Not that long ago, Box went up against the drivetrain giants with their own MTB drivetrain. After years in development, the drivetrains finally started landing about this time last year – but now Box is already making a big change.
Namely, that involves a big change to the shifter. The unique PushPush design is gone in favor of a more traditional thumb paddle for shifting to an easier gear and dual direction thumb or index trigger for shifting to a harder gear. Without going into detail, we were told that the PushPush design was eliminated due to a patent issue. Whatever the cause, the result is a shifter that is probably a bit more intuitive since it replicates the action from Shimano and Microshift shift units that most riders will be familiar with.
Moving forward, Box 11 speed drivetrains will be available in two levels – Box One and Box Two. Box One is the higher end with a forged aluminum and nylon/carbon fiber composite construction. It also gets sealed bearings for the pulleys and an improved shifter with die cast aluminum construction, more weight removal and textured shift paddles. Pricing for the Box One drivetrain is set at $174.99 for the derailleur, and $69.99 for the shifter.
As an all new option, Box is offering a lower tiered 11 speed drivetrain called the Box Two. Using nylon/glass fiber construction in lieu of carbon fiber and using things like sealed bushings instead of sealed bearings for the pulleys, Box was able to get the price for the group down to $109.99/$44.99 for the derailleur/shifter. Otherwise, both groups still use the same Pivot Tech cable stay, new patent pending Tri-Pack clutch, and forged construction.
To make it a full group, Box is offering an 11-46 tooth Box Two cassette for Shimano HG free hub bodies that comes in at $99. There are also three different chains – a Hex Lab 11 speed Carbo-Nitride coated chain with hollow pins for $80, a Box One nickel plated chain with hollow pins for $40, and a Box Two nickel plated chain with solid pins for $25.
Another notable addition to the line up is the new Box One DH 7 speed drivetrain. The system capitalizes on the trend towards 7 speeds and reduced cassette spacing for DH bikes to allow for wider spoke bracing and stronger wheels, as well as shorter derailleur cages. The Box One DH derailleur and shifter use the same construction as the Box One 11 speed group, but with a shorter derailleur cage and the obvious reduction in speeds. The system is meant to be paired with the new 11-24 7 speed Box Two DH cassette (above), which will sell for $44.99. Pricing for the shifter and derailleur are the same as Box One 11 speed, and the spacing for the cassette is standard 11 speed. Supposedly, the derailleur runs less clutch tension than the 11 speed derailleur since DH bikes almost always run a chain guide, so the additional tension isn’t necessary to keep the chain in place on the chainring.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a full line of Box One carbon wheels with a TR33, TR36, and TR41. In this case, the number in the name represents the external width, with internals measuring 26, 30, and 35mm respectively. While the TR36 and TR41 are hookless, the TR33 keeps the hook and is intended for 1.9 – 2.4″ tires. The TR36 is then meant for 2.3-2.8″, and the TR41 for 2.6-3.2″.
The included hubs are available with Boost spacing, 3 pawl free hubs, straight pull spokes, tool-less end caps, sealed bearings, and Shimano or XD free hubs included in the box. All of the wheels use 28 spokes, and the two wider rims use an offset spoke bed for more even spoke tension, and all are tubeless ready with flat tubeless valve seats. Pricing is set at $1500 per set or $699 front/$799 rear, with rim only options available by the end of the year.
Finally, Box has a new seat and seat post combo that looks like the offspring of a Pivotal and SDG marriage. Called the T-Channel gravity seat and post, the system uses a toothed t-channel for fore/aft adjustment of the saddle, and a toothed cradle for separate angle adjustment. Two bolts hold the saddle tight, and the combo uses a 2014 cold forged aluminum post with a nylon/glass fiber saddle base.
In total, you have 48mm of fore aft adjustment, and -3 to +14º angle adjustment, and posts will be available in 30.9 or 31.6mm diameters with a 300mm length, and the combo will sell for $99.