2019 Orbea Orca
There are plenty of great bikes that offer flexibility, a relaxed, neutral position and mellow handling. The Orbea Orca is not one of them – it is about the total pursuit of high performance. It is aimed squarely at those riders who are looking to ride fast – sure, it needs to have enough comfort to enable you to ride quickly over long distances on sub-optimal road surfaces, and it succeeds brilliantly in that area, but the absolute top priorities in its design are speed, handling and agility.
We have road tested the Orca OMR in all conditions, over a vast range of different terrains (including mountains, flat-lands, cobbles and rolling countryside) – and have yet to discover its limits. The performance of the Orca is simply stunning in every scenario. Climbing, blasting along on the flat, sprinting, descending…it just doesn’t matter what you throw at it. The Orca delivers brilliantly in every way – responsiveness, comfort, high-speed handling, low-speed line changing, hammer down, sitting and cruising. It is true to say that the Orca is well and truly deserving of the tag “staff favourite”.
A key factor in delivering performance, especially for a brand developed and built at the foot of the Pyrenees is low weight – and the Orca delivers handsomely in this department. However, simply reducing weight in a frameset is relatively simple. The key to the Orca has always been balance, with the whole being greater than the sum of the parts – the result is a sub 900g frame with a ride quality that is close to revolutionary. Super light, responsive and smooth with incredible handling. The Orca range offers a class leading balance of qualities at all price points – with the emphasis firmly on performance throughout the entire range.
Ride quality is an elusive blend of elements and careful planning that results in an Orca that is a sheer joy to ride. Studying the way the frame behaves under a rider’s weight is beneficial to tuning the way bumps or vibrations are transmitted through the frame. The efficiency of the bottom bracket area contributes the feel that the bike is responsive, that power transfer is instantaneous. The natural flex patterns created by the carbon layup and structure in the top tube and seat stays deliver an efficient, smooth ride that feels like floating over rough roads.
The Orca OMR framesets add further performance advantages with subtle aerodynamic improvements. While it is not a full-on aero road bike, like it’s stablemate the Orca Aero, the Orca OMR features a fork design borrowed from Orbea’s renowned Ordu triathlon bikes, which channels air flow around the front wheel and down tube. In addition, subtly shaped frame tubes reduce drag further without adding unnecessary vertical rigidity, weight or lateral flex that flatter section tube-sets are known for.
The result is a bike that handles and rides like its class leading lightweight predecessor, but with lower drag…resulting in more speed with no drawbacks.
The Orca Family
The Orca range includes three different frame types – all aimed at performance riding, but with slightly differing level of stiffness, weight and comfort. While they differ in the profiles of the tubing that are used, and in the ways in which they are constructed, the most obvious differences are in the carbon fibres used.
Orbea use their own exclusive carbon fibres to optimise the ratio of weight to stiffness – their OMR and OMP carbon fibres deliver performance and reliability that is class leading (see Technology tab), while their standard modulus OME fibres still deliver outstanding performance with the smallest of additional weight.
The different properties of each of the fibre types give each of the Orca models its distinctive ride quality:
Orca OMR (Team and Ltd models)
The Ultra High Modulus OMR fibres of the Orca Ltd and Team bikes offer the very lightest and most responsive ride, with sophisticated semi-aero tube profiles and a full aero fork. Available in both rim and disc brake versions.
Orca OMP (Pro models)
The High Modulus OMP fibres of the Orca Pro add in a tiny bit of additional weight to enhance the comfort of the ride. This is the same range of models that took Team Cofidis to Tour de France and Giro stage wins. Available in rim brake models only.
The OME fibres of the standard Orca (combined with a very slightly more relaxed geometry and simpler tube shapes) deliver the greatest comfort levels, while retaining an engaging and balanced ride. Rim brakes only.
The Orca’s racing geometry gets the most of every pedal stroke, efficiently converting every watt into speed. The wheelbase is shorter, allowing for a more responsive bike that take curves with ease and has great traction when you start pedaling and when you accelerate as well, which saves time and power at the same time. Additionally, a low stack and longer reach allow for a more aerodynamic position on the bike, and a more efficient use of energy.
Orbea Orca Geometry
Orbea Orca Reviews
|“the Orbea Orca is a flat out scorcher. It’s much more aggressive and reactive than the 2015 model with stunning acceleration and beautifully planted, precise, quick handling” Peloton Magazine|
|“the Orca is stiff and fast, like a proper race bike that has every intention of turning your efforts into forward motion. The handling is sharp and responsive, but it never felt twitchy or nervous. The ride quality is firm, but with a softness around the edges that takes a bit of the sting and rattle out.” Bicycling Magazine|
|“The low weight and its snappy feel encourage you to get out the saddle and really hammer the bike over climbs. Considering the low-slung position I was amazed at how often I caught myself in the drops, even when climbing. I’d say this is a testament to the comfort of the bike and the well thought-out angles in the design.” Cycling Tips|
|“I left very impressed with the Orca and Orbea as a brand. Whilst the bike is undoubtedly stiff, it’s not jarring. Whilst it’s responsive, it’s not twitchy. Confident is probably the best word to describe the overall feel of the bike.” BikeRadar|
|“this is a stiff bike. Not crazily so, it still had some give at the rear end, and over-exaggerated high gear, low cadence efforts did produce some detectable flex, but overall we felt the Orca engineers had done a fine job blending weight, stiffness and comfort.” Cyclist Magazine|
|“What Orbea has created here is an absolute dream on mountain descents. Flowing into corners at speed, the bike feels like it is floating. The frame and fork work together to deliver just the right flex and rebound to remain planted at speed and then accelerate out of every corner. This bike is hands-down the best descending bike I’ve ever swung a leg over — it’s that good.” Feed The Habit|
This is one of the best-handling road bikes available, at any price. It inspires confidence in fast corners and is perfectly controlled in slow ones” VeloNews
MyO Custom Colours
Orbea’s MyO (My Orbea) system is unique in the industry – offering the option of a fully custom coloured Orca OMR Carbon, at no additional cost, that is painted and assembled to order at their headquarters in Mallabia, in the heart of the Basque Country.
The on-line MyO custom design app is straightforward and slick, offering a massive number of the frame colour combinations, and is great fun to use.
The MyO programme also offers a limited number of component options, but for individual tailoring or full bespoke builds please contact us here at Epic Cycles as we are able to offer virtually unlimited customisation options.