We’ve just been sent this spy shot from one of our friends who was at the World Championships last week. You might not have noticed in all the Danny Hart frenzy, but there was a cross country race there too… and the winner of it was Specialized rider and Czech national, Jaroslav Kulhavy.
The eagle-eyed will have spotted the familiar shape of a Gripshift shifter on his bars. This is a product that quietly faded a couple of years ago when SRAM’s top groupset went to ten speed. We thought it unlikely that SRAM would retire it completely as it’s still the lightest way of shifting gears, and you know what these XC racers are like, but we were starting to have doubts about it ever making it to ten speed.
However, seeing this spy shot confirms that SRAM has at least a Blackbox version of the shifters out there and so it’s likely that we’ll see it in XX form at least some time next year. Jaroslav was running a SRAM XX rear derailleur with an 11-36 cassette and a SRAM XX front derailleur with 39-26 XX rings, so there’s no way he was running old XO.
Welcome back Gripshift. Most people don’t understand you, but there’s a small minority out there who’ve missed you.