Onza and Aaron Gwin Develop Signature Tire - First Look

Aug 30, 2016
by Vernon Felton  

Onza Aquila Aaron Gwin-Signature Tire


There are plenty of athlete-endorsed models that have, let’s be real, zero actual input from the athlete whose name graces the product. According to Onza marketing manager, Hector Martinez, that’s not the case with the tire Aaron Gwin is co-designing with Onza’s engineering staff.

bigquotesAaron had his say on everything: knob shaping, spacing, alignment - absolutely everything on down to the siping - is a result of what he wants in a tire. He takes it incredibly serious. - Hector Martinez, Onza marketing

Gwin is a detail guy. “Fastidious” doesn’t even begin to capture the degree to which he sweats the minutia of his gear. When Gwin began riding Onza tires, he went through the entire line, including the Ibex and Citius and wound up gravitating towards the Citius, but he wasn’t entirely satisfied with that model either. Braking traction and cornering performance were good, but for World Cup racing, he needed something that rolled faster. It's no secret, Gwin has been riding blacked out Maxxis tires of late. But that'll change in the future. Which is why Onza’s brought their engineers to Gwin—along with a heaping pile of their competitors’ tires—and started from scratch with a new design. The end result is a tire that gets a heavy dose of Gwin’s input.

Onza Aquila Aaron Gwin-Signature Tire
The new model will be called the Aquila and, if these early photos are any indication, it'll bear a strong resemblance to the Maxxis Minion DHR. The siping on the Aquila is obviously different, as are the exact shape of the shoulder and crown knobs, but the similarity is striking. When asked about the resemblance, Martinez stated, "Aaron has had the unique opportunity to race and report on most of the top tires in this market. His experience has led him to believe that they all had something to be improved upon. This tire is the product of those experiences and his collaboration with Swiss innovation."

The Aquila will likely be available in Spring of 2017. I say “likely” because the tire is still very much in development. We only learned about this Gwin model after bumping into Martinez at Crankworx Whistler and prying the details from him on the spot—it wasn’t what you’d call a “press launch”. It’s unclear as to whether Onza will be showing the Aquila at Eurobike this week or at Interbike, later in September. Photos of the final product don’t even exist as we go to press (Martinez had images of these early versions kicking around his iPhone).

What we do know is that Onza plans to introduce the Aquila as a 27.5x2.4, with a downhill casing and wire beads. We’re guessing, though, that Onza will probably release a lighter, trail/all-mountain version of the Aquila somewhere later on down the line.





171 Comments

  • 224 8
 Maxxis Minions
  • 67 9
 Or a specialized butcher. Which is what he ran last year...
  • 64 5
 I already have Maxxis Minions so don't have to wait for these.
  • 456 3
 Maxxis Gwinions
  • 159 3
 "...a heaping pile of their competitors’ tires—and started from scratch...". Coulda saved the pile...I bet the conversation was exactly this - 'Get as close to a DHF/DHR2 without getting into legal trouble, kthxbai'
  • 114 1
 @skeen95: And who helped design the Butcher? Sam Hill, after moving to Specialized and saying (roughly) "See them Maxxis tyres, make me some of them."
  • 13 0
 "black marker" prototypes
  • 33 3
 @mountaineerofwv: Onxxis Gwinions?
  • 38 4
 How to make a downhill tire, for those who don't want to do any R&D

Step 1: 3D Scan Minions or Butchers
Step 2: Raise mold your tire company logos onto the scan
Step 3: Make an 1-2mm lower alteration to the center tread alignment and slightly redo corner knob shape.
Making indents or otherwise profiling the knobs clears you in a soft legal sense.
Added bonus revenue if you can squeeze your softest compound into an actual TLR 2.4"
Step 4: Send your CAD file to the people manning the machines in Taiwan.
Step 5: Race the tire. Or even show them off once in public. Just have a factory rider's name on em.
Step 6: Begin accepting orders... For $150 a set.


