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

Advertisements

Shimano XT M8000 rear dérailleur updated Long-term review

This post is in the process of being updated.

Wet EXT RF Atlas Catalyst - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0404
IMG_20161011_203005722
With the original link & jockey wheels
Rebuilt XT m8000 on Trek 6300_1595
XT M8000 KMC x11 DLC - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29e_0329

This part seems to be made of some sort of plastic composite.

The wire clamp is a weak point, not only because the plate bends, but if the threads fail, due to a hard impact or whatever reason, you need a new rear dérailleur. The wire plate bent to the point of the wire slipping, but I managed to bend it back on a bike path, but I flipped it, and used it for several months without issues, But I ordered Spare anyway.

I replaced the seal, as it lost some of the elasticity & stiffness, the bolts holding the cover in place held up well.

I changed the whole clutch assembly, not only the axle, I noticed the original spring lost the stiffness, the new one was a lot stiffer.

The scratches you see on pull arm is was caused by the chain grinding on it, it was when I had Bontrager Duster 29 on the bike, which was not good for 11 speed as the cassette was further in than the Hope Pro 4 Enduro wheel, Hope Pro 4 hubs are 11 speed compatible freehub, which places the cassette further outwards giving you better chain line & eliminating back pedalling chain drops. Even though there are some scrapes I have not had a hard crash with it yet. Time will tell how it will hold up, But I will not use it as much as it will go on the trek 6300, which I only use as a spare, But so far there has not been any significant damage from the small spills.

Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0405
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0413_DxO
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur _0314
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur _0306
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0308
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0358
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur _0343
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0363
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0601
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0633
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0627
rebuilt XT M8000 Speed rear deraileur _0443

The clamping plate eventually bent after few months, eventually the wire slipped, and I I had get it straightened enough to be usable, and then I put it back with the wear to the top, eventually the plate was straighter, but I eventually installed new plate just in case, to me it seems like the wire is bending the plate after long little by little, it seems like a flawed design. also the nut bolt trough plate design is no longer in use as on previous XT so the threads are in swing arm not in a nut.

Fully assembled, seal for cover for the clutch replaced, wire clamping plate, the seal hood for the clutch adjustment, which also eventually wore out like the original, hopeless, it wears out fast, and eventually falls off.

here you can see the new plate installed

XT wire bolt - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29e_0321
Hope 11T- 2017 upgraded NR 1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0312

Better jockey wheels installed..

Hope 11T- 2017 upgraded NR 1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0307
Hope  KMC - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0210
XT Hope  KMC - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0195

Did the 2014 Trek fuel ex 7 damaged the RD? or was it faulty?

The axle failed & the chain got bent, So first I tried warranty, but that did not work, but later, I became quite sure it was my frame that caused it. The Rd still had some life in it, So I ordered spares from SJS Cycles, but Shimano Norway would not warranty it as there was another damage, which actually is just cosmetic damage.

I am quite sure now the reason cage axle failed, was it due to major flex in the 2014 Fuel ex 7 frame under pedalling load? or was it faulty cage axle? I Don’t know.

Flickr album

Cons:

  • no use of bearings or bushings, causing shorter lifetime, which is a compromise.
  • not well optimized for wide range cassettes, So the use of goat link or similar is necessary, but if doing so, it performs very well.
  • plastic jockey wheels which wear a lot faster than metal
  • The clutch lever is plastic and is flimsy, it bends.
  • the bolts are quite fragile, the head damages easily, the tolerances between the tool and the bolt is not great, there is a wiggle room, causing the bolt to wear, even with most accurate tools out there it won’t solve the issue as the bolt head it self is the issue, but having it will definitely help, it’s the case for all of the bolts.
  • Plastic clutch switch is flexy and fragile it seems, I have seen pictures online of it snapped, impacting it might snap it, I haven’t done it, I don’t smash Rds often, if I do any damage it’s just scratching.
XT RD m8000 Clutch lever _20170221_111429205

Pros:

  • good shifting performance, if the clutch is well adjusted, by having a hard clutch you get harder lever action, so optimising it for you is important, I can’t have it super hard, the shifting performance is good with the Xt m8000 cassette, but also with the SunRace cassette, but the Sunrace cassette, has back-pedalling issues So I can’t recommend it.
  • very easy to service the clutch.

2019 update: the spring is not as strong as on Box One first gen, which was so strong it was fatiguing me even more than the XT M8000.

