Review: Onza Ibex tires

Onza has been around for longer than most will know, having started life in the late 80's producing tires, headsets, bar ends and other bits. For whatever reason (it was before my time) they disappeared from the scene until the mid 2000's when a Swiss-based company decided to revive the name.


Onza Advert 1.jpg

Onza Advert.jpg


Headed up by mountain bikers with several years of experience, Onza has launched a range of new mountain bike tires named after animals, localities and regions in Switzerland. "Onza" (Spanish for Lynx) itself is a cryptid cat said to be similar to a cougar.

 

Onza Ibex 1.jpg
We tested the 29" x 2.25” version of the tire with Onza's FRC 120tpi casing and RC²55a tread compound. The RC²55a designation means that there is a harder, 65a durometer rubber in the centre for durability and reduced rolling resistance, while a softer 55a compound is used on the outer knobs for improved cornering traction and grip. The 120tpi (threads per inch) offers a lighter, more flexible and supple casing. It is a Tubeless Ready (TLR) casing which means it can be converted using sealant, but it doesn't carry the same weight penalty of a full tubeless tire.

 

Its tread pattern reminded me of the popular and much-loved Maxxis High Roller, with wide horizontal central blocks and large angular, aggressive side knobs.

 

On the Trail


Mounting the tires and setting them up tubeless was easy and they inflated first time using a Topeak JoeBlow Mountain floor pump on the 3 different wheelsets (AMC Wide Lightning, AMC Carbonator and derby rims custom wheelset) they were fitted to.

 

Onza Ibex 2.jpg

 

Thanks to its full-size width and aggressive tread pattern the Ibex is not a fastest roller, but it was never designed to be. There are no intermediate lugs between the harder centre and softer side lugs, but the transition is predictable and when pushed hard the side lugs catch the slide before it gets out of hand and affects confidence in the tire and it's grip. I found the aggressive square-ish side lugs help you hit corners and off camber sections faster and with more confidence than you would on most tires.

 

Verdict


For those looking for a bit less rolling resistance, I think pairing an Ibex out front with an Onza Canis in the back will be a great combination. I am however more than happy to sacrifice some of that speed when climbing and pedaling along for the added grip in the fun stuff.

 

Onza Ibex 3.jpg

 

The Ibex descends with impressive grip levels and confidence. It does not mind being pushed hard. In fact, that's when this cat comes alive. The supple casing with the tread design offers great grip, whether the trail is soft and loose or wet and muddy.

 

Specification and Models


Onza Ibex specifications.jpg

 

RRP: R825.00
Actual weight: 770g

 






25 Comments

Eddy Gordo, Aug 11 2015 09:06

I have that setup ibex 2.4 infront and the canis 2.2 at the back. It is exactly like the said about rolling resistance. I find them to rather sluggish compared to various conti brands. The grip offered coming down is good. Just make sure you running them at higher pressures than you used to.

(Deon), Aug 11 2015 09:26

Thanks for the review Iwan, had the Ibex on my mind for a while, glad I found this... one question; were you able to test it on some dry, loose-over-hardpack? The 55a almost says it will offer grip in this condition but would be good to hear the real world verdict.

 

Slightly strayed from the tyre tested, does anyone have experience with 60tpi? Looking for a strong sidewall that can handle hard cornering.

Iwan Kemp, Aug 11 2015 09:34

Thanks for the review Iwan, had the Ibex on my mind for a while, glad I found this... one question; were you able to test it on some dry, loose-over-hardpack? The 55a almost says it will offer grip in this condition but would be good to hear the real world verdict.

 

Yes, I did. Offers good grip and I liked it better than Hans Dampf in those conditions. Better grip, more predictable.

 

 

Slightly strayed from the tyre tested, does anyone have experience with 60tpi? Looking for a strong sidewall that can handle hard cornering.

 

Wouldn't ANY road tire work seeing as you guys are riding tar out that side these days?  :ph34r:

JohanMalan, Aug 11 2015 09:41

So, same ballpark weight, Tpi, and dimensions as the 2015 Nobby Nick.

Have you tried the new NN? a comparison would be interesting.