Really tired of the same tires rolling out over and over again. Somebody besides WTB at least try and make a Shorty/Mary variant or something. Spice it up!
  • 22 0
 Isn't Onza and Maxxis both manufactured by CST?
  • 4 0
 @gonecoastal: Manufactured, Maybe. But that means just the same factory where they get pumped out from.
(hehe)
  • 9 4
 @siderealwall2: Take it easy dude, the bloody tires havent even come out yet! Save your criticisms for then
  • 17 9
 it looks like a butcher and a minion made a baby.. a legit as fuck one at that...
  • 6 2
 @Joebro1995: I've tried Minion's before, what are you talking about? Haha.
  • 9 10
 Onza Gwinions
  • 4 5
 @Petair75: hahahaha
  • 3 1
 If Gwin has his inputs as stated, the knobs would looks like AG. Just like how CG had it with Panaracer.
  • 7 0
 Yes exactly, but no 26 version, so I'll stock to Maxxis.
  • 14 0
 Isn't it just that it happens to be a pretty basic design so that other designs easily look similar? Square/rectangular block pattern, properly spaced, that works well. Sure Schwalbe usually angles them a little instead of just do the siping at an angle, Conti angles them a bit more. So if you angle the knobs people will say it looks like a Schwalbe. If you work with odd number angled knobs people will say it looks like a Conti. If you run square knobs but with a single knob in the middle instead of two, people will say it is like a Nokian Gazzaloddi. I doubt if there is still a way to come up with something unique that works well and is not overly complex. Still the fibre layup and compounds could be very different from what Maxxis has.

Apparently Gwin is fairly happy with what Maxxis has to offer but is now in the great position to have them modified to his liking. It is marginal improvement at this stage. The flip side for Onza is that if their design turns out to be so much better, there is nothing stopping Maxxis, Specialized etc. from also shifting their simping and ramping the knobs in the name of marginal improvement.

The involvement of top riders in the development of bicycle components and kit is always a good thing. Good for us as we're getting better gear, good for them as this sets them up nicely for a possible post-race career.
  • 5 0
 @headshot: I'm pretty sure @wakidesigns will soon come with an adaptor that will allow us to mount 27.5" tyres onto 26" rims. And extensions to shift the dropouts to make them fit your bike.
  • 9 1
 @vinay: no but I'm planning to draw a tribute to Minion DHF Wink I tend to ride Minions but for some reason I spent 3 months on Butcher Grid and then came back to Minion DHF. It's impossible to describe how amazing that tyre is.
  • 2 1
 @vinay: its a DHR 2
  • 4 0
 I was going to say Bontrager G5's. He must of really liked those when he rode for trek.
  • 3 1
 @siderealwall2: You basically just described most of the bike industry development. Or most industry in the modern world. Just rip off someone that has already done the work. Tweak it a bit. Then call it initiative and your own.
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: frank Stacy was the design lead I think who now leads bontrager tyre r&d
  • 1 2
 @enduroFactory: Bontrager makes the best tyres on earth Team issue that is.
  • 4 1
 I would shit my pants if Gwin shows up at Vallnord with blacked out Minions after this article.
  • 1 0
 @gonecoastal: Specialized, too?
  • 1 0
 @siderealwall2: R&D?! You mean Rip off and Duplicate?!
  • 2 0
 @siderealwall2: Except CST actually owns Maxxis. www.google.com/search?q=who+owns+maxxis&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Reminded me a bit of the e*thirteen tires (you get one guess who makes those as well) but the Butcher & G5 comparisons are even more apt, IMO.
  • 5 0
 ...has anyone mentioned that the word "Aquila" is latin for Eagle?
  • 5 0
 @sevensixtwo: I'm gonna hold you to that
  • 3 0
 @gonecoastal: yes. CST makes most of the tires on the market.
  • 3 0
 @LaXcarp: It's the new ice-bucket challenge
  • 1 0
 @gonecoastal: CST is the parent company of Maxxis, but Maxxis has its own factory in Taiwan. The CST stuff is made in China. Same owner, but run as separate business entities. Like how Cycling Sports Group owns Cannondale, GT, Charge, Mongoose, etc. but they all have distinct offerings and price points.
  • 1 0
 High Roller II's
  • 2 0
 @ARonBurgundy: After having compared some of the tires made by CST for other brands, vs maxxis, for the most part, that seems to be more difference than distinction: take a look at the the E*thirteen tires, or the on-one smorgasbord/chunky monkey, & tell me they're significantly different in casing or rubber quality (or even specific rubber compounds!) to the Maxxis stuff. They're nearly identical. hell, the Maxxis Tomahawk is basically their in-house take on the on-one tires, so even tread pattern's almost identical in that case.
  • 1 0
 @groghunter: I'm not entirely sure of your point. Maxxis makes those tires for E*Thirteen. So they come out of the Maxxis factory in Taiwan. Grab yourself a CST tire and a Maxxis or E*Thirteen or On-One and tell me there isn't a difference in the quality of construction and materials.
  • 1 0
 @ARonBurgundy: Got a reference for that? because as far as I know, all the "made by maxxis" stuff comes out of the CST factory.
  • 1 0
 @groghunter: my own eyeballs, I've been there. Also, check the sidewall of the tire to see if it says "Made in Taiwan"
  • 1 0
 He must have like the Butchers...
  • 2 1
 @siderealwall2: Actually Maxxis and Onza work together on development. The Maxxis DD casing is the EDC casing Onza developed. Onza also revamped the old 40a Slow Rez compound, and rumor has it we'll be seeing that back in the Maxxis line.
  • 2 0
 @zutroy: If that is true, it'd be beautiful. I picture them having tea together, then have a look at our ramblings here. They'll laugh their ass off.

