SRAM introduces Gripshift. Again!

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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.

Looking rather like the Grip Shift of old we reckon, though with a less tortuous cable exit

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!

Silver XO and matching grip. Interesting flared end to it... Click on pics for larger versions.

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.


XX in racer-black

Here’s a peek at Jaroslav Kulhavy’s full Worlds-winning bike. Oh, and Danny Hart’s…


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (5)

    Sram will never ‘shift’ those!

    Would rock my coracle. Always preferred gripshift.

    I have been running 10 speed gripshift courtesy of for a couple of months – no problems. I could even use a triple. He takes NOS XO shifters and adapts them even for Shimano mechs. All good and probably cheaper than the new stuff.

    Always in the shadow of triggers, despite being the light option.
    I can’t see that changing, but it has a novelty value.

    I thought sram bought sach in order to get a grip shifter that actually worked in none california climates (and decent chains)

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