Top 8 Best Mountain Bike Shifters for 2024

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Have you been having issues with your shifting? Maybe you are finding that it is difficult to find the right gears, or maybe your chain is dropping? You might have found that the shifter on your current bike is not the quality that you need and want. Fortunately, you can find mountain bike shifters on the market today that you can swap out with the ones you have currently.

There are some great shifters available that can provide you with reliability, comfort, and ease of use. Of course, because there are so many different options out there, it means that sorting through the options and finding the best can be difficult. We understand that you don’t have a long time to sort through hundreds of options, so we have worked to make your life quite a bit easier. Below, you can learn more about what we have found to be the best mountain bike shifters available today. Check them out to see which one might be right for your needs.

Table of Contents

The Best Mountain Bike Shifter

SRAM XX1 Eagle 12-Speed Trigger Shifter

The shifter has a carbon trigger and cover along with an aluminum body. This ensures the durability of the shifters, while still being lightweight. The mountain bike shifter is a trigger type of shifter, which comes with a manufacturer’s warranty of two years. The 12-speed shifter is a step up from previous iterations. It includes SRAM’s Zero Loss technology, as well, which means you will not have to worry about there being any lag time.

Overall the shifters are well-designed, and they will not take up too much room. They are easy to use, and they could be the right solution for many.

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SRAM Eagle X01 Eagle 12-Speed Derailleur

The shifter is made from forged aluminum, while the spring is made from titanium. This ensures that the shifter will be lightweight, while the spring will be highly durable. The shifter features 10 – 50 t gearing, X-Actuation, and Eagle cage length. You will find that this is a stable and smooth shifter that can make riding a pleasure again. The X-Horizon feature will help to boost the stability further thanks to its ability to limit the derailleurs shifting movement across the horizontal axis. The Exact Actuation technology in the shifters will ensure that provide more efficient shifting. The shifting also tends to be faster and quieter.

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Shimano Deore XT SL-M8000 Shifters

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These shifters have some excellent features that help to make them a solid solution. They feature 20% lighter rear shifts, and they can provide the rider with shifting that is continuously stable. These have a new shadow design that features an optimized slant for better fit and operation. The 11-speed shifter also has a new shift cable that has hyper low-friction coating technology on it. The design has a longer lever body. The thumb operation for the main lever is also anti-slip. While that might seem like a small benefit, anyone who has tried to shift while their hands are slick knows what a pain it could become. This shifter could help.

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Shimano XTR 9000 Mountain Bike Shifters

These shifters will provide a smoother and easier shifting experience by about 20% when compared with some other models. This is a noticeable amount and can provide you with a much more excellent ride overall. The levers are long and made of textured carbon. This ensures that they are durable, lightweight, and easy to use, even if the hands or gloves are wet. The shifters feature ball-bearing construction along with multi/instant 2-way release. You can expect more comfortable and more controlled gear changes when you use these mountain bike shifters.

You will have two options with this shifter – left and right. Make sure you choose the one that you need. The shifters can mount easily, and you will find that they are a pleasure to use.

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SRAM 2006 X.0 9-Speed Twist Shifter

Featuring 1:1 activation ratio, the shifters here have a 50mm tornado-style grip, which features a Teflon coated gear cable. The overall construction is quite rugged, so you can be sure that this shifter will work very well for you no matter where you decide to ride. It can keep up with the intensity of your rides. The gripshift shifter claims to be the lightest shifter available. This means that you will not have to worry about it adding any weight to your bike that might slow you down.

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Shimano Tiagra 4700 10-Speed Double STI Lever Set

This aluminum main lever is a quality shifter option. It is lightweight, and it features internal cable routing for lighter steering action. You will not have to worry about it taking up a lot of space on your handlebars either. Something that you will need to keep in mind with this shifter is that it is only compatible with the Tiagra 4700 series derailleurs. The shifter includes the OT-SP41 derailleur cable and housing set. The reach is adjustable with the shifter, as well. If you have the right derailleurs, this could be a good option for you to consider.

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SRAM X1 11-Speed Trigger Shifter

You can expect the quality features from SRAM with this shifter. It includes Zero Loss Engagement for fast shifting, so you can get to the gear you need quickly on your rides. It is also Matchmaker-X compatible, which means it comes with a clamp that will allow you to mount it with RockShox’ Xloc dropper post control. This helps to eliminate the amount of clutter that you have on your bars. You will find that the shifting tends to be very dependable with the shifter, and the cable-pull ratio system ensures that the derailleur movement is uniform and accurate.

The shifter is made from aluminum, which helps to make it a lightweight and cost-effective option. It could be a quality option for you to consider.

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SRAM X01 Eagle 12-Speed Trigger Shifter

This option from SRAM is made from forged aluminum. This provides the shifter with the strength and durability you need, while still making sure that it is lightweight. It features a two-year manufacturer’s warranty. The shifter has many benefits that can help to make it an excellent choice for many types of mountain bike riders. The shifter features Matchmaker compatibility so that it can integrate easily with the rest of the cockpit, and you will be able to ensure that the shifter is on an easy to access area of the bike.

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Shimano and SRAM: Find the Right Option for Your Bike

As you have likely noticed, two main companies make mountain bike shifters – SRAM and Shimano. While both of the companies make high-quality options, as evidenced by the selections presented on the list above, there is a difference. The SRAM shifters will pull cables at a 1:1 ratio while the Shimano pulls the cables at a 2:1 ratio. Most people will not notice much of a difference, but you might find that the Shimano will feel more comfortable to shift. You might also notice that the SRAM options tend to work better in mud or bad weather.

Ideally, you will be sticking with one of these two companies when you are buying your shifters, as they are the top quality options on the market today. Always make sure that you purchase the same shifters as your mountain bike derailleur, as you want to make sure they are compatible with one another.

Tips for Making Your Choice

In addition to making sure that you are choosing a compatible option, you will also want to consider the material used. Some will be made of carbon fiber, and others will be made from metal. The metal and alloy options tend to be somewhat cheaper, but they can still be reliable. The carbon fiber options are generally a bit more expensive, but they are lightweight and high-quality. They tend to be worth the investment.

Consider whether you might want thumb or twist shifters or friction or indexed shifters based on your preferences, as well. Thumb shifters tend to feel faster and more reactive, while trigger shifters will be a good option for racing and going over jumps. Those who are seeking a casual right will be fine with twist shifters. Keep in mind that indexed shifting tends to be more accurate and precise when compared with friction shifting. Friction shifting is not as popular as it once was, so it is getting harder and harder to find those type of shifters.

Also, consider the size and the aesthetics of the shifter to make sure that it will work well with the setup that you have. While some riders are concerned over the color and the size of the shifter, ultimately, you want to choose mountain bike shifters that will provide you with the best ride and the smoothest shifting possible.

You are now armed with more knowledge about mountain bike shifters and have a list of the best options from which you can choose. It is high time that you got better shifters and made this improvement to your mountain bike.