First Look: New BOX Components Trigger Shifter Design Could be Perfect for DH Riders - Sea Otter 2013

Apr 21, 2013
by Richard Cunningham  
shifter lead

The BOX shift lever is remarkably simple in both operation and in appearance. Swing the paddle forward to downshift and then push the flat section on the tip like a button to up-shift.



Toby Henderson, a pioneer BMX, Dual Slalom and DH Racer, was a the 2013 Sea Otter Classic demonstrating a new push-push trigger shifting system that shows great promise as an alternative to the present double-lever systems from Shimano and SRAM. The right-side lever downshifts by swinging it forward in the same manner as the present two systems, but to upshift to a smaller cog, one only has to push the same lever inward, in-line with the paddle - just like pushing a button. Two distinctly different actions allow the brain to process upshifts and downshifts on the same lever without confusion. It's been a while since a significant development has come forth in the shifting department and this one looks like a winner.

The Back Story

The shifter headlines a new company, based in Taiwan and headed by Henderson called BOX components - which already has been developing cockpit items and accessories for the performance mountain bike market. Henderson says, 'I wanted to show the guys in Taiwan that I could bring a product line to market and make money, so we founded Promax, which was targeted specifically towards BMX - something that I know a lot about and have a strong following. Once we got Promax going, they wanted to develop a line of mountain bike components under Promax - but I said no. I knew that mountain bikers are a different crowd. I wanted to separate our BMX and MTB lines and also, once we had the design-to-production thing going smoothly, I wanted the opportunity to start with high-end products that were competitive with the best mountain bike brands out there. BOX components is starting slowly, so that each time we develop a product, we can make it right.

shifter details

BOX's shift lever stays tucked out of the way when not needed. Up-shifts an be made by simply tapping the end of the lever with your hand (left), or by pushing it with the tip of the thumb.



How it Works

The new BOX shifter appears close to production, with dedicated hardware, and the lever and housing appear to be final-generation items. Toby said that the impetus for the design was to be able to shift without compromising your grip on the handlebar. Trying the shifter for the first time reveals that it is indeed a natural and intuitive movement. The swing required to downshift is almost exactly the feel and direction of a SRAM X0 downshift paddle, and it can shift up to three gears at a time. While there is only a moderate indexing feel while downshifting to a larger cog, the push-button action of the lever while up-shifting is very distinct, because it's a one-push, one-shift movement. Up-shifts can also be made simply by bumping the lever with the inside of the hand, rather than tapping it with the tip of the thumb, which should offer riders an even more secure mode of shifting when descending physically demanding trails. Presently, the shifter only works with Shimano ten-speed rear derailleurs, but Henderson assures us that a SRAM version will follow. The action of the Box shifter simply screams Downhill and we expect that this will be the arena where it will first gain acceptance.

shifter

Toby Henderson used his BMX skills to become a fierce competitor on the Dual Slalom circuit. Now Henderson is back in the game with a BOX components.



What PB Thinks

Henderson says that the ultimate goal of BOX Components is to develop a complete drivetrain, but he is realistic in his assumption that this will be a long time in the making. The short-term plan is to develop the shifter to retrofit SRAM and Shimano - and then to concentrate on making a complete drivetrain one component at a time. While this may seem preposterous to some, the re-emergence of single-chainring transmissions has dramatically simplified the requirements of the rear derailleur. With a proven shifting lever ready for production, BOX has a good chance to field a truly competitive rear derailleur against the likes of Shimano and SRAM. Only time will tell.- RC

