EB14: Orange is the New Absolute Black Chainring, Plus a Peek Inside Their Magnetic Rear Hubs & More!


After adding sour apple green to their collection a few weeks back, Absolute Black was showing off this jailhouse orange narrow/wide chainring. Word is one of the other colors might be going away, but this one should be escaping into production this fall.

We also scored a look inside their new Black Diamond hubs to see how the magnetic star ratchet pawl rings work, plus an explanation of why they offer two different styles of SRAM direct mount chainrings…

Absolute Black Black Diamond mountain bike hubs with magnetic ratchet pawl engagement

The Black Diamond hubs have minimal moving parts, using only what’s seen below to transfer your legs’ effort into forward motion. One side of the star ratchet is machined directly into the freehub body. The other is a floating ring that slides laterally inside grooves. A strong ring shaped magnet pushes it against the pawls to engage (left). When coasting, the pawl ramps simply push it back against the magnet (right, click to enlarge). There are no springs or loose pawls to misplace in the infrequent service intervals Marcin says this hub requires. In fact, he says the design is fairly impervious to most things like dust, water and crud. But, if it does seem a little off, you simply remove pull the freehub body off with your hands and clean everything out, add a little lubrication and pop it back together.

Absolute Black Black Diamond mountain bike hubs with magnetic ratchet pawl engagement

Check the full technical specs in this post.

Absolute Black Black Diamond mountain bike hubs with magnetic ratchet pawl engagement

Standard 9/10/11 speed freehubs and XD Driver bodies are available.

Absolute Black Black Diamond mountain bike hubs with magnetic ratchet pawl engagement

The front hub is equally beautiful, and Marcin says the external machining and shaping isn’t just for cosmetics. There’s also considerable care paid to the inside shaping, and the combination (particularly on the rear) means less torsional twist of the hub shell. That twist, which is minimal on any hub, can be enough to put slight angular pressure on the bearings, which causes them to wear quicker. He says his hub shell shape keeps them very stiff to last longer and roll smoother.


Shown here are the SRAM BB30 direct mount chainring (black, top) and the standard SRAM GXP direct mount chainrings.


Why two different designs? Because SRAM’s short BB30 spindles can be 6mm shorter than the standard ones, which would throw the chainline off considerably if you were to use the wrong chainring. It’s simple to tell which you have. The short spindle will have a 9mm spacer on the drive side, and the long version has a 15mm spacer. Check your bike, then order accordingly.



Robbie Mubbledutt - 09/04/14 - 10:12am

Didn’t Alchemist do the magnetic ratchet thing a couple years ago?

Adrian - 09/04/14 - 10:13am

Is that a steel freehub? Because if it’s a steel freehub, that’s great.

Nico - 09/04/14 - 11:37am

A bit over a year ago i saw Absolute Black recommend to use Shimano or Sram chains only, and disregarding KMC for being off standard in their link lengths? Now their website says “KMC chains recommended”. What has changed?

PTymn Wolfe - 09/04/14 - 12:20pm

Magnets!?! How do they work?

CW - 09/04/14 - 1:42pm

Nico, KMC and absolute black worked together to modify the roller size on the KMC chains. from what I know, this was a running change that was made to all of their 10/11 speed chains at least.

greg - 09/05/14 - 12:57am

small print in the freehubs pic does indeed say it’s a hardened stainless steel freehub body.

Nico - 09/05/14 - 4:08am

Thanks. Thats great to hear. Love when smaller companies are working in symbiose with the big guys!

Rene - 01/12/15 - 10:05am

It’s worth mentioning that the credit for the hub system should go to Soul-Kozak, another small company.

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