SRAM XX1 Grip Shift shifter review£130.00

Brilliant for fast-changing trails

BikeRadar score4.5/5

SRAM’s revolutionary single-front-ring 11-speed XX1 drivetrain comes with a thumb lever shifter, but we’ve become big fans of the twist-control Grip Shift option. The standard trigger shifter is the same price at £130, but 24g heaver at 123g.

The Grip Shift’s ability to twist through multiple gears on the wide-range 10-42T cassette is brilliant for fast-changing, rise-and-fall or switchback trails. We find the ridged and knurled twist action really positive, and it quickly becomes totally intuitive. Even when we’ve grabbed a handful of gears in the roughest possible wheel-only-on the ground-occasionally pedalling moments, we’ve never mangled a shift or lost the chain. 

The trade-off is that shifting accuracy isn’t as pin-sharp as with triggers, so you occasionally need to nudge it in by hand. It’s a swine to get back together if it comes apart too, and only SRAM currently do compatible lock-on grips. When combined with the extra space the shifter takes up, the long grips put brakes too far inboard for some tastes, so if you habitually run with your palms on the bar-ends, it may not be for you.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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