Aaron Gwin Using Box's Shifter and Derailleur?

Feb 17, 2018
by Mike Levy  
Aaron Gwin s Box Components shifter


If you're the kind of racer who's a World Cup regular, you likely have a single drivetrain sponsor, possibly one that has suspension or even brakes in their catalog as well. But if you're the kind of racer who'll likely go on to be the winningest male downhiller of all-time, and who does crazy shit like winning a World Cup race without a chain or defying mother nature, you can do things a bit differently.

YT's Aaron Gwin (who else?) has used Shimano and Fox components while on Trek, and then a SRAM and Fox combo during his Specialized days, but his move to YT saw the Californian's bike get a whole lot more eclectic. Last year he had a SRAM X0 DH derailleur and shifter paired with a set of e*thirteen cranks arms, chain guide and wheels, tires by Onza, a set of HT pedals, and stopping done by TRP. Talk about unique, and especially in a world where most top pro's bikes simply get a SRAM or Shimano blanket thrown over them.

It appears as though Gwin's YT is about to get even more out-there, too. Earlier tonight Gwin posted a photo to his personal Instagram account announcing that he has re-upped his contract to wear Bell helmets for a few more years. Okay, that's not too exciting (sorry, Bell), but take a much closer look at the photo itself, and zoom in especially tight on the right side of his Renthal handlebar. See that shifter? Yeah, that's not a SRAM shifter, and it's not from Shimano, either... You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to know that it's some version of Box's new, downhill-specific clicker.
Aaron Gwin s Box Components shifter

The shifter's shape is a dead giveaway, but just in case that's not enough proof for you, check out the single visible shift paddle that also looks pretty Box-like to me. The rest of Gwin's bike is out of frame, but he's likely also running their DH-specific derailleur and 7-speed cassette that was debuted last August.

Aaron has taken some heat in the comments when it was announced that he'd be sponsored by Onza and TRP, with some saying that Gwin was simply signing with the highest bidders, but I don't think that's what we're seeing. Aaron has said himself that he enjoys the development aspect of working with his sponsors, and Onza's Aquila tire and TRP's G-Spec Quadiem brake are both shaped by his input. The man also seems to like championing less obvious brands, too. In that light, Gwin working with Box starts to make a whole bunch of sense.


Update #1:
bigquotesThe shifter in the photo is not from Box.

Regarding your question of why put in all the extra work developing new products for sometimes less common brands instead of just packaging it all together with somebody else? The answer is simply because I enjoy it. The process of developing new products is one of the best parts of my "job," and it's just fun for me. It's also very gratifying to take a brand with dreams of succeeding at the highest levels and help to make that happen, to develop their products into something awesome, and win at a World Cup level. I can relate to those kinds of dreams a lot.

The development of these products is also good for the industry as a whole. It creates more competition which means a better product for the customers at a better price. So in short, is it a lot more work? Yes. But is it worth it? Definitely.
Aaron Gwin


Update #2:

Box (and Gwin) have denied that the odd-looking shifter is one of theirs, and it's almost certainly not a SRAM or Shimano unit, either. There is some chatter that the clicker on Gwin's downhill bike could be a new option from e*thirteen. Sound weird? Maybe, but e*thirteen already has cranks, chain guides, chainrings, and a bunch of cassettes in their catalog, so the addition of a shifter could be on the cards as well. More info as we get it.


