Magnets over springs: Project 321's new hub

Less drag, faster engagement and more

Aftermarket accessories manufacturer Project 321 has released new rear hub internals, named P321 Drive System. In contrast to the typical use of tiny springs pushing or pulling the hub pawls, the P321 Drive System uses magnets to engage the drive ring.

While unique, other hub manufacturers — DT Swiss, Spank, Zipp, Tune, and Polish company Soul Kozak — have all experimented with or used magnets in their rear hubs.

The new internals are patent pending
The new internals are patent pending

Faster engagement

One of the biggest things that differentiate between rear hubs is how fast they engage. Simply put, the less lag between crank movement and the rear wheel going forward, the better.

With its new internals, Project 321 offers two options. Both options have six pawls.

Six magnetic pawls provide the engagement for the go
Six magnetic pawls provide the engagement for the go

The first delivers forward bite every 1.66 degrees with 216 points of engagement and two pawl engagement. Project 321's Jake Liles mentions: "By breaking up the six pawls into three groups of two, we can offset them and make them engage at different times."

The second option slows that down a touch by engaging two groups of three pawls at once for 144 points of engagement every 2.5 degrees.

In comparison, a King hub has 72 points, Industry Nine 120 points and Hope Pro 2 Evo has 40 points. 

Loud or quiet

For many riders, a loud buzz or whirr emanating from a rear wheel indicates something high-end and therefore expensive.

Other riders (including me) find this racket annoying. To appease both camps, the P321 Drive System can be set up with loud or quiet pawls. The quieter option is said to decrease drag a bit.  

Whether you love loud hubs or prefer to roll quiet, Project 321 has it covered
Whether you love loud hubs or prefer to roll quiet, Project 321 has it covered

More oil

The hubs feature holes in the drive chamber. It's not for less weight, but rather for increased oil capacity.

More oil allows a longer service life and damps the hub's noise.

The drive body has holes for increased oil capacity
The drive body has holes for increased oil capacity

Simple design

The only moving parts in the P321 design are the six pawls. The magnets are bonded to the pawls.

Project 321 claims a 68 percent reduction in drag compared to its previous Industry Nine internals.

Project 321 pricing

Pricing is currently TBC.

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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