Onza Tyres Review – Ibex and Citius
Tyres can be a difficult thing to choose for your bike. They are the first point of contact between your bike and the ground and they are also a matter of personal preference. tyres have an amazing ability to dictate the level of grip, the rolling resistance and how your bike handles.
All that being said, there was initially only one reason I wanted to test out the Onza Ibex and Citius, and it wasn’t any of the above. The tyres on test here bring something additional, they look freaking cool with their Old Skool skinwalls.
Both the Ibex and Citius sit at the more gravity-focused end of Onza’s range, albeit not being out and out downhill tyres, they probably sit in the somewhat vague enduro or all mountain category. Both tyres are available in 2.25” and 2.4” with an aggressive tread pattern and what I think are the widest skinwall tyres available currently on the market. The tyres also come in 26, 27.5 and 29 (skinwall available only in 27.5 and 29) retailing at around £40. We ran with the Ibex tyre at the front and the Citius at the back, both in 2.4” and both in skinwall.
I tried to test them across a range of terrain and this has been a mix of dry, dusty trails in the alps during the previous summer and then various trails across the UK during the winter months, these trails ranging from relatively dry, trail-centre conditions at Bike Park Wales to the out and out slop of off-piste natural riding spots like Ilkley Moor and Hebden Bridge.
For what are relatively fast-rolling tyres both displayed a good amount of grip out on the trails.
The Ibex tyres are designed to be an all rounder and, much like the goat it is named after, they have an ability to hold on across both rocky and muddy terrain, though there is certainly an upper limit to that. The RC²55a rubber on the outside which is softer than the compound underneath, and is Onza’s attempt to strike a balance between grip and durability. In essence it is aimed at those looking for an alternative to the Maxxis Minion DHF (I went a few paragraphs without mentioning it!). In terms of grip, I think the Ibex does what it claims to, it does a pretty good job in a wide range of conditions, but there are obviously more specific tyres out there that do a better job at one thing or the other. For example, Mr Betty’s Schwalbe Magic Mary’s would often hold better in deep, wet mud at the point where the Ibex was starting to clag up with mud and lose its traction.
The Citius is a different beast altogether. Like the Ibex it is built using the same compounds and shares similar traits to the above mentioned all rounder however, due to a tightly packed tread pattern the tyres are designed for drier, dustier trails…for something I believe the marketing people called “summer”.
I was happy with how the tyre behaved during our trip to the French Alps and it is definitely where it shines, giving what feels like unlimited grip in the dusty berms and over dry roots. However, even on our home turf, local muddy UK trails, the tire holds fairly well, though it makes for some fairly exciting (loose!) moments on the steep, muddy lines of our home trails. I wouldn’t remember this as a winter tyre, but to be fair to Onza they strongly recommend this as being suitable for dry, dusty trails.
I would be keen to say that the rolling resistance of the Ibex sits in the same level, middle of the pack of all of the all rounder category. They are not extremely heavy nor is the compound too draggy.
As you might have imagined the Citius thrives when it comes to rolling resistance, it rolls much faster than the Ibex (and most other tyres for that matter I suspect) and, thanks to its tight tread pattern it just flies down hardpack and kitty litter trails. As you might imagine it deals really well with fireroad climbs.
Weight wise, the tyres hold their own against similar tyres like the Maxxis Minions, in fact some options coming in a little lighter. Which, combined with a fast tread pattern, can speed things up on the bike.
The tyres were fairly easy to put on and were straightforward to make tubeless, particularly considering the fact that I was sweating about going tubeless anyway. So far I have not had any problems with slashing the sidewalls and I have certainly ridden a few rocky trails which could have done some damage. In terms of durability, after around 9 months use they both still have plenty of definition in the tyre knobs left.
I would recommend this set up for anyone that has a soft spot for skinwalls and likes riding a range of trails, which don’t get too muddy, and want something different to the norm. Their width and the tread patterns play a big role in whether these will suit your riding style and the terrain you frequent. Other, non-skinwall options are still a good bet for a summer tire set or a fairly balanced all rounder option. The Ibex is probably better suited to UK riding, whereas maybe the Citius is only really going to be the perfect tyre for that one week of dry, warm riding around the August Bank Holiday, that said if you want a fast-rolling tyre for trail centre riding, don’t rule it out.
Are you a fan of skinwalls? What do you think?
To read more about Citius and Ibex, go to Onza website here.
March 3, 2019