SRAM have announced that their 2012 X9 mountain bike shifters will use the same ball bearing pivot design as the company's higher-end XX and X0 units.
The change affects both front and rear shifters in all of X9’s colors and speeds – 2x10, 3x10 and 3x9. The current bushing-based design for the main cable-pull lever will be discontinued when the new shifters become available in January 2012.
SRAM say the change to ball bearings results in better lever feel, more precise shifting and better overall performance. We’ve reviewed previous versions of SRAM’s X9 trigger shifters and come away with favorable opinions of them. In fact, several BikeRadarstaffers use the older model X9 triggers on their personal bikes for both cross-country and downhill. We’ve found durability of the bushing equipped version to be good, so we’re looking forward to the positive effect the bearing should have on the feel and action of the shift lever.
Bearings replace bushings in the 2012 X9 shifters
“The average person [rider] couldn't tell the difference in feeling between the three [bearing-equipped shifters],” said Tyler Morland, SRAM’s MTB PR manager. “The new one just gains the crisp, positive shift that everyone knows from the X0 and XX families, minus the finite adjustments. With this being said, X9 takes a step towards X0 and mounts the podium, for lack of a better term.” Despite the upgrade, SRAM will keep the price of the shifters the same, asking US$125 for the 10-speed set.