XX trigger. I included the clamp on the trigger because the clamp is built into the twister’s design. Apples to apples.


  1. Two comments: 1. Can’t you trim the grips so that you can move the shifters inward where you want them? 2. As far as the weights, most people using the triggers don’t need the clamp since its built into the SRAM levers. Tiny weight difference anyway.

  2. “…I’m barely reaching the outer edge of their lever.”

    That’s where you are SUPPOSED to grab the lever. Index finger at the end of the lever (farthest from the pivot point) gives you the most leverage, i.e. stopping power. Try it – you’ll like it!

  3. Tyler –

    I’ve been running older grip shifts on my bikes for years with Ergon’s and had similar issues. Though it immediately voids any warranties, I “adjusted” the length of my Ergon grip on my left grip to adjust it to be about the same width as it was on the right side where I run a shifter pod.

    I’ve run this setup for about 3 years now, no issues other then the overall feel which to be honest, I don’t really notice.


  4. @roger. I agree with you on the lever position. The author must be a newbie or something. ‘sweet spot” in the middle of the lever? That’s more like the “panic spot”, which i thought disappeared with the invention of the disk brake.

  5. Yeah, just use dedicated GS grips or trim your grips. 10min job and not really worth dedicating so much of an article to.

    I’ve trimmed my ODI 90mm grips down by another 7mm or so and it’s perfect. Brake levers are right where I need them for one finger braking. I ride with my hands right up against the flange. No accidental shifting ang gear changes as precise as firing a Glock.

  6. First, thanks for the review, good job.

    To be truly weight weenie, weigh the shorter grip, the twist shift and an XO lever. Then for the trigger shifters weigh a full length grip, the triggers and the Match Maker attached XO Lever. That should give you an exact gram difference. You know, in the interest of “apples to apples”. Thanks.

  7. @Masher – you can’t easily trim the stock grips. The “Lockjaw” system has a hard plastic inner sleeve under the grip with tabs that interlock with the shifter. However, I see no reason why you couldn’t run regular grips cut down to your preferred size. I’ve been using X0 Gripshift for years and like them alot. I cut my grips way down, so that the grip plus the rubber shifter covers are the same width as a regular grip. Frankly, I’m not feelin’ these new ones. Added complexity, way more expensive, and the grip issue negate any positives. Can’t imagine the shifting action is THAT much better.

  8. Just another example of how SRAM launches new products without any regard for what the consumer wants. Show me the study results that overwhelmingly said ” I want a really long grip, ball bearings, more weight, and make my levers and my loc-out hard to reach”, and I’ll show you a bunch of people who’ve never ridden a mtb.
    You’d think that they’d at least be able to get the Grip Shifter product right, seeing as that is what made them exist in the first place. Nope. Instead someone approves the release of a ‘new’ Grip Shifter that seems to miss the mark. Maybe Shimano can release an XTR twisty and do it right.

    SRAM = Loose
    Win = Shimano?

  9. work for shimano chris?

    I agree with lwin..
    “I’ve trimmed my ODI 90mm grips down by another 7mm or so and it’s perfect. Brake levers are right where I need them for one finger braking. I ride with my hands right up against the flange. No accidental shifting ang gear changes as precise as firing a Glock.”

  10. Having to use super short grips has always been a GS thing. The shifter has always takent up a ton of bar-estate. I’m pretty sure they will be offering a shorter grip. They always did in the past. I have a set of original Lock-On grips that were made for use with GS that are only about 3″ long. They didn’t work for me because their was almost as much aluminum as rubber under my hand.

  11. I am going to agree with chris here. 3 times the price and no improvements that were on my want list. I don’t know if the shift feel is better but I never felt it was an issue before. Same goes for durability – was never a problem except for the rubber part smoothing out. Here are the problems with the old ones, none of which were truly addressed the way I would have liked them to be, if at all: as Ripnshread said, if you used lock on grips you would have as much aluminum as rubber. They should have built into the shifter an ODI-style lock, or if that could not be done given space constraints, they should have made several grip options available separately. Ideally, two different thickness options with some tricky way to customize width without sacrificing the ability to lock them on the bar. I personally would never run a grip as thin or as long as the ones that come with these shifters. Yes you could cut them but would they still have the outer locks? Second problem with the old ones is the window would fall off of the indicators. SRAM removed the indicators, which I indeed use and prefer to have as long as they aren’t super bulky, although I could live without them. They should have just put indicators on them and made them less flimsy – for the price you’d think they could manage that. Finally to fail to make any improvements anyone asked for and yet make them significantly heavier is just another disappointment (I’m no weight weenie but I do care somewhat). I am still on the fence about buying a pair as part of my new drivetrain. After all the development time and the huge price increase I am really surprised they made a product that does not excite me (a grip shift lover) very much.

  12. We have had issues with the cover rattling…glad to see it is not a unique problem! Will attempt to tighten the inner clamp and see if things change…

What do you think?