208 Comments

  • + 902
 Does it really matter what drivetrain he uses? Gwin has won without a chain.
  • + 211
 Valid point.
  • + 65
 I am surprised he IS using a drivetrain.
  • + 71
 He also runs pretty fast without a rear tire
  • + 96
 I heard he's going with a derailer cause he plans on winning the World Cup without handlebars this year...
  • + 23
 Just another day if Gwins on the box. No real surprise there.
  • - 1
 So then we should know the chain maker and what they have done to avoid all of us having to Gwin-it
  • + 11
 Gwin is one of few with the skills and confidence to take the risk of racing unproven gear.
  • + 0
 If it was a home made shifter, that would interesting, even a suntour comeback. If the guy can win chainless, the shifter he's running doesn't really matter.
  • + 4
 It matters.
  • + 8
 @Duderz7: #shifterlivesmatter
  • + 19
 Of course the drivetrain matters! The coating on the shift lever of Box shifters is 0.03mm thinner than SRAM or Shimano. This smooths the wind vortex that occurs when your thumb is about to hit the shifter, something that has been holding Gwinn back for years. But you probably won't notice unless your grips are shaved to the correct tolerance.
  • + 3
 @mikelevy: According to Box Components' website, they're not using the 1 trigger thing anymore, it's 2 just like SRAM and Shimano.

www.boxcomponents.com/custitem_itemcat_main/MTB/custitem_itemcat_sub1/Shifters
  • + 2
 @ohthisistheone: Yeah, but this one is not from Box. Who says it is from Box?
  • + 1
 Breast
  • - 1
 @vinay: @mikelevy does:
“You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to know that it's some version of Box's new, downhill-specific clicker.
Aaron Gwin s Box Components shifter

The shifter's shape is a dead giveaway, but just in case that's not enough proof for you, check out the single visible shift paddle that also looks pretty Box-like to me.”
  • + 3
 @cragus-t: Oh Jefferey.
  • + 1
 @ohthisistheone: aaron says it isn't
  • + 1
 @jorge269: Precisely my point.
@mikelevy jumped the gun saying it is, bringing Sherlock into it but Sherlock is probably wrong.
  • + 0
 I wanted to comment 'who cares'. You win.
  • + 4
 @ohthisistheone: Updated with quote from Aaron: The shifter in the photo is not from Box.
....it is not a Box
  • + 2
 Chainless Gwin is the new 26 Ain’t Dead.
  • + 1
 e13 Snatch shifter.
  • + 153
 PB is like Gossip Girl Gwin is using new shoe laces Minnaar has a new haircut Bruni changed his hair gel Brosnan has a new sticker on his helmet Ratboy was spotted buying XL condoms An Al hole is bigger than a C hole PB... much to talk about nothing.
  • + 83
 Trust PB will PM you with the instructions on how to delete your account.
  • + 11
 XOXO
  • + 8
 Can you really get XL condoms??
  • + 15
 @Scottybike36: Ohhh yeah. Durex makes some big bags
  • + 4
 Have you notice this right glove, the baby finger or "Pinky" is yellow, then the left glove is black .... Secret weapon, I reckon !!!
  • + 53
 I doubt Ratboy would run Johnnies
  • + 3
 @Wamprat: zig zags I could see
  • + 3
 @igorov: hey upper east siders lol
  • + 4
 We love the gossip, who are we kidding..
  • + 18
 Wait, Minnar got a new haircut! OMG!!!
  • + 1
 Yeah, who f'ing cares what components the #1 dh biker rides? It's not like any of us will ever be able to ride a bike ourselves!
  • + 0
 Well put......
  • + 2
 You're still looking at it.
  • + 1
 must be mid-winter......
  • + 1
 @Wamprat: Tubeless
  • + 1
 @chillrider199: Today they prefer tubeless. But yes, there are Kenda's. Or Conti's. And labeled 29+.
  • + 74
 They are developing a Gwin signature drivetrain: Three pedal strokes and the chain comes off.
  • + 49
 i have a similar system. when it gets too rough the chain just falls of so the suspension can work a bit better. its not a bug, its a feature
  • + 39
 Rapid-Drop
  • + 2
 "it's like a great box except more simple and it's lighter"
  • + 1
 Three strokes and ''missing link'' disapears.
  • + 3
 @b-wicked: Amateur. I run a half link chain so it is only running through half my drivetrain. It falls off before I properly left the start hut... so that's where my run ends.
  • + 61
 What ever it is, it’s the biggest and most ugly MFing shifter I have ever seen.
  • + 0
 its big but i wouldn't say ugly
  • + 12
 @curranmtb: That's what she said.
  • + 40
 “You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to know that it’s some version of Box’s new downhill specific clicker.” Well Mr. Levy, looks like you shoulda left the research up to Sherlock cause you’re incorrect! haha Also.. what is a clicker? #killinmesmalls
  • + 3
 Were you forced to make a pb account just to debunk this?
  • + 4
 Is it E13's new drivetrain option set to debut at sea otter?
  • + 1
 @vtracer:

