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Sensah SRX Pro Review: Affordable Dropbar Shifters for MTB Derailleurs

Sensah SRX Pro Shift-Brake levers hero(Photo/Ron Frazelle)
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Are you looking for a cost-effective way to run a Shimano 1×11 speed mountain bike drivetrain on your drop bar gravel bike that uses cable-actuated disc brakes? If this is your wish, then this review is me granting your wish. Meet the Sensah SRX Pro shift/brake levers, the solution you were looking for.

Let’s say you’re building up a gravel bike and have a wheel that you want to use that sports a rear hub with a Shimano HG cassette body. Let’s say you also have an 11-46t XT cassette, and a Shimano MTB rear derailleur, like an XT or XTR, you’d like to use. You want your new gravel bike to have a wide range, like your MTB. You also want to use your cable-actuated disc brakes with the new build.

Sensah SRX Pro Shift-Brake levers lake bed
(Photo/Ron Frazelle)

These 11-speed Sensah SRX Pro shift/brake levers will let you use your MTB drivetrain with your cable-actuated disc brakes without a single modification. That’s right, no rear derailleur cage swap, longer “b” screw, Goat Link, or need to rebuild the shifter with a mod kit to get the right amount of cable pull.

You can stop typing… I know there are quite a few options out there to pull off a functional 1x mullet drivetrain for your gravel bike. But, a lot of the brake/shifter combo levers are paired with hydraulic brake calipers, are expensive, electronic, and/or 12-speed.

If you have the Shimano MTB components I mentioned above, you can build a great mullet drive train for your gravel bike for well under $100. Not many other options (if any) will let you do that.

I’ve got close to 800 miles on these shifters and they’ve worked flawlessly. There have been some mis-shifts, every once in a while, but we’ll touch on why that happened a little later in the review.

The Sensah SRX Pro

Sensah SRX Pro Shift-Brake levers mountain range views

The Sensah shifters shift using sort of a hybrid Shimano/SRAM style with a “double tap” actuation but with a single lever.

Sensah SRX Pro Shift-Brake levers reach adjustment
Lever reach adjustment

The levers themselves have reach adjustments to get them to the desired distance from the bars for the rider. That’s a nice touch for a shift/brake lever at this price point.

The shifters offer a nice high-quality, hearty, and positive “click” when shifting up or down the cassette. They give you the ability to push the lever all the way to the left and shift three gears up the cassette in one swoop. And then the normal single click at a time to come back down the cassette.

Sensah SRX Pro Installation

I received the Sensah SRX Pro levers from Velo Orange, who contributed them to my Masi Incanto Dream Build project. When I built my Incanto, I wanted to run an XTR rear derailleur and my Paul Klampers with drop bar shift/brake levers. And I wanted it to be a clean install, sans little doohickies to make it work right.

The installation went pretty smoothly. I Didn’t particularly love the shifter’s routing for either the brake or shift cable housing. Because of the cable-actuated brakes, I was running stiff, compressionless cable housing.

Getting the shift housing to make that first drop coming out of the shifter to the bar and dropping to the front, left side to go underneath the bar, was difficult. It required some stiff tape to hold it in place before wrapping the bar.

You can see in the picture above (top, left) that the shift housing is still not seated in the provided notch all the way. The other option would have probably routed easier, but put the housing to the outside right of the bar, and that seemed, at the time, a less desirable route.

600+ Miles with the Sensah SRX Pro

This was my first set of brake/shift levers that I’ve used that shift with one lever, so, I suffered a bit of a learning curve with that.

Overall the shifters shifted flawlessly. When I say flawlessly, I mean without one issue for over 600 miles of “not-so-kind shifting”. It was a positive shift to the correct gear every time. The “mis-shifts” I had weren’t about missing gears, but were more like accidental shifts, “user error” in most cases.

