Box Four 8S drivetrain – first impressions

Nice surprises and not so nice surprises with (probably) cheapest drivetrain on the market.

Long time no see… In the meantime, crash, no riding and winter happened. Anyway, back to normal (semi-normal) I decided to “upgrade” from 11 speed XT to box cheapest of the cheap 8 speed. I have well ageing Specialized Enduro 2016, which at some point received update to XT drivetrain, and since then I had never-ending problems with shifting. Fine tuned at home, then slight knock on the trail – back and repeat procedure. All from the very beginning. Originally the bike had 10 speed SRAM drivetrain, so I assumed maybe chainline is a bit too aggressive now, and decided to get back to something simpler. Anyway, don’t get me started about SRAM products, but that is my personal preference and opinion as I’ll prefer always Japanese/German engineering over anything else 😉

The full set arrived in 3 days, and I paid (this is not sponsored in any form) £137. Inside the box was full drivetrain including cables, endings and even crimps.

Installation was a breeze, as I left original outer cable in place and Viola!

ready for shready

Initially I was thinking that the cassette seems to be pretty hefty, so I went to website to compare the weights (for the same gearing ratio), between 11 speed XT/SunRace and Box. On the paper doesn’t seem to be that of a big difference. Some technical info:

BOX :
Gears: 11 – 13 – 15 – 18 – 22 – 28 – 34 – 42
Weight: 473g

Deore XT:
Gearing: 11 – 13 – 15 – 17 – 19 – 21 – 24 – 28 – 32 – 36 – 42
Weight: 445g

Sunrace 11-42 CSMS8
Gearing: 11 – 13 – 15 – 17 – 19 – 21 – 24 – 28 – 32 – 37 – 42
Weight465g

I know this is comparing oranges to apples, but there is not that much of a weight penalty comparing cassettes. Rest of the components leaving to compare for weight weenies.

First impressions was quite positive. Shifting is crisp and clutch is doing very well it’s job. Honestly there is not too many things these days where you paying less and you’re pleasantly surprised.

However…

I’d say my only problem with the groupset is the big jump at the end 34->42. Basically feels like something is missing around 28-34-42. Panacea might be the 9 speed groupset from box(?). maybe.

The other problem is more substantial. So, after light riding “blue” trails everything seemed fine. Hitting red trails was different story. I noticed that I need to adjust the tension every run. After close inspection it turned out that H screw is not holding in place:

The H and L screws are in plastic inserts in dérailleur body, and H didn’t survive couple of cased jumps. Essentially you can see that the insert broke into two parts – the collar been ripped.

So now I got dilemma. I fixed the d̩railleur Рghetto way.

Now, I can either complain and get replacement, or continue riding (more likely) like that…

So next post will be probably long term review how everything is holding.

Stay tunned.