Aaron Gwin is not the easiest to please when it comes to his racing equipment—witnessed by an infamous story about a high profile grip maker who worked for a year with Gwin to develop a signature model. After waving off a number of prototypes in various compounds and thicknesses, Gwin signed off on what he believed to be his perfect grip. When the production model arrived, however, Gwin refused to endorse it. He said it didn't feel right and claimed that the grip material was five thousandths of an inch too thick. In disbelief, the grip maker had the factory measure the prototypes against the production model. Gwin's assessment was exactly right, so at considerable expense, a new mold was cut to the correct spec. Gwin takes his product development role as seriously as he does his day job.
So it was with Gwin and Onza. When Gwin put together his YT Mob deal, Onza came on board as the team's tire sponsor, but at the time, they lacked a World Cup worthy contender. The deal was that Gwin and Onza would co-develop a competitive tire, with the caveat that the team could ride Maxxis rubber until that time when their partnership yielded a design that Gwin signed off on. A lesser-known fact, important to this story, is that Onza and Maxxis tires are manufactured by the same company, so the Onza/Gwin project grew forth from a World-Cup-winning foundation.
After more than a year of development, and following podium finishes in very diverse conditions, Gwin happily signed off on Onza's new Aquila tire, which will be on sale soon in two downhill racing configurations. The following details were compiled from Onza's press release:
Aquila 27.5 Inch
The eagle glides through the skies with agility and grace. Soaring above all else, an eagle will lose altitude at great speed, honing in on their target with precision and determination. There’s no stopping them. Together with Aaron Gwin, we have developed the Aquila, a thoroughbred downhill tire, designed for the toughest World Cup tracks on earth. Like the birds of prey in their environment, Aaron is top of the pack, choosing only the best equipment he can get. Downhill tracks of the world, be warned. The Aquila has landed.
Onza Tires' Hector Martinez says: "Onza Tires has worked on the Aquila project with Aaron Gwin since early in 2016. During the development process, we made no secrets about Aaron and the YT Mob running other brands. We all agreed that, while our current product was very close to being a World Cup level tire, it was just not quite right for the top step of the World Cups. Through rounds of testing, Aaron's vast experience and vision for what is needed in a WC tire, and commitment from everyone on the development team, we developed one of the best tires ever for World Cup DH racing. In its short time of being used this season, it has already been proven, winning the Leogang World Cup in Austria. The Aquila is officially ready for flight for all of those looking for the best downhill tire on the market."
[YT=https://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el8bXvgsFGg]Sizes and Options Technology:
Dual ply casing with butyl inlay and additional 40×40 TPI bead to bead construction.
Field of Application: Downhill Race
Visco Compound GRP40
High-performance GRP40 compound with extra self-damping properties. Visco polymer structure, specially developed for gravity application. Offers ultra-high grip on difficult and wet terrain.
Field of Application: Enduro Racing / Freeride / Downhill Racing
Dual Compound/Racing Compound 45A/55A
A combination of two different compounds. 55a for low rolling resistance and long-life on the inside, and 45a on the outside for perfect cornering grip. This compound offers the best performance for competition riding.
Field of Application: Downhill Race