Onyx Racing’s radically different hubs are now available for custom builds from Southern Wheelworks!

Onyx Racing hubs in Glowing Yellow
Onyx Racing hubs in Glowing Yellow

Onyx hubs are quite a bit different than everything else on the market, thanks to their freehub mechanism.  Instead of using a pair of face gears (ala King and DT Swiss) or pawls and a drive ring (Hope, Shimano, I9, ect) they use a sprag clutch.  What the heck is a sprag clutch?  Well, it’s a one way freewheel clutch.  Renold is a manufacturer of industrial sprag clutches, and they have a great video that shows how it works.  One of the keys to making a sprag clutch reliable is VERY precise machining.  In order to hold the close tolerances necessary, all Onyx hubs are made in their factory in the USA so they can keep a close eye on manufacturing and quality control.

Onyx Racing front hub.
Onyx Racing front hub.

What are the benefits of a sprag clutch in a bicycle hub?  Two things: silent freewheeling, and instant engagement.  No clicking, no hum, no buzz – no noise at all.  And when I say ‘instant engagement’ I don’t mean ‘so many points of engagement it is nearly instant‘, I mean ‘there are no points, it is truly instant‘ instant.  There is zero discernible play, it’s pretty amazing.  The one downside of the sprag is that it’s not a light weight mechanism, and the Onyx hubs are not going to win any weight weenie awards.

Onyx hubs and Derby rims make for a wicked set of MTB wheels!
Onyx hubs and Derby rims make for a wicked set of MTB wheels!

Not only do the Onyx hubs have instant engagement and no noise, but they also spin amazingly smooth thanks to stock hybrid ceramic bearings.  The ceramic bearings combined with the low-drag sprag clutch makes for a wheel with less rolling resistance than anything else on the market.

Lastly, there are tons of color options available.  Lots of anodized colors, and even some powder coated options, like the Glowing Yellow pictured in this post.  They even have custom ‘splash’ anodizing available, where you pick the base color and the splash color.

Custom anodized splash hubshells. Photo: Onyx Racing
Custom anodized splash hubshells. Photo: Onyx Racing

With all the features found in the Onyx hubs, combined with the extremely precise machining, and the fact that they are made in the USA, these are not inexpensive hubs, and they are at the top of the price ladder.  But that high price does buy you technology and features not found in any other hub, top shelf fit and finish, lots of color options, and no noise and instant engagement.  Alloy rim builds using the Onyx hubs start around $1,000 and carbon rim builds start around $1600.

If you’re interested in having a set built just for you, fill out my questionnaire to get the process started!