THE NEW IBIS OSO
DETAILED LOOK AND FIRST RIDE REVIEW OF IBIS’ FIRST EBIKE
First Ride by Drew Rohde
Video and Action Photos by Dusten Ryen
The Ibis Oso is the brand’s bold and wild entry to the electric mountain bike market, and a pretty surprising one at that. Not surprising that Ibis created an eMTB, as we’ve spent the last two years pestering them for a hint at when it’d be coming out and when we could get one. Instead what surprised us (besides how little time we had before it launched) was that it was such a bold-looking bike with a big battery, full power Bosch CX drive unit and packed some big travel capabilities. Ibis gives the Oso eBike 155mm of rear wheel travel with the ability to run air or coil shocks and users can also increase travel to 170mm by increasing shock stroke from 60mm to 65mm. It seems their ‘Downhill both ways’ ethos for the new niche of mountain bikes is loud and proud on the Oso eMTB as riders can also increase travel from 170mm up front to a dual crown 190mm. Oso means bear in Spanish, which is the animal on the California flag, but we can’t help but think that this bear’s intention of eating chunky trails had something to do with the naming process. Let’s get into the features, geometry and tech before sharing our thoughts from the first ride review.
Backed with a seven-year frame warranty and lifetime replacement on bushings, the Ibis Oso is a burly eBike. Our large weighs in just under 54 pounds with the 155/170mm travel setup, beastly 220mm rotors and Maxxis Double Down tires. Large and Extra Large frames run 29-inch tires front and rear while Small and Medium bikes will run a mixed, or Mullet wheel set up with a 27.5” rear tire.
Ibis claims the Oso eBike has the most progressive suspension kinematic of any bike they’ve ever made, and we believe them. Riders will be able to ride the stock 155mm of travel with either an air of Fox DHX2 coil in size 205×60 Trunnion or increase travel to 170mm with a 205x65mm Trunnion shock. Max fork travel is 190mm and yes, downhillers rejoice, the Ibis Oso is dual crown approved.
The Oso’s intentions don’t end with big travel numbers as frame stiffness seems to be impressive for a raised mono-stay frame. Ibis shared that there is another internal wall that runs through the mono-stay increases stiffness compared to a hollow chainstay. Ibis also gives the Oso polycarbonate downtube and a really cool motor protector as well as rubber swing arm protectors.
Boost 148 dropout spacing, a SRAM UDH, 2.5” tire clearance and some size-changing geometry dimensions keep the Oso current with trends and demands from discerning riders. Water bottle storage requires a side-loading cage but will give small riders 22oz bottle clearance with other sizes clearing 26oz bottles.
The Ibis Oso will come with two length chainstays, offering some performance enhancements for riders of different heights. Small and Medium frames will have a shorter, 27.5” friendly 439mm chainstay whereas the Large and XL 29er frames will have still short, 444mm chainstays. Also changing with the sizes is the seat tube angle. Starting at 77 degrees on the small and going up to 79 degrees for the XL, each size changes by 1-degree to help maintain distribution of weight and comfort.
Reach numbers change quite drastically on the Ibis Oso and had us feeling a bit torn as we like 475-480mm reach on our eBikes. At 5’11 to 6’1, our testers like shorter eBikes to help maintain that playfulness and lighter feeling since eMTBs have a naturally planted and stable feel thanks to the weight. The Large we received has a 500mm reach but the Medium sports a 460mm reach, which may just be a bit too short. We opted to go 20mm longer than 20mm shorter and we’ll report back after our long term review period ends to share if we think that was the right call.
Ibis opted to give the Oso some really cool integrated Lupine lights front and rear. Admittedly we were a bit turned off at first, but they don’t really add much weight and the added benefits in terms of safety while commuting on the bike or squeezing in that “One more lap” that eBikes are always guilty of making us do. A Lupine SL F headlight has 600 or 900 Lumen settings when turned on and the Lupine C14 rear light puts out a bright red 45 Lumen glow that won’t have you looking over your shoulder on the pedal home.
