Just last month, we brought you the
breaking news of the impending arrival of a 1×11 groupset from Box Components. As Box had alluded to via social media, they would be showing off their wares at Eurobike, after having spent three years developing their new drivetrain.
As it turns out though, not everything in the groupset is ready for production. However, Box had its new 11-speed derailleur and shifter on display at Eurobike, and the big news is that they’ll be available before the close of the year. Lets take a look to see how the Southern Californian brand is planning on sticking it to SRAM and Shimano.
Box Components was originally a high-end BMX brand, known for its cranksets and handlebars. They’ve been moving into MTB though, and their latest 1×11 drivetrain looks like it could launch the company into the mainstream spotlight. After having teased prototypes over the past three years, the final production version of the Box One drivetrain is now here, and we had a chance to play with it at Eurobike. The rear derailleur shares the skeletal construction of the first prototype first shown at Sea Otter in 2013. But its a lot more refined now. Part of the wait was due to 11-speed. Box was actually pretty close to having a 1×10 groupset ready over a year ago, but once 11-speed started taking off across a wider price bracket, the company knew they had to take it to 11. The Box One rear derailleur has a very svelte profile that is more akin to Shimano’s Shadow derailleurs than SRAM’s bulky 11 and 12-speed derailleurs. Inside here is a one-way friction clutch that is designed to manage chain tension. Offset top pulley to help the rear mech cover a wide range of gears. Box claim their 11-speed rear derailleur will work with both Shimano and SRAM 11-speed cassettes, though there’s no confirmation on how well it works with aftermarket hop-up kits like the 50t Shark from OneUp. Box Components will initially offer the Box One drivetrain, with the plan of trickling down the tech into a Box Two and Box Three range – similar to Shimano XTR/XT/SLX. Chunky shifty clicky. At the other end of the gear cable is the Box One trigger shifter. The Box One shifter is a thumb-only operation, but it uses a unique system to release the cable. Rather than having a push-push lever system like SRAM or Shimano, the Box shifter has one paddle. A secondary shelf inside the paddle allows you to drive the paddle inwards into the shifter body. This results in a ‘click’ and you’ll drop into a harder gear. The single paddle shifter is compact and super clean. Box Components was also showing off its carbon mountain bike wheel, which uses a tubeless-ready rim profile and raised sections at the nipples. With a 26mm internal rim width, Box are marketing their ‘One Carbon Wheelset’ for trail riders. The wheelset is built with 28 spokes, a 3-pawl freehub mechanism, and sealed bearing hubs. Nicely machined alloy hub shells with interchangeable Shimano and SRAM XD drivers. The hubs are available in standard and BOOST versions. Box also produce stems and handlebars, with the carbon bar using a unique external bump along its upper length. Supposedly this is for tuning the amount of flex throughout the length of the bar.