Long-Term Review Box One 11 speed Rear dérailleur

21 may 2019 I added text, and added videos.

Unlike the other current options, Box One has bushings, which is great, bushings can be replaced, which is very easy to do, the rear derailleur can be fully assembled, the only thing you need is a screwdriver to remove the E clips. I wish all Rear derailleurs fully serviceable.

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.

Pros:

  • 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.
Muddy Fuel ex 7 29nr2_0587
White Lightning Clean Ride_5734

But the Top pulley is also more exposed, and easier to clean than on Shimano.

Muc Off Wet lube 28.08.2018_5135
  • 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.
From this side, you can see the E clips,
BOX ONE 11 Speed rear deraileur_0396
When adjusting The Limit screws I recommend using smaller separate Allen keys instead of a big Multi-tool, as the Pivot Tech Swingarm is partially covering the limit bolt, So you will scratch the paint off pretty fast.

Impacts:

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 composite got bit scratched and the big bolt too, but no real damage was done, , it worked as before, but had to adjust the limit bolts, the composite part replaceable, but not seen it offered as a spare yet.
Box one scratched_2120
BOX One 11 Speed RD_0215_DxO
Muc Off Dry lube_3224
Muc Off Dry lube_3228
Hazet 760n-3_20190128_140426edit

Shifting performance:

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:

Upgraded 2014 Trek fuel ex 7 29er Skanshytta tur 15.08.2017_0414

Product page: http://www.boxcomponents.com/Box-One-11-Speed-Rear-Derailleur

 Cons:

  • The spring tension is too high.

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.

Box One_5057
Box One_5059
Box One_5062
Box One_5063
Box One_5055

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

BOX One KMC X11 SL Rock n Roll Gold lube_5029
White Lightning Clean Ride_5789
White Lightning Clean Ride_5774

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.
This is the cam clutch, the big O-ring comes on top of the spring between the gap.

Flickr Album https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1QqwHb

The jockey wheels can got grass stuck to it.

Grass Stuck in Pulley_4375
Grass Stuck in Pulley_4377
Grass Stuck in Pulley_4384
Grass Stuck in Pulley_4399
Box One loose bolt_2028

I don’t know why, but the bolt got loose, so I cleaned it and put Loctite 243 and it held on.

Box One loose bolt_2024

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.

Box One_2852
Box One_2848
White Lightning Clean ride _20180927_113525
White Lightning Clean Ride_5734
KMC chainlube dry ride_3646
White Lightning Clean Ride_5738
White Lightning Clean Ride_5741
Muc Off Wet lube 28.08.2018_5135
white lightning clean ride_4356
Box One cam clutch _0015
How new RD looks like inside.
White Lightning Clean Ride_4335
white lightning clean ride_4329
Box One_2848

Verdict:

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..

Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1QqwHb

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