A friend of mine recently had a minor crash. It was so minor, he barely had to unclip. Unfortunately, this crash involved his Shimano Dual Control Shift/Brake lever hitting the ground. This shouldn't come as any surprise. There have been many times that I've hit the dirt and have had to re-adjust my brake lever to get it back to the right position. My friend, however, had to replace the whole shift/brake assembly. Because it is one integrated (read: Shimano) unit, this isn't a cheap proposition. Shimano LX Dual Control levers for hydraulic brakes cost around $215. That's LX, folks. I shudder to think of the cost of XTR. Makes me long for the days of good ol' forged aluminum thumb shifters. I mean, if we are putting burly chain guards on our heavy-duty freeride bikes, why not make the shift/brake levers a little more durable?
The good and bad news of this story is that it broke after only 6-months of use. Because my friend bought the bike at a local bike shop, they replaced it for free. Better luck next time, eh?