Onza Aquila Aaron Gwin Signature DH Tire - Review

Jan 22, 2018 at 6:00
by Paul Aston  
The Aquila is available in two different compounds - the RC2 45a dual compound and the softer GRP Visco 40a


Many were surprised when Aaron Gwin signed for Onza, with plenty of talk about the move being ''all about the money,'' and even more so when Gwin spent most of that season riding tires from other brands with blacked-out logos. According to Onza, this was allowed as part of his deal while they cooperated to build the tires that the world's fastest required – the first is the Aquila that's reviewed below. The tire was launched in 2017, and Gwin soon took his first race wins on the new rubber.

The Aquila is only available in a 2.4" width with a DHC downhill casing, and only in 27.5". There are two rubber compounds – GRP Visco 40a and the dual compound RC2 45a. The carcass uses a 40x40 TPI (threads per inch) casing and a steel, non-folding bead. They're available now for $80 - $85 USD.


Aaron Gwin s hotel room sketch of the Aquila
Gwin really did sketch the Aquila on a notepad in a hotel room.



Aquila Details:

• Aaron Gwin's signature DH tire
• Casing: DHC
• TPI: 40x40
• Bead steel/wire
• Size: 27.5'' x 2.40''
• ETRTO: 61-584
• Weight: 1,325 grams
• Price: $85 USD (GRP 40) / $80 (RC2 45a)
• Rubber: VISCO GRP 40 / RC2 45a
onza-tires.com



Only one diameter and width is available in the Aquila tread pattern. Onza is a small brand but hopefully we will see a few more options in the future.
Onza Aquila
Only one diameter and width is available in the Aquila tread pattern. Onza is a small brand, but we'll see a few more size options in the near future.



Design

Unsurprisingly, the Aquila shares some similarities to tires Gwin has previously won world cups upon, like the Specialized Butcher and Maxxis Minion. Currently, the Aquila is only available with a heavyweight downhill casing, in a single size, and two soft rubber compounds. The Aquila is a dry to medium loose conditions tire, but can be used for a biblically wet Mont Sainte Anne if you're Aaron Gwin.

The DHC carcass uses a 40x40 TPI casing which doesn't feel quite as flexible as a Specialized or Maxxis casing (60 TPI) but does offer more stiffness, thereby allowing a slightly lower pressure to be used to balance this out.

The tread pattern is similar to a Specialized Butcher and almost a cross between Maxxis Minion DHF and DHRII. It is clearly aimed at dry/medium conditions where fast rolling, strong braking, and edge control are needed.


The Onza Aquila s carcass measures just under 2.4 on a 30mm internal width rim.
The Onza Aquila's carcass measures just under 2.4" on a 30mm internal width rim.
When can we start measuring tires in metric Would make our lives so much simpler...
When can we start measuring tires in metric? It would make our lives so much simpler...


The narrower center blocks of the tire use sipes that are in line with the rolling direction and should allow them to spread out, increase their area, and grip under braking. The wider center blocks already have more surface area for braking traction so have sipes that are perpendicular to the tire's direction to help the edge of the block spread as riders transition onto the side of the tire in a corner. All of the center blocks are angled on the leading edge to reduce rolling resistance.


The horizontal ridges on the side blocks help them the flex evenly and the vertical supports resist twisting.
The horizontal ridges on the side blocks help them flex evenly, and the vertical supports resist twisting.
The vertical sipes should help with braking on the narrower and longer tread blocks. The sipe lets the block spread when force is applied to help bite into the terrain
The vertical sipes should help with braking on the narrower and longer tread blocks. The sipe lets the block spread when force is applied to help bite into the terrain.


The side blocks of the tire are lined up specifically with the center blocks which is said to give a more controlled and predictable feeling when transitioning. The inner edge of the side blocks are also shaped to create more surface area and 'teeth' to help bite into the dirt. The outer edge features horizontal bands to give a more consistent fold to the block and vertical bars to give a consistent twist.


Performance

Seating the tires was an absolute nightmare as the non-folding bead arrived folded and creased in the parcel. After mounting the tires with tubes for a few days, things straightened out and then tubeless fitting was easier but still needed a compressor to get the job done.

With tubes installed on 25mm Hope rims, weighing in at 75kg I found 17/19psi to offer massive traction and great damping for what I would describe as trail riding. After setting up the tires sans tubes on some wider Mavic EX830 (30mm internal) rims and riding some higher speed and harder packed terrain, 21/23psi seemed like a good mix. I would expect to go a little higher during bike park laps in the summer on a downhill bike. I felt riding my alloy rims with softly tensioned spokes that lower pressures were possible and are more stable due to the added flex of the wheel, where riding with a stiffer wheel puts more pressure on to the sidewalls and creates more tire roll.

I opted for the GRP Visco 40a for the front and the RC2 45a for the rear. The two compounds sit on either side of Maxxis' classic Super Tacky compound in 42a durometer, but the Visco seems to outlast a Super Tacky, possibly due to the use of graphene in the rubber. The RC2 seems to last well, with no blocks tearing off and the edges of the tread slowly deteriorating but still maintaining the original shape. I've got around 150kms of asphalt road mixed with dirt climbs with dry and rocky descents, but the rear tire still has little signs of wear.


Onza Aquila s after 200kms riding
The Aquilas after around 200kms of riding. The GRP 40a that was on the business end is going strong, although one block is peeling off.
Onza Aquila s after 200kms riding
The RC2 45a from the party end is looking worse for wear, but not too bad considering the rough and dry terrain where it was tested.


The Aquila seems to roll similarly on dirt to a Minion DHRII, but without a test lab, this is close to impossible to distinguish. Plus, it's a downhill tire and rolling speed probably isn't holding you back on testing tracks. The GRP 40a compound is super sticky and grips asphalt or hard packed trails like glue in warm temperatures – I would go for the RC2 compound front and rear in the future unless I really need more grip on hard surfaces.

