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.