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.