There is an automatic “brake lockout” built in to the right lever that helps prevent the accidental shift while the lever is actually pulled back into a braking position. But the action is so light, that sometimes I would accidentally make it downshift when merely reaching for the brake.

What About Egonomics?

The ergonomics of the SRX Pro shifters weren’t quite on par with the other big brands. It wasn’t a deal breaker for me but wasn’t quite the same either. Plus, with the light action and long-ish type throw of the lever when shifting up the cassette, it took a bit to get used to. It felt cumbersome at times. And the light action didn’t do well for me when braking on a technical descent. I would be blissfully bopping down a trail, in the drops, and boom, mis-shift. This happened more often than I’d like to admit.

Sensah SRX Pro Shift-Brake levers subtle branding

Even after I felt I had learned the idiosyncrasies of the shifters, nearly every time while in the drops and the trail got rough, or I had to quickly grab a handful of brake, the mis-shift would happen. It was nothing catastrophic, or something that I couldn’t tolerate, just a bit annoying.

Sensah SRX Pro Shift-Brake levers full side

Something else bugged me a little more than the accidental shifts. Again, because of the mix of light action and the longer throw of the lever, I found when braking while in the drops, with one gloved finger on the lever, the right lever would want to slip out of my grip, to the left, leaving me reaching further for the brakes. That was uncomfortable on more than one occasion, not to mention a bit panicky feeling on a few other occasions.

Sensah SRX Pro Specs and Retail

Retail: $95 (as of this writing, on sale for $79)

  • In the box: Left brake lever, right shift/brake lever, road brake cables
  • Drivetrain speeds: 1×11 speed
  • Up/down shift: 3 with full sweep, 1 down
  • Reach adjustable: Yes
  • Pull Compatibility: SRX and CRX 11sp
  • Weight: 428g for the pair

*Note: When Velo Orange sent these to me, in October 2022, the description specifically mentioned pulling cable for 11-speed Shimano MTB derailleurs.

In Conclusion

I think the Sensah SRX Pro shift/brake levers are an amazing bargain and a really good solution to a Shimano 11-speed MTB, mullet drivetrain for your gravel bike. They are easy to set up, and have some nice features, like reach adjustment, and a simple single lever “double-tap” style shift.

They don’t look “out of place” on a high-end bicycle, like the Masi Incanto. The hoods are on the “skinny” side, if just slightly, but still very comfortable on long rides. The graphics on the actual lever are a little bit loud for me, but I like subtle branding on stuff. It may be fine for you.

Overall, these shift/brake levers are almost perfect. I would, and actually have recommended them to a friend, who’s been running them for awhile now.

If you want a great low-cost option to get the gear spread of your mountain bike for your gravel bike, while still being able to keep using your favorite cable-actuated disc brakes, then the Sensah SRX Pro shift/brake lever set is for you.

Get ’em by hitting the link below.

VeloOrange.com

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17 Comments
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Leo
Leo
2 months ago

I would like to know if this group/levers could also work with mechanical rim brakes. I am aware that it was designed to be used with mechanical disc brakes but….. Anyone ever tried , any hack?

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
2 months ago
Reply to  Leo

These shifters are adapted from a road group. So I’m guessing their cable pull is better with road brakes…rim or mechanical disc

WhateverBikes
2 months ago
Reply to  Leo

No problem. If you use them with mantis it should work out of the box (the cable pull ratio should be the same), but with V-brakes they won’t work optimally (because they have a different pull raio). There are pull ratio adapters for that, like this one from Problem Solvers: link
There are cheaper knock-off’s too though, from AliExpress and the like.
A friend of mine runs those with Microshift Advent drop bar shifters and V-brakes, works great.

El Pataron
El Pataron
2 months ago

Bought a pair of these to go with the matching front/rear derailleur. They are great, and they were $100 all in. Works perfectly and I’m hopeful that Shimano and SRAM are watching–buddy and I went across the country with them, from Colorado to the East coast, and I couldn’t be happier over 2000 miles of riding.

