Onyx Classic vs. Vesper – Which One Should I choose?

Classic vs. the Vesper hub? Which one should I choose?

This is a classic question (pun intended) that we hear on a weekly basis. Therefore it is worth addressing on a more detailed level. By the end of this article, you’ll be armed with more information about the differences between these two hub models, and most importantly – which suits your situation the best!

The Short List

Both hubs are available in nearly all possible axle configurations and sizes, including all the common freewheel driver standards, as well as ISO 6-bolt or Centerlock disc mounts. No differences here then. Both hub models employ the patented sprag clutch mechanism Onyx Racing Products hubs are known for. Besides that, the hub shells of both models are made from aerospace-grade 7075 T6 aluminum which is the strongest aluminum alloy available, and thus widely used in high-demand applications.

Some of the main features of both models are listed below.


  • The strongest sprag clutch mechanism found on the Onyx Racing Products lineup, excluding the Ultra SS series dedicated for BMX racing bikes.
  • Classic looks – as the name states.
  • Onyx hybrid-ceramic bearings as standard.
  • Symmetrical hub flange diameter on both sides.
  • Choice between standard and Helix hub shell on the front. Latter has weight-saving cut outs which also give a highly technical and detailed appearance.


  • Lighter version of the Classic hub. The weight savings are achieved with two main factors: minimalist hub shell size, and smaller sparag clutch.
  • Sprag clutch mechanism is approximately 75% of the size found in the Classic hub.
  • Highly technical and refined looks!
  • Steel bearings as standard. Onyx hybrid-ceramic bearings are available as an upgrade option.
  • Hub flange diameter might differ between sides, thus affecting spoke length.

Lastly, it is worth noting that both hubs are available in the wide array of colors Onyx Racing Products is known for, including several anodized and powder-coated finishes, and the choice for custom-colored widgets and end caps.

The Weight Game

It is worth stating from the gate that Onyx hubs aren’t the lightest ones out there. This is due to several reasons. First, the hubs are made to last and perform flawlessly many, many seasons to come. Second, the sprag clutch mechanism includes by default a hefty amount of hardened high-grade steel which comes with its own weight. Third, Onyx hubs are designed around appropriate bearing sizes which are up for the loads occurring in typical and even extreme situations. It is far more common than generally thought that hubs are built around undersized bearings which come with their own set of problems.

Having said that, here are some actual measured weights for Onyx Racing Product hubs in several configurations.

Onyx Classic ISO 6-Bolt 110x15mm Front – 221g
Onyx Classic ISO 6-Bolt 148mm Rear XD Driver – 421g
Onyx Classic ISO 6-Bolt 148mm Rear Shimano HG Stainless Steel Driver – 505g

Onyx Vesper ISO 6-Bolt 110x15mm Front – 166g
Onyx Vesper Centerlock 110x15mm Front – 144g
Onyx Vesper ISO 6-Bolt 148x12mm Rear Sram XDR Driver – 390g
Onyx Vesper ISO 6-Bolt 148x12mm Rear Shimano HG Driver – 401g
Onyx Vesper Centerlock 148x12mm  Rear Sram XDR Driver – 358g

To see more actual hub weights, refer to the excellent article published at Noblwheels.com. How much does weight matter actually? For this, the splendid article written by Seb Stott is worth looking into.

Pinkbike.com – Nerding Out: Why You Shouldn’t Worry Too Much About Weight

Choose by Application

The choice should be done by personal preference, but most importantly, by application. It is stated at Onyxrp.com:

The Vesper product line is our lightest cross-country and trail hub.  The Classic product line is designed for heavier activities like electric-assist bikes, bike packing, tandems, and bigger riders.

In other words, if you’re heavy and/or especially heavy on bikes, we’d recommend going for the Classic hubs. Having said that, Onyx does offer downhill-specific Vesper hub sets which indicates that despite their lightweight, Vespers can take their share of abuse.

Consequently, if you’re building a lightweight bike for less than extreme use, the Vesper hubs will serve you well.

Some suggestions are listed below based on planned application and riding discipline.

The Vesper hubs are suited for the following use cases and scenarios.

  • XC riding and/or racing
  • Trail riding
  • Enduro riding and/or racing
  • Downhill riding and/or racing (in certain scenarios)
  • Road riding and/or racing
  • Gravel riding and/or racing
  • Commuting

The Classic hubs are the weapon of choice for the following types of riding, use cases, and scenarios.

  • Heavy duty trail riding
  • Enduro riding and/or racing
  • E-MTB use.
  • E-bikes in general.
  • Tandems.
  • Heavier riders with weight approacing or exceeding 100kg.

Here you go. Hopefully, these bits of information make the choice easier so that you are able to pick the right tool for the job – the Classic or Vesper in this case – and enjoy the stealth operation and instant engagement Onyx hubs are known for.