It’s been a few years since I’ve sold my former favorite bikes in the world, the Santa Cruz Highball and the Niner SIR9 singlespeed. Riding styles change and I went from cross country and singlespeed racer to and trail rider eager to carve berms and hit jumps. Thus I’ve gravitated to Trail Bikes and All mountain bikes.
So normally, I wouldn’t be excited about this release of a hardtail bike. And what is all this fuss about Plus bikes and their Boost hubs anyway? Looks like an odd and slow, half-baked fat bike. They changed hub standards for this?
The test ride
So we went for a ride in the Spanish Pyrenees. It was mid afternoon, ninety degrees farenheit and they made us climb this loose fire road. Jet lagged, the bike climbed fine. It was pretty fast, comfortable and it never broke traction. Then the young journalists from MBA and MBR magazines rocketed past me like I was standing still. I would have said my bike was slow but “Oh, snap.” those guys were on the same bikes as I was, the Orbea Loki.
Ok, the bike was fine then. About 27 lbs, with 760mm bars and a 50mm stem, it felt like my All Mountain bike cockpit. It climbed better though since it was lighter and no rear suspension bob. Tire pressure was 15 psi but these Maxxis Chronicles didn’t feel slow at all.
When it was time to descend, I realized I wasn’t in Northern California anymore. There were patches of dirt in interrupting the areas of rock and roots. Rock outcroppings, rock slabs, loose rocks were all present for my initial test ride on this Loki Plus bike. This is why I stopped riding hardtails. The trail surprises me and the fun factor decreases. But the Orbea Loki is made for these adventures. The 67 degree head angle and the Reverb dropper post gave me a fighting chance against these aggressors.
I asked our guide what our tire pressure was set at and if they were tubeless and he said “Tubeless at 15 psi.” Given that I was slimmer and shorter than all these other media folks. I gave both tires a quick air release and I was off.
What commenced was a pretty darn fun time. It was no Orbea Rallon chunder quest but I was able to weave through the rocky trail pretty well. Traction was incredible and I felt like I had about an inch of two of travel in the rear. The FOX front suspension up front performed admirably with its 120mm of travel.