The Orca Aero is Orbea’s first ever dedicated aero road bike. Its initial public outing was at the Tour de France, where it became one of the very first road bikes to take advantage of the UCI’s relaxation of their 3:1 aero profile rule. Not that most of us are troubled by UCI racing regulations, but for a major manufacturer to commit full development efforts to a new race bike they need to be certain that it will get a proper field test in the pro ranks.
Orbea now have four different variants in their Orca carbon race line-up, with models that range from fast leisure riding, through super responsive and super light bikes, to the new full-on aerodynamic road bike that is the Orca Aero. In our view it’s also one of the best looking full-aero road bikes available – with quality that just oozes out of every design feature and tube profile.
Verdict: If you’re in the market for an aero bike, the Orca Aero has to be a very strong option. It just feels fast and slippery and has a bang-up-to-date design with impressive aerodynamic credentials. But this isn’t bought at the expense of comfort, with the Orca Aero comfortable for longer excursions on less-than-perfect road surfaces. And you have an extensive range of customisation options, many at zero cost, so that you can specify the Orbea Orca Aero to meet your needs and tastes. Cycling Weekly
The relaxation of the UCI’s 3:1 ruling, means that Orbea have been able to adopt more aerodynamic profiles that whose the length vs width exceed a 3:1 ration, with the fork being possibly the most noticeable aero-specific feature of the new bike. The wider fork, for decreased turbulence adjacent to the wheel, and increased depth of the fork blades deliver a four-watt saving – and the disc brake only frameset also saves a further two-three watts over the sue of rim brakes.
The main frameset tubes feature a truncated profile that reduces drag significantly, while remaining stiff, compliant and unaffected by side winds – the new regulations would make it possible to design a frame with even deeper profiles. But Orbea are aiming the Orca Aero firmly at the practical world of bunch racing, sporting leisure riding, and mass entry triathlon, so it needs to handle and perform just like a non-aero road racing bike, without the drawbacks of an extreme aero time-trial style bike. All-in-all the Orca Aero delivers a huge average savings of 27 watts over their already aero-tweaked Orca OMR!