Most likely.
  • + 38
 This so good for the sport. One of the hardest charging, fast as F racers in the world is pimpin out of the box bikes & components that he & his team are willing to race with. Yes, I love boutique bikes & components, but I'm tired of paying top dollar when I can spend a little less & still get top quality gear. I'm excited both for him & to see how his bikes & components hold up @the world cup level. Let's see how it pans out, you never know till you try...
  • + 2
 Ditto, couldnt agree more
  • + 6
 It won't bring the prices down. Look at suspension, so many new brands recently and the prices only went up. Brakes, cranks etc... All the same There are so many brands out there and no components went down in price. You can argue that mid range or lower end has become better...
  • + 3
 TRP are NOT cheap.....
  • + 4
 @BartDM: there allot cheaper than Guides.
  • + 3
 @MelvieD: SRAM is a little bit overpriced anyway
  • + 2
 @BartDM: I got front and rear quadiems to replace guides for $288. That's cheap. Especially for his well they feel/perform.
  • + 1
 "... is pimpin out of the box"
Ahem,I guess in this case it should be "in the Box".
  • + 1
 @NebulousNate: then u got a nice price. are they good?
  • + 1
 @BartDM:
Not cheap, but they are affordable. $220 without rotors for a set of quadiem sl bought from eBay. Gspec quadiems were just a little bit more expensive.
  • + 1
 @jonus216: in Europe, u need to pay about 360 Euros for the set with no rotors.
  • + 39
 “winningest” the most horrible made up word word in American language.
  • + 14
 World Series.
  • + 16
 Good thing we left it to a Canadian to say it
  • + 16
 Um its Gwinningest hello.
  • + 21
 Every word is made up
  • + 5
 american language seems kind of ironic eh
  • + 1
 @curranmtb: touche!
  • + 1
 Exactly my thoughts!
How about most successful?
  • + 24
 Just like Gwin to think outside the Box.
  • + 0
 Never thought Gwin was one to be put in a box.
  • - 1
 @velociraptor-clintthrust: only in wet conditions
  • + 2
 @properp: I think you mean preferably wet and slippery...
  • + 1
 @velociraptor-clintthrust: it's scary to get stuck in one for a few hours and believe me I know
  • + 2
 @properp: Tubes or tubeless?
  • - 2
 @Rhymer: the only time I use a tube is when I'm on my surf or skim board! One Life yo! Live it.
  • + 19
 I've allways thought a great article would be 'what the pro' s would choose to run if they weren't sponsored '
If I thoughr they could be honest aboot it Wink
  • + 5
 Yeah, just look at what the privateers run. The biggest difference between the pros n them is budget.. privateers need good stuff that lasts a season, whilst pros can fit new fancy shit every race
  • + 3
 Exactly. They're running X company's components because X company is writing them checks. I'd do the same thing.
  • + 16
 He’s a boss in this game, not a hired gun. Makes sense he call shots.
  • + 5
 Truth. “Think I’ll run what i want, thanks”
  • + 10
 It is probably not a box shifter, but rather E13. Being that E13 already covers the rest of his drivetrain and in a previous article they had mentioned that they would be unveiling something big for drivetrains at sea otter. They have made every part of a drivetrain but a shifter/ derailer so it stands within reason that this shifter would be E13. Also it does not look like any current production Box shifters so I do not believe he is on Box
  • + 3
 Gwin also said it’s not Box, so I’m inclined to agree, probably e13.
  • + 12
 Its the only box Jesus said Aaron can touch. It certainly is no shocker. ..puns.
  • - 18
flag DirtbagMatt (Feb 16, 2018 at 23:25) (Below Threshold)
 This needs more up votes.
  • + 10