Powering the Bosch Performance Line CX drive unit is a removable Bosch Powertube 750Wh battery. The battery is very quickly removable, and we like that. A Bosch Kiox 300 display and Bosch LED remote offer control and information on your bike’s vitals.
Currently there will only be one model available that retails for $10,999. It is an Ibis, and we know there are lots of cool premium parts about the bike however we suspect some customers may comment on the GX Eagle and Fox Performance Series suspension spec, and in-house bars and wheels when discussing value. A couple areas we’re happy to see upgraded on the spec sheet however are the Maxxis Double Down casing tires and Shimano XT 4-piston brakes with 220mm rotors. The Ibis Oso likes to go downhill fast, and these are two important ingredients when it comes to managing all those downhill laps.
THE WOLF’S FIRST IMPRESSIONS
As with all our Dissected’s the primary goal is to offer The Loam Wolf’s own look at newsworthy product releases and showcase the technology and features. With that we try to offer some honest first impressions that we can usually suss out while filming for these product releases.
Sadly, our time aboard the Ibis Oso was cut even shorter as the bike only arrived a couple days before the embargo lifted and we spent a full day trying to figure out why the bike wouldn’t stay on. Long story short, it took us a while to find out the bike wasn’t up to date and needed a visit to a local Bosch dealer to be brought up to speed with the latest software. This meant our limited time was cut even shorter and so our ability to test out different suspension set ups and trail types was gone. As such we headed to one of our most frequented trails to hopefully get up to speed as quickly as possible while still collecting footage for the video.
We talked with the Ibis team a bit before hitting the trails and learned a lot about the bike and how it should be set up for testing. What we didn’t take into account was that the bike was heavily developed in Bellingham, Washington and Santa Cruz, California. Two areas that are vastly different than our dry, high desert rocks. The 17.5mm of recommended sag was a good starting point but we quickly realized that Ibis’s most progressive bike and the new upper-link DW-Link suspension design was an entirely new beast.
With traction and new-school trail design being non-existent, we found the Ibis Oso to be a little bit stiff and unbalanced. The Fox Performance fork needed volume reducers to prevent it from diving on the super steep terrain and the rear end was a bit too stiff and exaggerated that weight shift forwards over the bars on our early descents. At this point I was feeling a bit timid and uncertain of the new bike. Once the camera came out however I felt that Kodak Courage kick in and dropped into the first DH trail with a little too much gusto, and some brakes that weren’t completely bed in. At these higher speeds and more aggressive riding style I felt the light switch turn on. The Oso likes to eat! After passing the camera man and coming to a stop I was grinning like a bear with a mouth full of salmon.
From then on, I realized that I needed to ride this bike hard, fast and with confidence to really get it to do what I wanted. Perhaps it was the longer reach that needed more energy to engage, or perhaps it wasn’t until I was pushing harder and getting deeper into the suspension that it really let me get it on, but either way, I was having fun! Scary fast fun.
For my next outing I will be dropping air pressure and trying the bike out with 19mm of sag, instead of 17.5 as I was never able to hit bottom on our steep, loose and rocky downhill trails. I suspect once I get a bit deeper into the travel the bike will behave much better on our terrain and still be progressive enough for bigger hits when I need them. Of course, we’ll also venture to nearby areas to get into some wooded singletrack and bigger jumps and berms to see how it handles there, but we are very excited to see how the Oso shakes out.
We wish we had more time to play with the suspension as the Ibis Oso is a bike that seems to require a pretty finely tuned rear end, we see glimmers of greatness in this new Ibis eMTB. It looks really cool in our opinion, has some neatly integrated features, a Bosch drive unit and incredibly capable rear suspension for those who want to charge. This bike will definitely be high on our list of steeds heading out to the trail for more test miles over the winter. Stay tuned for a long-term review in the future.