Up next in our component feature series is Onyx Racing Products.  Our relationship with Onyx is a continuation of our theme of partnering with companies who challenge the status quo and create products which improve the way you ride. We worked with Onyx to create our NOBL branded hub. We wanted the hub bearing our name to represent our mantra of creating products that are ‘BC rated, durable and of course high performance.

The NOBL hubset features Onyx legendary sprag transmission mated to our asymmetric hubshell.

Located in the heart of the United States in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Onyx boasts an incredible machine shop where they produce their revolutionary hubs. Onyx’s background stems from manufacturing extremely high tolerance machinery for the agricultural sector.  Utilization of this equipment in a cycling application results in hubs which are high precision, durable and feature the least drag of any hub on the market- but more on that later.

The incredible attention to detail is visible on beautifully machined freehubs. The HG alloy version of the freehub features steel splines to protect the splines from damage.

 

Onyx’s claim to fame is their unique sprag clutch freehub mechanism. Unlike any other hub on the market, it is completely silent when coasting and offers instant engagement once force is applied to the pedals. The instant engagement initially made it popular amongst  BMX racers who sought the absolute quickest power application. It was then realized the same principles applied to mountain bikers seeking a hub that would allow them to have full control over their power application on loose climbs or in greasy conditions. Unlike typical hubs, there are no ring drive or pawls creating the engagement in an Onyx hub. Rather a series of articulating sprags bind with the steel axle when rotated in the forward direction. When pedal pressure is released, the sprags disengage and the hub coasts along silently without resistance from pawls or springs. Need a better explanation? Onyx has a fantastic video explaining the mechanism on their site.

Inside the NOBL hub the sprags are clearly visible

The sprags engage on the hardened steel portion of the freehub.

Our NOBL hub utilizes Onyx’ drive mechanism in our proprietary hub shell. The NOBL hub shell was designed to save weight and to create an aesthetic that matches our asymmetric rims. The result its a unique and clean hub that will handle whatever you throw at it and perform admirably in all conditions.

The fastest rolling hub on the market.

In 2016 Duke University put forth the goal of creating the most efficient electric vehicle possible. In order to achieve this, they would require hubs which were exceptionally efficient and drag free.  In their research they pitted some of the cycling industries finest hub manufacturers in their test protocol to determine who had the fastest rolling hub. Against the likes of DT Swiss, Chris King, Hope and Profile Design, the Onyx hub came out on top.  With significantly lower drag than the competition, the Onyx hub ended up being their selection.

Graph from ‘Velocity Decay in Wheels’ – Duke University February 2016

The sprag clutch is a large part of the low rolling resistance of the NOBL/Onyx hub. The other contributing factor is the hybrid ceramic bearings that come stock on every NOBL and Onyx hub. These bearings are meant to last for thousands of miles and are designed to be serviced several times before requiring replacement.

Hybrid ceramic bearings are a large part of the reason why the NOBL and Onyx hubs roll so efficiently

 

So what does all this mean in terms of your ride experience? 

The sprag clutch is a revolutionary take on the bicycle freehub, which for the most part has been relatively unchanged since the freehub was invented. Rolling in complete silence and taking advantage of the instantaneous engagement makes for a truly unique ride experience.  When you take into account that it is also the most efficient hub on the market, it becomes a clear winner for the rider seeking a performance focused hub that will offer up hours upon hours of reliable performance. The NOBL hub is a game changer that will take your riding to a whole new level!

 

 

 

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