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Aug 11 2015 09:43

Deon, yes - I ran that combo (the Ibex / Canis) on the hardtail for a bit, and it provided VERY good grip on loose over hard (coetzenburg has places with that sort of surface) as well as various other surfaces that Coetzenburg has to offer. 

 

I was running my 150mm fork at the front and never once did I feel as if I needed more grip, and I was on (my) ragged edge most of the time... 

(Deon), Aug 11 2015 09:45

You joke.. this is also on my shopping list.

 

Maxxis-Holy-Roller-Tire.jpg

 

Yes, I did. Offers good grip and I liked it better than Hans Dampf in those conditions. Better grip, more predictable.

 

 

 

Wouldn't ANY road tire work seeing as you guys are riding tar out that side these days?  :ph34r:

Iwan Kemp, Aug 11 2015 09:47

So, same ballpark weight, Tpi, and dimensions as the 2015 Nobby Nick.

Have you tried the new NN? a comparison would be interesting.

 

Not yet, but to be honest the new NN would need to take a MAJOR step forward to compete with the Ibex. To me seeing a NN on a bike with more travel than 120mm is a borderline disaster as it's almost always the first piece of kit on such a bike that runs out of talent.

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Aug 11 2015 09:48

Yes, I did. Offers good grip and I liked it better than Hans Dampf in those conditions. Better grip, more predictable.

 

 

 

Wouldn't ANY road tire work seeing as you guys are riding tar out that side these days?  :ph34r:

Agreed, and OUCH. 

North Shore, Aug 11 2015 09:57

Iwan, I haven't tried the Ibex, but the new Nobby Nic is so much better than the 2014 version. It feels like a completely different tyre, almost like a Magic Mary lite. Rolling resistance isn't bad, lots of grip in the corners (as opposed to the illusion of grip in the 2014), the casing in snakeskin feels much more sturdy and will allow much lower pressures before caving. Wear still sucks but it's Schwalbe so you knew that already.

I have the 2.35 upfront and 2.25 in the back, but will probably be trying the rock razor on the rear next. Give the new version a try.

ALLMTB, Aug 11 2015 10:07

I had the the Ibex up front and I am currently running the 2015 NN.

Cornering wise, the Ibex takes it. The NN is not bad in corners, but the Ibex is just that much better. 

Rolling resistance seems pretty much the same between the two, but I have to agree with North Shore, the casing on the NN does feel more sturdy when carving hard at lower pressures. I found I had to run run the Ibex at higher pressures than the NN, but even then I felt the Ibex corners better. 

I guess its up to personal preference though. 

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Aug 11 2015 10:09

Iwan, I haven't tried the Ibex, but the new Nobby Nic is so much better than the 2014 version. It feels like a completely different tyre, almost like a Magic Mary lite. Rolling resistance isn't bad, lots of grip in the corners (as opposed to the illusion of grip in the 2014), the casing in snakeskin feels much more sturdy and will allow much lower pressures before caving. Wear still sucks but it's Schwalbe so you knew that already.

I have the 2.35 upfront and 2.25 in the back, but will probably be trying the rock razor on the rear next. Give the new version a try.

That's kinda what Schwalbe said when they launched it, and had that Q&A session on Pinkbike - that the NN was grippier and yet faster rolling than the HD. 

popcorn_skollie, Aug 11 2015 10:18

Iwan, I haven't tried the Ibex, but the new Nobby Nic is so much better than the 2014 version. It feels like a completely different tyre, almost like a Magic Mary lite. Rolling resistance isn't bad, lots of grip in the corners (as opposed to the illusion of grip in the 2014), the casing in snakeskin feels much more sturdy and will allow much lower pressures before caving. Wear still sucks but it's Schwalbe so you knew that already.

I have the 2.35 upfront and 2.25 in the back, but will probably be trying the rock razor on the rear next. Give the new version a try.

 

That's a rather bold statement. I know its been re-imagined and there have been several reviews. But I've only read reviews when used as a rear tyre. I'd like to know which bike and the kind of terrain. Also just how much you misbehave with it on the trail.

Iwan Kemp, Aug 11 2015 10:22

I had the the Ibex up front and I am currently running the 2015 NN.