Browse BOX Components


118 Comments

  • + 89
 I will reserve my opinion until i get to try it, but it looks to be a great idea. I am sure the haters will be not too far away with their "i don't like change" attitutes. Good on Box for bringing it! keep up the good work.
  • + 187
 I ain't touching it. I stick to my 26 inch 2001 stinky with a 24 inch rear, with my 48 tooth chain ring and 7 speed cluster and anodised purple handlebars complete with my rock show judy fork whilst wearing my bright pink stack hat and fluro yellow lycra suit with tassels beneath my arms.
  • + 15
 Looks like an haptic improvement. Hope the insides and indexing is properly hardened. Can be a winner. Will try once available in 9er Sram. ..and will it blend?
  • - 148
flag fr3er1d3r (Apr 21, 2013 at 18:09) (Below Threshold)
 Looks like a Trek Session
  • + 42
 ^ No. Just no.
  • + 7
 I feel like this is a cool idea but there could be a high chance that you bump the "push button" action and shift upwards accidentally. Awesome design/idea though.
  • + 24
 +1 for using "haptic" in a PB commentary thread. You sir, are the Most Optimistic Person I Met on the Internet Today.
  • + 11
 that was actually the first time that "looks like a trek session" made me laugh. but cmon people its not funny anymore so seriously shut the f**k up
  • + 15
 /\/\makes me laugh every time but then I still give them neg props for it
  • - 49
flag fr3er1d3r (Apr 21, 2013 at 19:25) (Below Threshold)
 HAHAHAHA!!! C'mon you guys seriously don't think that shifter resembles a session? Look again
  • + 7
 neg props up ahead^
  • + 0
 Looks like an old skool top mount thumb shifter in how it works. One lever moves the cable both ways, should be simple and stronger then current designs out there. Good job IMO
  • + 1
 This is a blast from the past once again fooling the young tenderonies of pinkland. This exact concept was the original index shifter of 1986. Of corse this one looks better with modern materials but concept is the same. Problem then and now is when you getting thrusted into orbit at breakneck speed one can easily downshift by accident. Looks like its been a minute since Toby has gone orbital on a bike.
  • - 2
 Am I the only one who really doesnt like this? I'm all down for improvements and change but this seems like a step back rather than forward. However. If their entire drive train turns out better than my current zee/xt setup then I'll gladly part with my money.
  • + 8
 Good for them on thinking out of the BOX! Hehehe...
  • + 0
 done allready.. i am running 5rot on my trail bike.. i have one lever .. 2 options.. seconds i can go through my gears in 2 pushes if needed..
  • - 1
 Armpit tassels?!? LUCKY! (think Napoleon Dynamite voice)
  • - 1
 @blackdiamnd he probably would make an "armssels" LOL
  • + 17
 Well I'm down to try one of these! Sounds like a cool alternative to the sram/shimano drivetrain monopoly.
  • + 11
 Monopoly would be one company controlling the market.
  • + 28
 duopoly then. irrelevant.
  • + 5
 Tk24 - dude, let's be real here haha...
  • + 3
 I really don't see what the problem is with Shimano or Sram shifters. Both have been pretty reliable, and doing the job well, so no complaints on my end. That being said, if this ends up being better, then I would be in. But would this new shifter work with both Shimano and Sram rear derailleurs? I can't remember if they both use the same 1:1 ratio.
  • + 2
 @hbfrdh The article says it's compatible with only shimano 10 speed, with a SRAM version in the works. SRAM uses a 1:1 while Shimano uses a 2:1.
  • + 1
 10spd mtb shimano is almost a 1:1 ratio, it's not the same as it's older brothers.

This is designed for shimano mtb 10spd.

