The Unit is quite heavy, which is not surprising as it offers enough power to charge my phone & GoPro 4 session vat least once. I don’t mind the weight, it does the job well, works great, I haven’t had any issues with this unit.
It seems like it’s a robust unit, but I haven’t taken it apart, so I don’t know what’s behind the rubber grips on the side, So I don’t know for sure if it’s exposed if the rubber gets damaged somehow. But it has bolts securing holding it all together securely.
The unit has a flash light which gives some decent light in case of a emergency but it’s not going to light light up far ahead on a trail.
The micro USB part of the red cable got partly separated from head, not fully fallen off, but still holding on but, but it’s loose and wiggles, I don’t know if this happen when I charged the GoPro while in my backpack while riding, or those times I rode with it charging while recording with side cam setup, but I think it’s too fragile.
Showing south at between north and east but closest to north. quite unreliable compass, it will show wrong direction no matter which way you turn it then show correct then somewhat off, basically it’s all over the place. I don’t know why that is.
It seems to be quite strong, and durable, and handle being dropped.
The compass is attached to a fabric loop which is attached to a keyring, on a pivoting link.
The rubber cover does a great job of sealing & fits snuggle, so no grime will get in the inputs. But because of this it’s not the easiest thing to open, but that’s a good thing, I can use the USB plug to open it easier, or my finger nails if I am careful, but it’s not too hard for me, I find it east enough, any easier it won’t be as secure.
Good USB inputs/outputs, good tolerances, the cables plug in smoothly and snugly, no big play.
nice rubber on the side with big knobs making it more secure to hold.
the unit can take some abuse, I have dropped it on the ground several times.
I can Charge Go Pro 4 Session and my phone at the same time.
This is how I route the wire for the GoPro if I use it while riding
Here is a picture of my old setup with side helmet cam.
Going from Xt m8000 with uncut 116 link Kmc x11 Sl silver chain, I had to add 5 links, due to the bigger tension pulley, but with 34T Oval I could use stock chain length. But if I were to use 32T or smaller I don’t Think it would be an issue, but I haven’t tested this.
It’s easier to clean the jockey wheels than on Shimano rear derailleurs, due to the more open design, the jockey wheels are more exposed & the lower is bigger.
But the Top pulley is also more exposed, and easier to clean than on Shimano.
The cage swings very smoothly
You can fully take it apart, as the swing arms have E clips, so removing them is easy with a screwdriver, So far Box does not offer every single part as a replacement.
I have had the chance to smash it, on this technical section this was the result : so far it seems to be ok, can handle some scrapes.
The rd moves easiest up from the the highest gear/smallest cog, at the second smallest cog it the resistance can be felt, it gets worse and worse the bigger the cog.
I noticed there was a difference in how stiff the springs were between the two Box One rd’s I got, one still has a stiff spring.
I prefer Shimano trigger shifter, So I use the XTR m9000, it seemed like a good combo, but the stiff spring is way too fatiguing.
The shifting is very smooth, it’s actually smoother than Shimano XT M8000, because of the cam clutch, it gets stiffer as the lower gear you use, but this makes the high gear as there is no clutch at all, this is probably also due to the initial movement where the clutch does not seem to engage, but this won’t be an issue unless you ride like a madman within the top gear, so any issues are unlikely, But I read reviews saying they dropped the chain, but some of them did not use chain guides.
The shifting is very smooth, similar to Shimano XT M8000, but in higher gear as I mentioned before there is more play in the cage before the clutch actuate, but on Xt it’s much more efficient clutch,m which can be adjusted.
