BMX Hall of Famer Toby Henderson has had several post-racing projects, from THE (Toby Henderson Enterprises) to the new Box Components. After a couple of years producing high-end BMX parts, Box is moving into mountain bike with a slew of cockpit items (stems, seatposts, handlebars) and an interesting style of shifters and corresponding derailleurs.
Known in the BMX world for parts like carbon forks, 20mm front and rear axles, and 35mm Praxis spindle cranks, Box is hoping to carve out a little space in the mountain bike world, too.
The shifters and derailleurs, which aren't yet in full production, are aimed at an XT level of price and performance, the company says. The thumb shifters work with a unique lateral press, towards the stem, to release cable, as well as the more common forward press to pull cable. (Pushing the lever forward moves the chain up onto a larger cog. Pressing the wide lever panel inwards towards the stem drops the chain down onto a smaller cog.)
For now, the aluminum rear derailleur weight is about 235g (corrected from earlier 135g typo). The aluminum and steel shifters have a target weight of 156g for the pair.
Box is developing cranks, but has put chainrings and chains on the back burner for now. Pricing has not yet been set for any of these parts.
"We also are working on a short-cage version of the rear derailleur, a version with a damper, and, at some point we'll do one that works with 1x11," said Box product designer and senior brand manager Michael Gamstetter. "But we're taking this one step at a time."
The 10-speed rear derailleur has a spring-loaded cable stay to keep the cable housing out of harm's way. It uses POM pulleys with sealed cartridge bearings, and has a robust 30mm main link pivot for rigidity under shifting loads.
The single-lever 10-speed shifter features a short action. With only the thumb needed, the index finger can stay on the brake lever at all times. The single lever also makes for a cleaner cockpit. The angle of the shifter action can be adjusted, and long and short levers will be available as well. The front shifter works with double or triple cranks from SRAM and Shimano, and the rear works with the Box derailleur.