Wouldn't really require much work to set it up for SRAM.
  • + 17
 It looks like I will take a few minutes to get use to, better than gripshift fot DH
  • + 5
 I race atvs so I would be hitting the right side one and be like "wtf? Why aren't I moving?"
  • + 13
 Solution looking for a problem.
  • + 5
 Exactly.
When was the last time anyone had a problem due to shifting loosening their grip on the bars?
Some people may prefer the ergonomics of this BOX shifter, but to say it offers any kind of advantage is nonsense.
  • + 0
 what, like 29ers?
  • + 1
 sarcasm lost on you lot then...
  • + 7
 i like it - where do i throw my money?
  • + 39
 Throw it this way bro...
  • + 11
 this whole ' take my money ' attitude is the reason why we as bikers get mugged off every fucking year with insane prices..... Make some thing with some nice material , hype the shit out of it , and people wanna buy it before it's even a fully released product... DVO is a prime example , not saying they are gonna be shit but untill they actually release the forks then its all just hype. MTB Magpies , SHINEY SHINEY
  • + 1
 Well said burd. Well said!!
  • + 1
 Morning Captain. This is a test for Birgburd and knowledge of Magpies
  • + 1
 How's the wife and kids?
  • + 2
 It's nice to see another option and I'm sure it'll find a following but I don't really see how this is an improvement over SRAM's two lever system. I guess it saves your thumb like 5-7mm of extra movement swinging over to the other thumb lever for downshifts but it seems like it'd be a bit more cumbersome for upshifts and just be a wash in the end... Curious to see it in action anyway.
  • + 2
 It seems like it would suffer from the same problems as the SRAM Double Tap road stuff. Using the same lever to shift both ways means that occasionally you will accidentally shift up when you meant to shift down. A mis-shift like that can seriously screw you over during a race.
  • + 5
 hmmmm dunno...pretty happy these days running my 1x10 setup with friction shifters.
  • + 2
 All right, gramps. lol
  • + 4
 He has already released BMX components to market under the "Box" brand. Toby has had more band names than anyone in the sport I think.
  • + 9
 I'm gonna start a new brand and call it "Protour."
  • + 0
 I would buy Protour products.
  • + 7
 I would buy Protour products so that I would finally have something with his name on it that I could deface.
  • + 4
 Sounds like a golf equipment brand.
  • + 2
 Well it would be beneficial to show the workings of the shifter in a small video. It'll help demonstrate to us all very quickly and silence all the simple questions. I'm interested in seeing this.
  • + 1
 It's cool, but what would really be perfect for downhillers is a reliable lightweight efficient internal gear box system to eliminate the need for thar flimsy, vulnerable, and outdated rear derailer.
  • + 9
 true, but the problem with derailleurs is that they're simple, light, and relatively cheap.
  • + 1
 I'd love to try it but idk I see myself being able to process the motion of the normal two levers much easier, what I really want is something where you don't have to be pedaling to shift
  • + 1
 On it.
  • + 1
 Internal hubs don't require you to be pedaling in order to shift.
  • + 1
 no but that's also a pain in the ass, have to relace a whole wheel if you dent a rim
  • + 1
 As opposed to not relacing a wheel if the rim get a ding? I don't see the issue there...
  • + 1
 Wasn't Toby Henderson the founder of THE?
I remember, back in the day, buying THE (Toby Henderson Enterprises) faux carbon fiber fenders.
I always assumed it was the same company as the current THE.
  • + 1
 Toby founded THE (Toby Henderson Enterprises) and he sold his interest in THE to his business partner a while back.
  • + 1
 No relation to the BOX component brand started by the founders of Onza 13 years ago then I take it, which made brake levers, v-brakes, and clipless pedals among their original offerings.
  • + 2
 Cannot wait to get my hands on this greeblie. It'll be nice to break a shifter other than a Shimano for a change...
  • + 1
 I have a question. I understand downshifting and all but when you up-shift by pushing the lever does the lever slide inward or does it pivot or hinge in and down?
  • + 1
 I'd like to see a video of it in action. I just can't seem to get my mind around how the upshift works.
  • + 1
 Yeah a video or animation would be great. This kind of reminds me of Shimano's horrible integrated brake lever/shifter idea.
