As XC race courses have grown more technical, most manufacturers have responded by slackening geometries and increasing frame travel. While these changes have helped from a descending and endurance perspective, many purists lament the effect they’ve had on raw speed.
Rather than following these trends, Orbea’s latest crop of XC race bikes continues to be thoroughbred race machines. While they have made some minor concessions for improved handling, their focus remains on all out speed.
Their newest bike, which embraces this philosophy wholeheartedly, is the Alma. The frame of this fully rigid race bike weighs 950g in race trim. It’s claimed to be 25% stiffer and 10% more compliant than the previous version and ships with an all new carbon fork that hits the scales at 575 g.
The biggest changes from a geometry perspective include a slacker head tube angle, steeper seat angle, lower stack height and BB, and shorter chainstays. The head tube now sits at 69.3/69.5 degrees, which is over one degree slacker than previously, yet is still one of the steepest in the class. The stack has been reduced by up to 11mm depending on frame size and the stays have shrunk by 10mm.
Orbea was able to reduce the chainstay length by increasing the axle spacing from 135mm to the new Boost 148mm standard. This also improved tire clearance from 2.25” to 2.4” and increased rear end stiffness by a claimed 15%.