For years I’ve been riding loud hubs on my mountain bikes. They just seemed to be the norm for most mid and high-end wheelsets, and although they’re great for letting people know you’re coming, I was getting sick of hearing them myself. One of the many things I enjoy about mountain biking is getting out and enjoying nature. The loud mechanical buzzing that followed me everywhere just seemed a little counterproductive in that aspect.
That’s why when I got the chance to upgrade my wheelset on my trail bike, I immediately opted for a set of Onyx hubs. Their clutch design meant instant engagement and complete silence, which ticked my two biggest boxes. As for rims, I went with a pair of We Are One carbon hoops. I’ve never ridden carbon wheels before, so I was curious to experience what they felt like.
They say the biggest way to change the way your bike rides is to change the wheels, and boy, they weren’t kidding! When I took my new wheels for their first ride, I was instantly in love!
The silence was bliss; no more clickity-clacks, no more clangs as pawls engage, and no more creaks (another thing my old wheels suffered from). I was treated to the sounds of nature accompanied only by the sound of my own breathing and rubber on dirt.
One thing that surprised me, though, was how the Onyx freehub engagement feels. Yes, it has instant engagement, but it’s not a harsh, instantaneous 100% power. There’s just a slight initial sponginess that has this sort of rubber band effect. The way it responds to your power is very smooth, and it almost boosts you forward as it rebounds.
This may seem like it would be weird and undesirable, but it’s very subtle and feels nice. In fact, this engagement quality has been very helpful in tough technical areas and climbs. I feel like this is how a bike should always feel, and all other hub designs have just been chasing this quality with limited success.
As much as I love these hubs, I must admit they’re not for everyone. Weight weenies won’t be too keen on the weight penalty. These hubs are a bit hefty, but it’s nothing a trail or gravity rider can’t handle.
The lack of noise can also be a downside in a few cases. The most obvious is that if you’re on a crowded trail system, no one will hear you coming. You’ll be a trail ninja! But the less obvious setback is that you can no longer judge your speed based on the wine of your freehub. This just takes a little adjustment period as your brain re-wires itself.
But what about the We Are One carbon hoops? They definitely smoothed things out on the trail. I like their compliance and feel. And We Are One’s lifetime warranty will cover all accidents that occur while riding your bike! As someone who’s not easy on their rims (I’ve destroyed quite a few alloy hoops), this is a major factor for peace of mind!
The We Are One wheels together with the Onyx hubs has been a complete game changer and has made my 5 year old bike feel like a completely new bike! It’s smooth, silent, and has enabled me to advance my riding in ways I haven’t been able to before. If you want to set yourself apart from the typical I9 noise, I highly suggest looking onto a wheelset like this. I’ve been riding them for a full season now, and they still put a big smile on my face. I’ll definitely swap them over to my next bike.
On Your Left Cycles
• Instant engagement and complete silence allows you to enjoy nature.
• No more clickity-clacks, no more clangs.
• Trail ninja!
• Power response is very smooth and almost boosts you forward.