@Maxxis, @Onza: please enjoy Smile !
  • 1 0
 Bontrager G5 by Onza
  • 1 0
 @gonecoastal: and Specalized.
  • 1 0
 @skeen95: I thank he ran Minions.
  • 1 0
 @NolanFJ60: To be honest, I like them as much as Minions. Really similar handling characteristics, but the G5s seem to be wearing a bit longer. I used to ride SuperTacky Minions. Phenomenal for about 4 days out on the hill, then they'd very quickly wear out, tearing side knobs like crazy. The Bontragers seem to be outlasting the 3C Minions, if I'm honest.
  • 3 0
 @zutroy: did I hear someone say slooooow reeeezaaaayyyyyyy. ????
  • 1 0
 @LaXcarp: " I like my eagle bald like an eagle" -Roachy Gogs
  • 1 0
 @NolanFJ60Big Grin idn't they only have the G4 out at that point? The G5 is an amazing tire by the way.
  • 1 0
 Looks like a WTB Convict tire
  • 50 1
 Now with sharpie friendly side walls
  • 1 0
 its all about plasti dip for covering your original manufacturer's logo
  • 35 1
 Totally looks like a tire!
  • 20 2
 I tire of your jokes
  • 7 2
 @gdnorm: Just roll with it for now. Don't want him to crack under the pressure.
  • 5 2
 @gdnorm: I think you need to *tread* carefully on this one...
  • 3 0
 you guys are Onza piss!
  • 2 1
 Will it still look like a tire when put on a Session?
  • 8 0
 @karoliusz: I dunno man, I'm not psi-kik
  • 5 0
 Too many knobs in this thread.
jk Smile
  • 4 0
 Onzapon a time there voz a man called Kurt Vogel...
  • 1 0
 Round we go again with the dead rubber
  • 2 0
 @sideshowb: I'm not having a bar of this!
  • 25 0
 Doesn't look like a Porcupine.
  • 5 0
 The money they could make with white DH TLR Porcs... #missingatrick
  • 2 0
 @thatpeskylimey: grey Onzas are next.
  • 13 0
 I got in trouble for using "Swiss Innovation" on a maths assignment in my first year of uni.
  • 6 0
 Don't use swiss innovation with your banking, that can get you into trouble too.
  • 1 0
 Swiss innovation is hiring expats then calling it Swiss. Designed by an expat, made by an Albanien but Swiss as f%*k. And innovative too.
  • 1 0
 Once you're done with watching kangaroos in Austria, you can go over the border to and see how Volvos are made with Swiss precision.
  • 11 1
 Basically looks the same as a Bontrager G5, which rides about the same as a Minion DHF. Haven't tried Butchers, but those look almost the same, too. Hey, I'm all for choice if there's a bunch of tires out there that ride well. Just make the damn things in 26" though...
  • 4 4
 I have a lightly used G5 that I can sell you... Might be one of the last 26'' tires on the market...
  • 4 8
flag lccomz (Aug 31, 2016 at 6:10) (Below Threshold)
 Honestly, why would they waste money on a mold for an obsolete tire size?
  • 5 1
 @lccomz: Because, according to the recent Pinkbike poll, more riders are on 26" than any other size? How, exactly, is it obsolete when the majority of riders are still on it?
  • 1 4
 @martis: Interesting. I guess what that tells me is that the vast majority of Pinkbike readers must be dedicated Dirt Jump and Slopestyle riders. For those two disciplines 26" is a great choice and makes good sense.