El Pataron
El Pataron
2 months ago
Reply to  El Pataron

So, I was on a set of BB7s with these levers. It wasn’t great, but it was enough. I can see some not liking it, but I pay/paid attention and wasn’t ever nervous. Plenty of power to stop, but spongy. For some I suppose that matters….

Ian
Ian
2 months ago

Super Cool! Now do Sram 12x !

Fbi
Fbi
2 months ago

Designed for mechanical disk brake, OK, but wich one ? MTB (linear pull = same as V-brakes) or road (traditional caliper for rim brake pull) ???

mud
mud
2 months ago

Sounds like the same double tap action of Sram cable shifters. How would you compare them?

Grillis
Grillis
2 months ago
Reply to  mud

It is but worse. Long throw to go up one gear, even longer for two. Down shifts are fine, but descending in rough terrain can easily cause unintended shifts.

Marcos
Marcos
2 months ago

What is the cable pull 1:1 or 2:1?

Space Raccoon
Space Raccoon
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcos

The article repeatedly states thay’re for Shimano 11sp MTB, so neither 1:1 or 2:1. 11sp uses it’s own different pull ratio.

WhateverBikes
2 months ago
Reply to  Space Raccoon

I think Marcos is talking about the brake cable pull…
It’s important because it determines if these work best with either V-brakes or cantilevers.

Bewer
Bewer
2 months ago

Instead of the Sensah Shifters I prefer a S-Ride 11-Speed rear derailleur fully Shimano shifter compatible. Meanwhile I have built some gravelbikes with Ultegra and 105 shifters and the S-Ride derailleur with a 50 teeth cassette. Single chain ring and double chain rings are possible. The all over capacity of the derailleur is 49. So in the case of a 50 teeth cassette you can run a 46/36 double chainring crank. The costs are low and the effect is great. I like it very much.

Chad
2 months ago

Try using a bit of SLR housing for the handlebar bend and join it up w/ the compressionless housing w/ a double ended ferrule (normal shop practice for mechanical calipers).
The Microshift X-11 shifters cost a little more and are Shimano M-11 compatible.
Dual shifting controls and more solid feeling.
Short pull mechanical brakes are totally doggy and easily fall out of tune – to bad they are not linear pull (correct terminology for V brakes).
Ride safe!

Mark
Mark
1 month ago

Great review and Beautiful bike Sir. Very well done Ron, as always. Cheers – M

Yasser
Yasser
1 month ago

¡Hello everyone! First post here, and I was wondering if anyone can help me create a mullet setup. Currently, I have a Shimano Deore 11-speed transmission on my bike (Rear Derailleur: RD-M5120-SGS, Cassette: CS-M5100-11, Hydraulic Brakes: Shimano MT-410). I’ve seen a bike manufacturer using a road shifter (Sensah SRX Pro 1×11) with Shimano Deore M6100 12-speed

I am seriously considering doing something similar on my bike (but keeping it 1x). Does anyone have any experience with this setup or something similar? Could I use the Sensah SRX Pro shifter with my current components? Any advice, experiences, or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated!

Pete
Pete
19 days ago

Did you put an in line barrel adjuster somewhere? I have this set up with xtrr rear and can’t get the indexing dialed.

denis
denis
1 hour ago
Awaiting for approval
Reply to  Pete

I tried these shifters with an 11 spd xt derailleur (M8000) and it does not work. You can get full range but you will have ghost shifting or will have to overshift either in the upper or lower gears of the cassette.

The pull ratio IS NOT the same as Shimano MTB 11 speed and Velo Orange have apparently since deleted any hint on their website that this works. If it REALLY works on some setups, so without the mentioned flaws, that is probably down to luck.

They DO work with “exact actuation” SRAM derailleurs. I found some examples on the internet and so bought an 11 spd Apex 1 derailleur. Works very well.

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