 Why do you gues, it is a box-shifter. Teatro/TRP are also working on an own version. And because AG is running a TRP break, I would bet my a** he is testing the new TRP shifter as well.
  • + 3
 Best to get lube ready then. Box's self lube after a little play
  • + 8
 I wanted to like Box, I really did. Was all in on having a non-mainstream build. But they need to step it up. Shift feel is below GX and not much better than NX. Everything just feels loose and cheap. There is no reason to choose Box over SLX.
  • + 4
 All I needed to hear. Guess ill continue my shimano fan boyishness
  • + 3
 i work at a shop n one of our team riders was supported by them, broke threee derailleurs in three months. cheeeeeeeeeeep
  • + 1
 @NWuntilirest: I Broke mine in the first three days. Cheap as f*ck. Never cracked a derailleur into two pieces. No Shimano or SRAM.
  • + 9
 For what it's worth you can run an XO shifter with a Zee clutch derailleur. I do it on my trail bike and I'm not even sponsored.
  • - 3
 Same speed? Because yea...that shouldn’t work
  • + 7
 @allenfstar: 9spd Sram shifter with 10spd Shimano derailleur
  • - 1
 Would you like to swap your XO shifter for a shimano one that will work properly?
  • - 3
 Would you like to swap your Zee derailleur for a sram one that will work properly?
  • + 0
 I was told this would. I highly doubt it does
  • + 3
 @VlajiciStrapec: not sure why I got neg propped but if your using different speed shimano shifters with SRAM derailleurs and vice versa it is possible to come up with combos that work but if you’re using same speed components from both companies they are incompatible
  • + 2
 @allenfstar: hey man, i know all that compatibilities and incompatibilities. (maybe because more than 15 years of professional experience in bike shops?) Just sayin, if somebody need that shifter/derailleur combo, it works. Think a bit outside of the box... Wink
  • + 1
 @VlajiciStrapec: I did it it worked a treat. Even better with a 6mm spacer between cable and mech anchor nut.
I'm currently xt mech 11 speed with 10 speed xt shifter. Again works a treat.
  • + 1
 Yes because the throw of shimano is the same on most current shimano. I really wanna see proof that you can run sram shifters with shimano derailleur @HardtailZero:
  • + 3
 @freeridejerk888: Previous generations of Sram shifters and mechs (the 9-speed units) use the 1:1 actuation ratio. That means, every unit of cable you pull, moves the derailleur the same amount. 10-speed Sram groups leave that 1:1 ratio. Older Shimano shifters and mechs (again the 9-speed generations) use the 1:2 actuation ratio, and that was pain when you rode a muddy sh*t. But, surprise, the 10-speed Shimano use the 1:1 ratio. And from that moment you can pair the older 9-speed Sram shifter with the newer 10-speed Shimano mech, and it works... Smile
  • + 2
 @VlajiciStrapec: i might end up trying this on my DH bike i currently use a x9 group and the non clutch really makes it LOUD would be nice to have a clutch style
  • + 10
 WINNINGEST IS NOT A WORD
  • + 3
 It is now apperently
  • + 19
 @panzer103: "apperently"? oh, irony
  • + 8
 I think you’ll find that he will most def be still running the E13 integrated cassette on his wheels again, not a Box one.
  • + 2
 Who cares if he was going with the highest bidder? Good for him for taking advantage of his success and doing well with it. I wouldn't blame the guy at all if he choseTRP, Onza, Box whomever cuz they were giving him a shitload more money than shimano or sram.
  • + 2
 Funny, because Box ditched the single pattle shifter and go look at pics of the old one as well as the new double paddle shifters. Doesn’t look the same. Nor has box ever made a silver shifter.

