We have seen plenty of teasers over the last couple years from Box in regards to their new drivetrain, which they are now ready to release. After a couple of Sea Otter events and a trip to Vegas, Box is finally ready to show off their production drivetrain, which they had been working on for the last four years. At last month’s Interbike show, Box had one of the bigger booths along with a massive display of their new Box One drivetrain system.
The whole system is built around 1×11 drivetrains and is Shimano compatible. You can mix and match the shifter and rear derailleur with any current MTB 11-speed Shimano shifter or rear derailleur.
The rear derailleur is a little different than what is currently available from SRAM and Shimano. Box uses a Cam Clutch (as opposed to a roller-bearing system), which can be serviced at home if you have the mechanical prowess.
A feature we found pretty interesting was the Pivot Tech cable stay, which helps prevent excess damage in the event of a crash or rock strike. The cage will take up to a 46-tooth cassette.
The shifter uses the same pull ratio as Shimano and has a pretty easy little port to run the shift cable. There are two mounting options on the clamp to help riders dial in the reach. The shifter, however, is arguably the most interesting part of this kit, with a new take on shifting.
Shifting to an easier gear is similar to SRAM and Shimano, using your thumb, but to release the cable tension you push in on the L-slot of the lever blade: pretty nifty.
Box provided us with these parts already installed, so we haven’t played around with the setup just yet, but of course we will. Hitting the dirt, our initial thoughts were pretty positive: shifting to a bigger cog, the lever felt smooth and the engagement felt crisp, with a very linear pull. Shifting to a smaller cog took some getting used too.
At first, the lever felt pretty stiff, but after about an hour of riding it seemed to wear in a little for an easier feel. We are using a Box 11-46 cassette, but we will be trying this out on a few other cassettes during our testing. The prices and weights are claimed to be comparable to Shimano XT, and for now, One is only available aftermarket. Keep an eye out on our YouTube channel for more info down the road.