But for XC, DH, and Trail riding if the majority of Pinkbike readers are still on 26" that more or less just tells me that they are riding an older bike.
  • 3 0
 @lccomz: If you consider the fact that 27.5 didn't really become widespread until the 2014 model year, there's your answer. I bought my mini-DH rig new in 2013 and my big bike is from 2010. Why would I toss them in the garbage because the industry came up with a new wheel size which is supposedly better? I don't want to turn this into another 26 vs. 27.5 debate, but the reality is that there's still a pretty large chunk of riders who are still on 26, and with the prohibitive cost of a new bike (and the fact that 26" bikes aren't selling on the used market for anywhere near what they're worth).don't plan on moving to 27.5 anytime soon. Some of us still need tires for our "obsolete" bikes.
  • 2 0
 @martis @lccomz you are both right. I can't unsubscribe from this thread so let's call it a tie and go home?
  • 2 1
 @martis: Thanks. You've explained this very well and it makes sense.

Keep in mInd though, this article was about some spy shots of new Onza prototype tires that Gwin has helped develop for racing at the World Cup level. It wasn't about weather Onza was going to continue to support the 26" wheel size for riders who can only afford a new bike every few years. Maybe your local dealer, or the Onza customer service department might have better insight?
  • 1 1
 Looks just like a WTB Convict
  • 8 1
 It does look a lot like DHRs, but it has some differences too. And there things like rubber compounds and casing that we cant compare from these photos. I dunno, if its available next time I need tires, and the price is good, I'd give em a try. Maxxis could use a little competition, even if it is a bit of a rip off.
  • 9 3
 I still see the L shape side blocks which is only true to Maxxis design. Why can't companies focus on there own designs? I don't support this company. Maxxis over Onza any day!!!
  • 6 0
 bit like the shape of cars, am sure there is a "standard" design that works well, and all we see is slight variations of it, i guess you could spend a huge amount in R & D , years of research, and get something only slightly different
  • 3 1
 Try playing tennis with anything other than a round ball. At a certain point, what works becomes the norm as we see when literally every tire manufacture copies maxxis' proven design.
  • 6 0
 Who still has their Onza bar-ends, circa 1992??? They were as a necessity as a dropper post, back in the day... mine are carefully boxed waiting for their day to return! - sorry for the plot twist...
  • 2 0
 Mine were STOLEN
  • 1 0
 Mine snapped at the clamp as i rode away from my car...one second I was gently riding standing up, the next i was on the ground like a sack of potatoes. Good job that it wasn't just before a race with no-one in sight....not...made some people smile at least. Gotta think of those silver linings. Also had their clipless pedals, which were my first clipless set. Lasted maybe a year before the elastomers were squished beyond yield.
  • 8 1
 Gonna paint the maxis lettering on black and get a white sharpie to write onza!
  • 2 0
 He should do that just for banter. Just write 'Onza' in really bad hand writing in a white marker.
  • 8 0
 The big question is.... Will he actually race on them? Lol
  • 3 0
 They made it so simillar to Minions, so now they can black the Minions out and race them as prototypes.
  • 6 2
 Aquila is a cool enough name... wasn't there a Giro or Met Aquila helmet?

Anyway, they could have gone for something better. Cool is not totally awesome. Honestly if Schwalbe had called the Magic Mary the Dirty Bastard instead, I would never use anything else.

Something about Gwinner would have been a hole-in-one.

