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

“I want the fastest wheelset possible”, “Rolling resistance should be avoided like a plague”, “Efficiency needs to be maximized”. If you subscribe to any of these phrases or similar thinking, keep reading to learn why the Onyx Racing Products are the fastest out there – proved by science.

The Friction Elements

When striving to build the fastest wheelset out there, it’s best to take a look what’s causing the friction that is slowing you down, whether it’s on a BMX track, attacking a classic mountain climb, or shredding down a double black diamond trail. 

Rolling resistance caused by tires is one big factor, but we’ll be leaving that out since it has little to do with wheel or hub choice. Therefore, the sources of friction, which will stop the wheels from spinning and slow you down eventually are as follows:

  • Bearing friction
    • Rolling and sliding
    • Lubrication
    • Seal friction
  • Freewheel drag
  • Tolerances, build quality etc.

Bearing Friction

Let’s attack the first element which is bearing friction. It is caused mainly by three sources: the rolling friction inherent to the moving elements found inside the bearing, the choice and type of lubricant used and lastly, the friction caused by the protective components, also known as seals. 

In short, the rolling and sliding friction happens between the bearing balls and the outer and inner races because of the slight deformation happening under load conditions and imperfections in the surfaces and shapes of the components. Even though high-quality bearings have bearing balls with a very high level of roundness, perfection is rarely obtained. 

On a side note, the advantage of ceramic bearings is mostly related to the hardness of the material and the fact that ceramic balls can be made rounder than their steel counterparts. But, that’s a topic for its own discussion, and we’ll leave at that for now.  

The choice of lubricant plays a role as well in how easily the bearings rotate. A general rule of thumb here is that the thicket the lubricant, the more it resists any movement. By the same logic, thinner oils would be the lubricant of choice, if low rolling resistance is pursued, then a thin oil would be a good choice of lubricant. However, the compromise presents itself in low service-life as well as the level of protection provided. 

Thin oils wear out or “disappear” from the bearings or any similar type of assembly fast and easily, thus requiring periodic service. Marine greases are found on the other far end of the spectrum with their goo-like viscosity, and durability. The added advantage is the level of protection those types of lubricants offer against outside contaminants, such as water and moisture. 

Lastly, we got seal friction. The same rule applies here. The more carefully the bearing is enclosed and therefore protected from contaminants, the more friction the seal structure introduces to the system. A variety of seal structures can be found used in bicycle applications. A good primer on the subject with informative photos can be found on Enduro Bearings’s site.

Onyx Racing Hubs use high-quality steel bearings whereas the Classic models employ hybrid ceramic bearings as standard, manufacturer by Verinent Bearings in the USA.

Freewheel Drag

The freewheel or any type of clutch mechanism used in the rear hub introduces some drag to the system as default. Anyone with even a primary level of riding experience has surely encountered at least once a hub that makes a distinct clicking or buzzing sound when coasting. According to the law of energy conservation, the sound can’t come out of thin air. Energy input is needed for its manifestation. The louder the sound, the more energy it requires – usually. All the energy that goes into producing that freewheel sound is in turn “robbed” from the kinetic energy possessed by the bike and the rider. 

The patented sprag clutch mechanism found on Onyx Racing Products hub does not feature any sound – as most of you reading are most likely well aware of. Therefore, at least in theory, there’s a clear advantage on offer. Happily, the low drag nature and the advantage present has been quantified by Duke University in 2016 with their quest in creating the most efficient electric vehicle possible. The research project included measuring the drag found on some of the most highly regarded hub models. 

The results can be seen in the graph below. The higher the bar, the more drag there is. Other than that, not much explaining is required. 

Tolerances and Build Quality

Lastly, there’s the area of build quality and aspects related to it like the design itself, the level of tolerances required to achieve satisfactory function etc. Some examples of potential faults or problems that might occur are too loose or tight bearing seats, parts that are slightly eccentric instead of being fully concentric, and the dimensioning of shoulder parts on axles or sleeves on top of the axles which prevent excessive bearing preload with their presence. 

In short, Onyx Racing Products hold the highest tolerances and manufacturing quality out there, something that even an aerospace component manufacturer would be proud of. When purchasing an Onyx Racing Product hub, you’ll get the most forward-thinking design with a matching quality that translate to superior ride experience.

In Summary

The feeling of speed and low drag found on Onyx Racing Products hubs is more than just a subjective observation. Thanks to the patented sprag clutch mechanism, high-quality bearings, and superior build quality, they are the fastest out there, and it’s backed up by science.  

Get your Onyx Racing Products hubs now.



Onyx Racing Products – Hubs for MTB, BMX, Gravel, Road and Specialty bikes

Onyx Racing Products – The Differentiating Factor

The sprag clutch mechanism is the secret behind the awarded instant and silent engagement in Onyx Racing Products hubs. Here you can learn what goes into this technology, and what advantages it brings to the table.

Rooted in Industrial Applications

The sprag clutch mechanism resembles a roller bearing, with the key difference that instead of perfectly round balls, the sprags are shaped like an asymmetrical figure-eight. Another big difference is that the sprags do not rotate, but sit still between two rotating cylindrical surfaces.

When torque is applied to the system and the direction of rotation changes, the sprags wedge themselves between the two cylindrical surfaces and thus creating a very strong coupling based on friction.

See the sprag clutch in action on the photos below. On the left-hand side, the sprags are disengaged, allowing the hub body and the freehub to spin freely in relation to each other. On the right side photo, torque is applied to the freehub body via drivetrain and engagement has taken place.

Sprag clutch mechanism is widely used in industrial and automotive applications, as well as in aviation. If the sprag clutch mechanism is strong and reliable enough to transfer power to the rotor of a helicopter, it’s up for the task to transfer all the power available from one’s legs to the rear wheel.

The Benefits

That’s for the technical jargon.

“What’s in it for me?”

Glad that you asked. The sprag clutch mechanism offers several benefits, all of which can be felt on the trail, road or track. The most notable are listed below:

  • Instant engagement. The sprag clutch mechanism offers instant engagement. In other words, when power is applied to the pedals, and thus torque to the rear hub, the system engages with zero delay! Gone are the days when you have nearly 1/4 of slack of the crank revolution before the rear hub picks up, making your bike feel almost like broken.
  • Smooth pick up. The engagement of the sprag clutch mechanism isn’t binary in nature as in most other system found in the market. Conversely, there’s a wind up effect when the sprags “stand up” between the hub shell, and freehub, creating a softness in the engagement. Many riders feel that this adds grip which is beneficial especially on steep uphills. If this is of concern, and/or you want to learn more, head to our FAQ section.
  • Silent operation. No sound is produced when the sprag clutch operates. In other words, you can ride in full stealth mode, and enjoy the sounds of the environment.
  • Low-drag. Compared to other freewheel mechanisms, the sprag clutch system is one of the most, if not the most low-friction option out there. The sprags are in very light contact with the rotating surface, otherwise engagement would not happen when torque is applied, but the drag caused is among the lowest, if not the lowest among all hubs. Want to have hubs that spin silently and nearly indefinitelty? Choose Onyx Racing Products.
  • Low-maintence. The sprag clutch mechanism or any other component of the Onyx Racing Products hub is not subjected to high wear rate, or do not use components like springs, that are subjected to wear or fatigue, and thus require frequent maintenance.
The double row sprag clutch mechanism found inside the Vesper rear hub.

Video Instead?

Do you prefer video format instead? Then watch this excellent video made by Onyx Racing Products.

Photo credit: Onyx Racing Products