​Box Components unique drivetrain coming soon

Features single lever shifter and clutch-equipped derailleur

Components News
Box Components is run by Toby Henderson, a legend on the BMX circuit.

Box Components is run by Toby Henderson, a legend on the BMX circuit.

If you’re a fan of BMX racing, then you’re already familiar with Box Components. They produce a range of products for little bikes and have recently branched out into the mountain bike segment. Their MTB products include handlebars, headsets, wheels, and small parts.

The Box shifter only has one paddle.

The Box shifter only has one paddle.

Over the past few years, they’ve also been developing a new drivetrain. Considering the market dominance of Shimano and SRAM, not to mention their treasure trove of patents, it’s a bold move. So what makes the Box drivetrain special? It uses a single lever shifter.

As the short video demonstrates, you can downshift using the familiar sweeping motion with your thumb, or upshift by pushing the paddle inwards.

The Pivot Tech joint allows the derailleur to swing out of harm's way.

The pivot technology joint allows the derailleur to swing out of harm’s way.

The derailleur is also a Box designed unit. Like any modern derailleur, it uses a clutch assembly to help with chain retention. What sets it apart is the pivot technology. If you hit the rear, let’s say on a rock, the cable stay can pivot. This helps prevent the derailleur and hanger from snapping.

Like other derailleurs in this category, the Box is equipped with a clutch.

Like other derailleurs in this category, the Box is equipped with a clutch.

The drivetrain will initially be available in two build kits. The Box One system is an XT or GX level kit, while the Box Two version is equivalent to SLX. At launch, they will offer an 11-46 11-speed cassette that uses a Shimano freehub. You could also use a SRAM cassette if you prefer.

Retail for the Box One shifter is $75. The rear derailleur retails for $180. The Box One 11-46 Cassette isn’t quite ready for production, but the $100 Box Two will be shipping by December.

To learn more, visit www.boxcomponents.com.


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Comments:

  • gg says:

    Moving thumb over/under lever looks awkward and opens the grip momentarily which is not ideal.
    As seen in video the operator briefly searches for the push lever position.
    The video does not lie !
    Thoughts ?

    • GuyOnMTB says:

      New tech takes getting used to.

      When Rapidfire became the new thing, for a little while I was reaching for the thumby, but after a few rides I knew the shifter. It’ll take some getting used to, but memory will take over in a short time, then transitioning back to a two paddle shifter will be awkward.

      About the shifter. It looks like the casing is made of Aluminum, which would be a little more weight then a plastic case like the XT shifter. Probably not weight you’d feel though; the Aluminum would last longer, but it will scratch, so I think the option of a clear coat would be preferable in my opinion. The Aluminum is probably part of the reason for the cost, about $30 more than a solo XT shifter. – I’m also noticing the actuation to lower gears. I really think the paddle should be flat and 90* to the thumb so I can just mash it into gear quickly for DH sprinting. The design of the paddle as it’s demoed shows the user having to dip the thumb under the paddle to “find” the 90* angle the thumb will use to push the paddle. I think that should be located directly on the end of the paddle for easy use.

      To end; $75 is not ideal for a shifter to compete in a market already saturated with descent quality, mid-range cost parts. However, if this shifter is to be top end, then the price is great. As far as the Derailleur; no matter how well designed and constructed the derailleur is, $180 is far to much for a part that has a high chance of damage occurring to it every ride. For that cost I can have 3 Zee derailleurs in backup.

      Knowing not everyone is going to be looking at these parts with personal economy in mind, it seems to me that the BOX x1 drive is being built for the racer, or person with an expendable income. I like the product, but there are other parts in my price range that do very well for their cost.

      When I BMX’ed I was a BOX fan. I always wanted them in the MTB market I play in mostly today. I’m glad BOX has come this far! Competition is always good, and welcome.

  • Mark Bike says:

    It’s nice to see some competition into the oligarchy of Sram, SHimano, however, I don’t see anything new?

    Pivot technology? You mean by the long cable stay arm swinging in towards the center of the bike? How will a rock hit inward into the outside of this lever? A rock is going to hit the side of the tension arm, the arm sitting low whilst in low gear?

    To claim that a rock will hit it (lever), that…somehow this will save the hanger and derailleur? We have all heard statements like this before, “improved shifting efficiency by 20%” etc.

    It’s good though we’re getting it from someone new besides the 2 800lb. gorillas.

  • Mark Bike says:

    the one lever looks more like two or if you want to be technical, one with a “Y” end.

    What I can’t figure out is, why didn’t they put the back lever in the front as a small cup so that you don’t have to move your thumb around the bigger lever?

  • I'mRight says:

    I notice these things: lever travel is quite long, pressure to move the lever that isn’t connected to the drivetrain is quite hard, angle of inner wire changes during shifts, pushing in with your thumb to shift seems like a bad idea. Other than that, welcome Box.

  • Jennifer P says:

    While the concept both for the shifter and the derailuer maybe be new or not the idea that someone else is out there trying to change or add to the bike industry is refreshing..

    I’d love to try the setup and see if it is all that, and even if it’s not all that. It might be a great step in the right direction..

    Keep an open mind as this leads to good things.. I remember when I was told a bike with more than 100mm of travel was useless and feels like bugger… Now there are many options with suspensions in excess of the 100mm and people are loving in and going faster, farther and with more fun..

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