by Marc Basiliere
February 1, 2014
Shifter, derailleur, and brakes from young company
Despite not being on many riders’ radar, young brand Box is thinking bigger than most. Fronted by Toby Henderson and working closely with Taiwan’s Lee Chi / Promax, Box were on hand at Winter Bike PressCamp showing further evolution of their unique trigger shifter and derailleur, a number of handsome cockpit components, and some new disc brake designs.
As reported from Interbike last fall, Box’s trigger shifter uses an entirely unique design. The single under-bar lever sweeps around its center (like a Shimano or SRAM trigger shifter) to move to a larger cog or chainring, but is pushed along its length (against the dimpled surface at the lever’s end) to move to a smaller cog or chainring. Though the shifter is compatible with Shimano 10s rear derailleurs, Box hopes that riders will complete the package with their own, handsomely-machined version. The rear mech is nicely machined and substantial looking, with its cable stop mounted on a spring-loaded arm. The drivetrain components are interchangeable with Shimano 10s models, so riders need not worry about finding replacements if one or the other is damaged.
We had a spin on a Box-equipped bike and found the system intuitive and solid-feeling. While the prototype levers had more resistance than we might want on the trail, Box is comfortable that actuation will be lighter once the production line is established and parts are finalized. Pricing and weights should be in line with Shimano XT models with deliveries (through Moore Large) beginning in autumn.
New to our eyes is Box’s 4-piston all-mountain/downhill brake. Shown in near-final renderings, functional prototypes are expected at the Taipei show and production-ready models by Interbike. Caliper stiffness was an engineering priority, with substantial finite element analysis having been invested in its dual-diameter design. The clever stuff looks to be up at the “Irene” caliper: the lever itself can serve as the inboard clamp for ODI Lock-On grips while reach is adjusted by flipping out the orange cam shown in the image above.
Further off, a hollow-armed crankset, based on the BMX model shown, is in the works. Spindle diameter has not been finalized, but the company is leaning towards Praxis Works’ massive 35mm standard.
Finally, this tidy little Promax seat clamp with adjustable-position cable guide is a nice way to tame unruly dropper post cables.