The tread pattern doesn't seem to offer quite as much out-and-out edge traction as a Minion but is marginally more consistent when transitioning onto the side blocks, and when starting to break away from traction, they are more predictable. This could be due to the center and edge blocks being aligned differently and the narrower channel between them. The upside of less edge bite is that the tire doesn't try to claw or understeer itself against the edges of ruts and will settle to at the lowest point.

Under braking, there is less bite than a DHRII but more than a DHF, and there is consistent grip that builds, tracks straight, and is easy to feel when the tire starts to lock up and slide.

I didn't get chance to try the tires in wet conditions as it's rarely muddy on my current local sandy/rocky trails, and riding in the wet is now illegal (I'm serious, that's not a joke). That said, I suspect, given its shape, that mud clearing will be on par with the similar competition, and that grip and braking grip in deep conditions won't match that of a specific mud tire.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesIs the Aquila better than the classic Minion DHF or DHR? Marginally less grip but more predictability is the Aquila's strength and key characteristic. Certainly another great option to add to the choice of downhill tires. Paul Aston







196 Comments

  • + 237
 It can't compare with a Minion and never will. Wanna know why?

I CAN STILL GET A MINION IN A 26"!!!
  • + 7
 IBEX Freeride / DH 26×2.40, 1180g, 61-559 DHC 40×40, Steel / Wire bead

... They have a few offerings, but nothing that triggers an emotional response in me.

I like both Continental and Maxxis!
  • + 50
 26 ain't dead
  • + 9
 @XCMark: Their "freeride" casing is single play and way too flexy for DH
  • - 25
flag b45her (Feb 2, 2018 at 13:05) (Below Threshold)
 when will people realize that 26 is gone for good other than on jump and childrens bikes??
  • + 14
 Can even get a minion in 26x2.8, which I'm running on my hardtail. Very few tyres available in that size, or similar.
  • + 14
 @XCMark: Only thing that Onza offers that triggers any kind of emotional response is their maddd skinwalls!
  • + 10
 @b45her: I guess it will happen at the same time when everybody realizes that the big push behind 27.5 & 29 is more a sales technique rather than an "improvement" as marketed.
How can you push sales in durable goods??? Well push a "new fantastic" standard and stop producing parts for the old one and bingo! you have forced a sale of a product that should last for years.
They don't even agree on hub width, so we are forced to buy buy buy. Sadly not everyone is rich to change bike whenever there is a new standard.
And what about the guy who bought a bike a year before the standard change?
The old Gillette Sales Technique applied to bikes, the Apple Way of doing business...
If the bike industry will pay the users for the unasked, unwanted and forced change well yes you're right...
  • + 1
 @AllMountin: blast from the past.. i rode that one in the mid 90ies and i am happy it is gone...
  • + 1
 not hatin but isn't that basically a sketch of a specialized purgatory tire?
  • + 16
 „I got 30psi in my minion - I donˋt care about your opinion“
  • + 6
 @ZAFFI69: I'm all for it, it's how I get the previous years model new from the shop at a 40% discount! And I'll ride it for 10 years!
  • + 11
 @b45her: i must ride children's bike's then because all mine are 26
  • + 2
 @michibretz: It's quite a different tire, and a good one at that.... I've got one on a hardtail (BFe, 26x2.8 DHF) as well and it's awesome.
  • + 7
 @mhoshal: Yeah, guess my trail bike and DH bike are both kids bikes too. That's what I get for not shelling out the cash to keep up with trends.
  • + 2
 HERe for the comments
  • + 2
 Can’t argue with that comment. Irrelevant to me anymore, and probably most riders, but I can’t argue with supporting 26”!
  • + 17
 @ZAFFI69: 29” has never been a push solely towards sales. 27,5 may have ben but the only reason 26” bikes existed in such numbers around 2010 is that early mtb frame makers in 80s had no other tyres to buy in large numbers. If you think there’s nothing to 29ers you haven’t ridden a good one for any quality time. Why isn’t long & slack geo considered as push for sales? What the hell is with you people about the wheelsize?
  • + 2
 #26willnotdie
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: A new bike model with longer or slacker geometry still uses essentially the same tires, drive train and every other component. When brands pushed new tire sizes and axle widths, people on bikes 3 years old get left behind in a big way.

Seriously, my DH bike is a 2014 but wheels and tires are the areas with no options left any more.
  • + 2
 @Dethphist: I don’t know what you are talking about. There’s quite a lot of options from Maxxis and Schwalbe in 26” and there are many many rims to chose from on CRC.
  • + 1
 Mine too, not to mention my 24's
  • + 3
 @Dethphist: just stuff some 27s in there. If you peel back the 650b sticker, youll see that it still says 26 underneath
  • + 0
 @BryceBorlick: are you saying that many 27,5" wheels are actually 26"? That would be like aliens crashing in Area 71
  • + 1
 @AllMountin: Yep, that 26 2.8 is badass
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: you know is not exactly like that. You are telling me that they've waited 30 years to get bigger tires???? No that's the "story" they like to tell, yeah sure the bike industry was a prisioner of the tire industry yeah sure. Look I'm riding bike since 1990 I won't bite that bait.
Secondly, if you read carefully I have zero problem with different tire sizes, I have problems with the fact that there's a push to reduce the offer in 26" tires, as @Dethphist points out: one thing is internet and the other thing is the real world in which getting a 26" tires is harder and harder. Evedently you're not running on 26 and hence no experience but in my case is getting harder even at CRC
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Serioulsy you have to be more informed. In CRC out 232 different tires there are only 5 that are 26" 2.5. That is 2.1% of the total, 2% is rather scarce, that is pretty far away from "lot".
Don't believe? Go check it!
  • + 0
 @ZAFFI69: you are obviously awake as f*ck. Your tinfoil hat has protected you from wifi radiation, hollow earth vibrations and ultimately chem trails. You even saw through my carefully plotted operation misinformation 5005 and now know that there are no two 26" bikes at my attic, that I just built a 26" wheelset which took me some time to build considering that I couldn't decide whether I should keep riding ZTR Arch Mk3 in 26", or go for 26" carbon rim from Superstar, or one of 3 wide and modern DT Swiss rims coming in 26", ooor cheap dirt rims from Dartmoor/ NS Bikes, or Halo, or ZTR Flow Mk3, or Nukeproof, only to settle on one of 3 available Spank rims. No that was all a lie. Then you also saw through the lies of Chain Reaction Cycles and Bike Components de and Bike discount and Bikester, and Bike24 that they stock 26" tyres from Maxxis (Minions DHF i at least 3 options, Highroller 2s, surely a few more) prety much every single tyre from Schwalbe, then quite a bunch from Continental. All lies.

