Imagine a hub that offered instant, infinite, and silent engagement all with extremely low drag. Sound too good to be true? Then you need to check out the hubs coming out of Onyx Racing Products. All of the hubs are manufactured in the United States out of their facility in Minnesota which is probably one of the reasons they’ve been able to make their hub work. Instead of the roller clutch that a few manufacturers have tried in the past, Onyx hubs use a sprag one-way clutch which gives the hub all of the above features. The catch? The tolerances have to be extremely tight. So tight that when they successfully created their first bicycle hub using the sprag clutch, the company that created the clutch visited them to see how they did it since many other companies had tried without success.
While their roots are in BMX, Onyx has expanded to offer just about every hub you could think of, including road and fat bikes. Get the details next…
A sprag clutch is similar to a roller clutch, but instead of allowing each piece to roll freely, the cam shaped pieces lock into place when rolled in the opposite direction. Free wheel and the cams barely brush the inner surface of the hub shell, held down by the spring, but pedal and the cams lock into place instantly where ever they are. The other crucial difference is that according to my engineering friends who know a lot more about this stuff than I do, the more torque you place on a roller clutch, the more force is exerted on the hub shell. The sprag doesn’t work in this way, which should mean the absence of cracked hub shells and much lighter overall weight.
Depending on the application, Onyx hubs run one, one and a half, or two sprag clutches which offer increased torque capacity. Each hub features a labyrinth seal to keep the sprag running smoothly and uses a stainless steel driver sleeve. The BMX hub model above also features their new alloy single speed cog which is machined from bar stock and be hardened and ceramic coated. Expect to see a teflon infused stainless cog in the near future as well.
With the introduction of their CX hub that will be available soon, Onyx has hubs for just about every market which all include a 5 year warranty. Hubs are available in 9 standard anodized colors and 6 standard powdercoat options, with custom colors also available for a $60 up charge and a 3 week lead time. Expect pricing to be on par with Chris King level hubs.