At once, the SRAM XX1 Grip Shifter is a revelation and a revisiting. At the helm of the controls for an 11-speed cassette, the Grip Shifter places a foot forward towards the future. While at the same time, its design both improves upon and retains the heritage of mountain biking. This duality is a purely American ethos in a cycling industry that refuses to look back. Most of all, it's at the heart of SRAM's innovation concept -- anything can be improved upon, everything is static. With XX1, SRAM has unearthed and reworked prior iterations of the grip shifter concept to bring it back to relevancy. Starting with the shift cover, SRAM now uses a carbon cover for the XX1 to reduce weight and increase durability. Under the cover, the shifter barrel no longer rotates on plastic parts, instead, rotating on three rows of stainless steel ball bearings. This system provides a smoother shifting due to the near elimination of friction and play. Accordingly, it now requires less user-force per shift, which creates faster, crisper shifts while increasing the life span of the bearings. This also means that the stainless bearings don't require the repetitive monthly re-greasing, as with prior grip systems. Further contributing to the shift quality, SRAM has deviated from its bread-and-butter, 1:1 pull ratio. Now, XX1 uses what SRAM calls X-Actuation to deliver precise movement across the 10-42t cassette. The shifting index has also been updated from plastic to SRAM's Speed Metal 7075 aluminum indexing. With a more refined, durable surface, the index is highly-resistant to wear. Speed Metal is designed to accommodate the tighter tolerance of the XX1's 11-speed drivetrain, and of course, this works to your favor. The new internal design increases the longevity of your shifters while aiding in the increase of shift accuracy and feel. The Grip Shifter's internal technology make it an asset to anyone looking to invest in the XX1 group, but of equal importance are the commonly overl...