It gets stiffer as the lower gear you use, but this but in the smaller cog if feels lighter, due to less resistance. But this won’t happen with normal riding, so any issues are unlikely, But I read reviews saying they dropped the chain, but some of them did not use chain guides. I guess the chain could drop if back-pedalling downhill in max gear, which no one normally does, or even on the flat you will feel the chain slap. I rode pretty hard and fast in technical sections and I never had any issues, but eventually it was a problem, when the bushings wore out there was so much play that it created more slack in the chain probably causing the chain suck i got On my fuel ex, But this happen before too, but that was due to the cassette being worn I think, but maybe it already started back then summer 2018, but that issue was gone when I swapped back to the XT cassette so it probably was not, but the issue came back after using the Xt cassette for a while, but the cassette was significantly more worn, and the Box One Rd has a lot more slack and sag, The initial play of the clutch is also a contributor I think, and both combined were causing problems, but just the slack chain alone would be causing issues, when shifting it had issues both ways so I think it was march when I swapped back to the XT rear dérailleur, and later I swapped back to Sun Race cassette, which I will run until I get a new Rd, I think it will be the next Box One.
In this video you can see how the bushing wear is on a Rd used month, few weeks, few days.
You can see the chain is slacker, and the Rd is sagging, I did not dare to use the Rd with the bolt the right way because I was afraid of ruining it, so I did what I did on the Fuel Ex, but this does not allow me to adjust the B bolt for the wear in the bushings to remove the slack, so I would have to do that or shorten the chain.
Fitted on the bike with Uncut KMC 11x Sl silver chain:
The Box One Rear dérailleur has a harder spring, which increases the fatigue I get from shifting, which already was pretty bad Shimano XT M8000 rear dérailleur
The clutch was quite harsh/ stiff in the start, but it eventually wore down, so the gets weaker than the Xt M8000 clutch can be.
I noticed the downshifts were smoother with the Box one, but this might be do to the worn clutch and heavier spring. The lack of adjustment is a big flaw, but this is resolved with the new generation of Box One, it has completely new internally adjustable clutch.But I haven’t found out if the spring has gotten lighter on the new generation, but it won’t matter anyway if I get Archer components DX1 electronic shifting system, which I think I will need, because I fatigue my hands by shifting.
The Spring tension is so strong is actually abusing my thumb significantly more than the XT M8000 RD would, to the point in the tip of my thumb like a needle, if I do too much shifting, it can take days before my thumb is back to normal.
Last time it took 10 days before the pain was gone, also I had to use a lot of hand cream, the skin was wearing off at the tip of my thumb at faster rate in the winter and spring, due to dryer skin, of course having hand cream helps, but I forgot to apply it before riding, but I have been doing since that day again, but there is no cure for the pain I get when riding for 4 hours and shifting a lot, the rides after this ride I had to minimize my shifting to bare minimum, to avoid pain, only shifted when absolutely necessary, but if riding in a place that requires a lot of shifting, like I do at & to Skansehytta in Askim, and ride for 4 hours it’s I will get pain for sure, but then rest of my body will be tired too, if I ride fast or do a lot of technical stuff, but it’s always the thumb that fatigues first, even with rides I do less with my whole body as long as I have to shift a lot I get pain, so it can happen on even shorter rides.
So mechanical trigger shifter especially with activated clutch on the rear derailleur is not great for me, to abusive, especially with so strong spring tension, even with days or weeks of using hand cream and my skin is being normal, after several hours, my skin gets some wear, and pain, on not as long rides, but for the longer rides I get a longer lasting and more painful experience, but with XT RD it was much it happens at a much slower rate, and not as painful.
The Clutch is not adjustable, so when it wears you can’t regain hte same performance, But the new version has adjustable clutch.
The B Screw & threads in the body for B screw failed, it’s most likely due to alloy used, the next version comes with Forged alloy parts, so it should be more robust, it’s promising.
At first glance, I thought I had to adjust the B screw, But a few seconds later noticed that the screw has chewed off the edge of the hanger. Since then, I fully unscrewed it I discovered the threads were ruined, But then I discovered the B screw was switching between light and hard to turn as I unscrewed it, this was caused by the threads in hte body being completely destroyed. So I put Xt M8000 on the bike.
Rhis Rd is not really compatible with Trek rear dérailleur hangers, I haven’t tested it on other brands.
