When it comes time to purchase new tyres it is usually very hard to move away from the model you’re used to, let alone another brand entirely!
Here in Australia there are already some well-established tyre brands and with many of us (yes I’m going to stereotype for a moment) being creatures of habit – typically we might be reluctant to consider different tyre brands to those we are accustomed to. Purchasing a new brand of tyre is a bit like trying new food – how do you know you don’t like it if you’ve never tried it and then, if you do try it and end up liking it, would you be willing pay a few extra dollars if it happened to cost slightly more? This all reads true when purchasing mountain bike tyres. To be clear though, we are not saying you should go out and drop $60-$100 on new tyres today; what we are saying is that when the day does come (and it will) that you require a new set of tyres, why not try something new, try something exotic, try something Swiss.
Here at AMB we have been using the Onza IBEX in the 27.5x2.4” sizing with skin walls for some time now and on a few different rim widths with good performance. As you would expect with a tyre of this size when used on a skinny rim the amount of grip it provides is going to cause you issues through hard cornering. When the skinny rim reaches a point when it simply can’t cope with the side-load force anymore, a spectacular burping or unintended trailside removal of the tyre results. It’s because of this that the friendly folks over at Onza recommend the use of an appropriate rim width for the terrain, type of riding you will be doing and matched tyre size within the IBEX range.
During our time on the Onza IBEX we found the sweet spot for grip vs tyre roll on a 30mm IRD (internal rim diameter) was 25psi rear and 22psi on the front. We found this pressure setup to offer the best overall performance on a variety of trail conditions on our 160mm travel test bike. Any lower thnt this would result in crisscrossing marks on the sidewalls – both front and rear – along with a slightly slower rolling performance (only noticed on prolonged climbs). The sidewall protection our IBEX used is what Onza refers to as ‘FRC casing’, which is a 60tpi casing designed for – and you guessed it – Free Riding. Which in Swiss-speak is the perfect setup for the everyday riding 90% of us do. With excellent rolling performance at these pressures and the relatively low weight for this type of tyre (around 870g), it makes us want to try the EDC (Enduro Racing) casing – that with its additional sidewall protection could result in a stiffer tyre allowing us to reduce pressures and gain even more grip if possible in the 55a compound!
The Onza IBEX (or Capricorn as they also like to call it) will put ticks in all the right boxes that you will want from any enduro/trail tyre. With good sidewall protection (no issues in over three months of use) light weight, good rolling performance and great grip in most conditions. We were even able to inflate them using just a track pump, no air compressors or other such fancy inflation systems were required.
When you look at all of the above combined with a very competitive price tag, the Onza IBEX is definitely worth a look. I mean, really - who doesn’t want a little bit of Swiss in their life?
|- Good sidewall protection and grip||- Can roll at lower pressures on narrow rims - but size accordingly|
|- Easy inflation|
|- Low weight for size|
Words: Ben Morrison Photos: Nick Waygood (look at that rear tyre^)