Instant engagement with minimal drag is the holy grail of mountain bike hubs. Onyx Racing Products has largely achieved this feat with their hubs using a one-way sprag clutch system. So they’re the perfect hubs, right? Well, almost.
For one, Onyx’s hubs are quite expensive, coming in around $650 for a set. However, they are manufactured in Minnesota and use the highest grade materials, including stock ceramic bearings. And then there’s the weight. A rear hub comes in at a hefty 450g. For comparison, an Industry Nine rear hub comes in around 270g, a DT Swiss 240 is 290g, and a Chris King is about 320g.
To shave off some of that weight, Onyx developed an alloy driver to replace the current stainless steel version. In doing so, Onyx dropped a whopping 69g. However, as most of you know, aluminum is much softer than steel and is easily damaged by the carriers used on cassettes. Ever had to break out a hammer to remove a cassette? Yeah, me too. Thankfully, Onyx devised a clever system to prevent this headache.
Small “U” shapes made from spring steel slide into grooves machined into the driver eliminating gouging. When one side wears out, slide out the U, flip it over, and carry on riding. After both sides are completely worn, order up a fresh set from Onyx for a few bucks.
Onyx also had a prototype hub on hand that uses simpler internals and lacks the preload adjustment found on their other hubs. This allows Onyx to drop a significant amount of weight — the 142×12 proto rear hub comes in around 318g. Onyx is looking to expand into the OE market and a product that could compete with the likes of DT Swiss in terms of weight and price was needed.
Onyx says the hubs should be ready next year.