I hope the new Box One Rd will be strong enough for the threads to not fail, Also I hope other hangers on other bikes I want won’t have a shape that cases the bolt to not sit properly against it, the Trek hangers sure don’t work with this RD, but does with Shimano And Sram, I don’t know if the New RD has changed the position or angle of the bolt
The position of the B screw does not help, I am quite sure it’s the reason the hanger got so damaged, but maybe the hanger on my bike should be thicker where the B screw is, but I think the B screw position is not optimal, and the combination of the placement & not using forged alloy resulted in failure. but using the rear dérailleur with upside down B screw with nuts for extra support, seems to work well, I haven’t had the issue on the other Rd. for Shimano Xt 11-46T I used one nut, for Sun Race 11-46T I used two nuts.
Dislocating cam clutch spring, the spring wears out and becomes too big, and creeps out on both sides of the O ring until most of it pops out.
I don’t know why, but the bolt got loose, so I cleaned it and put Loctite 243 and it held on.
Some pics of the RD that did not fail:
The threads did not fail on this Rd, I know the body is not strong enough as I have seen failures by other users on Instagram, this one did not have any issues yet, but I reversed the B bolt and added nuts from reflectors for support, it has not failed the few weeks I used it a lot.
There is definitely potential, Box has some great ideas, for example, use of bushings, but there some flaw that can’t be ignored.
BOX one has great potential, but the current rear dérailleur should not have been released to the public, as the product has major flaws, I hope these issues are fixed in the new generation of Box One.
So I can’t recommend the First generation of Box one Rd at this stage, but I can’t really recommend any other mechanical rear dérailleur or shifter either, I really hope they will fix this issue, by offering a free rear body upgrade, which would be easy to do, & easy for the more custom to install, as the Box ONE Rd can be fully disassembled, with only a screwdriver & Allen keys.I recommend keeping up to date with Box is doing..
Since 6 months review in Jan 31 2018, I have taken a lot of pictures, I have improved this review a lot, but I might update it again.
later may 21 2019 I added videos and improved the text.
The barrel adjuster is nice easy to adjust the wire tension.
A look inside:
A closer look at the mechanism:
The back plate is made of plastic and is secured with tree thicker bolts and a tiny screw.
Here you can see the top of the mechanism, the hexagon keeps the shifter to rotate, the bolt goes through the hole. the white stuff you see is the original Factory grease.
A closer look at the mount:
The carbon down shift lever got scratched, but it was fine:
I have managed to scrape up the Carbon trigger, I don’t know how or when, but probably in one of the few crashes I had, probably on asphalt or rock, but it held up well without any cracks or other damage, even after a year after this scratch happen.
Removal of bottom cover requires moving it over the lever, be careful doing this so you don’t damage the cover
Triggers withstood winter use
The shifter triggers withstand winter use,the downshift lever is made of carbon, The up shift trigger seems to be made of plastic carbon mix. Unlike some other plastic triggers shimano had to offer in the past, these don’t fail after few months of winter use,same goes for the xt version, but xt version has alloy downshift lever, and plastic trigger, but it can withstand winter use.
Where I live winter can be as – 10c midwinter, January, February, also a lot of temperature changes up and down, and very varied temps and conditions on the start and end, but they withstood it all very well, zero cracks.
No position adjustment:
Currently there does not seem to be a trigger shifter on the market that fits me, and have all the adjustments to make it fit me. also the fatigue I get from shifting makes Electronic systems interesting like Archer Components: https://www.archercomponents.com/
I have have tried the latest Sram shifters in my local sporting goods store, they too were not made for my hands, but at least they got a adjustment to the downshift trigger, to adjust the angle, but that’s not enough, but just by looking at it I could tell it would not work for me, also I can tell the other shifters I have seen won’t work well for me. I haven’t had the chance to try the latest 12 speed Shimano shifter yet, but I can see from reviews on YouTube and pictures on in the magazines, it does not seem like they would fit me well.
