SRAM had newly crowned world champion Jaroslav Kulhavy's Specialized S-Works Epic 29er on show in their Interbike booth, and while the bike offers many interesting aspects, the most talked about are the BlackBox prototype GripShift shifters. SRAM was not shy about their impending availability either.
While SRAM reps wouldn't offer a date, they said the new shifters will be available 'soon,' and they may trickle down the line from the XX variant, which will likely have a similar shape and look of the prototypes that Kulhavy used to win the World's.
The new shifters looked quite far down the development route, but SRAM said the final models would likely feature more carbon.
Shift actuation is pretty much how we remember GripShift; nice solid detents that take a decent force to overcome, but once said detent is overcome it seems to drop into gear without too much extra force needed to actually move the cable. Big sweeps across the cassette are possible, and, of course, the shifters will be for 2x10 drivetrains.
SRAM set the launch of the new shifter for 2012, which happens to be the 25th anniversary of the DB1 shifter, circa 1987, and the component that put the manufacturer on the map.
For more, see Mountain Biking UK's Ric McLaughlin's blog on the return of Gripshift.