2023 EMTB SHOOTOUT
IBIS OSO REVIEW
DOWNHILL DEMON ENDURO EBIKE
Photos by Max Rhulen & Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles / Treeline Cinematic
After years of bucking the trend by not releasing an eMountain Bike, Ibis decided to come out with their fists in the air. Not only did Ibis release an eMTB, but they created one of the most radical and polarizing-looking eBikes on the market. Like many of the eBikes in our 2023 eMTB Shootout, the Ibis Oso reviewed here is a bike we got several months ago when we created a Dissected feature on it. Well, to be fair this isn’t that exact bike as we potentially cracked that one, we’re waiting for a final verdict as it could have been paint cracking, but they did replace it with a twin for us to continue testing on. First, let’s talk about the tech, design, and features of the new 155/170mm travel Oso eMTB.
2023 EMTB SHOOTOUT SERIES – This bike was one of 13 that our staff thoroughly tested with absolute objectivity in mind. From different types of riders to terrain, our goal is to present the best and most honest information possible to help you make your best decision. Of course, we’d love to thank Fox Racing and Schwalbe Tires for being invaluable partners to this series and making it happen.
• 155mm DW-Link Suspension
• 29” Wheels
• Bosch Performance Line CX Motor
• 750Wh Battery
• Fixed Geometry
• HTA 64
• STA 78 (effective)
• REACH 500 (Large)
Price: $10,999 (Oso GX)
As mentioned above, we showcased the Ibis Oso in pretty great detail for our Dissected feature, which you can read here, so we’ll keep this a bit more succinct.
FRAME AND FEATURES
Enveloping the Bosch drive unit is one of the most unique and swoopy carbon frames on the market, full stop. It’s a bike that instantly garners attention from eBike riders and non-e riders alike. Whether that attention is good or bad is up to the individual as looks are highly subjective, though most of our crew grew to appreciate the looks and unique details.
Backed by a lifetime warranty and lifetime bushing replacements, Ibis is confident in their manufacturing and told us they always try to take care of their customers and this warranty backs that. The carbon fiber frame features a side-loading battery that’s easily accessible behind a rather flimsy plastic battery cover. Similarly, smaller sized frames feature a mixed-wheel spec while the larger frames come with a 29er front and rear.
The Oso comes with 155mm of travel out back with a 170mm fork, however it can be up-traveled to 170mm by replacing the 205x60mm shock with a 205x65mm shock. If you end up doing that swap you may also be a candidate for the 190mm dual-crown fork upgrade, which Ibis also approves on the Oso eMountain Bike.
Speaking of suspension, Ibis is using a new, upper-link DW-Link suspension platform. Like other DW-Link bikes, it is an efficient platform with a stiffer-feel in the saddle but one that eats big hits and chunderous terrain. The Oso sports short links connecting the swingarm to the shock, and another just above the bottom bracket. The anti-squat sits at 110% at sag, and decreases gradually through the stroke. Coil shock fans will also be happy to note there’s a 25% leverage ratio progression and from our experience, it’s a rather progressive feeling rear end.
DRIVE UNIT AND ELECTRONICS
Despite being one of the latest eMountain Bikes to be released, the Ibis Oso uses Bosch’s older Kiox 300 display screen and Bosch LED remote. We’d love to see a newer release come with Bosch’s new Mini Remote and slimmer Smart System to clean up the rather busy cockpit, made all-the-busier by the Lupine lights fitted. Ibis specs two battery sizes, size Small frames have a 625Wh, and Medium to XL have a 750Wh battery, which delivers zip to the 85Nm workhouse known as a Bosch Performance Line CX.
While the Oso’s appearance didn’t polarize our crew too much, the large gaps in the reach numbers certainly did.
With four sizes available, reach jumps are quite drastic, jumping 40mm from Medium to Large and another 40mm to XL. This left us with a 500mm reach that was too long for most of our 5’10 – 6’1” testers, but we felt a 460mm would be too short. The rest of the geometry on the Ibis Oso is right inline with its contemporaries. Ibis offers two chainstay sizes for bikes, 439 on Small and Medium bikes, and 444 stays on Large and XL frames. Ibis tailors the seat tube angle to the frame size and is one of two brands to offer a 78-degree seat tube angle on the size large, making the Ibis a comfortable pedaler for most of our riders and keeping that long reach a bit more manageable. One area the Ibis stands out is the wheelbase, at 1,294mm it is the longest bike in our eMountain Bike group review, which certainly had some pros and cons.
Ibis keeps it simple with the Oso, offering a single “GX” build kit for a hefty $10,999. The value proposition is questionable here, with the carbon fiber frame fitted with Fox’s Performance 38 fork with the simple GRIP damper and a Float X2 Performance Elite shock. There’s a Shimano XT brakeset, SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, and Bike Yoke Revive dropper post. The rest of the build is provided by in-house Ibis components, with their carbon Hi-Fi bar and alloy stem, and burly Blackbird Send wheelset.
SETUP | With most riders in the crew sitting around 5’11”, sizing on the Oso was tricky with the 40mm gaps between each size. With the Medium feeling a little too short, we were left with no choice but to stick with our usual size Large, with its stretched 500mm reach some 15mm longer than most others in the test.
