This article is part of the Mtbr’s Enduro Compare-O. See all the stories in this special section here–http://reviews.mtbr.com/category/enduro-compare-o-2014
To most American cyclists, Orbea might be a new name in their bike brand vocabulary, but this iconic Spanish brand has been making bikes since 1930. So when Orbea set out to build a bike to rule the Enduro World Series circuit, they focused their efforts on a design that compromised nothing on the downhills yet was efficient pedaling uphill.
As one of the few full aluminum bikes in the Enduro Compare-O, the Orbea Rallon immediately stood out from the pack visually with its hydroformed tubes and big burly aluminum welds. The bright yellow Mavic Crossmax Enduro 27.5-inch wheels and BOS suspension added to the unique Euro styling and flair of the Orbea. A 30-pound curb weight is reasonable; especially considering several carbon fiber competitors that weighed more. The Rallon just looks straight-up Euro trash punk rock—loud, brash and not giving a damn. In other words, it was one of the most anticipated bikes in the Compare-O.
Featuring an extremely laid back and adjustable 66 or 66.5-degree head tube angle and incredibly short 16.6-inch chainstays with its ‘tweener’ wheel size, all the numbers say riding the Rallon should be a blast. Then we looked at the intentionally mismatched front and rear Mavic rims and tires—with a wider front rim and big blocky front tread paired to a narrower rear rim and lower profile rear tread—and we knew immediately that the Rallon was designed for getting loose out back.
Developed in part with French suspension designer BOS, Orbea designed the 160mm travel Rallon to be perfectly balanced front to rear, using a concentric rear dropout pivot system with longer rocker arm that pivots from the downtube for smooth, linear suspension performance. The rear BOS Kirk shock is incredibly adjustable, featuring separate high- and low-speed compression adjustments for those who are particular about suspension setup. The BOS Deville 160mm fork has received great praise for its performance, but doesn’t feature a lockout mode for climbing.
The Advanced Dynamics suspension and geometry is also adjustable to custom tune the ride of the Rallon. With a slight rotation of the eccentric shock mount hardware, bottom bracket height can be adjusted up to 7mm and angles by a half-degree, depending on whether you need to tackle tight, technical trails or ultra high-speed ripping descents.
The Rallon C9-12 is a concentric pivot at the rear 12x142mm axle that’s simpler, lighter and stiffer and is compatible with a traditional quick release. This pivot also enhances stronger and quieter disc brake performance through a direct post mount for 180mm or larger rotors.
Orbea touts their “Downtube Cable Highway”, routing cables down the top of the downtube for less cable rub, unwanted bulge under compression and less maintenance. There’s room for three cables, one of which can be used for a dropper post. It looks great, but only one issue—no room for a downtube bottle cage mount.
Removable ISCG 05 chainguide tabs and a dual-compound chainstay protector complete this extremely well thought-out design. In conclusion, we couldn’t wait to swing our leg over this totally unique Euro enduro racer.
2014 Orbea Rallon Key Specs
- Weight: 30 pounds
- Wheel Size: 27.5-inches
- Frame materal: Aluminum
- Travel/Suspension: 160mm front/rear; BOS Kirk rear, BOS Deville front
- Drivetrain: 10 speed Shimano XTR 2×10; Race Face Sixc 24Tx36T w/bashguard; 11-36 cassette
- Brakes: Formula T1
- Seatpost: Rock Shox Reverb dropper post
- Wheelset/Tires: Mavic Crossmax Enduro LTD; Mavic Charge 2.4 front, Mavic Roam XL 2.2
- Bar/Stem: Race Face Sixc/Atlas
- Bottom Bracket Type: Race Face threaded with ISCG tabs
- Head Tube Angle: 66/66.5 degrees
- Seat Tube Angle: 74.5/75 degrees
- Chainstay Length: 420mm
- Bottom Bracket Height: 345mm/338mm
- Bike MSRP: $6,999
- Frame MSRP: N/A
For more information visit www.orbea.com.
Read our Bottom Line Evaluation of the Orbea Rallon here.
This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.