Onyx hubs have been getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. They’re made in the USA, offer instant and infinite engagement, and most important (for some) – they’re silent. If they have one drawback for most people, it would have to be their weight. Between the sprag clutch system and building the hub shell strong enough to withstand the force from the sprags, their hubs are typically heavier than the competition. But they’re about to get a lot lighter…
By moving to alloy (the specific aluminum wasn’t mentioned) freehubs, both Shimano and SRAM XD hubs stand to lose a substantial amount of weight. According to Onyx, their original freehub bodies were already way over built, so bringing in lighter freehub bodies was a natural progression. Their goal for the new alloy bodies is 1 million test cycles which is higher than the actual standard for testing, and Onyx says they were undergoing testing as we spoke meaning they’re almost there.
The XD freehub is already pretty light, but shedding 45g isn’t too shabby.
The big winner is the Shimano freehub which stands to lose a whopping 75g.
However, we all know what happens to aluminum freehub bodies with split cassettes – the teeth dig into the softer splines and create freehub carnage. To prevent that, the new freehub uses stainless steel inserts which will be pressed into the faces of the splines. Production hubs will have the inserts pressed in so they won’t fall out, but they will still be removable and replaceable. Onyx expects the new freehubs to be available in late June, or July and will sell them for $100 including the outer bearing for all of their hubs.