Cornering wise, the Ibex takes it. The NN is not bad in corners, but the Ibex is just that much better. 

Rolling resistance seems pretty much the same between the two, but I have to agree with North Shore, the casing on the NN does feel more sturdy when carving hard at lower pressures. I found I had to run run the Ibex at higher pressures than the NN, but even then I felt the Ibex corners better. 

I guess its up to personal preference though. 

 

On the rolling bit: I am a wide rim convert and can run super low pressures without having to worry about tires rolling on their sidewalls - withing reason of course. I have heard great things about the new NN and would love to give it a go. 

 

The Ibex is by no means draggy or terribly slow. In actual fact, it's on par for what it is. Should maybe update the review with that.

North Shore, Aug 11 2015 10:31

That's a rather bold statement. I know its been re-imagined and there have been several reviews. But I've only read reviews when used as a rear tyre. I'd like to know which bike and the kind of terrain. Also just how much you misbehave with it on the trail.


I have that setup on a 140mm 26" Stumpjumper FSR and on a 2014 29" Stumpjumper EVO. I ride at Groenkloof in the week, Van Gaalens, Vori-berg, Redstone and Mankele on weekends and when I'm in Cape Town Tokai (not anymore) and Jonkershoek (was there two weeks ago).

I ride pretty aggressively, not with that much finesse and I jump everything I can. I ride the black/DH trails on this setup at all the above mentioned parks.

marko35s, Aug 11 2015 10:48



Yes, I did. Offers good grip and I liked it better than Hans Dampf in those conditions. Better grip, more predictable.

 

 

 

Wouldn't ANY road tire work seeing as you guys are riding tar out that side these days?  :ph34r:

Meow.

 

ll_cat_sound_zps12hqin7y.gif

 

But an unfortunate amount of true too...

Eddy Gordo, Aug 11 2015 11:00

I tend to suffer for grip on loose sandy tight turns upfront, the back doesnt misbehave. However I have since increased the pressure. Have yet to give it the full out on the same type of surface again. On hardpack its great. I just cant come to terms with the weight, but sooner or later I wont notice.

rock, Aug 11 2015 01:45

Memories of my clear Onza Porcupine grips, my Mom bought them for me when in London once -  circa 1995

MarcBurger, Aug 11 2015 04:29

Noticeably slower than my previous Conti MK, but the grip and confidence it brings is so much fun. 

LazyEnduroRider, Aug 11 2015 05:05

Memories of my clear Onza Porcupine grips, my Mom bought them for me when in London once -  circa 1995

 

Yes! I used to run them with stickers underneath for the cool factor.

phenning, Aug 12 2015 07:36

Has anyone got the Citrus DH in 26" ?

raptor-22, Aug 12 2015 09:53

How do these perform on a narrower rim? I'm thinking that the transition from the center lugs to the tall and wide side lugs is aided by the wider rim the Carbonator is. this would "square" off the tyre wouldn't it? thus making the transition smoother.

Would the same hold true on a more standard rim at 23mm wide where the tyre would adopt a rounder cross section?

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Aug 12 2015 09:57

How do these perform on a narrower rim? I'm thinking that the transition from the center lugs to the tall and wide side lugs is aided by the wider rim the Carbonator is. this would "square" off the tyre wouldn't it? thus making the transition smoother.

Would the same hold true on a more standard rim at 23mm wide where the tyre would adopt a rounder cross section?

I was running them on an i23 if that helps. Didn't feel any sort of vagueness in the transition. 

raptor-22, Aug 12 2015 10:04

thanks yes that does help. proof is obviously in the trying them for oneself.

Maniac Merv, Aug 12 2015 04:27

was running the Canis on the rear with a HRII upfront on subrossa rims - always felt that the rear didn't grip that well under braking and jumped around allot as well as felt that the sidewall was never  strong enough and eventually a rock ate my sidewall at Hakahana but makes sense now as was running very low pressures ( around 1.4 bar)

keen to try a Ibex upfront tho one day

mtbride, Aug 13 2015 01:32

Iwan,

 

Is the one you tested (FRC120) sidewalls weaker than snakeskin I presume? Would snakeskin be like the 60?