You know too much, you must die...
  • + 0
 @ZAFFI69: rabble rabble, look what I built today. I say it is a 26" rim. But don't believe me. I am industry whore, many companies pay me for spreading misinformation

www.instagram.com/p/Be8DjZEBzOo
  • + 139
 "So you guys really need me to draw a picture of a Minion ? " "Yes Aaron it needs to be YOUR idea "
  • + 11
 So true
  • + 92
 Hmm, I'd be interested to try these Maxxis Gwinions
  • + 26
 If he was sponsored by Conti, they'd make Der Baaron 2.4 tire. Since the Athertons are on Trek, they should rename their DH tire the Gee5.
  • + 1
 @Ron-C: You could also make it "Gwinnerreifen" (Gewinner is german for winner). Or even "Baarons Gwinnerruber".... too punny?
  • + 1
 @theobviousfaker: Nope, it's PinkBike, the only thing punnier is dad jokes.
  • + 51
 @paulaston
Your spoke tension does not affect your wheel stiffness...Please stop telling people it does. Riding "softly tensioned" spokes does nothing but increase the likelihood of spoke going fully slack during a large impact and tacoing a wheel. Please Pinkbike. People spend thousands and thousands of pounds based on your reviews, have a little bloody journalistic integrity and treat your job with a little respect.
  • + 17
 This had a downvote but wheel theory states that OP is correct, spoke tension effects wheel strength, not stiffness (up to a point, where spokes are slack being the limit)
  • + 9
 Agreed. Repeating a common misconception as fact is pretty poor form for a major MTB news website. Wouldn't hurt to edit it out and print some sort of correction.
  • + 1
 So if my spokes are loose and my tire leaves black marks on my chainstays it doesn’t mean the wheel is less stiff?
  • + 3
 @jflb: Unless your spokes are so loose that they are going fully slack, then no, your wheel is no less stiff. If they are going fully slack, you aren't gaining any traction, you're just riding a floppy unpredictable wheel and increasing the risk of your rim failing mid run. Tighten your spokes. It will make everything better ride-wise, and save you money in the long run.
  • + 0
 @gabriel-mission9: this is something that I’ve wondered about myself. Some bearded roadie says it ain’t so but many professional level riders seem to think differently and unless they’ve all climbed down last I heard racers were still having compliance or a lack of built into their wheels?
I can understand how ‘within a normal range of spoke tension wheel stiffness is unaffected’ but with pretty high loads involved in mtb (much higher than 25lb I’d wager) I guess the ‘normal range’ is quite narrow and that there may well be some cross over between a failure prone wheel and a compliant one.
I don’t know. But I’d believe a guy who’s paid to race and has tested in the real world in order to win races over a roadie with some dodgy lab test data.
I would welcome more information if anyone has any.
  • + 15
 @ThomDawson: Its pure science. A spoke will stretch by a given amount for a certain load, it doesn't matter how much tension the spoke is under initially. This only breaks down at the extreme ends of the scale where the spoke becomes so loose it goes slack (very bad for the wheel) or under so much tension it breaks (even worse) Within that range however a certain force added will yield a certain stretch. Many many tests have been done to prove it and they ALL give the same results. Spoke tension does not affect wheel rigidity. It just doesnt.

As for the "racers do it" argument, I totally get where you are coming from. With all due respect, my only answer is racers do a lot of stupid stuff because someone who doesn't know what they are talking about convinced them it was a good idea. MTB is a sport sadly lacking in big money testing, and even more sadly led hugely by uninformed opinion. Thats why we have to put up with tyres designed on a napkin in a hotel room. MTB is 90% marketting bullshit and only 10% real technological advance and that really really annoys me.

Can you imagine the same in formula 1 racing. "Michelins ground breaking new tyre designed by Sebastian Vettel doodling on a beer mat while drunk" It would never happen, because people would die. They get away with it in mtb because people don't die, they just waste thousands of pounds of their hard earned money. Frown
  • + 2
 @jflb: it might mean your frame isn't as stiff as you think...
  • + 1
 @gabriel-mission9: I can quite easily believe you and I also have witnessed pros in various sports doing things that make no sense because, as you say, they’ve been convinced by somebody it’s better just the same way as consumers get conned by marketing.
I’ve also read some BS by the great Sheldon Brown that everyone takes as gospel.
So I can quite easily also believe the opposite may be true because I know there are some racers who are genuinely in tune with everything the bike is doing. Funny you mention the Gwin thing because his would be one opinion I’d listen to very carefully.
If you have any tests of mtb with varying spoke tensions drop the link in, I’m not asking you to prove your point - I just haven’t found anything other than blokes hanging light weights off road wheels held in a bench vice.
Either way it doesn’t matter to me really because I’m not tryna mess about with my spike tension. I just have more faith in real world testing than lab data, same goes for suspension tuning and I guess part of me is hoping there’s some merit to the compliant wheel/ lower tensioned spokes thing.
  • + 1
 @gabriel-mission9: Completely agree with your sentiment that it is pure science for the wheel.
MTB and dirtbike tires are a different story There are WAY to many variables riding offroad compared to the asphalt used on the 21 F1 races that is fairly constant (relative to itself).
There was a great interview with with an engineer from one of the off road tire companies along the lines of "we know what compounds work better in a given scenario, and how tpi affects casing "feel", but in terms of tread, we're more certain of what doesn't work, as opposed to what does work"
  • + 3
 @ThomDawson:
www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/Debunking_Wheel_Stiffness_3449.html
I'm kinda digging this thread because I've started lacing wheels more and am now wanting to learn more.

