Need someone to convince me. Hydra vs Vesper- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Need someone to convince me. Hydra vs Vesper

    I9 hydra or Onyx Vesper. Silence doesnít mean much because youíre going to hear the bike and everything else, so itís not like Iím going to hear my hair blowing in the wind. I donít think sound of the Hydraís mean anything other than playing as my ďbellĒ when descending. Iím not NorCal and ride Tahoe/Truckee/Oregon and on the coast. Aggressive all mountain on a Ripmo. Starting to build my first wheel set, let me hear the ďone vs the otherĒ arguments please.


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  2. #2
    Nat
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    Vesper because the silence is real.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chukwithak View Post
    I9 hydra or Onyx Vesper. Silence doesnít mean much because youíre going to hear the bike and everything else, so itís not like Iím going to hear my hair blowing in the wind. I donít think sound of the Hydraís mean anything other than playing as my ďbellĒ when descending. Iím not NorCal and ride Tahoe/Truckee/Oregon and on the coast. Aggressive all mountain on a Ripmo. Starting to build my first wheel set, let me hear the ďone vs the otherĒ arguments please.


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    I own a set of OG Onyx hubs, and recently built up a set of wheels on Hydras, and intend to own Vespers soon. The Hydras engage every bit as quickly, if not quicker, but there is still occasionally a slight bit of a engagement clunk that is never present in the Onyx hubs. The Onyx just feels smoother. Noise wise, I find the Hydras annoying, even after liberal application of the recommended dumonde tech grease. Additionally, the Hydra freehub seems more draggy, although Iíve yet to actually compare them side to side with an Onyx.

    Iím currently selling my Hydra wheels to build up a set with Onyx Vespers ASAP. I donít want the extra weight of the OG Onyx hub on my full suspension race bike, but I donít think Iíll ever have another pawl type hub on a bike except maybe a bar bike. And even then, Iím truly addicted to the silence, and feel of the sprag clutch.

    Donít get me wrong, the Hydras are amazing, by far the best hubs Iíve ever ridden, with the significant exception of Onyx. But, for me, the Onyx hubs are basically perfect, especially now that the lighter hubs are finally out.

  4. #4
    Nat
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    I have a set of the original Onyx hubs and the Vespers. Same rims, same spokes. I swear the Vespers roll better. I freaking love them.

  5. #5
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    Iíve been running Hydras since they were released. They are certainly far from silent, but my trails tend to be crowded and as you say these work well as a ďbellĒ. I believe Hydras are a good deal lighter, if you care. Iíve been on I9s for the last 10,000+ miles on multiple bikes and never had an issue, so Iím a fan. I have nothing bad to say about Onyx though.

  6. #6
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    I wouldn't want a silent hub, so onyx is always out for me.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Vesper because the silence is real.
    This is true, I was surprised by how much I liked not hearing the hub, as good as Onyx hubs are this is my favorite feature. As long as your bike is not a rattly heap hearing everything else is nice, you can even hear the tires working in the dirt. And as was mentioned the instant engagement coupled with their uniquely smooth feel is very nice. They are also the least draggy hubs I have ever used. The Vespers should if anything be an improvement on the originals. I don't think any pawl clutch can compete with a sprag clutch in any area except weight.

    That all said, the Hydra hubs are probably the only pawl driven hubs I would even consider, if I could get past the noise now that my main bikes have had Onyx for a while now.

  8. #8
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    They're all quiet if you keep pedaling

    I wish our trails were empty enough that I could use a quiet hub. Here, its either a loud hub or you really do need a bell and you need to ring it almost constantly, which is obnoxious in its own right.

    It might sound like a contradiction, but I ride to get away from the noise. The steady hub noise ends up just blending in. I can avoid a bell and avoid yelling "on your left" for a couple hours straight if my hub makes enough noise.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    They're all quiet if you keep pedaling

    I wish our trails were empty enough that I could use a quiet hub. Here, its either a loud hub or you really do need a bell and you need to ring it almost constantly, which is obnoxious in its own right.

    It might sound like a contradiction, but I ride to get away from the noise. The steady hub noise ends up just blending in. I can avoid a bell and avoid yelling "on your left" for a couple hours straight if my hub makes enough noise.
    I felt that way before I got a silent hub. And as it so happens I don't pedal constantly. I originally got the Onyx hubs because I wanted something bulletproof and the King hubs I wanted were out of stock everywhere. Now I wouldn't ride King hubs if they were free, even though I respect them for their quality and reliability.

