An inside look at Box Components, and Visiting Sea Otter

An inside look at Box Components, and Visiting Sea Otter


For those of you new to this channel, I am
a brand ambassador and test rider for a company called Box Components, and yes that means
I’m heavily biased. I won’t be reviewing their products or trying
to sell you on Box in this video. This is simply a look at where I’ve been
for the last week and to some extent, a discussion on why I chose to work with Box in the first
place. I recently got to visit Box’s office and
warehouse in Southern California, where their entire team is based. I got to experience their day to day operations,
ride downtown for a Box components lunch break, hit their local trails, and finally travel
5 hours North to attend Sea Otter, one of the largest bike trade shows in the world. Before I had any affiliation with Box Components,
I knew they were facing a lot of challenges. The year prior they brought to market a new
drivetrain, the Box One. It launched with a clutch that lagged behind
competitors, and even some problems with parts breaking. But early adopters jumped on it as a long
needed third option. With well established competition and a minefield
of patents to work around, Box didn’t really expect to hit a home run on their first attempt. There had been no significant entrants to
the high end drivetrain market for years—for good reason. Box learned some lessons, and made changes. They switched up their manufacturing process,
totally redesigned their clutch, and even stood behind the early adopters who rolled
the dice with their hard earned dollars. With a better product, more wisdom, and plenty
of reasons to be optimistic, Box is forging ahead with a downhill drivetrain, ebike derailleur,
and lower cost box two 1×11. The rest I’m not liberty to talk about. Toby is an ex pro BMX and downhill racer,
who made his mark when both sports were young. His nature as a risk taker is prevalent both
on and off the bike. Throughout his career, Toby saw a lot of products
come to market, some of which went on revolutionize cycling, and others—not so much. Toby’s experience riding and testing products
is what inspired him to eventually go into business. When Box or any company makes a physical product
it starts as an idea first. I had an idea for an action camera mount that
would replace my stem cap. Apparently this wasn’t a totally original
idea, but Box agreed to make a custom one for me to demonstrate their prototyping procedures. 3D Printers have revolutionized product design
by facilitating rapid prototyping. The machine works by printing thin layers
of plastic one by one, laying each one directly on top of the other. In just a few hours, the 3D printer poops
out whatever part you had on your computer screen. These relatively cheap plastic parts are only
used for fitment and proof of concept. Now that we know this stem cap will fit my bike, we can
make the same thing out of metal. This is a CNC machine, which stands for computer
numerical control. It works in sort of the opposite way a 3d
printer does, as instead of building a part layer by layer, it actually removes or mills
material away from a solid block of metal. The main advantage of a CNC is flexibility. A machine like this can make almost any shape
you can imagine, and it’ll come out more than strong enough to use on an actual bicycle. At a few hours per part CNC is not practical
for mass production, but for companies like box looking to test products before bringing
them to market, it’s an indispensable tool. I originally thought this stem cap would only
be practical for mounting a light, and it did work great for that. As for an action camera I didn’t expect
much since handlebar footage is usually unwatchable. I was wrong. This is footage from my Rylo camera, mounted
directly to my custom stem cap. It might end up getting some good use after
all. In spending a few days at Box I got to meet
everyone in person and see how they develop products, but that wasn’t the main purpose
of my visit. On Wednesday we made the pilgrimage North
to attend Sea Otter. Sea Otter is an event in Northern California
which includes quite a few races and an enormous trade show. Industry insiders have a love hate relationship
with Sea Otter. It’s an amazing opportunity for exposure,
both for your company and for your skin. 4 straight days in the California sun is no
match for sunscreen or tents. In battling the sun, you’ll also battle
crowds. Sea Otter was the first event that I had been
to having gained so many subscribers. It was a surreal, inspiring, and absolutely
joyous experience meeting so many of you. But every once in a while, I needed
to take a breather. I also didn’t even know autographs were
still a thing. Without having practiced one beforehand, I
needed to invent an autograph on the spot. This could change in the future, so if you
got the Drama head at Sea otter you may have a collectors item on your hands. Amongst all the chaos that is Sea Otter, quite
a few memories were made. Like meeting Ali Clarkson in person, and almost
dying on the Drop and Roll setup. I also got to ride with Eric Porter and Mikayla
Gatto, two Diamondback riders who I’ve never met in person. There were a few instance where I got to horse
around with the guys from Box. Attending Sea
Otter was a memorable experience, and I have box to thank for inviting me out there. Any compliments I give Box or their product
line will be tainted in bias—I acknowledge that. I’m not telling you to rip your derailleur
off and switch to the box one, or even that supporting a smaller company for its own sake
is virtuous. I will say that as a partner, Box makes sense
for both me and this YouTube channel. To show you in real time a company trying
to disrupt the drivetrain market, seems a bit more interesting than making dollar shave
club ads. I hope you agree. Thanks for riding with me today and I’ll
see you next time.