From reading a lot on the web as well as reading Richards Bicycle Book, amongst others, the consensus seems to be that stiffness is most directly related to the number of spokes, and their gauge (thicker=stiffer).

I was surprised that spoke tension doesn't affect torsional stiffness, either, which I thought it would, and is why you don't see radially laced disc brake wheels (apparently.)
  • + 1
 @woofer2609: thanks dude, that’s one of the few things I’ve already read.
If spokes are stretching is not some of that stretch taken up by how much tension is applied? I.e how much they’re preloaded?
  • + 0
 This is correct in the single vertical plane, as when riding the hub hangs off the rim with the spokes at the top of the wheel, so the tension placed on spokes directly proportional to the weight of rider and bike, and size/force of an impact.
BUT when taken at different lean angles, thats when all the "tension has nothing to do with stiffness" goes out the window, As your now starting to apply the pressure and force in an additional horizontal plane. Rim deflection offset from center will happen at different rates, and is still only a very small amount of difference from tension, but it still matters.
  • + 4
 @ThomDawson:"If spokes are stretching is not some of that stretch taken up by how much tension is applied?"
Yeah, it is, with the effect that if you do a spoke up to near the limits of what it can take, and then ask it to stretch a little more, it will snap. Up until that snapping point however, 1kg of force will give the same stretch no matter how much tension the spoke is under.

This might make it sound like it is worth loosening your spokes to stop them snapping, but a correctly tensioned wheel is no where near the limit of what a spoke can take, so in practice this isn't really an issue. Really loose spokes are in fact more likely to lead to spoke snappages, as when some spokes in the wheel go fully slack, suddenly the spokes that aren't slack have to carry all the load that the slack spokes are no longer sharing, and the forces suddenly focused on very few spokes are huge. If that makes sense? You really don't want any spokes in your wheel going slack ever if it can be avoided.
  • + 2
 Whether the deflection is in the horizontal or the vertical, or some combination of the two, makes no difference. Yes the wheel will react in different ways in different situations, but changing the spoke tension won't change this reaction in any plane.
  • + 1
 What woofer says is correct. If you want a more compliant wheel, try thinner spokes. And also my F1 tyre analogy was a loose one. What I meant was NOTHING on an F1 car is designed on a napkin. You would be surprised however at how much of the average MTB is. And then fairly poorly manufactured to go with it. Its a sad state of affairs, but as I say they get away with it cos no one dies.
  • + 1
 @gabriel-mission9: If the spoke has a range in which it is elastic while maintaining a functioning wheel system, is that range not available to be tuned?

I don’t understand. By your own logic, if you build a wheel in such a way that the minimum amount of the spokes stretch is taken up in the build then the spokes have the maximum available elasticity before it snaps.

Wouldnt this yield more compliance than if more of that available stretch was taken up in the build process.
The closer the spoke is to its breaking point, the smaller the load it will withstand before it breaks. So just make sure the spoke is as far from breaking point to begin with and you have more compliance before failure?
I really want to detune my wheels and try for myself but conditions are less than ideal at the mo...
  • + 4
 @gabriel-mission9: @gabriel-mission9: ok you can mostly just forget what I said previously. I’ve gotten my head around the theory. You’d just be closer to breaking point, not any stiffer. All is clear now. Thanks for helping me come to this glorious realisation Salute

But! I’m still going to try it Big Grin
  • + 0
 @gabriel-mission9: there has to be a very small window of tension where this is the case tho, taking it to an extreme will indeed have a big affect on stiffness as your tyre will be rubbing your frame under hard cornering, but make bugger all difference while straight. As you get closer and closer to a correct tension, it will still proportionately get stiffer till you hit the window. so i think that it does indeed affect it, if not, then back all your spokes off to a balanced wheel from 60kgf drive rear and see what happens
  • + 1
 @gabriel-mission9 - I am shocked and stunned. Would you teach me master Smile if you ever have time to explain me how can rim can deflect radially for more than 5mm while spokes don’t get stretched around almost at all (given rims circumference doesn’t change) I’d be grateful. Sorry for stealing the thread Smile
  • + 2
 @gabriel-mission9:
This is one of, if not THE best post I've ever read on here
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I'm not sure I understand your question. If the rim is deflecting in any direction, then spokes somewhere in the wheel will be changing length. And even though the rim circumference remains the same, the rim will not be circular during the deflection.
  • + 1
 @gabriel-mission9: yes, that is my problem. How can a rim deflect 10mm radially come back to it’s original shape and no spokes or nipples are hurt in the process
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I would imagine the rim doesnt only deflect radially, but instead takes on a bit of an S shape when viewed from directly in front or behind. This should lead to spokes only having to stretch a small amount as sideways deflection causes much smaller spoke length changes than vertical deflection. Hopefully within their elastic range. I'm kinda guessing though.
  • + 3
 @gabriel-mission9: yes! Exactly. But then they tell us that carbon rims have magic properties and are super stiff torsionally and super compliant radially.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Indeed. They say many things. See my previous comments for my views on that, haha.
  • + 47
 17/19psi on 25mm rims, if I ran that low a pressures I'd be changing rims due to dents more frequently than my tyres.
  • + 112
 Bro, your experiences are so 2017. Get some 400gr inserts...
  • + 18
 That is crazy low. Maybe the tester was light. I run my maxxis DD at 25 Front 30 rear.
  • + 10
 Keep in mind these are non folding DH specific casings. They Flex noticeable less than a folding EXO and even DD
  • + 5
 @AznKiDrew: Still run 27/33 psi with the DH casing Minions/Shorties..
  • + 4
 @AznKiDrew: the DD is basically a DH casing with a folding bead. Even has the butyl support in the side wall. The exo feels like a limp noodle by comparison
  • + 3
 @poozank: True that
  • + 2
 @poozank: the DD I have is noticeably less stiff and less supportive than the DH casings (which I prefer). I’m not convinced the only difference is the beading, though I haven’t compared like for like (DD Agressor vs DH DHR2). And PA says these are stiffer than the Maxxis DH casings so I can definitely see those pressures at trail speeds. Not sure I would but I’m not Paul Aston.
  • + 5
 @Lagr1980:
Serious question and I'm not trying to hate or anything.
What is the point of inserts? You run tubeless to get flexibility in pressures and eliminate some unsprung weight. OK, but running tubeless makes it so your tire might be more easily flatted on hard impacts. So inserts are made! yay! Why not just run tubed at that point? Or am I missing the plot entirely?
  • + 6
 I'm 95kg (without kit) and run my DHR2s and Ibexs at 21F/24R on 30 internal rims so 17/19 on a DH casing seems fine to me.
  • + 4
 @poozank: I thought the same thing, but DD is 120 TPI x 2 layers. More TPI means it conforms to the ground better (nicer ride quality, but much less puncture protection/ not as stiff). The Maxxis downhill tires are 60 TPI x 2 layers by comparison. Fewer threads gives more puncture protection and a stiffer casing all around. Only reason I looked into it was cause I was puncturing DD casings every other week this past summer
  • + 4
 @poozank: No. this is totally wrong. Yes, it's a 2-ply. Yes, it's got a butyl insert at the bead. Yes, it's a kevlar bead. But it's a 2-ply of 120 TPI carcass. 120 tpi vs 40 will make a huge difference. in fact, it will make a YUGE difference. Even under my 100kg self that will change the ride feel substantially.

