February 20, 2012
We brought you a sneak preview of Jaroslav Kulhavy’s World XC Champs-winning bike, complete with new ten speed Gripshift shifters, but now SRAM has officially released details of the new-old twisty shifters’ return.
SRAM’s Grip Shift first appeared on mountain bikes back in 1990 when Herbold used it on his Downhill Worlds Bike. Back then, the barrels were approximately the same size as tennis balls and completely slick. With any cable contamination, they stopped working and if your hand was muddy, there was no way you could shift.
Things rapidly improved though, with the introduction of the much smaller and lighter 500 shifter and then later the X-Ray shifter, which used a far simpler cable system and had optional sharkfin grips for wet weather. XC racers liked it for its simplicity and DH racers liked the fact you could crash it and not snap bits off with your knees. Gripshift faded in the face of trigger shifters that actually worked and, when 10-speed arrived, it disappeared completely.
However, it’s now back and will come in XX and XO flavours, and work with all of SRAM’s 2×10 groups. Interestingly if you’re on a triple, you don’t appear to be catered for. UPDATE! Looks like there’ll be 2×10 AND 3×10 flavours. We stand corrected!
SRAM says of it “Designed for no-holds-barred, high-performance racing, Grip Shift handles any conditions with ease.” and it’ll be out in April.
Is the world ready for Grip Shift again? We’ll see… We’ll be testing it before it comes out and will let you know whether it rocks our coracles.
Here’s a peek at Jaroslav Kulhavy’s full Worlds-winning bike. Oh, and Danny Hart’s…