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We sat down at the opening cross country World Cup to chat with the head mechanic and team manager for Team Luna Chix. They walked us through the setup for XC World Champion Catharine Pendrel’s full-suspension Orbea Oiz, the same bike she rode to earn her second set of rainbow stripes last summer in Hafjell. The Oiz, named for the mountain behind the Basque factory where the bikes are made, is offered in two levels of carbon, a Race version with all high modulus fibers for max stiffness to weight ration, and a Performance version that mixes in some lower modulus fibers for greater vibration absorption and overall toughness. The Luna Chix team, including Pendrel, all go for the stiffer Race carbon monocoque frames combined with electronic shifting and suspension setups.

Come past the break for a closer look at the details, and the actual bike weight…

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Orbea uses a frame size-based overlap to determine wheelsize of the Oiz, where the S, M, and L use 650b wheels and the M, L, and XL are available as 29ers. Pendrel rides a size S Oiz, locking her into the smaller wheel size, as well. The 100mm travel Oiz uses a set of flexing seatstays (U-Flexion) to eliminate the pivot point typically near the axle on similar suspension designs.

Shimano is a very strong sponsor of the Luna team, so the bikes get complete XTR Di2 drivetrains with M9000 components throughout and Pro contact bits everywhere else, including the new pedals which we noticed several other pros have been passing on in favor of the previous M980s. As mechanic Dusty Labarr put it, the team bikes are pretty much put together like a Lego kit of parts, with not much need for any variation. That being said, there were still a few interesting bits that jumped out at us. 

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Orbea does a few house branded bits throughout the bike with the Oiz name popping up, like on this pared down aluminum seatpost clamp. Interesting to see a Stages sticker to mark saddle heights across the team bikes for another bit of sponsor advertising. Pendrel’s cockpit includes the new Di2 control display, whose location forced her to flip her Bar Fly 3.0 MTB Garmin mount out in front of the bar, instead of the more protected spot over the stem. Her steerer keeps a healthy spacer stack, so either this new Pro stem has less clamp height than previous versions or Pendrel is still not set on a final bar position? It’s nice to see the custom stem cap supporting the NICA program’s #morekidsonbikes motto. The Luna Chix team seems to be pretty active in youth mountain biking advocacy, which hopefully can set an example for other teams at the top level of our sport.

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As is pretty common of most pro bikes with single rings, Pendrel’s bike gets a chain guide for added security, this time a XCX direct mount guide from E*Thirteen. Some interesting wire routing here too. Out of the single Di2 port two control wires exit. One is the rear derailleur wire that stays external along the driveside chainstay and the other ducks back into the frame to head up to control the iCD Fox shock. The derailleur cable routing for a sideswing mechanical front derailleur goes unused, and doesn’t get closed in at all. As the seatpost sticker suggested, the team in on single sided Stages power meters attached to M9000 XTR cranks, an option which is not yet available to consumers, but clearly in the product pipeline.

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Overall wire and hose routing on the Orbea Oiz is a bit of a mixed bag. While the front triangle gets internal shift and dropper post routing and a finished looking external brake routing, out back there are a lot of zip ties and ad hoc solutions. The mechanics did come up with a pretty clean solution for the chainstay brake hose with some pieces of clear plastic clamped onto the stock mounting points.

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Pendrel’s Oiz is replete with World Champ customizations, from the rainbows across the toptube and chainstays to the new Fox forks. The forks get some Canadian maple leaves as well, plus a golden signature or two to go with new for 2016 electronic iCD internals. One thing we noticed talking to a couple of pro riders was an adjustment period or even a learning curve with the new carbon XTR wheelsets, especially in the 650b sizing. Apparently the wheels are actually so stiff that riders end up needing to actually increase tire pressures to ward off flats. The high carbon stiffness appears to prevent the rim from deflecting under sharp impacts making the tire do all the work and increasing the chance of burping tubeless tires at low pressures (whereas a more flexible aluminum rim absorbs some of that impact?)

Ready to race Pendrel’s Oiz tipped the scales at 10.79kg (23.79lbs). Not exactly a super light weight for a single-ring, 650b bike. That being said there isn’t much reason to question Pendrel. She’s ridden the bike to 4th and 3rd at the first 2 rounds of the World Cup so far this season, and did win Worlds last year on the same bike.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Wonder how quick she’d be with a lighter bike, and lower-PSI tyres with more traction and less rolling resistance?! She’s an amazing rider whom I admire greatly (and I’m hardly in a position to judge her performance!), but surely there’s some kit-compromise going on there?

  2. I spent too much time looking thru photos online from the Novo world cup, and it looks like the WC courses are rough and steep and in places scary. A little extra weight would be an advantage up and down thru the rough stuff. That said this Orbea is a pig and heavier than most of the mens bikes, and unlike most mtb racers she has already stripped her body fat to the minimum, that lady is RIPPED. But I cannot help but think of all that has been writtin on how little total bike weight affects performance, on the ROAD, that means even less in the dirt when the bike is getting bounced all over the course, ‘feeling fast’ if the eyeballs are rattling around is not really fast. Unlike the average weak fat wannabe racers buying stupid light frames, and every other light bit to compensate for their slowness, Pros in the dirt and on the road are actually riding heavier stuff compared to the rest of us that can afford the silly bits. I am sure there is something to learn from this….

  3. “Apparently the wheels are actually so stiff that riders end up needing to actually increase tire pressures to ward off flats. The high carbon stiffness appears to prevent the rim from deflecting under sharp impacts making the tire do all the work and increasing the chance of burping tubeless tires at low pressures (whereas a more flexible aluminum rim absorbs some of that impact?)”

    I had the same issue with ENVE AM rims. I was happy to get rid of them. Exceptionally stiff rims are not the answer for mountain biking rocky race courses.

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