The Ibex Asta Pro is a 26″ full suspension mountain bike with 100mm of travel front and back, and I have the opportunity to spend some quality time with one and see what it’s really made of!
Out of the Box
Ibex is a small direct-to-consumer company, and since every customer will receive their mountain bike by mail, Ibex wanted me to go through the entire un-boxing and building process to see what I thought.
The packaging was excellent and the bike was very well protected, and as a result the frame and all of the parts were in pristine condition.
The bike is finally uncovered!
And while that is good, it is to be expected. Where Ibex really impressed me is the attention to detail and all the little extras they throw in the box to make the life of the consumer easier.
For one thing, Ibex included a pair of Wellgo SPD clipless pedals complete with cleats. Most bike companies nowadays, whether in the shop or online, don’t bother with providing pedals. I think some of the reasoning is that with so many pedal options on the market, it is a very personal component and most people just stick with what they enjoy. Yeah, that’s what they try to tell us, but I think a bigger part of the equation is that these companies are trying to find a way to cut costs on their end. Ibex goes the extra mile and throws in a pair of pedals.
To attach the pedals to the bike, Ibex included a pedal wrench for plenty of torque.
As for all of the other wrenching that needs to be done when building a bike, I found an Ibex-branded multi-tool that was more than capable of handling everything for this basic build. Just in case you are new to the bike scene and don’t own any of the tools required to put this bike together, Ibex has you covered.
Finally, I found two bottles of touch-up paint, just in case the frame had been scratched, or in case you want to touch up any scuffs or scratches from normal use down the road.
These extras are all super thoughtful, and I wouldn’t have been bothered in any way if these things hadn’t been in the box. The fact that they were just highlights how serious Ibex is about going the extra mile.
After I removed all of the comprehensive packaging, the bike went together very easily. I adjusted the air pressure in the fork and checked the pressure in the shock, and I was ready to ride!
About 5 days ago I got out and thrashed the Asta on a 17-mile route that is sure to shake down any bike and expose any issues that need attention. I can honestly say that the Asta took all I threw at it and kept begging for more pain! The bike felt very stiff and precise as I shoved it in and out of corners.
The bike climbed superbly thanks to the low weight (27.66 lbs stock with pedals) and minimal suspension, but the 100mm of squish was ready and available when things got messy. The Asta definitely doesn’t have the forgiveness of a longer travel bike, but the suspension did its job and took the edge off of all kinds of roots and rocks.
These are still preliminary impressions, but the Asta is an amazing climber and a capable descender, and that is a very fun combination! I think this bike fits squarely in the category of “Trail Bike” that it is intended for. It just does really well at shredding singletrack.
Thoughts on the Component Spec
I haven’t spent a significant amount of time on Shimano’s XT group before but so far I am enjoying my experience. The shifting has been super crisp and totally predictable! I am so thankful that the new Shimano shifters are set up to be shifted either like Shimano’s traditional shifters OR like SRAM’s shifters with just the thumb. After one or two rides, I gave up trying to use my index finger and just stuck with what I felt comfortable with: using my thumb.
Also, I think a full XT kit is a really nice spec at this pricepoint, as the complete bike only retails for $1899.99. It’s hard to find a full XT kit on a sub $3,000 bike, not to mention a sub $2,000 one!
I’m normally a sucker for fat tires, 2.35″ being my width of choice unless I’m on a downhill bike, but the 2.1″ WTB Wolverines feel right at home on this style of mountain bike. In my opinion, they have been riding pretty dang well and have hooked up when I’ve needed it. I may move up to a 2.25″ tire for a little more grip in the corners… but just because that’s my personal taste.
FSA Carbon Handlebar
I thought the carbon handlebar was an interesting choice for a bike of this price range, but since all ofthe other components are so nice, it’s tough to say where I’d rather have had the money spent. Perhaps the grips? Bottom line, I think it’s a great touch, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it!
I could keep writing about my thoughts and impressions so far, but the fact is I want to feel like I have really ridden this mountain bike before I write about it so that when I do write, I can do so authoritatively. My plan is to put the Asta Pro through an abusive treatment of at least 300 miles of singletrack. I’ve already been thrashing it in the mountains of North Georgia, and I have a road trip to Colorado planned for the beginning of August. Rest assured: this bike will be TESTED!
A big “thank you” to Ibex for providing this mountain bike for review!