Hot off the back of a six-day tour through the Pyrenees, both the Orbea Terra Carbon and Genesis Vapour Carbon have gone up in our already lofty estimation. One of the more enjoyable sides of working at Epic Cycles is the extensive range of stunning bikes to choose from; however, with it comes the seemingly endless bike dither we all know too well.
The requirements were simple: a comfortable bike that was also suitably light, fast and strong. Sounds like a lot to ask, but with the range of new ‘all-road’ bikes for 2019 being bigger than ever we were spoilt for choice. Once a shortlist had been made it came down to personal preference with style of bike and, of course, the look of our new ride.
After some back and forth the bikes we chose were the Orbea Terra and the Genesis Vapour. I myself swaying towards the side of comfort and stability, and my riding partner favouring a bit more speed and responsiveness.
This was perhaps the most extensive road test we’ve ever done on a bike. Mountains, descents, flat windswept valleys, a day of gravel grinding, and the added fun of bikepacking bags. Covering hundreds of kilometres through Spain and France meant we needed bikes that would make this feel a little easier as fatigue set in.
We’d both exclusively ridden the bikes off-road in the lead up to the tour. Equipped with cyclocross tyres we put the bikes through their paces on the mud and gravel, but hadn’t yet ventured out onto the road. With our limited skills on the rough stuff they had held up well during our off-road adventures. From longer rides through the woods to short, sharp sessions on our favourite muddy laps we had no complaints. In fact, the bikes should be commended for making us look better than we truly are.
For the tour itself we switched to tubeless road tyres, but other than that the bikes were ready to roll in the same setup as we’d been riding before. When carrying minimal tools and spares there’s always concern of a major mechanical, or even a run of flats we weren’t equipped for, but luckily we suffered none.
Although perhaps luck had nothing to do with it. A tough tyre choice on both our parts (Mavic Yksion Elite Allroad/Panaracer GravelKing), the decision to go with tubeless, strong wheels (DT Swiss ER1400/Mavic Allroad Pro), Shimano disc brakes, and frames that were strong and resilient to the knocks they took along the way, all contributed to our seamless journey through the Pyrenees.
As is usually the case we ended our journey with more photos of the bikes than anything else, so we can check ‘photogenic’ off the list.
For our first foray into bikepacking these were the perfect companions, allowing us to take in every moment of the ride. On top of their stunning photo-ready looks, they were comfortable, reliable, responsive, light, and switched effortlessly from road to gravel.
After the success of this trip we’re going to have to make it an annual fixture, and we’ll be hard pressed to find bikes better than these for our next adventure.