It was this time last year that Box Components first
unveiled its Box One 1×11 drivetrain to the public. Designed to go head-to-head with Shimano and SRAM, the Box One drivetrain consisted of a unique Push-Push trigger shifter and an 11-speed rear derailleur. We received a pre-production version shortly after Eurobike to test, and you can read our review of the Box Components drivetrain here.
Box certainly has bigger plans beyond just a rear derailleur and shifter though. The Californian-based company is developing additional drivetrain products, including cassettes and cranks, as well as cheaper versions of the Box One drivetrain. At Eurobike this year, Box showed off the new Box Two drivetrain, as well as a 1×7 downhill version of Box One.
On that note, one thing that was apparent as soon as we turned up at the booth however, was the distinct lack of any Push-Push style shifters. While Box was being tight-lipped as to the reason why, it would appear that there are some possible patent infringement claims being made behind the scenes, and as of right now, Box has put the Push-Push shifter on ice, while it continues on with a more conventional dual-paddle shifter that it was showing at Eurobike. More as we get it…
The Box Two drivetrain consists of a new 1×11 derailleur, shifter, chain and cassette. Shown here is the Box Two rear derailleur. The Box Two shifter uses two paddles and a very similar design to Box One, but with some slightly cheaper materials designed to get the price down. In terms of US pricing, you’re looking at $44.99 versus $69 for the Box One shifter. Likewise the rear derailleur brings the price down from $175 USD to $110, by using less expensive materials. The jockey wheels also switch to bushes instead of ball bearings. Box is offering two cassettes, both in black and made by SunRace. There’s a 7-speed 11-24t DH cassette, and an 11-speed 11-46t cassette. New at Eurobike was the announcement that Box will be making chains too. There are currently three levels; Box Two, Box One, and a HexLab chain. The HexLab name is new, and represents Box’ top-tier chain option. Word is that Box is working on other HexLab drivetrain products that could include a derailleur and shifter… The Box One rear derailleur has received some updates too. The CamClutch mechanism is gone in favour of something called a ‘Tri-Pack Clutch’. Details were scant as to the differences, but it might have something to do with the loosening clutch mechanism we experienced on the derailleur we tested. The Box One 11-speed trigger shifter also goes to the dual-paddle style shifter. Shifting is exactly the same as a Shimano trigger shifter, with the small up-shift paddle being able to be pushed with your thumb or pulled with your forefinger. Given there’s a clear patent on this design, we’re guessing Box is licensing the design off of Shimano. The Box One trigger shifter gets a textured paddle, whereas the Box Two paddles do not. Shown here is one of the Polygon UR team bikes, complete with a 1×7 Box One drivetrain that is used by most members of the team, including Mik Hannah and Alexandre Fayolle. Structurally, the 7-speed mech is the same as the 11-speed version (including the new forged upper link), but with a shorter cage. New Tri Pack Clutch sits inside to deliver tighter tension on the chain. Sealed bearing jockey wheels sit inside an alloy short cage. The Box One shifter uses a handlebar clamp that bears a striking resemblance to those used by SRAM. Box had a new downhill-specific saddle and post on display at Eurobike, and they use a unique way of attachment that Box claims is stronger and more adjustable than a standard rail system. Serrated plastic teeth line the underside of the saddle. And they meet up with matching serrated alloy teeth on the post clamp. The post head uses two bolts – one to lock the saddle down onto the cradle, and the other to adjust the cradle against the post head. This means the clamping mechanism is separate from adjusting tilt and fore/aft settings. The saddle has also been curved at the rear to increase clearance with rear tyres under full compression. Ideal for all those new-fangled 29ers getting around.