Words and images: Ieuan Williams
Orbea has for many years been a company that's produced some very capable bikes. Now shed of its cross-country stigma, the previous 27.5" Rallon was a favourite here at Dirt, so has this new 29" wheel version retained its magic?
This current 29" Rallon M-Team is the latest bike to come from the Spanish company. Orbea has created something that they call Enduralin - the saying for the feeling and way of life that is experienced with the Rallon. Lame marketing tag maybe, but there's no denying there's a special chemical in this ride.
The new frame for 2018 now has a full carbon construction from a one piece mould. The single-sided frame design uses an offset damper for ease of removal and adjustment. This is matched up with an offset water bottle for access purposes.
Orbea has given some serious customisation options on their bikes for 2018. The MyO application allows for colour changes to most parts of the frame with name additions for a personal touch. The system also allows the customer to create the build that suits them, with most important parts being interchangeable.
‘Straight out of the box this bike is a weapon! Built to go fast and eat up the terrain’
Three frame sizes from S/M to XL with three price points to match this, ranging from £3,899 for the M10 to £6,899 for the M-LTD. The bike used for this Dirty Dozen test is the mid range Rallon M-Team at £5,699. What's on offer with the specification here though?
|Frame:||Orbea Monocoque Race Carbon. Advanced Dynamics 150mm suspension technology. 29" wheels.Concentric Boost 12x148 rear axle. Pure Enduro geometry. Internal cable routing. ISCG05|
|Fork:||Fox 36 Float Factory 160 FIT HSC LSC QR15x110 Kashima|
|Rear Shock:||Fox Float X2 Factory 2-Position Adjust Kashima custom tune 230x60mm|
|Headset:||FSA 1-1/8 - 1-1/2" Integrated|
|Stem:||Race Face Turbine R 35mm interface|
|Bars:||Race Face Next 35 10mm Rise 800mm|
|Brakes:||Avid Guide RSC Hydraulic Disc|
|Rear Mech:||SRAM X01 Eagle Gold|
|Shifters:||SRAM X01 Eagle|
|Wheels||DT E-1501 Spline 30mm TLR 15/110mm front, boost 12mm rear IS (6-bolt)|
|Front Tyre:||Maxxis Minion DHF 2.50" 60 TPI 3C Exo TLR|
|Rear Tyre:||Maxxis Aggressor 2.30" 60 TPI Exo TLR|
|Seat Post:||Race Face Turbine Dropper 31.6x490/175mm|
|Chainset:||TRUVATIV Descendant Carbon Eagle Bosst 32t|
|Cassette:||SRAM X01 XG-1295 Eagle 10-50t 12-Speed|
Opinion - Ieuan williams
Let's start out by getting some facts straight. The bottom bracket has two heights - 443 mm in low and 336 mm in the lower setting. This also changes the head angle from 65.5° in low to 65° in lower. It rolls on 29" wheels with 150mm rear travel and 160mm upfront. The theme here is 'Long-low-slack' for sure.
‘There is no doubting that this is the best bike tested in the Dirty Dozen’
With the test Orbea Rallon in XL it is clear that a lot of work has gone into making sure the size was bang up to date. With the 485 mm reach and 800 mm RaceFace bars there is a great feel to the cockpit while keeping the stand over and seat tube length as low as possible. The ability to fit 170 mm dropper posts means there really is no need for these high seat towers so it's great to see this being put into practice.
At the rear an all new linkage design based around a 4 bar design gives for a better kinematic. The rear dropouts are the same you will find on a Trek so proven to work. As for rearward damping there are three options ranging from a Fox Float X2 or the X2 coil and also the DPX2, allowing for a package to suit any preference.
Straight out of the box this bike is a weapon! Built to go fast and eat up the terrain. Even more so in my eyes with the coil damper fitted. This is no trouble though. Just swap and change the build around until satisfied. This is one of the benefits of Orbea's MyO program.
There is a real feeling of quality to the frame on this bike, with a great stiffness flex balance and no harsh feeling over the high frequency bumps as we often find with some carbon bikes. The lack of fatigue of the ride is so important - one mistake in the carbon production and the balance that creates the perfect ride would be compromised. Orbea has totally dialled it though. With super low amounts of feedback the fatigue is very low, meaning more comfort for those long rides.
The Rallon's great feeling frame is complimented by the DT Swiss EX1501 wheel set that offers an aluminium construction and a 30mm width giving compliance where it is needed. This matched up with a 2.5" Maxxis Minion DHF front and 2.3" Aggressor rear tyre gives for some great grip while maintaining the low fatigue factor.
It is easy to see here that Orbea has really nailed it with prices starting at £3,899. This M-team model is the bike I would buy with a coil damper upgrade. What's not to like? All this rad design with total customisation - a slick and stunning design. WITH..... A lifetime warranty.
If you see me riding for fun or racing this year it will be aboard this bike. There is no doubting that this is the best bike tested in the Dirty Dozen. There have been some tough calls but the whole picture even with the still to come Starling Murmur.
Check out the Orbea Rallon in the 2018 Dirt 100 HERE