Box moves into MTB with shifters, rear derailleur, cockpits

Toby Henderson's latest project incorporates BMX style

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.

Box is the sister brand to Promax, which is being spec'ed on bikes from GT, Cannondale, Bianchi and Wilier.

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.

The box mtb shifters and derailleur are shooting for

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.

The box shifter works by pressing the thumb lever forward like normal, but then releases by pressing the lever in towards the stem : the box shifter works by pressing the thumb lever forward like normal, but then releases by pressing the lever in towards the stem

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team, Trek Boone 5, Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4, Marinoni fixed gear, Santa Cruz Roadster TT bike
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA
Back to top