That all said, I can tell you big things are coming in the world of shifty bits and box isn’t the only company working on such...
  • + 2
 They changed because there was a patent infringement in the USA and Germany with the single paddle.
  • + 1
 1 paddle shifter on a mtb is just wrong, but plenty of marketing opportunities, “hey look at me!”
  • + 1
 "If you're the kind of racer who's a World Cup regular, you likely have a single drivetrain sponsor, possibly one that has suspension or even brakes in their catalog as well."
What would be the reason why an athlete would like to have only one sponsor for everything? If I were a World Cup athlete, I would aim to get the best out of every single piece.
  • + 5
 Nope its an E bike Ha Ha Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa leaving now
  • + 1
 I think Gwin is at the point that it doesn't matter what equipment is on his bike he's just fast. Maybe the new drivetrain will help take off whatever fraction of a second is made up in the 4 pedal strokes in a DHWC course, but the most important piece of gear on the bike is still the rider.
  • + 2
 It might be like with TRP. I got mine the the bike and was sceptic at first but then it turned out that these are really and I mean REALLY good brakes. If Box system works well why not use it?
  • + 2
 Does anyone really buy a bike or components because a pro uses them? These riders can make anything look dreamy. It doesn't mean I'm going to ride any better because of it.
  • + 3
 @mikelevy Why is moving from Sram to Box newsworthy, but moving from TLD to Bell not?
  • + 1
 Umm, they mentioned that in the article itself. They also had a separate article on that exact topic yesterday. In addition, Bell/TLD are pretty established. Box isn't so.....
  • + 1
 Who cares what this guy runs? Even this article states he can/ has won on anything. If I ran a company, he’d be exactly who I wouldn’t want. He is living proof that it ain’t the bike.
  • + 2
 Well, you are looking at a mountain bike website who specializes in professional racing, results, bike gear and similar stories. Therefore why would you expect them not to report what he or any other pro might be riding?
  • - 1
 @bman33: have you ever heard how they came up with the idea for the wheelchair?
  • + 1
 You could argue that with all Gwins well documented drivetrain problems, he would be the perfect candidate to select a different system to the big two SRAM and Shimano. He is prob more than happy to have the choice.
  • + 3
 E.thirteen shifter & derailleur, perhaps? He's already running their cassette & wheels right?
  • + 2
 It's funny, the old, "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" works again. I guess nobody wants to buy loser gear, seems pretty common sense, but it's pretty funny.
  • + 3
 Nice statement - Aaron should help to develop the Intend forks ! That would be awesome Smile
  • + 1
 Please don't charge a premium on your products just to be able to pay Aaron. Wink I am still saving for an Edge.
  • + 4
 We've had great luck running Box Components for a few years !
  • - 1
 When you crash at least you know that's the first thing they look for
  • + 1
 If you ride like Gwin, then you might like "development aspect of working with his sponsors" the equipment he uses.
Although I do not think most of us ride as well as he does, a la' no chain win.
  • + 5
 BELL HELMET RETURNS
  • + 2
 This article reminded me of all those box components that were stolen from that warehouse, what ever came of that?
  • + 2
 now he only needs to talk to Alpinestars and convince them to stop making the ugliest kit ever
  • + 2
 I hear YT is developing the Tues to fit a water bottle cage for him to run!!!!
  • + 1
 Noted.. Nobody slates Gwin for being religious any more. Gwin develops other peoples products because he gets paid shed loads of money and he is so bloody good.
  • + 1
 I´d rather suppose these to be from ethirteen;
would be a logical step to add derailleur and shifter to their lineup, as they already produce casettes, chainrings and cranks
  • + 1
 Yeah I don't think that's a Box shifter. It looks way too unpolished, even as a prototype. Looks more like Microshift or some such nonsense.
