One Ride Review: Onza Ibex & Lynx Mountain Bike Tires

onza ibex 29er freeride mountain bike tire review

Technically, this is a three-ride review, which took place across two days in the mountains of Asheville and Dupont State Forest in North Carolina. Jake Scott, who runs Bike Fettish and imports Onza tires for the U.S., set up the demo bikes at Cane Creek’s DB Inline launch with tires.

Onza’s been around for a while. Many of us fondly remember some of their original designs. Now, they’re making a bigger push stateside with new treads introduced at Sea Otter. My bike was set up with the Ibex 29×2.4 on the front and Lynx 29×2.25 on the rear mounted to Novatec Flow Trail wheels (20mm inside width), a combo well suited to the varied terrain we rode. Trails and conditions ranged from the standard east coast mountain soil, roots and rocks on day one and slick rock granite domes on day two. First day was dry (except for our usual heavy humidity), and the second day was rainy with streams pouring across and down the trail.

On both days, the tires hooked up well. It was the second day, though, of riding across large expanses of off camber slick granite that proved their mettle…

onza ibex 29er freeride mountain bike tire review

The Ibex is a meaty tire and comes in 26″, 27.5″ and 29er versions. For the largest wheel size, it’s only available in this massive 29×2.4. Both use a folding Kevlar bead, and two casing options are available – 60tpi (960g) and 120tpi (880g). Both are tubeless ready, but our bikes were set up with tubes, so I was running higher pressure than normal to prevent pinch flats (I still got a front pinch flat though). Even with the extra buoyancy, the tire hooked up amazingly well. On the dirt, there was immediate confidence. On the wet rock faces, that confidence had to be earned. And it did. The only time I could get it to break loose on the slick surfaces was when some “oh crap” braking came on a little too strong. While rolling free, they grabbed tight and I never came close to their limits of adhesion.

That’s likely thanks to its 65a base layer rubber with a soft, grippy 55a on the top of the tread. The ramped knobs helped it roll smoothly, too. Even on the short pavement connectors, there wasn’t the vibratory hum normally associated with large, widely spaced knobbies. Obviously, I wasn’t able to test their durability over the weekend, but grip and performance gets an A+.

onza lynx 29er trail mountain bike tire review

Like the Ibex, the Lynx only gets one 29er size – 29×2.25. It has the same two rubber compounds and same two casing options, though. Claimed weights are 770g (60tpi) and 730g (120tpi). It’s billed as an XC/All-Mountain tire thanks to its smaller, lower profile knobs.

onza lynx 29er trail mountain bike tire review

A healthy center section made this tire a fast roller, too. Grip was very good in a straight line. I could even stand and pedal up the wet slick rock sections without it spinning out. Cornering grip was pretty good, but not quite as tenacious as the Ibex. On hard corners, it would start to slip a bit at the extremes, but it was predictable. It also broke loose a bit easier during braking. It made for a good combo with the Ibex – efficient rolling, solid cornering and the built in safety of having the rear come loose before the front.

They’re not the lightest tires in the world, but as Jake said, they’re meant to be durable and just plain work across a wide spectrum of applications.  In other words, they’re the tires for people that want a high quality part without worrying about switching tires all the time for different courses and conditions. Retail ranges from $69 to $79 for the Lynx and $85 to $89 for the Ibex. Smaller wheel sizes are a bit cheaper.

OnzaTires.com

Comments

nurse_pete - 05/19/14 - 12:36pm

Well, better than Porcupines…I totally want to try the Ibex.

Zap? - 05/19/14 - 2:01pm

Hey Onza, if you’re reading this, please remake the Porcupine II in white!

Limey - 05/20/14 - 4:03am

A couple of years ago I emailed them direct about making more Porcupines – I got a really nice reply from the owner of the company (different company from before but same name) He said:

“Unfortunately the model as you know it will not be re-produced, because the molds we use to make them are no longer useable. But who knows, maybe a new Porcupine will make its appearance one day… :)”

Zap? - 05/20/14 - 8:46am

Somebody needs to figure out how to make a 3D printed tire, or how to make a 3D printed mold to make new tires!

stan - 05/20/14 - 9:13am

i’ve tried the Ibex in 26 inch and the ‘DH’ version, got it from a friend for free and didn’t expect much to be honest, just whacked it on the front and went ridin…it was amazing! the biggest and most positive surprise that i’ve ever experienced trying out new rubber. they are fairly light for what they are and roll quite fast too, but the corner grip is theirs strongest attribute.

I don’t like changing tires, especially ones that i’ve never heard anything about but the IBEX is worth experimenting with, highly recommended (and i even don’t work fro them :) )

Laurens - 05/20/14 - 10:07am

I’ve been riding the IbexFR up front and the Canis in the back for quite a while, both in 26×2.25.
Now that Onza Tires is about to launch the Ibex in 27.5×2.25 as well, I’ll be trying that combo on my SC BronsonC as well.
For 29ers the Canis is a highly recommendable tire: Rolls fast, but has enough rubber on the shoulders to keep that rear wheel tracking – unlike say a RaceKing from Conti that is rubbish at exactly that.

As Onza Tires is a really small company, they can not present new models at will, and opening new molds is really expensive, so don’t expect a new Porcupine anytime soon.

Johan - 05/21/14 - 1:56am

The 2.4 looks narrow in the casing, perhaps the relatively narrow rims on this bike?
Also maybe the reason the OP got a pinchflat.
Seems pricey for the weight/tpi.

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