Are Silent Hubs Better?, a news site covering everything biking-related, published an article with a similar title. Some of the most notable brands in the industry offered their views on the matter. Onyx Racing Products was included, naturally.

The full text can be read here: – Are Silent Hubs Better?

Going through the text is highly recommended, and functions as a form of education to anyone interested in the inner workings of a bicycle rear hub, and for those, who are chasing the last percentiles of high-performance in the form of minimizing friction, and the drag it causes. 

One might argue that the headline of the article and the question it entails, leads to the wrong direction from the start since it confuses driving features (the things that matter), and the driven features (things that do not matter, but are observable). Sure, articles need to have an interesting title to collect as many views as possible, but this consideration is still worth taking a closer look.

Driving Features

Let’s start off by listing some of the driving features that are also the most important design considerations on a bicycle rear hub. The list includes things like the following:

  • Robust and strong construction
  • Modular structure 
  • Bearing choice and design to minimize friction and to maximize bearing life 
  • Fast engagement
  • Low maintenance, and easy to service
  • Competitive weight

Sound, the level of it or the lack of thereof, aren’t mentioned on the list above – why? Because it’s not of the same level of importance. It’s simply a driven feature, a side-effect one might say. 

Freehub Mechanism 

The inner workings of the freehub system and the exact mechanism it employs dictates what type of sound is produced while coasting. If the design is started off with this basis more important features could be sacrificed, which would be a bad trade-off. 

The Onyx Racing Product hubs are silent thanks to the patented sprag clutch mechanism found on every rear hub produced by Onyx, all the way from the slender OHM junior BMX hub to the robust and time-proven Classic mountain bike hub. 

The sprag clutch mechanism works so that a dense row of sprags is placed between the driver and the hub shell. The sprags are formed so that they allow movement in one direction. When the direction is changed with the application of pedaling force to the chain, the sprags “stand up” 

between the two cylindrical surfaces, creating an instant and very strong engagement. 

If a more detailed explanation is in order, refer to the previously published article: The Differentiating Factor in Onyx Racing Products Hubs.

In order for the system to function, it must be in contact with the rotating cylindrical surfaces 100% of the time. Otherwise, the system would not work. The contact force is very low though, which is the secret behind the speed of the Onyx Racing Products hubs.  

Silence = Low Drag 

Sound requires energy. The buzzing sound of a freehub is taken out of the kinetic energy stores that the combination of the bike, and the rider possesses. The more energy the sound requires to manifest itself, the more drag there is. 

The sprag clutch mechanism found on the Onyx Racing Products hubs does not rob any speed in this way, and they’re measurably the fastest hubs out there. 

Onyx Racing Products Hubs Are the Fastest Out There and It’s Backed Up by Science

And yes, we do admit that besides being fast, silent hubs are also very cool. Stealth mode activated.