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Onza is a Swiss brand producing tyres mainly for commuters, BMX and mountain bikes, plus a few road options, including this Lavin folding clincher. Although billed on the Onza website as a 'Fixie tyre', the packaging indicates it's a 'Road/Fixie tyre', and a test pair fitted to a (geared) training bike turned out to be ideal for spring conditions on a wide range of road surfaces.
The Lavin comes in six different varieties. There's a 700x23 and a 700x28, each with wired-on or folding Kevlar bead. There's also an Urban Lavin variety in 26-inch size, again with wire or Kevlar bead. The variety under test here is the 700x28 with the Kevlar bead.
First, the fitting. I put the tyres onto a pair of Mavic Open Sports easily, but without them being sloppy, and they sat nicely on the rims when inflated. When pumped up to 100psi the width was 27.3mm on the road.cc callipers. I also tried the tyres on a pair of Mavic Ksyrium Equipes, and again the fit was just right.
According to the Onza website, the Lavin uses a technology called DCR, which stands for Dual Compound Road. It simply means the outer part of the tyre consists of two types of rubber: slightly harder on the top of the tyre, so there's less friction and wear when you're vertical on the road; slightly softer on the shoulders of the tyre to provide a bit more grip when you're cornering. This idea is not unique to Onza, but it works well.
On the inside, the casing is 60TPI, which indicates a basic level of suppleness, and also boasts what the Onza website calls NB1, which is a 'Nylon inlay [to] increase puncture protection and decrease rolling resistance, plus add extra stiffness to the tyre'.
In the couple of hundred test miles I've done on these tyres, I haven't punctured yet, so the protection seems good, but I'm not convinced by the claims that a tyre with 'extra stiffness' can also have decreased rolling resistance. A significant amount of evidence indicates that stiff tyres have more resistance because they bounce around on the road, whereas supple tyres 'flow' around the bumps.
I tested the tyres in a range of conditions, from dry and sunny evenings on the local motor-racing track (cyclists use it for training sessions when the cars pack up for the day) to wet weekend rides on thorny Cotswold lanes, as well as several jaunts during a holiday on the Isle of Arran, where the circular coast road is velvet smooth in some sections and badly eroded in others.
With the tyres at 100psi front and 105psi rear they absorbed the shocks on the rough bits and never seemed uncomfortable, while on the smooth bits there was no sensation of extra drag compared to a pair of 700x23s on the same bike.
This sensation was probably further helped by the Lavins' weight. The Onza website quotes 310g but this does the tyres a disservice. On the road.cc scales they measured a mere 252g each.
The Lavins have a slight tread: a herringbone pattern on the top of the profile, and some wavy lines along each shoulder. Whether these make any difference to stability compared to a slick tyre is unlikely, as most of the grip between a bike tyre and the road is due to the rough nature of the tarmac, but it doesn't do any harm, and the grip was sound and reassuring on corners, even in the rain.
The Onza Lavin 700x28 folding tyre is available in just one colour option: black. The recommended retail price of £22.99 isn't an absolute bargain, but it compares well against tyres from other brands of similar size and performance.
Good puncture protection with performance and comfort - ideal for spring and autumn training.
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Make and model: Onza Lavin 700cx28 tyre
Size tested: 28mm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Onza website says "The LAVIN persuades with low rolling resistance and longevity. Dual-Compound Rubber makes it a reliable training tire. The mighty Fluelapass becomes an easy treat with this tire."
Most of this seems fair. The tyre does seem to roll well, and it is indeed ideal for training. I'm not sure if this tyre makes the "mighty Fluelapass" an "easy treat". For long climbs, a lighter tyre would be even more of a treat. But as 700x28s go, the Levin is no heavyweight, so climbing would be easier than with some other 28mm tyres out there.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Of the NB1 technology, the Onza website says: "One Nylon inlay increases puncture protection and decreases rolling resistance. Plus Nylon adds extra stiffness to the tire.
Field of Application:
MTB City / Urban and Road Training"
for DRC it says: "Combination of two different compounds. 65a for low rolling resistance and long-life on the inside and 55a on the outside for perfect grip in all conditions.
Field of Application:
MTB City / Urban und Road Training"
Tyre construction seems good: no bulges, different rubber compounds well sealed, and all tread patterns perfectly moulded.
For 700x28 tyres, performance was impressive: they absorbed the shocks on the rough bits of road and never seemed uncomfortable, while - thanks to the relatively low weight - there was no sensation of extra drag on the smooth bits.
I've done only a few hundred miles on these tyres, so it's too early to say regarding wear, but puncture protection seems very good, and the tyres have stood up well to the rough roads - there isn't a single cut or nick showing in the rubber so far.
For a 700x28 tyre, the weight is very good. Compare it against, for example, a 700x28 Conti GaitorSkin weighing in at 320g.
Set at the right pressure, this tyre was very comfortable, absorbing a lot of the shocks from rough roads.
The recommended retail price of £22.99 isn't a steal, but compares pretty well against similar tyres. Those 700x28 Conti GaitorSkin mentioned above cost £26 (and cut more easily, in my experience) while a 700x28 Panaracer Pasela retails for around £25.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For a spring and autumn training tyre, the Onza Lavins performed very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort, weight, grip.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No complaints at all.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Overall, the Onza Lavin is a very good tyre - offering a perfect combination of grip, comfort, performance and puncture protection, making it ideal for spring and autumn riding (and most of the summer too if the last few months in the UK have been anything to go by).
Age: 51 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,