My suggestions are

Ginger
Pinner
Holy Moly
Braap
  • 1 0
 A neighbor of mine had a 1991-1992 Gary Fisher Aquila that was the SHIT at that point in time. More or less got me into mountain bikes.
  • 1 0
 Met Attila was a full face DH helmet from the lat 90's. I am looking at my old one now

www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=met%20attila%20helmet
  • 1 0
 this comment is priceless
  • 8 1
 Those are some nice looking minio- whoops aquilas you got there Onza Smile
  • 6 0
 The onza G5. Good choice. Better than an onza minion. Burlier side knobs and bigger intermediate channel
  • 7 1
 "We've got nothing, let's just copy the minion."
  • 4 0
 I'm no pro but have ridden the Onza Ibex back to back with Maxxis tires. I would pick the Onza all day over them. They last forever as well.
  • 4 1
 The Minnons, the Butcher and the Bontrager G5 are the same tire pretty much, these are all Frank Stacey knob designs, he sold the patent to all of them.
  • 2 0
 Clearly the love child of a Minion and a Butcher.

It may be a shameless copy/hybrid, but let's at least admit that they really couldn't have chosen two better tires to mash together into one.
  • 1 0
 I know it's been a week, BUT...

I'm actually genuinely excited about these, especially as they start appearing in 29er guise on the Ibex 2.4 carcass. I had the same initial reaction, but in an already crowded segment (Minion DFH, Minion DHR, Butchers, Gomas), another good option is nice. These don't have to actually be miles better than existing stuff - it's just another option that will help keep pricing and availability solid.

They're basically a Minion DH-F/R - combining a lot of the turning siped tread blocks on center, the laterally siped braking blocks, and shoulder blocks that are a compromise between Minion alternating vertically siped/L blocks, and the HighRoller2 shoulder blocks. If somebody explained that as the performance dossier for a new tire made by CST, we'd be all about it. If it was a Gwin signature with all those, why not.
  • 8 4
 Feel like they have a real Gwinner there.
  • 5 1
 Word has it "Aquila" is latin for Sixxam.
  • 5 1
 The Gwinions, should have stuck with that rather than pretend
  • 6 2
 All they needed was his gwinput.
  • 4 0
 Onza becoming the Slugger of the tyre industry
  • 4 1
 Onza Ibex are the best tires I've owned.
  • 2 0
 Ibex get my vote as well. They're a great trail tyre. Light, fast and not overpriced.
  • 2 1
 Well most bikes are starting to look the same so I suppose it makes sense that tyres would too. More importantly, the first time I ever got drunk on wine was drinking Aquila.
  • 2 0
 ohh..cheap n nasty mate!
  • 3 0
 Thought Onza was a trials bike company!
  • 1 0
 Will it be another signature model... He won't use? Cause he's got his own ODI signature grips but rides the simpler Elite Motion (or Ruffian) model...
  • 2 1
 Looks like a combination of an original High Roller and a Butcher. I like how the original high roller corners.
  • 1 0
 ah the mythical tubers do exist it would seem. I have heard about this rare species but never actually met one
  • 1 0
 sweet another dh tire in the mix. might be cheaper than a butcher or a minion once released. nice to have options.
  • 2 1
 If it looks like a Minion, rides like a Minion and has SHARPIED sidewalls like a Minion... It's probably a MAXXIS Minion.
  • 1 0
 Maxxis DHF and DHR had a Menage a Trois with a Specialized Butcher. Oh my!
  • 1 0
 Looks like a Demo..... I mean a Minion, I mean a High Roller II. ahhhhhh fuggit
  • 1 0
 Hopefully it will be as popular and useful as the porcupines were way back when!!
  • 1 0
 Man they are just way too similar.....Probably a great tire though lol
  • 3 2
 How not to run a company.
  • 4 0
 Why? (seriously)

Every company looks at their competition and takes cues from them, seeing if the oppositions good parts can blend with their own perceived good parts. Why is every (pretty much) bike company going the long, low and slack route? Someone tried it first, others adopted and refined.

Are Maxxis Minnions as good as they can get, or can they get better? Can Onza see the good in them, cure a better compound and get better performance? What is wrong with asking Gwinn to help out on the design? Yes, he has been running Maxxis, but is this as much a back to back comparison as it is a snub at his own sponsor? In terms of developing a tyre, I would suggest the former.

Take motorsport for instance...back when both Michelin and Bridgestone were in F1 everyone that mattered bar Ferrari were on Michelin and Ferrari got to have their input in the tyres to make them work best for their cars, not for Jordan or Minardi, but just for them.