  • + 1
 was that for mtb? ik the road system works well
  • + 1
 Yeah it was a mountain component. ST-M535 I believe.
  • + 1
 On MTB it was called "Dual Control".
  • + 1
 I think you're pushing forward to shift up to an easier gear (like Shimano/SRAM) and pushing inboard (toward the bike) to drop down into harder gears.
  • + 1
 Very interesting. I hope I can test it one day! Side note: remember when people used to run fenders? T.H.E.? I wonder if they still make them?
  • + 1
 yes, toby henderson enterprises is still around, and they're still making fenders.
  • + 1
 Cool idea. Would give it a try for sure looks like a great idea. And keep in mind Toby knows a lot when it comes to mountain bikes
  • + 4
 Gwin won on a 29er...
  • + 1
 Kintner on a 650B....
  • + 18
 norbs got robbed on a 26er!
  • + 1
 damn you mountguitars the last time i mention "norbs got robbed" i had over 100 negprops!! DAFUQ this is not fair.
  • + 1
 ^^ LOL! ^^
  • + 1
 haha...
  • + 3
 Awesome product
  • + 1
 cool seeing a brand besides sram and shimano gettin into the game. sweet design, simpler is better in my opinion.
  • + 1
 @Brule: If you read this, this is the kind of stuff I'd like to see more Smile
  • + 2
 Am i the only one who wants to shift like shimano airlines used too?
  • + 1
 I think it looks really really nice an that..... And stuff but what's wrong with the shifters now.....
  • + 1
 stiff. I know sam pilgrim and i think he would like it. He's a great all rounder and an inspiration, give it to him and whatever he says i will agree. If this does anything to improve my skidding in and wheeling out of corners im in. As long as sam pilgrim thinks thats a good idea of course
  • + 1
 SR-Suntour had a similar push-push lever almost 10 years ago. Except for the burly, plastic look, it was perfect!
  • + 0
 So it's basically a SRAM Double Tap shifter for MTB application? Joke's on you, Toby! SRAM has had a Double Tap flat bar shifter for a few years now.
  • + 1
 It's slightly different in that you don't have to completely release your grip with your thumb on upshifts, you can just sorta bump it with the inside of your hand it sounds like.
  • + 1
 So then it shifts the same way that I shift my SRAM X.0 triggers but uses one lever instead of two?
  • + 1
 Sram double tap, has virtually the same shifting action, I have been running one on my dh bike for ages, works well.
  • + 3
 id buy it
  • + 1
 Should work well on fatbikes too, hitting those little levers with big gloves must be a massive pain.
  • + 1
 My thumb during a winter ride has frostbite just looking at that thing right now.
  • + 1
 Funny, my buddy had promax disc brakes on his cheapo mtb for a long time.
  • + 1
 Shut up and take my money!!!
  • + 0
 It looks smashing. Yet another initiative to simplify already simple shifter. Keep it up Mr Henderson.
  • + 1
 Awaiting the Firefox brainwave technology shifters!
  • + 1
 Is this Toby Henderson of THE components (Toby Henderson Enterprises)?
  • + 0
 That be me...
  • + 1
 I want this on a pinion gearbox...end of story.
  • + 1
 I like the idea!
And would certainly want to try it :-)
  • + 1
 i would like to try it, look like it could work well
  • + 1
 Where did they put the credit card slot on this computer? I want one
  • + 2
 The big slot where the disc drive used to be, didn't they tell you? just slide your card in,, easy as...
  • + 1
 Can they now make a new GearBOX as sick as this shifter looks?
  • + 1
 Trigger shifter?! Since when do we push a trigger with our thumbs?
  • + 2
 maybe more like a spring loaded safety catch on a hand gun?
  • + 1
 looks like it would feel akward
  • + 21
 It actually feels like it should have been this way all along. I did not expect that at all, like you may have, because it looks weird with that right angle bend.
  • + 4
 it sure looks that way, but they said it was a natural movement
  • + 8
 I'm so down to try this, it's a really ingenious idea.
  • + 1
 Im sat at my desk holing pens like handle bars, trying to replicate the action. Not sure.... Guess its somthing you've got to try first hand.
  • + 1
 hahaha!!! @ joe, I was doing the same thing!!
  • + 1
 Good one Mr. C. Johnny 5 needs more input.
  • + 1
 Toby you are the one good job bro_____0^0_____
  • + 1
 Sounds pretty similar to Shimano's 70GS shifters from the early 90's!
  • + 1
 what if you dont have hitch hikers thumb?
  • + 1
 nvm thats stupid
  • + 1
 Cool idea
  • + 1
 I want one.
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