Shimano GRX Mechanical Shifter Options Abound

Shimano GRX Gravel bikes


Choice is a theme that runs deep within Shimano GRX. The world’s first dedicated gravel component group is not meant to be a single end-all solution for adventuring-seeking riders. Instead, the GRX ecosystem includes a varied menu of options to suit different riders and riding styles.


You can pick a double or single chainring set-up and opt for tightly spaced gears or choose a wide-range cassette. Then, you can decide between the established feel and reliability of Shimano's mechanical shifting or opt for the highly regarded Di2 electronic system.


Shimano GRX and RX8 Gravel riding


There are even more options to personalize your GRX build with the mechanical shifters and their possibilities. While the right-side lever will always be responsible for some form of gear changing and brake activation, the left shifter offers more varied options. The Shimano GRX mechanical left lever can serve three different functions: shifting and braking, controlling a dropper post and braking, or just braking and nothing more.


Deciding what lever is right for you starts with your preference for a 1x11 or 2x11 drivetrain set-up. If you choose the 2x11, as in two chainrings and the accompanying front derailleur to move your chain back and forth on those chainrings, then the left shifter is what you’ll use to control those shifts. It’s the traditional set-up that most riders are likely familiar with, and arguably the right choice if you want your bike to have maximum gear range and more tightly spaced gear steps. 


Shimano RX Shifter levers


However, if you go with a 1x11 drivetrain set-up, where there is only one chainring and thus no need for a front derailleur or a lever to control it, there are two additional GRX shift lever options: one to activate a dropper post and the other that provides braking only. 


The GRX ST-RX810-LA lever provides a seamless interface for actuating a dropper post, which allows you to move your saddle up and down without the need for an add-on lever. (For 2x11 set-ups, PRO offers a clean two-way dropper post lever, which is mounted just below the left lever body on the inside of the handlebars.)


Shimano GRX Hoods


The brake-only GRX ST-RX810 lever reduces weight by removing the internal shifting mechanisms. Its ergonomic shape, textured surface, and braking action remain identical to the other mechanical GRX levers. 


So, which GRX lever is right for you?


Perhaps you’re a dedicated cyclocross racer who appreciates the intuitive simplicity of a 1x11 drivetrain, and you’re trying to build up the lightest possible race bike, making the braking-only left lever the optimal choice.


Or maybe you're a mountain biker who's grown accustomed to single chainring drivetrain systems and are now trying to replicate that set-up on a gravel bike. With its integrated cable pulling system, Shimano GRX allows for nine millimeters of lever throw to control most dropper posts that utilize cable heads at the shift lever.


Shimano GRX Shifters


No matter which of the three mechanical GRX set-ups you choose, you’ll reap the benefits of Shimano’s Dual Control levers that offer reliable braking and shifting from any riding position. The hoods feature comfortable ergonomic shaping with grip-enhancing ridges that help keep your hands securely on the bar, even on the rowdiest cyclocross course, gravel roads, or trails.