    I don't buy the common "my hub is my bell" argument. I have a bell because I need one, and sometimes I need it a lot. A hub won't reliably do what my Spur Cycle bell does, which is penetrate around blind corners, and through earbuds and other various barriers to another person's attention. Well, maybe a Profile would but then so would putting several credit cards in my spokes. I know that having a hub drone away everytime I stop pedaling is no longer something I find acceptable in the woods, at least my bell only sounds when I need it to, and it sounds nicer. The bottom line is, the wind and the dirt sound best to me, and the only difference between pedaling and coasting is the sound of a well tuned drivetrain.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    I have a set of the original Onyx hubs and the Vespers. Same rims, same spokes. I swear the Vespers roll better. I freaking love them.
    I have the original Onyx hubs, and I swear the same. It feels like you do roll better, and being there's no friction, it's probably true. Rolling down hill, I swear I speed up faster and maintain the speed easier.

  11. #11
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    I9 is a really cool company. It has outstanding customer service. It makes stuff in colours, and the colours are awesome. Colours! Also, it's based in a great riding region.

    I don't know anything about Onyx

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    Quote Originally Posted by PuddleDuck View Post
    I9 is a really cool company. It has outstanding customer service. It makes stuff in colours, and the colours are awesome. Colours! Also, it's based in a great riding region.

    I don't know anything about Onyx
    From my experience you can say the same things about Onyx, well except the great riding region part. I have no idea about the trails in MN, but I do like the riding in NC.

  13. #13
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    Need someone to convince me. Hydra vs Vesper

    Iíd have to imagine the Onyx hub blows the I9 out of the water in terms of bearing life.

    Well, aside from Hope, most companies selling high end hubs do.

    If bearing life matters at all, DT/White/King... others ... Hope/I9. Not sure where Onyx stacks up on there yet.

    If you think you might get caught in a high altitude afternoon rain storm while riding Tahoe pumice with any regularity, and those are your only two options, Onyx wins by default.


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Iíd have to imagine the Onyx hub blows the I9 out of the water in terms of bearing life.

    Well, aside from Hope, most companies selling high end hubs do.

    If bearing life matters at all, DT/White/King... others ... Hope/I9. Not sure where Onyx stacks up on there yet.

    If you think you might get caught in a high altitude afternoon rain storm while riding Tahoe pumice with any regularity, and those are your only two options, Onyx wins by default.
    Vesper is too new for anyone to know for sure, but the original Onyx hubs should be a good indicator. I believe they have even improved sealing in areas on the Vesper. My oldest set of original Onyx hubs was recently taken out of service after a couple of years of regular use. They felt just as smooth as new. I pulled out the freehub driver to look at the sprags, it was perfectly clean inside. The design of the hub puts the sprags behind both the labyrinth seal that protects the outer hub shell bearing, and the seals of that bearing. So any contaminants would have to get into the hub and then all the way through that bearing before they could get to the sprags. When I sent these hubs back to Onyx to take advantage of their model swap program, they said everything internal was in perfect shape and no new moving parts would be required.

    Riding the hubs in extremely wet conditions and submerging them is something I never do, I doubt they would have been service free in that situation. But for normal riding, and typical occasional rain conditions and bike cleanings, they have been very reliable.

  15. #15
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    I too have been very impressed with the bearing life on my original Onyx hubs. I run them on my bikepacking bike, and do horrible things to that bike on the regular. I have had them fully submerged dozens if not hundreds of times at this point. I have also ridden hundreds of miles in rain and mud, routinely leave that bike out in the elements for weeks at a time, and have yet to take them apart since theyíre still spinning smooth and fast. Come to think of it, I think theyíre the only component I havenít had to service or replace since building that bike.

  16. #16
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velodonata View Post
    When I sent these hubs back to Onyx to take advantage of their model swap program
    Tell me about this model swap program. Is it still going on?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Tell me about this model swap program. Is it still going on?
    I believe so, I can't say for sure if it is the same with Vesper hubs but I'm sure a quick call or email to Onyx would clear up their current policy. I knew it was something they offered when I bought mine. Basically they will swap hubshells for color changes at a significant discount, or in my case also swap models going from 100 and 135 6-bolt hubs to a full boost centerlock set. There may be other costs involved depending on what exactly you need done, but in my case it was still way less expensive than buying another set of hubs for a new bike build. They were easy to communicate with to get it going, they called during the process to confirm details, and the turnaround was very quick.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Tell me about this model swap program. Is it still going on?
    Iíve done the model swap twice now to go to different standards. I emailed about switching to vespers but they said they will only swap within the same model. So classic for classic and vesper for vesper. But you can swap for different standards or colors for a large discount.