Getting the Ibis ready to ride is easy thanks to their suspension setup guide, giving useful benchmark fork and shock settings to get you most of the way to a comfortable and balanced setting. We found that aiming towards the softer end of the spectrum in the rear end produced some improved performance for the loose and rough high desert trails during the beginning of testing, without sacrificing too much in the way of end stroke support and platform. The suspension is progressive, and our riders appreciated that when it came time to send it.
ELECTRONICS & INTEGRATION | As a Bosch Performance Line CX-equipped bike, there’s no surprise that the power of the Ibis Oso is stellar. The 750Wh battery offers impressive range, and with so much bike on either side of it, the weight is not so noticeable. The Ibis unfortunately makes use of the previous generation smart system, retaining the overly bulky LED remote on the bar and the Kiox 300 display. We’d love to see the new Mini Remote fitted instead to improve ergonomics and reduce bar clutter, especially at this price point.
CLIMBING | The seated position on the Ibis is nicely upright thanks to the relatively steep seat tube angle, helping to offset the long reach to avoid an overly stretched body position. There’s ample weight on the front wheel to allow the Bosch drive unit to power up the steeper sections of climb, and a nice blend of efficiency and traction from the DW-Link rear end. The bottom bracket height is the crux of the Oso though, with the extra spread between the axles making it more likely to find a rock inconveniently positioned in a space that blocks your crank. If you live in an area with a lot of chunky rock on your climbs, or descents, you may struggle with the Oso.
DESCENDING | The Oso loves to hold the throttle wide open and attack the fast and rough descents, with the DW-Link suspension giving traction and confidence above the usual pay grade of a 155mm travel rear end. We’d love to test out a longer stroke shock in the Ibis as the extra travel would likely turn it into an absolute animal. With the longest wheelbase on test, it’ll come as no surprise that it prefers the higher speed runs to the tight and tech, though it wasn’t quite as unwieldy when the corners tightened up as we had expected. Of course, sizing down would yield a more nimble machine, but we didn’t feel comfortable opting for the smaller size due to the resulting cramped seated position.
There’s a healthy amount of compliance to generate traction in the rear, but Ibis worked some magic with that monostay rear end and managed to deliver enough stiffness to carve hard in grippy berms without flexing and wallowing excessively, even for our 220lbs tester Robert. We didn’t find any issues with hitting the end of the stroke prematurely, quite impressive considering how hard we were encouraged to ride on the Oso.
FINISH AND VALUE | If you’re far enough away from the Oso, the striking looks of the curvaceous carbon fiber frame conjure up boutique, premium quality notions. Look closer through, and it’s not quite as polished as its $11k price tag might suggest. The battery cover is flimsy plastic and doesn’t fit well to the hatch in the carbon fiber frame, and some of the areas around the linkage hardware are a little rough. The component spec is solid, but with a Performance level Fox 38 fork with just the GRIP damper, SRAM GX drivetrain and a host of in-house components, you’re left scratching your head at that high price tag. We can’t say the Ibis Oso is good value, but that won’t matter to everyone.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Ibis Oso is a bike that loves to charge and has some striking looks that many crew members and passersby appreciated. The price tag is hard to swallow considering the mediocre parts spec though, and the sizing gaps would leave us stranded in a no man’s land where we’d have to compromise too much to be happy to buy one, if we ignored the price. Should you fit within the size spectrum, and you’ve got the Oso on your mind, it is a good-riding bike that will certainly perform.
WHO’S IT FOR?
If you’re comfortable with one of the sizes and not sat in between like most of us, and feel comfortable with the value on offer, then the Oso would make for a formidable self-shuttle downhill style eMTB, or certainly a hard hitting enduro machine. It won’t suit riders with frequent technical climbs in chunky terrain, or those with particularly tight turns unless they opt to size down, but when you get it up to speed and charging the chunder, it’s an impressive machine.
IBIS OSO SPECS
Frame: Carbon Fiber | 155mm
Fork: Fox Performance 38 | 170mm
Shock: Fox Performance X2 Elite
Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX | Bosch Smart System | 85 Nm
Battery: Bosch Powertube | 750Wh
Display: Bosch Kiox 300
Brakes: Shimano XT M8120 | 220mm/203mm RT66 rotors
Bar: Ibis Carbon Hi Fi | 31.8mm C | 800mm W
Stem: Ibis 31.8mm | S/M: 40mm | L/XL: 50mm
Seatpost: Bike Yoke Revive Dropper | S: 125mm | M: 160mm | L: 185mm | XL: 213mm
Saddle: SDG Bel-Air V3
Rims: Blackbird Send I/ Send II
Front tire: Maxxis Assegai | 29×2.5″ | 3C Maxxgrip | Double Down
Rear tire: Maxxis Aggressor | 29×2.5″ | 3C Maxxgrip | Double Down
Cassette: SRAM GX | XG 1275 | 10-52t
Cranks: SRAM EX1 E-Crank | 165mm | 32T
Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle | 12spd
Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle | 12spd
Bosch Motor Power
Hard charging descending
Old Bosch Smart System Integration
Huge sizing gaps
LEAVE A COMMENT | WIN FREE STUFF
Want to win some free schwag? Leave a comment and vote up the most thoughtful comments and each month we’ll pick a winner. The person with the smartest and most helpful replies will earn some sweet new gear. Join the Pack and get the latest news and read the latest reviews on the top mountain and electric mountain bikes.