The DD is my favourite casing for my trail bike for my rear tire, hands down, bar none. But I wouldn't want to run that on a DH bike, it's just way too compliant.
  • + 4
 @Poulsbojohnny: I’m no expert as I still am tubed, but my understanding is the goal is to eliminate pinch flats between rubber and tubes on harder impacts. Tubes pinch relatively easy compared to tubeless, and the insert help to reduce the likelihood of sidewall issues arising. Again, that’s just what I’ve gleaned from reading, I still have tubes all over my shop at home...
  • + 1
 @Poulsbojohnny: Tubed will bring back a higher likeliness of pinch flatting. To me the inserts are more for a run flat option. So lets say you get a flat on a race run or ride, well the inserts will help protect the rim while you make it home or down the race run. Lesser chance of the tire unseat from the rim. Also it will help prevent pinch flatting or damaging spendy rims.
  • + 13
 30psi in my Minions. I don't care about your opinions.
  • + 5
 @Poulsbojohnny: my experience is you simply don't get pinch flats running tubeless - the rim just dents and I carry on riding then when cleaning the bike back home find the huge dents. I run Schwalbe Super Gravity casings 23psi front and 28psi rear as this feels great for me but it's obviously not enough to stop me denting rims. I've never tried inserts maybe I should the weight just puts me off. Tubes puncture, I definitely don't want to go back the them.
  • + 8
 @Poulsbojohnny: "What is the point of inserts?"

A tube wont decrease 'rim bite'. There is a high chance that when using a tube and getting 'rim bite' that the tube gets pinched flat. Tubeless can also pinch-flat, but this generally happens on low weight casings.

The insert is there to decrease rim bite, a benefit of this allows for lower pressures to be used while the insert decreases strike forces against the rim bead when the rim comes in contact with a sharp/squared edge.

Another benefit that occurs with inserts is sidewall support, and it's not the kind of support a tube gives a sidewall. The characteristics of the tube vs insert regarding sidewall support are very different from each other. I have to find the article that did some math for use back in 2014.

Between inserts, each tend to have their own damping characteristics built in, depending on material used. The Cushcore having the slowest rebound; Procore having the faster rebound; Huck Norris is primarily built with rim-strike protection in mind and did not build into the system, rebound, though there is some.

Hope this helps. Ride some!
  • + 3
 @XCMark: Ah. Excellent summary XC, and all. Makes sense. I'm new to tubeless and have often wondered what the insert fuss was about. I guess I just don't ride hard enough for that sort of thing to be in my mind, and I'm OK with that! Smile

Riding tomorrow hopefully. We'll see if I get a window or not. Galoshes required!
  • + 4
 @silasdbstreeter @slyfink

You are both right, I was wrong
  • + 0
 @Poulsbojohnny: tubeless flats much less easily under hard impact than tubes. When running tubes, the run just has to slice through a thin rubber bladder to flatten the tire, when you run tubeless, the entire carcass of the tire has to be slashed. Inserts are primarily to prevent run damage when you run super low pressures.
  • + 2
 @Lagr1980: Ok, I pulled the trigger, I will give them a go but 400g was too much to swallow so went 80g Huck Norris, then just had to overcome the price which was almost the same as a new WTB i25 rim.. I knew there was another reason I'd not tried them before.
  • + 2
 @StevieJB: You can get a pair for 50$ on amazon. idk how many quid that is, but it's probably less than 100
  • + 4
 @ThomDawson:

Afaik DD tires have a 2 ply structure, but 120 tpi instead of 60 per layer. This makes them more supple and better rolling, but less supportive and damped.

maybe wrong though

ups, did not read far enough to see @silasdbstreeter s comment
  • + 1
 @StevieJB: I have huck norris rear only, dont know how much it weights, its pretty light. I find the other options unnecessary heavy, unless you are a WC rider and want some insurance to get down as fast as possible with a flat..
  • + 2
 @Poulsbojohnny: Generally there are two types of flats pinches and punctures.

A pinch happens when you crush the tire and rim against a rock and you cut the tire with rim. To prevent these increase pressure.

A puncture happens when something sharp cuts through the casing. Punctures are more likely at high pressures. To prevent these low pressure.

