September 11, 2023 13 min read
Sometimes we'll have a conversation with another rider and they'll make a comment that goes something like "I thought people just bought (insert hub brand here) hubs for the color." That comment usually comes on the heels of our explanation of some intricacy of the internals or manufacturing process that a particular brand uses to make their hubs. In light of that, we thought it might be helpful if we put out a little breakdown of what makes each brand of hub unique and why you might chose one over another based on your riding style, bike type, and personal preferences.
Some of the things that hold true for all of these brands are that they are made in the USA by people who care about making a great product. Each company has its own approach to that ideal, and that's one of the things that we like so much about being able to offer many different options because while one may not satisfy all of the needs of a given rider, chances are that another one will!
To keep things as simple as possible, we'll just go through some highlights for each brand (in alphabetical order) to give you a feel for what we think really stands out from each of these brands.
Chris King hubs are unique in a variety of ways, and put their focus on long-term durability and serviceability, but of course, there's more to it than that. Chris King's highlights can be broken down into a few areas:
Check out Chris King hubs here.
Industry Nine became known initially for their huge, angular hubs that had a high-tech sound and used large, aluminum spokes. While some of these traits remain, the company has come a very long way from the lackluster durability of its first freehub design, and now offers a unique blend of light-weight, mind-bendingly fast engagement, easy service, and beautiful colors. The key highlights of Industry Nine's hubs are as follows:
Check out Industry Nine hubs here!
Onyx Racing Products
Onyx has made a name for itself by producing a hub that uses a sprag clutch in place of any of the more traditional tooth-based freehub systems. The result is a line of hubs that are silent and have instant engagement. With the introduction of their Vesper and MFU (Modular Freehub Unit), the company has found ways to shed weight and simplify driver swaps without loosing the traits that have made these hubs stand out. With that, let's look at some of the things that set Onyx Racing Products' hubs apart:
Check out Onyx Racing Products' hubs here.
Paul Component has made some hubs with freehubs built-in, but ended up deciding that single speed-specific hubs for use with thread-on freehweels were more in line with their design ethos. Because of this, the range of options from this company is smaller, but their features make them a solid option if you're looking for a simple, durable, and still light-weight singlespeed hub. Overall, every feature of Paul hubs seems to stem from the refinements that always have as their goals simplicity, durability, and function. For example:
Check out Paul Component hubs here.
Phil Wood is best known for its freewheel and fixed gear hubs that are simple, built to last, polished to a deep mirror finish, and which roll on Phil Wood's custom made cartridge bearings that set the standard by which other sealed cartridge bearings are measured. These days though, the company offers hubs for fixed cogs and freewheels as well as cassette hubs that are available with either HG, Campagnolo, or XDR freehub bodies. The focus of these hubs is still on durability over weight concerns, but now with the Pro versions of many hubs, you can have both the beauty and toughness of a Phil Wood hub. Below you'll find some highlights of these hubs:
Check out Phil Wood hubs here.
White Industries has been cranking out great hubs for what seems like ages. From their unique ENO single speed hubs that allow you to turn a bike with vertical dropouts into a singlespeed, to their superb line of cassette hubs that keep weight low, and have some of the lowest freehub-drag available. Below are a few of the standout features of these hubs:
So what do you think? With so many options, choosing the right one will often come down to one standout feature that just works better for you and your riding style, and we hope that through this little breakdown, you'll have a better idea of what you've got to work with. We're proud to carry each of these brands and we feel that they each have something special to offer. Really, once you understand some of the finer points of each, each brand's hubs begin to look much more widely differentiated and we hope that once that is seen, you'll be able to make a choice about which is best for you more easily.
As always, if you have questions, contact us. 😉
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