  • + 4
 Its an Alivio Di2.
  • - 1
 Any regular rider who buys a drivetrain based on what Aaron Gwin rides... A man who is never timed for over 5 minutes, and does 6/7/8 of those a year, and most likely has an infinite amount of them available, Is a mug. Not taking anything away from Aaron, he's phenomenal. Yes there's training, qualifying etc, but Jesus guys. RIDE YOUR f*ckING BIKES
  • + 1
 Dang... no Box stuff. Tested their shifter /derailleur at Sea Otter in 2017 and they fell great, just don't have the money for it.
  • + 4
 e*thirteen. Duh.
  • + 2
 Well if E13 need some help, with designing a derailuar let me know, I have made some rear mechs that can be sealed
  • + 1
 I can test their products I put in about $1-2k a year on broken parts
  • + 0
 I'm so happy for you Aaron you really think about the sport like no other, working with Box is so cool, I personally is using box myself And i really like it big time .
  • + 2
 Reding comprehension > you!
  • + 3
 E-13
  • + 1
 This -------^^^^^^^^^
  • + 3
 "if I was paid enough"
  • + 1
 So head safety is not exciting? Personally tgats more exciting to me than speculating on shifters.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy investigate the TRP possibility. I thought rumours about them developing a shifter surfaced a while back.
  • + 0
 I love Aaron Gwin, but I could care less what he's wearing or riding. I wear and ride what I want, 'cause I'm sooo frickin' enduro, bro!
  • + 1
 similar to what brakes he uses.....it doesn't matter because he doesn't use them.
  • + 1
 Sherlock Holmes may have predicted that It's a rebranded box from the missing lot.
  • + 1
 Solid response quote. Gwin is the best ambassador for our sport that I can imagine!
  • + 2
 I heard Aron uses charmin soft toilet paper too.
  • + 2
 That shifter is definitely a box. About as elegant as a shipping crate.
  • + 1
 Ever here of prototype?
  • + 1
 @bman33: yup. I have. Not all prototypes look like that. It is what it is. Might be amazing but can’t really pretend it looks good.
  • + 3
 @bman33: Nope but I've HEARD of one.
  • + 2
 More sponsors more money?
  • + 1
 In that case he can ride with my home made shifter and derailleur and still win.
  • + 3
 Lol. Not Box
  • + 2
 I hope they have sorted the weak clutch out !!!!!
  • + 2
 Remember... "it's the rider not the shifter..."
  • + 1
 If he’s on Box maybe he’ll be running the Stealth Huns now that they’re ourchased by Box
  • + 1
 Kind of sad to see Aaron Gwin no longer using a @troyleedesigns D3 helmet.
  • + 1
 HE who has the largest pay check to offer wins. well, you can say I like to help the smaller guy with the need to drop huge sums of cash to achieve name recognition.
  • + 1
 Nothing special about a D3 helmet(design, safety, and 10 year old design)
  • + 1
 looks like some Microshift garbage
  • + 1
 Etap Eagle DH. So like, sparrow.
  • + 1
 My thought after seeing Nino article. Cable housing there to throw you off.
  • + 1
 He dosent needs gears in the first place just one hard gear
  • + 1
 2019 yt bikes line up with box 11plus drivetrain?
  • + 1
 Super cool quote from gwin, I like his attitude
  • + 0
 Doood, Aaron Gwin's quote just cemented my stellar view of him as a racer, ambassador, and human. Stud.
  • + 1
 He has been wearing tld helmets until now
  • + 1
 I choose box whenever possible
  • + 2
 WHO DOESN'T LIKE BOX????
  • + 1
 when did gwin start racing xc?
  • + 1
 Is that a song? Boxed shaped flower? Lol
  • + 1
 He’s moved from TLD to Bell, which actually is news Wink
  • + 1
 Shimano and Sram were not paying enough
  • + 1
 What a square!
  • + 1
 Looks like a BOX...
  • + 1
 Fascinating!
  • + 1
 New Shimano Saint maybe?
  • + 2
 Saint Di2 Smile
  • + 1
 @nojzilla: Looks to have a barrel adjuster which would suggest a cable, but that could be to throw you off the scent.
  • + 1
 True!
  • - 2
 USA USA USA USA USA USA

What NOW PINKBIKE!????


GWIN WORLD CHAMPION AND OVERALL WORLD CUP CIRCUIT WINNER!
  • - 1
 Some people like gwinning the mortgage game....
  • - 3
 oooooo if only I gave a shit this might be interesting
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