You see the problem. Trying to prevents pinches increases the chance on punctures and trying to prevent punctures increase the chance of pinches.

Enter inserts. An insert offers extra pinch protection, which means you can run less pressure and decrease the odds of a puncture.
  • + 0
 @Lagr1980: cannot up-vote enough
  • + 2
 @Poulsbojohnny: ive never run inserts so this is just speculation: but i think the inserts allow you to run the low pressures that come with running tubeless, but still offer rim dent protection and pinch flat protection somewhat. the tradeoff is the weight.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty:
@fartymarty:
Not if you're slamming rocks and/or jumping things that don't have land-able backsides
  • + 1
 @YoKev: I would be on DH casings if I did.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: Clearly you don't play in the rocks
  • + 1
 I think there's a big misunderstanding with regards to what people are talking about as "inserts" in this thread. It's unfortunate that cuschore, hucknorris, flat tire defender et al have adopted that nomenclature, because in tire construction, an insert is a layer of material built into the carcass that provides sidewall support and puncture protection. See Maxxis' diagram: www.maxxis.com/media/431436/butyl_lg.jpg this what is referred to as an insert. DH casings are constructed with dual layers of low-tpi fabric (i.e. with thick, less flexible, and thougher threads) with a butyl insert coming up from the bead a bit. DD casings are dual layers of high-tpi fabric (i.e. thin threads) with a butyl insert. That butyl insert helps prevent tubeless pinch-flats to a certain extent, and helps make the sidewall stiffer and more supportive. I think Super-Gravity casings from Schwalbe also have one. I'm pretty sure the "enduro-casing" tires from the other leading tire manufacturers don't have the insert (e.g. WTB (TCS tough), Specialized (GRID), Michelin, Hutchinson, etc).

IME and for my riding, the DD casing is the best combination of carcass flex (compliance), sidewall support, pinch flat protection, and weight. Before that casing was available, I may have run something like the Cuschore or FTD, but with a DD Aggressor, I'm pretty well set.
  • + 1
 @slyfink: well said. I’ve ridden park and and free ride trails on DD with no issues, never burped or pinch flatted either. Worth the weight and price penalty to me.
  • + 1
 @SonofBovril: there are very few rocks where we ride, its mostly slippery roots so I can get away with less in the tyre department.
  • + 2
 @poozank: Never had a problem with mine either but much prefer DH casings for the ride they give. I’m not worried about the weight either but the DH casings are cheaper (at least over here). I won’t personally bother with DD in future but I would agree that for most it’s a great compromise. I’m still a strong advocate for the DH tyres though and I’m 65kg and barely ever have tyre issues even in a rocky area. It’s the ride quality of the DH tyres I like.
  • + 27
 It helps me sleep at night that I can sketch and write just about as well as the fastest man in the world.
  • + 21
 Tires are already measured in metric, we just need to start using it! I've yet to find an mtb tire that didn't have the BSD (bead seat diameter) in mm and nominal width in mm (like the ETRTO numbers on a rim) stamped on them. It's often not in the color logos, but it is there. I'd bet those Aquilas say "584x58" somewhere.

And if you follow Stan's No Tubes' "WideRight" tire to rim width ratios, you'd find that most tires actually match that metric spec at the tread. Exceptions are some Maxxis models that have been around for a while
* some 2.1s are 47 metric, so closer to 1.9"
* the 2.35s are 52 metric, which is about 2.1"
* the 2.5s (non WT) are "55/59" metric which is about 2.2-2.3".
I'm guessing they keep to old "sizes" to match outdated OEM expectations, but that's just stupid since they're also available retail. (I know people with the tiny "2.35" High Rollers and they wonder why my bike feels so different/better on actual 2.3s (58 metric on a 25mm rim)
And Continental's larger widths often have a carcass that is much wider than the tread, though they supposedly fixed that recently.

Basically, I'm saying ignore the inches number and find out the metric width to really compare apples to apples for tire width.
  • + 0
 I have a Maxxis Minion DHF 2.6 on 35mm rims, listed ETRTO of 66-584 that measures at 2.5" width. I also have a Maxxis Aggresor 2.5WT on 35mm rims listed ETRTO of 63-584 that measures in at 2.35" width. How the the ETRTO fit into this equation?
  • + 4
 @jasbushey: Maxxis measures tire width at max PSI listed. Give that a shot
  • + 2
 @jasbushey: Your wide rims are skewing your measurements. loosely speaking, a 66 should translate to over 2.5, so for a 2.6, that makes sense. 60 should be around 2.4 and 58 should be about 2.3. This is on an industry standard rim. I'm not sure what the ETRTO standard calls for, but I'm guessing a 25-30mm ID rim.
  • + 6
 @jasbushey: Actually, a quick poke with the google-stick turned this up: engineerstalk.mavic.com/en/the-right-tyre-width-on-the-right-rim-width

essentially tire cross-section width is a function of rim width. There's a chart in that link that matches cross-section with appropriate rim width. So you may be deforming the intended shape of the tire by running it on a too-wide rim.
  • + 2
 @slyfink: Maxxis states WT are optimized for 35mm internal rims, so I think I'm doing as intended by design. Maybe max PSI makes sense, but I don't care that much, it was more a poke at Maxxis and notoriously overstated sizes.
  • + 5
 @jasbushey: I find that w/Maxxis it is important to inflate to max pressure and let them sit overnight. After that they will measure true to size. YMMV
  • + 1
 @just6979 errr I think you just changed my life.
No, like seriously

Why the fyook is this still the norm?
  • + 1
 @slyfink: interesting article, thanks for linking it
  • + 21
 "riding my alloy rims with softly tensioned spokes" - good luck with that
  • + 11
 taco tension
  • + 5
 Another one who's drank the stiff-rim coolaid. The industry is strong; the critical thought weak.
  • + 5
 "softly tensioned spokes" + "alloy rims"
what's the stiff part here?
  • + 1
 @paulaston that's the second review you've mentioned softly tensioned spokes. Would be cool if you wrote a piece expanding on this. Can you give some reference for the spoke tension range you're considering soft?
  • + 18
 Looks like a Schwaxxis Magic Minion.....sooooo that's a good thing.
  • + 12
 After a summer of riding the Aquila (45a) in Whistler I'm pretty hyped. This tire blew every expectation I had out of the water. It rolls fast. It corners very well. When it is going to break traction, you know it. It slows you down very well. It grips nicely on wet or dusty roots. Standout characteristic is actually the traction on wet, greasy rocks. Creeping down the Joyride rock roll in the wet for fun? Not the terrifying exercise it should be. Rubber still looks great after 7 or 8 park days. Love this tire.

