Rapid Fire vs Grip Shift


Here we go, back to the eternal question: which of these two gears shifting concepts is best? Shimano bets on Rapid Fire while Sram consider the cyclists’ needs are better met by Grip Shift. Both systems have been conceived to be used on mountain bikes as well on city bikes.

Sram first introduced Grip Shift in 1988, while Rapid Fire was launched by Shimano one year later. Since then, both systems have evolved in terms of materials and weight, but the operating principle remained the same.

The two concepts immediately made their way to top of cyclist’s preferences, generating an intense debate about which one is the best. However, an absolute winner cannot be declared as both systems have their benefits and their drawbacks. We chose to list them below so that it all gets down to personal taste and necessity.

Rapid Fire


– 2 way release function: as the upper lever swings both ways (front and rear) you may switch to a lower gear from two directions

-precise changes (you can not accidentally shift gears once you got accustomed to the levers)

– depending on the system, you may use only one finger to shift gears

– possibility of shifting through several sprockets at once (only from high gear to low gear)

– can be ergonomically positioned on the handlebar clamp, thank to their clamp

– easy readable display


– slightly more difficult use for beginners;

-change from lower to higher gear one sprocket at a time

-cheaper systems require two fingers for shifting

-relatively uncomfortable for riders with shorter fingers

–  weighs more than Grip-Shift (for the slightly cheaper models)

Grip Shift


– light weight for some models

– faster shifts

– you can shift several gears at once regardless of direction

– some models are compatible with Shimano shifter

– good ergonomics: produced the palms shape

– you can keep your hands on the handlebars, regardless of the situation

– more resistant to shocks, as they are optimally positioned on to the handlebar


– their position on the handlebar reduces grip size

– rubber made cover uses rather fast

– front derailleur is slightly less precise and a bit poor indexed

– slightly noisier than Rapid-Fire

–  accidental shifting in case you pull the handlebars to avoid an obstacle


  1. Twist Grips FTW. Look at points 3&6: shift though several gears at once & hands never leave handle bars. As a city/trail commuter my terrain & road situation changes very often. I go through gears and need to keep both hands on the bar.
    I tried triggers for awhile and do not like them for those two exact reasons. Plus again as a commuter year round- riding with mittens or thick gloves takes away all the usability of the topmost trigger which is nested close to the brake. Mittened hands on a twisty no probs!!

  2. You get used to rapid fire, sti’s preety easy. Key point is to scan the road ahead and predict the situations. If you are doing it correctly, you can preshift the bike in correct gear 99% of the time, that 1 percent is emergency breaking when you should not change gears anyway. Hope this makes sense to you.

  3. i tried both gripshift and rapid fire

    I like both, they are equally excellent, I couldn’t care less which system I have.
    Both systems allow me to change into whatever gear i need quickly.