One of the most important things we do, and definitely one of the things on which we spend the most time, is developing and then sharing our thoughts and opinions about various products. But we figured that it would also be nice to give some of our suppliers a chance to speak for themselves.
Onyx is the most recent addition to our "front row" hub portfolio. I always struggle to find a good way to reference the brands that we make collections around and offer as standard builds. What do you call "standard custom"? Anyway, one of the best ways for us to find products and companies is through you, and that's what happened here. We'd heard about them, and it was sort of a "yeah, we'll have to check them out," but customer request made it quite a bit more urgent than that.
We've done a brief review (more an announcement, really) of Onyx hubs, but since they're unique we wanted to take another look.
While there are a bunch of nice things about Onyx hubs, the most noticeable one is their absolute silence. Have a look at this video we made to see just how silent they are. This is because they use a sprag clutch, which I don't think any other hub maker does. The sprag clutch also has instant engagement. I mean... instant.
Their Shimano cassette body is the best take we've yet seen on the "steel reinforced aluminum body." More of the splines are protected, and the protection is much more securely rooted into the shell than other designs. It's not uncommon for the steel spline to pop off completely on other designs. With this method? No chance.
Once we'd gotten a set of their hubs in hand, the product spoke for itself. And now Dan Peterson will speak for Onyx...
- How did Onyx Racing Products start and how did you get into the hub business? We got our start when Jim was developing a hub for his son, Gabe, who raced BMX. There was not a plan for a new brand of hubs at the beginning but here we are!
- Who's behind the business, who owns the business, and who are the key players there? Our main company is Christianson Systems, which actually is a pneumatic grain vac and material handling company. See more over here: https://christianson.com/. Here in the Onyx shop, there is a small but dedicated group of five of us that take care of sales, assembly, finishing and shipment.
- What were Onyx's first hubs and how have your hubs and hub product line evolved over time? We started in BMX with the Pro being our first model. Then came the Ultra and the Ultra SS, which are meant for adult riders.
- What part of the sport did you get into first, and what are your main market segments now? BMX first, but now we have a vast product line for just about any discipline. We have mountain bike, CX/gravel/touring/road, fat bike, single speed. You name it, we probably make it.
- Tell us about how you came to the unique sprag clutch design? The sprag clutch was Jim’s idea. He tried some other designs at the beginning but the sprag clutch outperformed them all.
- Apart from silence, what benefits does the sprag clutch have? Sprag clutches engage instantly, which is very important in a BMX race and also on a mountain bike when riding technical terrain. Additionally, they are very low drag.
- What kind of cyclist is most suited for Onyx hubs? We have so many riders enjoying our hubs in every discipline! A silent hub with instant engagement and low drag, what’s not to like?
- How has the hub market changed in the time you've been making hubs? The mountain bike and road segments of the industry have changed the most drastically, with a push to make hubs wider, 1x drivetrains moving to wide range, etc. Road bikes have shifted to be more adaptable and capable as they now have wider tire clearance and most are disc brake.
- How do you see the hub and wheel market changing in the next 5 years? We will continue to see the trickle down of high end tech into the more affordable markets. Maybe the next big thing in rear hub spacing is Super Duper Boost 177/12mm thru. Who knows?
- What do people need to know about hubs that they, by and large, don't? We are Minnesota made and owned. We’re proud to make some of the best hubs on the market today. If you haven’t experienced riding an Onyx hub set, seek us out and take a ride. We think you’ll like the way our hubs ride!
There you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. Check out all of Onyx's hubs at their website. Thank you, Dan!
Have a great weekend (as if days of the week mean bupkus anymore - except that we don't blog on the weekends), stay safe, wash your hands, and we'll see you on Monday.
I have White Industry and Campagnolo hubs- both very “clicky”. Mostly, I just like the sound- maybe the cycling equivalent of engine revving:) but I’ll make up some arguments which sound a little bit logical. Going downhill, the clutch lets me know if my pedalling is “keeping up” or whether it’s smarter to just let gravity do its thing. In a group, they let others around me know when I’m soft pedalling which isn’t always obvious. My noisy hubs have always been super reliable and I haven’t noticed an issue with hubs grabbing too “slowly” even on a MTB or cross bike.
I like a lot my Industry Nine noise. It’s even becoming an advantage. Better than a bell on bike paths on busy days. I use to have quiet hubs that finally I don’t like to ride anymore. Those hubs are nice, but the no-noise is weird. Not mentioning a noisy one resonates for me as a good mechanical thing…maybe just feeling but we don’t spend money in bike gears because we are rational people isn’t it?
I don’t find king hubs that loud. They have a unique ‘buzzing’ sound that is signature to their brand.
When I think of loud hubs…I think of Industry Nine torch hubs or something like a Bitex hub.
Dr_LHA – You didn’t watch the video we linked, did you? King road hubs are quiet.
“A silent hub … what’s not to like”
A question for Chris King fans everywhere. They seem to revel in their noisy hubs. Never really understood it.