Previously go-tos were Minion F/R, or Vertstar MM F/R. In my opinion it crushed the Magic Marys for rolling speed, durability and wet root/rock grip, and felt better than Minions in the wet and under braking. Only issue was my own overconfidence on two occasions.
  • + 6
 Thanks for this. The Joyride rock is how all tires should be measured in the wet.
  • + 11
 Which fork is that? If I’m not seeing wrong it looks like an inverted one.
  • + 4
 Looks like an Intend Edge, I've heard that Pinkbike is currently testing it!
  • + 0
 Yeah we need more details on that. Black sliders don't ring any bells because neither usd fork from dvo, bos or manitou has them. My first guess would be test of new bos, they are probably brewing something, considering brendog has been posting picture of his bike with with bos fork but no official confirmation. But I guess we will have to wait and see... edit: Just checked bos webpage and new deville has black stanchions while dh fork has big question mark Smile
  • + 2
 Look at Aston's Instagram, it is the black Intend fork, on a mad raw Nicolai build with Pinion gearbox and a ridiculously slack angle. www.instagram.com/p/BesFL6ahxAv/?hl=en&taken-by=astonator
  • + 1
 @JoeRSB: Didn't even knew that was a thing, looks really good but would not want to ride USD fork without protectors - talking from experience because I have dorados on dh bike!
  • + 7
 @paulaston really good review, it's great that you are showing actual measurements of the tyres. Is this going to be a standard thing in tyre reviews from now on? Might be nice to have the measurement for both the casing and the knobs, gives a better idea of tyre clearance as well as volume. Cheers
  • + 7
 Is it just me or is @PaulAston adding so much to the Pinkbike reviews? I might remember incorrectly,but I feel like the videos of rear suspension cycling was started, at least on pb, in his reviews.
  • + 9
 So, No. It's not better than a minion.
  • + 3
 This. Never had any situation where I felt the Minions should have been more predictable, especially when compared to a certain other brand's offerings...
  • + 10
 For Gwin apparently it is.
  • + 0
 @poozank: amazing how a tire with your name on it is so much better than a near identical Maxxis
  • + 9
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: Or one with a different compound... and different carcass. And it's really pretty different than the DHF: all the lug are different shapes, the alignment of them is quite different, even the sipes are quite different. Yes, the overall structure of an almost solid outside edge rail with 2 different but still rectangular pairs of ramped (and the ramping is different!) center knobs is similar, but that's about it.
  • + 3
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: The differences are: casing, coumpound, tread pattern, siping, knob shape, knob support. Yeah it’s the exact same thing as a minion. Come on, the minion is an old design surely there is some room for improvement. I say this as someone who rides DHF Front and rear.
  • + 0
 The difference I see is that the 40 TPI casing should be more reliable, and thus less likely to flat out and lose WC points.

I thinks that's the only real benefit over Minion or Butcher, but that reliability is a big deal for top racers (cough, Minnaar, cough).
  • + 1
 Which means it also won't be better than a Magic Mary (at least when it comes to grip).
  • + 5
 "The Onza Aquila's carcass measures just under 2.4" on a 30mm internal width rim."

WTH Paul, numbers not your strong point?

The 2.3290" is far closer to 2.30" than 2.40". Mounted to that 30mm rim it's almost a 2.35" wide casing. To be more precise, it's a 2.33" casing when mounted to a 30mm IW rim.

Onza's own site has no explanation if they use similar philosophies to "WideRight" or "WideTrail". So for all we know, Onza is still building their tires with 25mm IW in mind. And, if Onza is measuring their tire to be labeled -2.4"-, what width rim did they get that measurement from?
  • + 5
 Been riding these since Andorra last season. The cornering grip on this tire is really impressive, I have a tough time understanding how one can experience the upper limits of grip in a DH tire, on a trail bike, running pressures as low as stated. Either way, this tire is super rad and I'll be running it this entire season.
  • + 6
 I'm running 43 psi (3 bar) in my Specialized Butcher 2.5 tires with tubes,.... Sometimes I really think I'm just waaay to big and heavy for mountainbiking,...
  • + 1
 How much do you weigh?
  • + 3
 @mikelee: 276 lbs
  • + 7
 @mikelee: I decided that i have to loose some weight wnen i had to put 260 psi in the shock to have 28% sag. 4 months later i'm 15 kilos lighter. 5 more to go.
  • + 3
 @DemoN8: that’s pretty heavy. I’m just curious cos I see lots of heavy guys on here and most bikes are built for lighter riders. Do you go through parts?
  • + 6
 @pakleni: well done for deciding to do something about it.
  • + 2
 @DemoN8: Yep. You need to shave that.
I was 105 Kgs, 20 less than you, and first 15 were easy. Much faster and easier than I expected.
But this last 5 will take forever I think.
  • + 2
 @pakleni: I was always a big guy. I'm 6 feet 6 inches tall. I wear shoe size US 16 (50.5) :-)
  • + 2
 @mikelee: My whole bike is custom. All parts are strong. At least I think so. :-) I only ride downhill. So the parts have to be good. Don't ask me how much I paid for my Demo 8,... Ha, ha :-) :-)
  • + 2
 @DemoN8: You are huge!