Verdict:

I will use the Xt Rd for a while, to not fatigue my thumb as much with Box One but I think I will switch from mechanical shifter to Archer D1X electronic system to get less fatigued, because even with the lighter spring on XT M8000 it still can be too much for longer rides.

Shimano SLX M675 Shadow Plus – Used to the end – long term review

This rear dérailleur has been on some long rides, and got some abuse, some of the abuse was from crashes, some of the abuse is from the 2014 fuel ex frame set, so I am sure it contributed to the rear dérailleur wearing out faster.

Time used:

I have ridden this rear dérailleur since 2015, some weeks in 2016 & the whole 2016/2017 winter plus one winter, and some weeks and days in the summer of 2017.

I ride a lot, I ride at least 5 days in a week (if I am well enough to),  from 1 hour few hours, depending on how I ride up to 20 plus km, sometimes less, but my point is I ride a lot.

I have mostly used this rear dérailleur with 1x setup.

Sometimes I am unlucky and crash or mess up on a technical climb, and this is why the rear dérailleur got some scratches, It had some scratches before the crash, for smaller impacts, but the last crash really shows damage, but it’s only cosmetic damage, so my conclusion is that this is a robust rear able to take a lot of abuse, but the pins and swing arms are not replaceable, So when has play you have to get a new rear dérailleur.

I crashed off a 1 m concrete wall, the cage was grinding against the wall, I had shifting issues, First I thought they might be the result of the crash, But later I found it not to be the case.

I  Did an inspection on the rear dérailleur,  I checked all the adjustment screws I took off the cage and did a service, the cage was bent, So I straightened it, but the shifting issues were still present. So I checked them, but then I checked for play, the rear dérailleur had huge play, so it was definitely the play. causing issues.

but I straightened it, but after few days of riding, I noticed shifting issues, So I checked the all the adjustment screws, but then I checked for play, the rear dérailleur had huge play, so it was definitely the play. causing issues.

after riding few weeks with, there was just too much play to do up-shifts, the play caused the Rd to hesitate on shifts.

The plastic cover took some abuse, but it held up well. This is the most abused rear dérailleur so of mine so far.

Jockey wheels:

SLX M675 comes with bad jockey wheels, but you can upgrade to proper jockey wheels, the problem with the stock jockey wheels is that the that the jockey wheel and the metal ring grind against with other and cause damage to the jockey wheel which causes it to not spin smoothly.

Even upgrading to XT jockey wheels which work better, they are not that great, Hope has better spacers, they are Labyrinth style spacers, so the bearings are more protected against contaminants.

I recommend upgrading to Hope jockey wheels or similar, with proper bearings & proper cover.

Shimano SLX M675 Shadow+ vs XT m8000 Shadow+

Using your 10 speed deore,slx,xt,xtr, rear dérailleur for 11 speed is possible, but it wont be as smooth.

but of course to compare this you have to have exact same setup, which I had here.

And of course The clutch tension must be properly adjusted & all other adjustments, I set mine up by decreasing tension until it the shifting performance was acceptable.

I recently rode the bike with SLX M675 few days and then the xt m8000 bike after wards and the performance is definitely noticeable.

Even on 11-42T cassettes with stock links/without goat link, the difference was noticeable.

the difference was most noticeable in the lower gears/bigger cogs.

If went up and down much faster, and made less noise.

I used KMC 11X SL Silver on both setups.

on my 2014 Fuel ex 7 29er I had to get a Goatlink to run 11-46T cassette possible. this picture shows the Rear dérailleur adjusted to the max,with a 1|1-46T XT m8000 cassette.

Is it absolutely necessary to upgrade? absolutely not,but on rougher trail  it’s nice to have better shifting.

Short term Review: Shimano Deore XT M8000 with Race Face Narrow wide

On 10speed Formula/Bontrager Freehub:

If I use the 42T cog on the cassette the chain will fall off when back-pedalling, but when I shift up to 37T cog the chain stays in place no matter how hard I pack pedal.

On Hope Pro 4 freehub:

the Pro 4 free hub, is 11 speed compatible, which means it’s wider, and comes with a spacer,and with 11speed cassette, the  cassette is closer to the frame/more outwards to the right, which gives a better chain line, so the backpedalling issues is gone,Unless you backpedal at unrealistic speed,then it will fall off,but I have done 180 U turns in 1stgear(42T) and the chain never fell off.

So if your rear hub is compatible with a wider freehub,you should get one.

