Onyx Freehub Driver Material – The Choice Between Steel and Aluminum 

Onyx Racing Products offers two options for freehub driver material for most hubs. The choice depends on the type of use, and the demands caused by it as well as on personal preferences. Read further to learn how to choose the most suitable freehub driver for your hubs!

The Modular View

First, it’s best to refresh the knowledge base a bit. As most will probably, know Onyx Racing Products employ a modular freehub body design called the MFU.

To learn all about the ingenious MFU driver assembly, and the benefits it offers, refer to the article linked below.

The Options

Onyx hub lineup includes all current freehub driver body standards. The full list can be found below.

Shimano HG (hyperglide)MTB, gravel, road 
Shimano Micro SplineMTB 
Sram XDRMTB, gravel, roadOnly the XDR driver is found in the Onyx lineup. Drivers are supplied with a 1.85mm spacer to convert the body to XD standard.
Shimano HG SS (hyperglide single-speed)MTB, gravel, road, single-speed and gearbox useOnyx is one of the few manufacturers providing a single-speed specific driver which enables a stronger wheel build.
CampagnoloGravel and road 

All of the options listed above – except for the Shimano Micro Spline and Campagnolo – are available in stainless steel and aluminium versions. Why is the Micro Spline (MS for short) excluded? Because the interface between the cassette and the driver is appreciably strong and highly durable. Thanks to the smart design of the MS interface, aluminium drivers tend to cope very well, especially with good-quality cassettes.

If you’re not familiar with XD and XDR drivers and how they present themselves in the Onyx Racing Products lineup, once again, it’s good to check out the previous article about MFU technology which covers the topic.

Steel for Strength

When it comes to strength and robustness, steel is hard to beat as a material. Therefore, it’s the recommended choice for all demanding applications. The list includes scenarios like the following:

  • E-bike and E-MTB
  • Single-speed 
  • Gearbox use
  • Bikepacking
  • Tandem
  • Possibly fatbike, if the majority of riding is done with heavy loads and/or very low gearing.

In addition to if the rider is particularly heavy and/or strong. In use cases outside the ones listed, the standard aluminium driver usually suffices with flying colours. 

Do note the Vesper hubs are only supplied with aluminium drivers. If the choice towards the stainless steel version is warranted, we recommend going for the Classic model.

AL for Weight Savings

Aluminium drivers typically cope well in all use cases that were not listed above. If for example, you’re a typical MTB rider, the aluminium XDR or HG driver should fulfil your needs more than adequately. However, if an extra level of robustness is desired, then the stainless steel version does not hurt.

When speaking of drivers, it’s worth pointing out that Onyx Racing Products employ a patented technology in their HG aluminium drivers that use an ingenious design. The HG drivers, in particular, are prone to wear and can manifest the dreaded “cog bite”. This tends to happen more quickly when using lower-tier cassettes. Onyx has solved the issue by embedding replaceable wear inserts into the driver body! Thanks to the innovative design, one can have weight savings and longevity all in one package!

Photo credit: onyxrp.com

If you’re in a need of wear inserts. Get in touch by email.

In Summary

Onyx has the widest range of hubs, and also driver bodies available. If you are particularly heavy and/or strong, have a highly demanding use case – like E-MTB for example – or want to opt for the most robust components possible, going for a stainless steel driver is a well-warranted choice. In other scenarios, the aluminium versions should be plenty strong.

If in doubt, or a question was left unanswered, do not hesitate to get in touch by email.