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Originating from the Basque region of Spain, Orbea has been designing bikes since the 1930s and first ventured into mountain biking in 1989. It’s a longstanding history and its range encompasses market-leading models in just about every facet of off-road riding; from gravity-enduro to XC racing and e-bikes.
They first gained notoriety in cross-country racing circles with their Alma hardtail and Oiz dually. Julien Absalon rode the Alma to a gold medal at the 2008 Bejing Olympics and this hardtail remains as the stalwart go-fast bike in their line-up. Geometry on the current Alma has been modernised with a 68-degree head angle but it remains astonishingly light with a medium OMX carbon frame coming at just 830g!
The Oiz suspension bike has also evolved and is now offered in two variants; there’s the race-focused Oiz XC with 100mm travel for straight-up no-compromise efficiency or the new Oiz TR variant. The TR uses the same chassis with a revised shock stroke to achieve 120mm of travel. This is accompanied by a 120mm fork, slightly wider tyres and more robust spec for trail/marathon applications.
It’s a great option for riders looking for cutting edge efficiency with a little extra comfort and a broader margin for error when the trails get rough. The Oiz is one of the few dual suspension bikes with room for two water bottles within the main triangle (M, L & XL sizes).
While Orbea may have come to the fore with their XC race machines, it’s their trail and enduro models that have been stealing the limelight of late. The Occam is a perfect example of a modern trail bike with 140mm of travel (plus the option of a 150mm travel fork) and new generation progressive geometry.
When compared with earlier models, the Occam is slacker (66-degrees with a 140mm fork), has a steep 77-degree seat angle to better tackle steep climbs and runs longer reach/wheelbase figures for added high-speed stability. Utilising a concentric rear axle pivot and an asymmetrically mounted shock, the suspension layout delivers everything you could hope for in a modern trail bike; high anti-squat for pedalling efficiency, progressivity to take big hits and low anti-rise for supple performance under braking.
The Rallon shares the same suspension traits as the Occam in a bigger, burlier package that’s been proven at the highest level in the Enduro World Series. Travel is bumped up to 160mm with a 170mm fork and the head angle relaxes to 64.5-degrees.
Of course, e-MTBs stand as one of the fastest growing market segments, and Orbea is right in the mix with their new 140mm travel Rise. This is one of the lightest dual suspension e-MTBs on the market; the upper-end models weigh as little as 16.5kg!
It relies on an integrated 360Wh battery and a Shimano EP8 motor that’s tuned to give maximum range with this lightweight package (it’s said to be comparable with most 540Wh bikes). If more range is required, an additional 252Wh piggyback battery can be fitted. The Rise is definitely one of the most interesting e-MTBs to hit the market in the last 12 months.
One of the coolest features of Orbea bikes is the ability to customise the builds to suit the buyers’ preferences. Maybe the 100mm travel XC Oiz suits best but the customer wants to run a dropper post. Perhaps they like the general parts spec but want four-piston brakes for more stopping power. Maybe they want to invest in a higher-spec wheelset from the outset… Whatever the case, consumers can configure the parts to suit their preferences and you won’t be left trying to on-sell the leftover parts. It’s all done via their website and the consumer can see how every change impacts the end-price.
Taking this element of customisation a step further, their upper-end models offer the ability to custom design the colours and graphics. They call it ‘MyO’ and it allows the buyer to select from a huge array of colours and finishes, they can even choose the colour of the logos and get custom names added.
Possibly the coolest part is how you can play with the options via the Orbea website and see exactly how the bike will look from a range of different angles. With all the different colour and finish options, there’s said to be close to a million possible variations!
With their sponsorship of pro teams and riders, MyO customisation and Spanish heritage, you could be forgiven for thinking Orbea was reserved for upper-echelon buyers. However, Orbea has a remarkable range that caters for all price-brackets including some extremely impressive kids’ bikes.
The mid-to-lower range models aren’t just affordable, they’re also competitively spec’d ensuring there’s an Orbea bike for just about anyone. Compared to the big players of the bike industry, Orbea may be a smaller brand but they undoubtedly punch well above their weight!
Orbea is distributed exclusively in Australia by Bike Box. To see more details on the bicycles, visit www.bikebox.com.au or call 1800 228 229 to find out how you can stock the latest Orbea products in your store.