With Shimano's 12 speed groups now available all the way from SLX on up to XTR, there are plenty of reasons to be looking at hubs with Micro Spline drivers. Rewind to when Shimano's XTR 9100 groupset came out, and there was a lot of talk about how difficult the company was being when it came to licensing the driver design, making it a real challenge for smaller hub manufacturers to provide compatible drivers. At that point, we saw White Industries introduce their "Micro Spline-compatible" driver, which had a slightly different spline arrangement that was made possible by their use of titanium for the driver body. And ironicallyâ€“since they were one of the companies that wasn't granted a licenseâ€“they were one of the few hub manufacturers that was actually making a hub that was compatible with the new standard around the time it came out.
Jumping forward to now though, most of the brands we carry have both made their peace with Shimano's licensing, and figured out the engineering involved in producing the new drivers, so the options are wide-ranging enough, that we think they'll satisfy just about everyone.
With that, let's just jump right in!
Industry Nine was one of the first U.S. companies to produce a fully licensed freehub driver for the Micro Spline standard, which they introduced with their Hydra and 101 hubs. Put simply, Industry Nine has made it extremely easy to get any current (and applicable) driver standard on any of their hubs, and Micro Spline is just one of those options. Important detail that we love: while the new driver was introduced in conjunction with their newest hubs, if you happen to be riding the Torch hubs, there's a Micro Spline driver available for those too! It's always so good to see brands supporting more than just their latest parts, and Industry Nine is a great example of this with their great small-parts availability.
ONYX RACING PRODUCTS VESPER HUBS
Onyx talked about their new Vesper Hubs and Modular Freehub Unit (MFU) back at NAHBS in March, but it's only recently that we've gotten to see them in person. This design makes it easy to swap freehub drivers without getting into the internals of the freehub mechanism, which helps keep dirt and grime out. It's also designed to work with DT Swiss freehub drivers, which was no coincidence. After Micro Spline was released, Onyx decided that rather going through the notoriously tedious process of licensing the design, they would just design a freehub that would allow them to use DT Swiss drivers when and where needed. Because of this, if you want a completely silent hub with essentially instantaneous engagement, and you want to run one of the new Shimano groups, the Vesper can and should be at the top of your list. If you have what Onyx is now calling a Classic hub, you can simply get one of the soon-to-be-available MFU kits so that you can use the DT Swiss Micro Spline driver body.
As we mentioned before, White Industries was one of the first U.S.-based companies to produce a Micro Spline compatible driver body, and that same design is still available. This freehub body is available for any of their current hubs (and most older ones), and swapping it out is a cinch, so if you already have a set of White Industries hubs, and want to upgrade your drivetrain, doing so doesn't need to be a big deal at all.
So what about Chris King? Well, we've heard rumors that a Micro Spline freehub body will be available sometime soon (Santa Cruz Syndicate is riding both Chris King and Shimano parts, so it stands to reason that they must have to be able to work together), but we haven't heard much more than that. We expect to be announcing that soon, and when we get the news we'll put it out on our Instagram and Facebook, so stay tuned!
Any questions? Just ask!