Huge noise reduction when riding:

The first thing I noticed after I upgraded to 1×11 is that all the slapping ,banging and scraping noises are gone from my bike.25185797391_0cfdb76e37_o

32577666342_3a846ef0f1_o
Enter a caption

The narrow wide chain-ring will make more sound than the triple chain-ring,  but when ring in rough terrain or jumping, the noise is a lot less than a conventional triple ring set-up would make.

With this set up i used uncut CN-HG701-11 chain.

Shimano Deore XT M8000 I-Spec B shifter:

26307676250_68f1a4b4fd_b25193088823_b2f5dda76f_b

There is big  difference in the force needed to press to press the small trigger(up shift),but I got used to it after days ,and it did not feel as hard to press, and I like the shifter feel,I get less accidental shifts this way.

The change in gear is instant like promised.

The possibility to shift by bending you finger and do a finger kick motion,which you can’t do with Sram shifters.

(like this(https://youtu.be/7HvJma35fZA) to push the lever/trigger is gone, as the Shimano Deore 10 Spd had.But for me this is a acceptable compromise.

But there will be no accidental shifts

Down shifting:

  • smooth lever-action.
  • There is huge difference in the force required to push the triggers between SL-M610 &  M8000 , so if you plan to upgrade a kids bike you might want to let the kid try it out first,but for the youngest I recommend getting SL-M610 or something similar.
  • you can shift down 4 gears

The I-Spec B shifter will have rotational play,because of the pin system, it’s not avoidable.

The screw came with a lot of  Blue thread-locker,so needed to try few times until I finally got it tight without loose shifter.

But the adjustment screws did not,so you have to buy thread locker for them, I used Loctite 243.

The rear Derailleur:

25023025415_969c733b3d_c

11-26T M8000 Cassette  & RD m8000 with original link & trek ABP hanger

 

Pros:

  • A lot stiffer Clutch system, which is good.
  • Very smooth,fast shifting movement.
  • Esy to service, as long as you got magnetic bowl, and are careful with the round seal fo the spring assambly.

 

Enter a caption

 

 

Race Face Narrow wide:

The chain will not fall off no matter how hard I ride, if it falls off you must be crashing really hard.

There is some drag when pedalling but this is not noticeable when riding, the chain still wants to be on the ring for about a half of a second, but this is impossible to avoid with Narrow Wide.

If you want video proof that narrow wide works watch this video by Seth’s Bike Hacks

Me unboxing the 36T chainring

Down 50 degrees stairs test:

Steep stairs

set up used in test: 2010 trek 6300 1 x10 36-11T cassette Shimano SLX Shadow Plus, with 36T Race Face Narrow Wide chain ring.The chain dropped when it was in 24 Tooth cog, but when I tried in 21 cog it stayed on. Even on stairs that were not that steep probably 40 degrees,the chain fell off.

Pros of 1×11:

  • You get all the gears you need if you just select the right chairing for you.
  • a lot quieter drive train
  • dropping the chain is rare unless you ride in low gears down steep stairs.
  • No front chain rigns to deal with
  • easier to clean the drive train,less dirt & mud on the drive train
  • if you want to sue a chain guide, you can use a single ring chain guide which will be more secure,and look better
  • if you use a wide range cassette with a 9T cog you can get the a pretty high gear as you could with triple rings,but with 11-42 with 36T cassette I get a pretty good range,but once I get on the 1km flat straights I will run out of gears

Cons of 1×11: There are no real cons riding 1×11 it will have faster wearing cassette and chain of course,but that’s not a reason to not upgrade. the 37 and 42 cogs are the fastest wearing cogs, because of the bigger chain angle.

the cassette & chainring wore out at the end of the season like it did with 10×3, maybe few weeks sooner wear. I don’t have to shift as often and skip so many gear so often,so I get less side to side wear on the chain,by using 1×11,so the chain growth will be less.

If i changed the chain,a lot earlier, the cassette and ring would have lasted longer,but I had no spare chains,but I have a stock of chains now.

The Rear derailleur cage will have visible wear, with 1x  setup,because of the chain line the chain will hit the plates,but its not a big deal.

 

I absolutely recommend Both the Xt m8000 drivetrain and the Race Face Narrow Wide single chaining.

If you are not sure which gear ratio you need:http://gears.mtbcrosscountry.com/

Flickr Album: Shimano DeoreXT M8000

Flickr Album: Race Face