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.


27 thoughts on “Prototype Single Lever Mountain Bike Shifter from Promax

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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).

  6. @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.

  7. 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).

  8. 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.

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

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