haha, yeah, gripshifts suck. and no, SRAM blows the lid off Shimano, and ill break it down for your ignorant ass:
higher leverage ratio, which means, more accurate shifts.
stronger tensioner springs, so you dont drop chains like you always do with shimano, with a SRAM rear mech, you almost dont even have to run a chain guide.
no big loop of cable to snag on at the rear mech
adjustment screws face outward, and are where they should be, unlike shimano rear mechs
the open links of a SRAM derailleur are alot easier to clean than shimano
there is no spring in the mount, so the derailleur doenst constantly smash against the chainstays.
the SRAM shifters have both triggers on the inside of the bar, so you can upshift and downshift with your thumb, which means you dont have to take your fingers off the brake levers.
hummmm, anything else? oh yeah, the new X.O. has a carbon rear cage, so no mre bent cages.
and yeah, if your doin XC and DH, you need to meet somewhere in the middle as far as the frame. hecklers are nice, but they are flexy. id seriously say go iwith a Santa Cruz Nomad, the Blur Long travel, or something else. either way, head over to www.MTBR.com>, forums, and a shitload of reveiws on all sorts of bikes.
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ECS headwear, hit me up!