How do you even manage to find some proper gear for yourself? Recently I had to buy a new running shoes for me and my size (47 1/3) was the biggest available.
  • + 2
 @pakleni: I have to be honest. I love mountainbiking and gear and stuff. I'm a bit of a nerd. Ha, ha, ha I know every brand or company. So I know where and what I can buy. But this is only because I'm riding since ages.
  • + 5
 I just wonder how this tire will work on the new and upcoming SRAM 28.99 wide rims. Apparently internal 24, 25 and 30 rims are being replaced
  • + 5
 @paulaston - the not being allowed to ride in the rain thing? Tell all. Nice review, well structured and described.
  • + 2
 If that was a rule in Scotland... We would never ride at all.
  • + 6
 Bring back the Porcupine!
  • + 1
 damn, I still have an unused sticker!
  • + 4
 Didn't test it in the wet....well this review is useless for me living in Vancouver.
  • + 4
 I think mont sainte anne was all the testing in wet these tires will ever need.
  • + 1
 Looks like Gwin is as great at designing stuff as he is at racing, must be a great feeling to design something and win races on it, can see this to be a popular tyre from new brand, I say new brand as the name has been around a long time but not the same company
  • + 5
 To be fair, Gwin could beat all of us on a little kids' push bike with plastic wheels
  • + 4
 I would love to see all the DHF variants in a shootout to see how they compare....that would be an interesting review!
  • + 1
 I just love that Gwin pays that much attention to details on this level, that he knows even the tread patterns he's ridden so well with pros and cons that he can just sketch out a redesign that works for him on that level. Inspirational rider in every way it seems.
  • + 1
 Sorry but running 21/23 PSI I can't afford that I would be buying rims ever 2 weeks. Maybe pro racers can afford that because they get there rims for either free or really cheap. In the real world we have to pay out that butt for replacement rims. I run 32/30 or higher to save my rims. also to keep from blowing off tires.
  • + 2
 Depends on the terrain and the speeds you can achieve. My town trails are covered in leaves, not a berm to be found, the longest descent is maybe 200 feet of altitude and it's super tight and twisty. I'm rarely over 15mph and I've not gotten over 22 or so that I can think of. So yeah, with GRID casing tires I can run 18f and 20r on my rigid xc bike that has Stan's Flow EX rims (25mm internal).

Same tires on my DH bike at 32psi on 29mm internal rims and the rear rubs the chainstays on the tighter steeper berms on the jump trail where 45mph is common for me.

All depends on the usage.
  • + 3
 Why do tires cost so much when they are all basically copies of each other? Clearly the funds aren't needed/used for R&D...
  • + 2
 'The Aquila is only available in a 2.4" width and a DHC downhill casing, and only in 27.5"' . . . but we have asked Aaron for some more doodles, so stay tuned for more options!
  • + 2
 Gwin living the dream! Gets to draw up a tyre design and the minions run off to go get it made. How many other pros get to design stuff that then goes into production? Actual R&D not "signature colours" or the alike...
  • + 4
 I run 29.99psi in my gwinions, I don't care about your opinions.
  • + 4
 @PaulAston did you "Intend" to mount them to the front like that?
  • + 1
 Mounting the tires for days with tubes? Mounting them with a tube and keeping one side on has always worked well with schwalbe tires, can't image me in my backyard fighting with these things.
  • + 3
 FOOOOOORRR F*CKS SAKE SHOOOOOWWWWW ME THE CAPRA!!!!!!!!!! @YTIndustries @The-YT-Mob
  • + 2
 The second review after vital that fails to test the tires in wet conditions. Just sayin'
  • + 3
 man thats one heavy tire....75kg!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 2
 Gwinns handwriting looks like mine. That means I'm probably as fast him...I think
  • + 2
 Since I ride with procore the pressure is 26/23 psi, i prefer the maxxis minion dhf in 2,4 the exo is enough
  • + 2
 Tire works well all around. They came on my YT Tues. Gonna run em at Whistler this year.
  • + 1
 I really loved this tire as a rear this past season. braking was a standout for me, cornering basically same predictable slide catch that you get with a dhrII or dhf IMO
  • + 3
 Make it 26, take my money!!
  • + 1
 I emailed them a few months ago and asked about a 26" Aquila and they told me they do not expect to ever make it in 26
  • + 4
 The Gwinion.
  • + 4
 Looks like a minion
  • + 1
 I guess he didnt compare it to a Magic Mary because it would have been a "no contest " situation.
  • + 1
 $85 for a tire is OUTRAGEOUS. My dualsport moto tires are less expensive and have 3 times the rubber. WTF
  • + 1
 If he had of put a hole under each horizontal cut knob they would looked like an "a" and "G" for Aaron gwin.
  • + 1
 18 lbs on the front, 20 lbs on the back, on a gnarly trail with no pinch flats...can´t go wrong with that!
On Onzas 26x2.4
  • + 2
 Is it really illegal to ride in the wet?
  • + 2
 Yes, here in so. cali, trails are off limits if wet for MTB.
  • + 1
 You try beading these with one of those resi pumps like the blackburn chamber?
  • + 2
 Did he just sketch a DHF?
  • + 1
 @paulaston, is it true that riding in Finale in the wet is now banned (you are residing in paradise at the moment, right)?
  • + 0
 The center knobs on Gwinnys sketch resemble Bontrager G3 and G5. Both are awesome tyres. Just not as awesome as Minion DHF in Maxx grip. Mnoooom
  • + 1
 Even if your rear mech goes, you’ll speed past your mates like a blooded samurai wearing these puppies
  • + 2
 Looks like a Butcher
  • + 1
 1.5ply 29er version please
  • + 0
 Looks like a DHR2 from a less reputable company that costs almost twice as much lol
  • + 1
 40 tpi !!!!!!!!! Holy shit balls
  • + 1
 Badassness
  • + 1
 Upside down fork?
  • - 2
 DHF+DHR= onza
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