It’s been about a year since BOX sat down uninvited at the exclusive two-seat chess match that is the 1X drivetrain market. And both the BOX One shifter and derailleur each brought something unique to the game. Most notably, the shifter’s single paddle handled both upshifts and downshifts, and the derailleur’s chain retention clutch featured a significantly lighter touch.
In a bit of a shocker, the BOX drivetrain’s second coming is missing both of these boat-rocking features. It seems the single-paddle shifter design may have crossed into someone else’s intellectual property. And though that light-action clutch made for smoother shifting, it also made for some less-than-stellar chain retention. Both the One and Two drivetrains got the new shifter, some new construction, and a new clutch, but BOX had much more to show at this year’s Eurobike
The $110 BOX Two derailleur shaved $65 off its predecessor thanks to a change to lower-tech materials and hardware. But the overall feel and build quality between the two feels essentially unchanged to the touch. And most importantly, the pulley cage has a much more substantial and immediate resistance to rotating. The shifter, now $45 down from $70 has gone to a system very similar to the Shimano, downshifting with your thumb or upshifting with either your thumb or your index finger.
We’ll withhold our ride impressions until we’ve actually gotten a chance to ride it, but the updates promise to make the new BOX more competitive with SRAM and Shimano. It’s just going to be a battle to set itself apart from the existing options, and BOX has chosen longevity as the battlefield.
BOX still gives you uniquely simple access to replacement parts, but now they’ve gone one better. Nearly every BOX component, including the in-harm’s-way derailleur, will be supported by an aggressive lifetime warranty unheard-of in the drivetrain market.
The all-new DH-specific BOX One 7-speed drivetrain features the same refinements and the same warranty. It’s got the hallmarks of any DH derailleur. The shorter pulley cage lets you run a smaller cassette, and it happens to put more tension on the chain and take more to bounce it loose. The BOX One 7-speed derailleur is priced the same as the existing One derailleur at $175.
The matching 11-24 cassette is at BOX’s ‘Two’ level and goes for $50. It offers tighter gaps between its gear ratios and an extra guide plate sandwiched behind the largest cog for extra protection from dropping.
Box also beefed up their carbon wheel and rim offerings. They’ve rolled out a 36-millimeter and a 41-millimeter outer width option in either a bare rim or a complete wheel and in either Boost or standard. All are 27.5, 28-hole and will cost you $800 for a rear or $700 for a front. The freehub is available in XD or Shimano standards, and run on a simple and easily serviceable 3-pawl system.