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  19. #19
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    I can't even find Vesper on their website. Does Onyx offer straight pull hubs in the Vesper?

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suns_PSD View Post
    I can't even find Vesper on their website. Does Onyx offer straight pull hubs in the Vesper?

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    No offence to anyone, but that website is pure shit.

    Presumably the best approach will be to call these guys tomorrow and ask what you need to, via telephone.

    If it weren't for all you guys, I would really wonder about the quality of their product, based on their website.
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  21. #21
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    Let's break down the variables objectively (somewhat):

    Primary Factors (hub itself)

    1. Engagement - Vesper

    2. Energy Transfer/Efficiency - Vesper

    3. Weight - Hydra

    4. Sound - Hydra (by virtue of having one)

    5. Durability - Tie?

    6. Aesthetics - Tie (both come in neat colors)

    Secondary Factors (effects on bike)

    1. Ride Quality - Vesper

    2. Drivetrain/Suspension Operation - Vesper

    3. Ancillary Noisemaker - Hydra

    4. Weight - Hydra

    4-4-2 Looks like a tie! Obviously a bit tongue in cheek but I think the point is that there are considerations that could easily make one sway one way or another if you weight that variable.

    From a mechanical design standpoint the sprag is to me the ultimate final form of the pawl system (until some other game changer comes along). It is what you would achieve if you continued on the quest from 690 POE to literally infinite POE, except the sprag also has the benefit of inverse friction to POE correlation. It's like violating a law of thermodynamics! Having your cake and eating it too!

    I would love to try a Hydra one day. Having owned Hope and DT Swiss systems in the past, I'm sure there is some nostalgia to the buzz or click click that these things make that will be missed. Maybe much like how sports car enthusiasts may bemoan the fact that electric vehicles produce a sweet nothing versus the melodic howlings of a well-tuned V-10. Until that sweet nothing blows their melodic howlings out of the water from the review mirror. Oh wait, we were talking about bicycles here.

    On an unrelated request to the MTB gods, please stop making it hot and humid and raining, I want to go ride my bike and make it dirty.

  22. #22
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by newboy04 View Post
    I'm sure there is some nostalgia to the buzz or click click that these things make that will be missed. Maybe much like how sports car enthusiasts may bemoan the fact that electric vehicles produce a sweet nothing versus the melodic howlings of a well-tuned V-10 .
    It's interesting that you bring that up. I was having the same discussion the other day regarding the sweet sound of a sport exhaust note vs. the sweet silence of an electric car. I've had sports cars in the past with nice exhaust notes but I'm kind of over it. I now have a plug-in hybrid that can do light off-roading and creeping through the woods in my car silently in electric mode is sublime, much like riding my bike silently. You appreciate different sounds, such as tires scratching dirt, when you can actually hear them.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    It's interesting that you bring that up. I was having the same discussion the other day regarding the sweet sound of a sport exhaust note vs. the sweet silence of an electric car. I've had sports cars in the past with nice exhaust notes but I'm kind of over it. I now have a plug-in hybrid that can do light off-roading and creeping through the woods in my car silently in electric mode is sublime, much like riding my bike silently. You appreciate different sounds, such as tires scratching dirt, when you can actually hear them.
    Does the axle on your e-vehicle also fall apart, like your vesper?

  24. #24
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel View Post
    Does the axle on your e-vehicle also fall apart, like your vesper?
    Lol. I haven't tried picking it up and shaking it yet.

  25. #25
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    Thanks for all of the input guys. Ordered my Ibis S35/Vesper wheels yesterday.


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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chukwithak View Post
    Thanks for all of the input guys. Ordered my Ibis S35/Vesper wheels yesterday.


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    Awesome. I wanna ride em

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Vesper because the silence is real.
    Finally got the wheels out for a ride and this says it like no other. Amazing ride.


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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chukwithak View Post
    Finally got the wheels out for a ride and this says it like no other. Amazing ride.
    Welcome to the ̶c̶u̶l̶t̶ club. That smooth silence is sublime, and addictive.

  29. #29
    Nat
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    Sweeeeeeeet!

  30. #30
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    Is vesper worth $300 more than I9 101 hubs? Doing a bike build and that is difference with similiar rims. Will I be wowed by vesper hubs?
    thanks

  31. #31
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    Can get the quiet sound, the fast engagement, and being lighter with the P321s. Use the money saved for ceramic bearings or Berd spokes.

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