This is the same approach...to have arguably the best mountainbike rider in the world developing a tyre that he says is what is needed can only result in a damn fine tyre that is more than adequate for lesser mortals.
  • 2 0
 @handynzl: Props for mentioning Minardi! I have a Minardi Mild7 Blob team shirt from the early 90s. I sometimes wear it racing DH.
  • 1 0
 @handynzl: Taking cues and straight up copying are fairly different things. As I see it here based on the article and photo at least, this is a pretty direct copy, veiled with a pretty simplistic "rider input" pitch. The quote above says he had input in the shape, location, siping etc... It's a direct copy of a DHR. That's not a refutable fact. You can argue on semantics of the compound, and according to the patent a substantial compound change is I'm sure enough to keep them out of legal trouble.

If they had called it like it is, I'd be less bothered by this.
  • 2 1
 Is there an need for wire beaded dh tyres now everyone runs tubeless?
  • 6 9
 Check out the gmbn tubes vs tubeless video - almost everyone they asked at whistler still runs tubes. I, and everyone I ride with, still run tubes too. As I don't race I'll happily take a few more PSI over the extra cost and faff of tubeless, it seems a lot of riders share this opinion
  • 2 5
 @blahblahbikes: tubes for DH , tubeless all other things like XC,Enduro or city bike....
  • 1 0
 Is it me or are all these new tyres looking like Maxxis nowadays?
  • 2 1
 Signature tires that Aaron wont ride ??? LMAO
  • 1 1
 I would shit my pants if Gwin shows up at Vallnord with blacked out Minions.
  • 2 0
 @sevensixtwo: so you've said...now here is to hoping that he does and you do!
  • 1 0
 Only problem is he will never use them!
  • 1 0
 When are they re-releasing the porcupine?
  • 1 0
 It's amazing how much traction these posts about tires get.
  • 1 0
 I really just want a gumwall option.
  • 1 0
 30 psi in my minions... i don't care about Gwin's opinions.
  • 3 2
 :popcorn:
  • 1 0
 ....bontrager g5
  • 1 0
 Minion from the Gwinion
  • 1 0
 Looks like a Slash
  • 1 0
 Onza Ginger
  • 1 1
 Will we be seeing a Shorty or Magic Mary variant from Onza as well?
  • 1 0
 It looks like a session
  • 1 0
 The DeKaiser design also
  • 2 5
 So if this tire and knob shaping, spacing, alignment - everything on down to the siping - is what Gwin specifically wants, why would I care or want to buy it?
  • 19 0
 I get that its a rhetorical question. But im gonna take a stab at it anyway. Believe it or not, no one is asking you to help develop your own personal tire. So you aren't going to get exactly what YOU want. The next best thing is to get a tire designed with the assistance of someone who is probably very capable at detecting nuance in different changes, and making adjustments to get a good result. To me that ain't half bad. Im willing to bet that whatever tire you really enjoy right now, was developed with assistance from a sponsored rider who wanted something just the way they like it.
  • 1 0
 @rallyimprezive: reminds me of all my tennis and golf friends that are obsessed and need to buy every single thing that a pro uses or endorses. Gwin is a professional racer, debate at the best in the world. Developing his own product is fine, but then selling it to the consumer market is just an advertisement grab.
  • 2 0
 @chrisingrassia: Look up the history of were the Minon tires came from............
  • 1 0
 @chrisingrassia: I cant argue the marketing aspect of it. Certainly marketing is part of the goal with this Onza's release. But damn man, do you really want to argue against advertising and marketing now?
And the tires aren't just endorsed or used by a pro, they are developed with help from that pro. A pro who is known in the DH industry to be a very valuable resource for R&D. So next time I need to buy tires, and I will need to buy tires again someday, I might look at Onza. Why not?

My question to you is; How do you choose tires?
  • 2 2
 Onza dhr2s sweet!
  • 2 2
 Gwingers1
  • 1 1
 Sweet minions man.
  • 1 1
 DHR2 anyone?
  • 1 4
 Highroller II Clone
  • 4 0
 the Onza Ibex is more of a HR2 clone
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