The IBEX: First Impressions by MTB-MAG

MTB-MAG reviews the revamped Onza Ibex and gives insight into how this new addition performs

There are many mountain-bikers out there who remember when Onza first released the Ibex in 2008. It was an instant hit and became the trail-favourite for many. Fast-forward to 2021 and the Ibex is back and better than ever. Maintaining all of the core aspects which made it great, it has been reworked with an updated tread pattern, modern and broader sizing options and casings targeted at riders looking for their new favourite aggressive all-round tire. 

Several news sites (Pinkbike or Bike-Rumour to name a couple) published news about the release, while other sites had early access to the tire and have some reviews online, hopefully making it easier for riders to get an idea of what this new Ibex really is all about. In the spotlight today: Italy based MTB-MAG

MTB-MAG tester Marco Toniolo (to whom these shots also belong) was the designated expert on all things tire-related to see how the new Ibex stacks up. Naturally, the wait-time on this tire had to be mentioned, as it is no secret that Covid-19 lead to many delays across production sites in the bike industry. Luckily, the launch could still take place successfully and now riders like Marco get to share their impressions with others.

Marco had the Ibex in 29 x 2.4 with a TRC casing, which is the trail version: 

"I had the version with TRC casing, designed for trail riding, with an actual weight of 861 grams in their 2.4″ version. Onza also offers the GRC casing, which is suitable for more downhill oriented use and thus weighs more."

His notes on the Ibex go as following: 

Marco was able to spend a significant amount of time riding this tire, describing it as "totally worn down" by the end of his time on it, so it is safe to say he is a fair judge on the performance. First though, some further technical details before diving into trail experience. 

"Compared to the previous version, the new Ibex has a more aggressive design, with taller, but less widely spaced knobs to improve rolling resistance. The compound has also been changed, with the 50 being softer than the previous one. In the GRC version the compound is a mix between 50, in the center knobs, and 45 on the side knobs.

The corner knobs are quite square, especially the side ones, to increase grip, particularly when braking."

The Ibex is available in a wide range of sizes, with the idea of living up to its all-rounder nature. It comes in 27.5 and 29" sizes, with either 2.4 or 2.6" widths. Many will be happy to know there is indeed still a Skinwall option available. The casings available are TRC and GRC, so depending on the rider's preferred terrain orientation, they are certain to find an option for themselves. As Marco mentions, the GRC casing is well suited to more downhill oriented riding and in the product description it is also indicated how this casing is also targeted at e-MTB riders looking for an aggressive trail tire. 

On the trail

Marco mounted the new Onza Ibex on Industry Nine Hydra Enduro 315 Carbon wheels, with 31.5mm internal diameter rims, both at the front and at the rear. In turn, the wheels were mounted on a Pivot Switchblade; if you're interested in the bike-setup, you can find the details here.

With that setup and the Ibex mounted, Marco describes the bike as light and snappy, very smooth uphill. As he got to terms with the tire, he tried out different pressures, starting high: 1.8 Bar at the back and 1.6 at the front. As the rides went by, however, and confidence was gained he dropped the pressure to 1.6 Bar in the rear and 1.4 in front, eventually finding the right balance between grip, smoothness and reliability.

"In the downhills the Ibex has proven to be a versatile tire that is good everywhere and in all conditions. It surprised me in the wet, where it offers good grip and a very safe feel. (...)

When cornering, the side knobs bite well into the ground and at the same time on hardpacked trails, their tighter spacing ensures that traction is excellent and braking power is strong."

Conclusions

"Low weight, low rolling resistance and with predictable grip and good protection against pinching. The new Onza Ibex has proved to be a very versatile and reliable trail riding tire, ideal for those who earns their long descents pedalling a lot uphill."

With these final remarks, Marco signs off his review and it is safe to say the new Ibex definitely picks up where the old version left off and the updates to the tire are without a doubt improvements.

Make sure to check out MTB-MAG for more engaging cycling content and detailed reviews on other products.

You can read the original review here

 

Interested in learning more about the IBEX? You can find all info on our new all-round tire here.