For those of you clamoring for a company to develop a reasonably priced wide range cassette alternative, Box has your number. It should be said that the 1x drivetrain from Box is still very early in development, but they are working on it. Along with the development of their 10 speed mountain bike drivetrain (which should finally be available this winter), Box has been quietly developing an alternative to SRAM’s XX1/X01 and now Shimano’s 1x XTR. A number of the details are still being worked out, but we got a sneak peek of the prototype cassette and 1x and clutched derailleurs with a run down from the system’s designer, John Calendrille Jr. himself…
Really, there are three different projects currently in the works for Box (that we know of) – a 10 speed mountain bike drivetrain, a 10 speed clutched rear derailleur for that drivetrain, and a new 1x system which will probably be 11 speed.
When we say will probably be 11 speed, we’re told that there will definitely be an 11 speed 1x system in the future, but the current prototype cassette is an 11-42 10 speed version. Box says they haven’t decided if they will release a 10 speed version of the system including the cassette just yet, but based on feedback we’ve heard from consumers, we say it would be a good idea for a full cassette option for 1x conversions. John Calendrille mentioned that for now they are only working on an 11-42 range cassette to offer the widest range out of a 1x drivetrain without using a 10t cog.
The current prototype cassette shows that Box is experimenting with different materials, using steel for the first 4 cogs, Titanium for the middle 3, and aluminum for the largest 3. The result is a cassette that weighs about 300 grams in the 11-42 size.
To go along with the cassette, Box is developing a new 1x derailleur that uses different parallelogram geometry and a slightly different cage to work with the bigger cassette. The derailleur will be able to climb to the 42t cog while still offering proper chain wrap – which is the issue when using a standard 10 speed derailleur with one of the cassette adapters.
The other first look, is their new clutched derailleur for both the upcoming 10 speed mountain system and the future 11 speed versions. We’ve heard that this has been in development but this is the first we’ve seen of it in person. Just an early prototype, we’re told that the derailleur will most like not have an adjustable clutch, but will have some feature to help with wheel removal and installation. Box hopes to have the clutched derailleur fast tracked for delivery this winter along with the first production of the 10 speed group.
Some pretty exciting stuff in the works from Box – what do you think?