Shifters has to have adjustments to make it fit big and small hands and all in between, having one size does not work well. this has bothered me for many years, but most things with contact points on bikes has been fixed, some even like they read my mind, but I am sure I am not the only one who wished for many of these things.
The thumb will rub against the lock on clamp when shifting with the XTR M9000 shifter, but this is not the Grips’s fault, I would like some more adjustment for the XTR shifters, but so far this has not been an issue yet, this of course leads to wear where the thumb rubs.
here you can see thumb at the down-shift lever.
Another thing is when using the up-shift trigger with my index finger, I have to move my finger in uncomfortable way, I have to reach for the trigger or move my hand to actuate the trigger, but when using my thumb it will rub, but if I place it where it would be natural to place it, it sits half way on the trigger.
But as this is a shifter it’s not wearing as fast as a rear derailleur would, so it will last for ears, not much play has developed, if any, but I also have serviced it several times, to keep it running smoothly.
The lack of adjustment makes it impossible to set up properly even if this shifter fits you, with some brake s it might not work good.
With the new Shimano brakes(M7000, M8000, M9000), there is more room for clamping position.
XTR Shifter & TRP Spyke lever is not a good combo, with the Spyke lever I have less room to play with shifter placement.
This shifter does not fit me:
I would like to change the position of the shifter, for a better fit but the XTR M9000 shifter does not allow me to do this by default, I haven’t looked at alternative mounting solutions much, but the times I looked I did not find anything.
With my thumb joint issue causing the thumb to misaligned sure does not help when shifting, the big movements and pressure from the spring tension is fatiguing on it’s own, but the issues I have can cause even more problems, also make it more painful to shift when it happens, and having a Shifter that does not fit me, creates even more fatigue.
The shifter also has a firm click, it’s significantly different, from other Shimano shifters from the past, so you can feel the actuation better, but this adds to the fatigue I guess. But not as much as a rear derailleur with a clutch too tight, for example the first gen Box One ,which is actually abusing my thumb, to the point in the tip of my thumb like a needle, if I do too much shifting, it can take days before my thumb is back to normal.
Both triggers have play, the play has been present in all Shimano shifters I have used or tried.
The clamp is well engineered, for lightweight, but the connection between the mount & the shifter is flawed, there is slight rotational play between the mount and the shifter.
I have used it the XTR m9000 shifter with the Box One first generation rear derailleur, but the spring is a lot firmer than the spring on Shimano XT M8000 rear derailleur, so this makes it harder to downshift, more fatiguing, but even with the Shimano XT M8000 rear derailleur shifting is quite fatiguing, but that’s the negative part of a mechanical shifting rear derailleur.
Issues with bolts getting damaged too easily:
I have experienced too soft bolts on several drivetrain components, shifters, rear derailleurs, So this was not a surprise.
The bolt holding the shifter to the clamp was not tight enough when I checked it, so I unscrewed it applied Loctite 243 and screwed it back in, the bolt got damaged some, the stronger bolt should have been used, this is disappointing, but the bolt is supposed to be titanium, but there is too much wiggle room, which results in damage, even with a hex hey or bit that has great tolerances, it still will be bad, I have experienced this problem with several bolts from shimano, they all suffered from this, but not all have gotten as damaged yet, but they probably will eventually, you should insert tool and turn and not have wiggle room, but I can move the hex bit or key in evry direction, this is not something most people aspect from a high-end component, But I do, sadly there I see too many shortcuts in the bike industry.
I have tested several positions, and none of them worked well for me. but I settled on this one, but it will not be perfect.
For better grip I installed Tesa Anti Slip tape, on all controls, including the shifter, this has gave a much more secure shifting experience. of course there are other options, I just got this tape from one of my local hardware stores.
The difference in feel between XT & XTR:
Shimano XTR Shifting XT M8000 RD
First things I noticed compared to the Xt m8000 was the different feel, which is difficult to explain, but it’s different.
