NAWA Technologies have been secretly working with the Santa Cruz Syndicate since 2018, developing ultra-strong Reserve DH wheels, which they reckon are the strongest carbon wheels on the World Cup Circuit. Today, they announce their official partnership with the team, and share info with us about the nano technology that goes into these carbon rims.
Reserve DH Wheels with NAWAStitch Carbon Nanotubes
Who are NAWA, and why are they getting involved with World Cup Downhill Racing? NAWA America, based in Dayton, Ohio, are developers of multifunctional ultra-strong composites. They’ve been working on a new NAWAStitch Technology that they want to commercialize in sport, first and foremost, moving onto aerospace and automotive industries in the future.
NAWA Stitch is used in the Santa Cruz Syndicate’s Reserve DH Wheels. So, what is it and why should you care?
The technology relies on Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes to reinforce the weakest point of any carbon composite; the interface. This is where cracks develop, leading to the catastrophic failure that carbon bike components are all too well-known for.
At this interface, the nanotubes function as a ‘nano velcro’ to reinforce the area, vastly reducing the probability that a crack will occur. NAWA say the technology greatly improves strike damage resistance. In tests, the NAWAStitch-reinforced carbon fiber composites’ shear strength is increased by a factor of 100 and their shock resistance by a factor of 10.
The NAWAStitch-enhanced Reserve DH Wheels were first used in the 2018 World Cup Downhill season. They are now entering their fourth competitive season, to be ridden by Greg Minnaar, the most successful Men’s Elite Downhill rider in history, alongside the rest of the Santa Cruz Syndicate.
Senior composites engineer Nic McCrae, from Santa Cruz explains: “In downhill racing, the wheels suffer hard, repeated impacts with rocks and roots. Failures occur when the tire bottoms out and the rim bead cracks. NAWAStitch has made the wheels much stronger, we believe by increasing the buckling resistance of the inner surface of the rims during these high compressions”.
“We’ve had far fewer wheel failures as a result. What’s more, NAWAStitch does not affect the way wheels respond to the riders’ inputs – they behave completely consistently, which allows them to push harder and go faster. Through a combination of our own profile design, precise wheel-building and the introduction of NAWAStitch, our Reserve wheels are without doubt the strongest rims on the circuit.”
These NAWA Technology Reserve DH Wheels are for World Cup Racing only, meaning you or I need to get a place on the Santa Cruz Syndicate team if we want to get our hands on a set. Boo, I say! Not to worry, NAWA and Reserve do have plans to integrate this technology into future mass-production wheelsets for us punters.