If you were going to build a new brand, going up against Shimano and SRAM may not be on the top of most people’s lists of launch strategies. But Toby Henderson isn’t just anybody, and his relatively young Box Components brand is doing just that. Why? They wanted to offer people another choice.
We spotted the shifter at DealerCamp this summer, and now he’s added the rear derailleur in an effort to bring a complete drivetrain to market. Both have some unique features – not just to avoid patent disputes, but also to improve the user experience.
On the rear mech, there are O-ring seals at all the pivots. All pins are hollow to save weight, and the main pivot is 30mm wide to keep it super stuff and precise. Long lasting Delrin pulleys are rolling on sealed cartridge bearings.
Shift down for detail pics and specs, plus a look at their sweet new four piston brakes…
Articulation is pretty straightforward with a design that doesn’t protrude too far away from the frame in the smallest cog, helping keep it out of harm’s way.
The cable housing stay is spring loaded so it’s less likely to snap off in a wreck. This feature may or may not make it to the final production version. It’s nifty, but losing it would save a few grams. As is, target weight is 235g.
The main pivot for the upper parallelogram is a massive 30mm wide.
Shifter is about 118g and uses a unique lever movement to shift the derailleur. It’ll come with two levers -one short, one long- and there’s a small spacer (silver wedge) in the clamp to let you adjust the angle.
Push it around like normal to shift easier (in the rear) and depress it to shift harder. It’s mounted at an odd angle on this bike, but in practice it’s more ergonomic than it sounds.
The front shifter will come in options for both double and triple chainring setups. At the moment, there’s no Box front derailleur, but the shifter will pull cable appropriate for any SRAM or Shimano front mech.
Look for an April/May availability with pricing in par with XT. They’re working toward offering a complete group, likely taking their BMX crank design and modifying it for gravity mountain biking at first. They’re also looking at single chainring options. A cassette will be a wide range model but stick to 10-speeds at first. That keeps things compatible with current cassettes from others.
The new 4-piston hydraulic disc brake is a bit further out from production, but looks pretty interesting. It uses a dual diameter piston and dual compound pad. (the black rotor is just a plastic piece for show, not the actual product)
As the smaller piston makes initial contact, it provides lighter braking force so it’s not grabby. As you pull the lever further, the larger piston makes contact with a different pad compound with more bite for more power.
The lever will mount with their ODI compatible grips for a very clean look. This one’s just a CNC sample, but the design will allow for the actual master cylinder and lever assembly to slide within the clamp to adjust the position of the lever in relation to the grips.
The bolt that clamps the lever to the grip will lock it all into place. The dial on the bottom provides a reach adjust. Internal features are TBD.
The caliper comes in at about 65g. The complete system’s weight is TBD. Production versions will have a rotating banjo bolt.
The Cusp enduro stem is named after the concave shape of the walls and is completely hollowed out to come in at just about 140g for a 65mm length.
They’ll offer 55, 65 and 75 mm lengths. They’ll be forged then CNC’d for production models. $99.
Other small new things are the seatpost binder with integrated dropper post cable guide and machined out brake caliper adapters. Adapters are $20 each, are pretty light and available in black, red, blue and gunmetal.
The last one is a new Ultra Lightweight Cable Housing that’s about 20% lighter than the ubiquitous SIS housing. They use alloy strands in the casing rather than steel, with a nylon liner inside. The cables are PTFE coated. As more and more bikes run continuous housing, little things like this can add up to noticeable weight savings. They’ll retail for $30 and come with two sets of ferrules – black and a color to match the housing. Colors are black, gray, white, red and blue…not the day glow yellow, yet.