Shimano please make mounts and other components compatible with cheaper shifters, for example, the clamps, covers, and so on.
as you can see that xt clamp is overbuilt, unless they use different type of material, that requires it, though the rest of the shifter is not.
but it would be nice if there was just on shifter with several versions instead of the making it different just to be different and not compatible.
24 april 2019 I updated,revised the review & on 21.05.2019 I added videos comparing the shoes right out of the box to used shoes.
I have updated the review with pictures and video showing the wear and how fast they wore, and compared the worn and new shoes.
These shoes are clearly summer shoes, the shoes have venting holes on the top in the front & on the sides, which work great, I can feel the wind blowing through.
The outer sole is the same as on the ESP version, with the same trusted S1 rubber.
They have differences but they have the same fit.
The Impact has much higher mid sole.
from the left: Impact high, Freerider, Freerider EPS
Feel & comfort.
But the Freerider ESP is comfortable when running, the sole bends as much as running shoes upwards, I think the Freerider shoe is a well thought out shoe.
I can feel the surface I walk on & the pedals, without any discomfort, which gives me a good feel of what the bike is doing & this is a good thing for walking up things if you can’t ride over/on.
in the video below you can see how these shoes are when walking.
August 2018 the shoes were worn out.
When these shoes wore out, I got new shoes of the same model.
Here you can see the new and worn out sole compared to the new sole.
A Closer look at the wear at the ball of the foot:
Because my feet misalign, I pop them back in place using the pedal this is causing wear on the rear of the shoes. I might need to get ankle supports to keep my feet more stable.
The wear here is probably due to friction between the tongue & the sides of the shoe, and the the wear on the sides is probably a combo of the pads and the tongue.
New shoe on the left and worn shoe on the right
You can look at the video below and see the wear it had.
The laces don’t wear out after months of use they are like new, unlike the 2015 Impact shoes.
Very easy to tie and untie, when tying the laces, i bend my legs down and tie the shoe, with few millimetre of room between the laces and the tongue, which gives perfect tightness,without Hurting , and when doing it this way I know it’s going to be right, if I do it this way, I can tuck the laces on to the side.
the shoelaces don’t untie if you tighten them properly.
Easy to take off, the tongue won’t restricts you from taking the shoes on and off fast.
Recommended, but could be improved, like the durability of the sole, and spare soles would be nice, if you could glue new sole, and make the shoe stiff enough and in right shape again, but I am not sure how good it would be with just getting new rubber on.
But there are more options on the market now, which I haven’t tried yet. for example Unpararell & Ride Consepts but at the time Five Ten Freerider were the only choice for me, and still is Because I needed high top riding shoe, because I wanted to protect the rear of my foot ankles from pedal strikes and scraping my feet on things.
on this ride I mostly rode on dirt,gravel paths and single track in forest at Rudsmosen, and some dry asphalt before & after,, only some short sections were muddy & wet in the forest. it was about 2,3H ride pluss some short rides after the main ride on asphalt.
it stayed cleaner than Muc off wet lube,
I even rode it a short while in rain, it was only few minutes, but it did not effect it, so little bit of rain won’t do harm, but I would not take it out for heavy rain.
If you if you spill some it will leave a white coating, I forgot to wipe off the chainstay when it happen to me so I had while spots.
There is clearly a difference with this lube, it leaves a wax coating, and if you don’t wipe off access it will be visible, it might make a mess I don’t know, but I would wipe it off.
It might perform better than muc off dry lube or it might not, I haven’t tested on very long rides, but for four hour rides more or less this lube will do,which is what Muc Off Dry lube does.
Remember to shake the bottle well, as the cleaner and the lube will seperate.
March 25, 2019 I noticed few days later in the stand that there was a slight increase in noise after 4 h ride. Which was not surprising, but better performance would be welcome.
It did quite decent with some short periods of light rain, and hail trough april 2019.