Prototype Single Lever Mountain Bike Shifter from Promax


After selling his namesake company, Toby Henderson has been building a new BMX components brand called Box, which is shaking up the scene with some very interesting, standards-be-damned concepts. That’ll be his premium line, but the tech will trickle down to his Promax brand to help transition some new ideas to mountain biking as well.

The first such concept is this single lever shifter pod for mountain biking. This prototype has a 2:1 pull for Shimano, but they’ll eventually move to 1:1 for SRAM derailleurs, too. And then Henderson says he’s got plans for their own derailleurs. Then a complete drivetrain.

Shift past the break to see how it works…


Shown from Left to Center, upshifts (to a harder gear) are performed by simply pressing the lever straight downward. That generates a single shift, and he says they’re be able to do different lever shapes and angles for different disciplines (DH versus XC, for example). Downshifts (to an easier gear) use the normal lever throw as shown on the right.


They’re still tinkering with the final lever shape. This one was a bit tall, but finding the flat section with your thumb was pretty easy. It has a bit of sideways positioning adjustability, and keeps things completely out of the way of your grip on the bars. The other benefit is you don’t have to use your pointer finger for any shifting, so if you typically brake with that finger, you’ve got that free to brake while your thumb does all the shifting. Nifty.


Henderson says it’s tough working around the patents the bigger brands have, but this gets them into the game in a unique way. The pod itself isn’t too much bigger than a Shimano shifter. It fits nicely under the Promax Decipher brake lever.

Promax-decipher hydraulic mountain bike brakes

The Promax brand has been around for a while, so they’ve simply adopted the existing brakes for now.

Promax S29 mountain bike stem

Their S29 stem is a beautiful but stiff unit with an extra wide clamping area to support today’s wider bars.

Promax S29 mountain bike stem

It’s just one example of Toby’s BMX designs morphing their way to the trail. Look for a separate post on his Box brand’s goodies soon.


the RTS - 07/29/13 - 12:17pm

Shimano had a lower level group with a similar shifter quite a few years ago.

Justin Walsh - 07/29/13 - 12:24pm

Who’s Tony?

Ripnshread - 07/29/13 - 12:27pm

Ya srsly…at least get the guys name right. Toby Henderson.

Tyler Benedict - 07/29/13 - 12:34pm

Thanks, typo corrected.

jenbe - 07/29/13 - 12:35pm

shimano or sram, the only question is who’s going to sue him first?

Dustan Baker - 07/29/13 - 12:46pm

Toby is on fire with his new products. The guy has a passion and energy for innovation in the bike industry like no other. Give it a few years and all the hot sh1t will be BOX.

Ryan - 07/29/13 - 12:46pm

What are these “shifters” and “derailleurs” you all speak of?

Sincerely, SS mountain biker.

Rod - 07/29/13 - 1:01pm

Isn’t this just a thumbie? which r great.

PDXFixed - 07/29/13 - 1:11pm

XX1 double-tap is all I really want.

Peter - 07/29/13 - 1:25pm

their website shows this stem in black ONLY.

Brett - 07/29/13 - 1:47pm

SRAM had double tap 10sp flat bar shifters years ago and they worked great…..

Jon - 07/29/13 - 2:38pm

Nice to see someone doing something different and take on the big players. It’s a shame these big corporations lock up so many designs with patents.

MMyers - 07/29/13 - 3:39pm


On what grounds could a lawsuit possibly be filed?

MTBAllDay - 07/29/13 - 4:13pm

People are funny… You actually think a company that is able to develop and manufacture something as complicated as a shifter, would NOT spend the time to avoid patent infringements? I give these guys respect, a unique shifter is quite an undertaking!

AJAX - 07/29/13 - 4:33pm

This is sorta like a Paul thumbie, but with the thumbie you actually use a Shimano shifter since they (Paul company) only supply the mount for the Shimano thumb shifter. Anyway, I like the design of this Promax shifter. It looks good. I’d probably buy one if the price are less than the Paul thumbie mount + Shimano shifter.

Nelly - 07/29/13 - 4:45pm

Sounds like Shimano 70GS circa 1993 (still got an old bike with those shifters on; while they work OK, both SRAM and Shimanos more recent 2 lever shifters are nicer to use).

matt - 07/29/13 - 6:27pm

@MTBAllDay- yes, because Trek, Specialized, Giant, Stan’s, Enve or how about Apple or Samsung have all designed something more complicated than a shifter and have either sued or been sued for patent infringement. The two are completely different from each other.

It is a pretty interesting concept though. It is just a matter of what kind of traction it can get.

john - 07/29/13 - 6:36pm

MTBAllDay: that’s half correct. Effectively, anyone can patent anything, so long as a patent office will issue one. Having the patent isn’t so much the issue, it’s whether or not the patent will hold up in court.

So, while the camp at Promax may have ‘done their homework’ and developed something ‘unique’, if the guys at either Shimano or Sram believe it infringes on one of their patents, that’s where a suit may develop. (also, there are undoubtedly patents from either team that have not been developed yet. maybe never intended to be developed, just to protect IP).

jimbo - 07/29/13 - 8:04pm

Really like that idea and would be pleased to see a SRAM/Shimano alternative out there. Good work TH.

Ralphy - 07/29/13 - 9:09pm

It’s not much like a Paul Thumbie at all. As the article states and shows, the lever is pushed along its axis for upshifts. It’s not a left-or-right shifter at all.

fanboy - 07/29/13 - 9:35pm

bring back Suntour XC Pro

Big Cow - 07/30/13 - 12:03am

it will never work as good as bar-ends

asparks65 - 07/30/13 - 12:22am

Well, I hope he has better customer service with BOX than his ‘THE’ brand because ‘THE’ cs sucked!

Heffe - 07/30/13 - 1:00am

Totally unique and cool product!

King County - 07/30/13 - 9:31am

Rts is 100% correct. Shimano had a similar shifter. I remember it was speced on a Ross mtb.

satisFACTORYrider - 07/30/13 - 11:43am

seems like an idiom, yes?

topmounter - 07/31/13 - 1:11pm

Even if the design is non-infringing, once targeted by the duopoly, small guys can’t afford the legal process required to prove it.

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.