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December 24, 2018 3 min read

If you've been keeping an eye on our Instagram feed, you might remember from our NAHBS coverage that we talked about the then-still-un-named Onyx Racing Products hub that would offer a modular freehub design to make driver changes much easier.  We were told to expect the hubs sometime in June or July, and now in mid-July they're shipping.  As product launches go, that's pretty accurate timing, so kudos to Onyx for punctuality!

 

The Vesper Hub

The new Onyx Racing Products Vesper hubs.                         Photo courtesy of Onyx Racing Products

So first, a rundown of the main differences between the new Vesper and the Classic hub. 

  • The hub shells are machined much more aggressively all the way out to machining excess material from the flanges.
  • The front hub uses significantly lighter bearings and an interchangeable endcap system that weighs much less than the Classic version.
  • Revised axle system.
  • Tool free endcaps.
  • Rear hub uses 1.5 sprag clutches compared with the 2 clutches of the Classic hubs.
  • Alloy freehub bodies standard (steel still available as an upgrade).
  • Steel Enduro bearings stock with Verinent ceramic bearings available as an upgrade.
  • No free laser engraving due to decreased space on the hubs.
  • MFU is compatible with DT Swiss freehub bodies allowing for use of DT Swiss Micro Spline freehub body Edit: as of May, 2020, Onyx has been granted a Shimano micro spline license and will no longer be using any DT Swiss micro spline freehub bodies.

While the lighter weight of the smaller sprag clutch and refined hub shell is definitely a major selling point, we won't go into that too much right now, because we want to get a hub set in our hands to weigh first.  Instead we'll focus on what we've been most excited about ever since Onyx first announced it: the new freehub design.  The new Vesper hub is the first hub to feature Onyx's new MFU (Modular Freehub Unit).  The MFU allows you to simply swap the freehub body by pulling off the driveside endcap (yep, it's tool free!).   Because the system is designed to work with DT Swiss freehub bodies, you have the option of using a Shimano Micro Spline freehub body made by DT Swiss, in addition to the Sram XDR and Shimano Hyperglide freehub bodies that are made by Onyx.  As a side note, Onyx expects to have Campagnolo-compatible freehub bodies available soon, but isn't currently giving out specific dates, so just stay tuned and we'll let you know as soon as they're available.  The new design simplifies the freehub body change process and also keeps the sprag clutch system inside the hub during those changes, thereby shielding it from dirt intrusion during the exchange process.  Retrofit kits will be available for Classic hubs very soon, so if you have any pre-MFU Onyx hub and want to switch to an XDR or Shimano Micro Spline freehub, you'll soon be able to do so easily. 

Photo courtesy of Onyx Racing Products

 

Availability

At the moment, the Vesper hubs are available in a 6-bolt hub shell with Boost 110x15mm front and 148x12mm rear spacings in 32 hole drillings, but in the coming weeks other axle standards, spoke drillings, and centerlock hub shells will be released as well.  Because of this evolving inventory, the best way to order these hubs at the moment is by email.  We will be working to get the various options up and available for purchase as they become available in the coming weeks and months.

Onyx Classic Hubs

So you might be asking what's happened to the hubs that made Onyx famous, and the answer is simple: they're still available!  The Classic hubs still come stock with hybrid ceramic bearings, and while new hubs will ship with the MFU, they'll still use the original 2 sprag clutch, making them ideal for super high-torque applications like e-bikes and tandems. 


If you have any questions, just let us know.  We've had great experience with Onyx hubs, and are very excited to have a lighter option with tool-free freehub swaps, so we'll keep bringing you updates as we get them!
 



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