2016 Orbea Rallon enduro mountain bike first ride impressions

The Orbea Rallon was reworked in 2014 and intentionally made only in alloy so they could more easily make tweaks. Overall, they were very happy with it, but it does get a few but important updates for 2016. Why? Because enduro.

The 2014 Rallon was originally built for their enduro team, designed as a racing bike from the outset just as the whole enduro scene was blowing up. And it’s been well reviewed since then, so there was no need to reinvent it, just refine it. The frame is still 7000-series, triple butted and hydroformed alloy, and it keeps their Advanced Dynamics linkage driven single pivot suspension design. Advanced Dynamics is their method for designing suspension around more than just the shock tune and leverage ratio by considering rider generated forces on the pedals, handlebar and frame. There’s a port for stealth dropper posts and all cable and brake housing now runs externally for easier setup and maintenance.

The biggest news is a switch to the Boost 148 rear end…

2016 Orbea Rallon enduro mountain bike tech details

2016 Orbea Rallon enduro mountain bike tech details

The switch to a Boost 148 rear end forced them to put a thru axle on all the bikes, so no more QR anywhere in the Rallon lineup. It still uses their concentric rear axle pivot, and chainstays stay at 420mm (16.53”). The concentric design minimizes small parts and makes for a stiffer rear end. It uses a bolt-in design rather with the finer Shimano-style thread pitch. (In case you’re curious, they say the Split Pivot and Trek designs are patented as complete systems that specify pivot positions and more. But a simple concentric axle/pivot was patented way back in the 1800’s and Orbea’s design doesn’t claim any specific suspension benefit, it’s more about frame stiffness.

2016 Orbea Rallon enduro mountain bike tech details

That extra room let them spec a bigger tire, now with a Maxxis Ardent 27×2.4 as standard equipment. They didn’t spread the chainstays too much, though, so it’ll max out with about a 2.5” tire to keep proper clearance. In other words, it’s not a 27.5+ bike.

2016 Orbea Rallon enduro mountain bike tech details

Geometry was changed slightly to with a half a degree slacker headtube angle, making it 66º in the high position and 65.5º in the low position. Seat angle is a steep 75º / 74.5º, keeping the rider in an aggressive pedaling position even with plenty of sag.

2016 Orbea Rallon enduro mountain bike tech details

The geometry change is handled by a simple flip-flop upper shock mount. It’s a tooled change, but it’s one of the (if not the) smallest, lightest system of its type and can easily be done on the trail with just an allen wrench. That drops the BB 7mm and slackens angles by half a degree.

It’s worth mentioning that we rode the bikes in the higher setting, which still sits the bike fairly low. I clipped pedals on rocks a bit more frequently than normal when pedaling through rocky sections. Orbea’s folks suggested that most people will want it in the tall position because the low is really low and meant for very aggressive riders that are willing to tolerate a few more pedal knocks in exchange for a lower center of gravity.

2016 Orbea Rallon enduro mountain bike tech details

Reach was increased by 5mm on all frame sizes, now at 447mm, and head tube height grows by 5mm on the small frames and 10mm on medium and large. But, because the head tubes are slacker, stack height remains about the same as before. Those changes brought the BB height down very slightly and stretched the wheelbase 10mm, too. Overall, the changes not only make it more stable on the descents, they say it should also help the bike fit more folks.

They made the front derailleur mount removable for a cleaner look with 1x drivetrains. If you do want a double up front, the cable routing now runs externally along the top of the downtube, which makes it compatible with Side Swing front derailleurs, too.

Thankfully, the frame keeps a threaded bottom bracket.

Frame weight is 2.8kg with all hardware and paint without shock. All models now get Shimano brakes, no more Formula brakes, and more use of DT Swiss wheels. Race Face cranks and cockpit parts also make frequent appearances.

2016 Orbea Rallon enduro mountain bike tech details

The two top models get a BOS Kirk V2 rear shock with an updated FCV Deville fork that gets a new 27.5-specific lower casting that is stiffer and has better mud clearance. They made the decision to put the money into higher end suspension rather than a carbon frame, which is justified in a couple more ways, too. With the extensive butting and hydroforming of the alloy frame, the weight isn’t much more than what they could do with carbon and it would cost about $1,000 more at retail if it were made from the wonder composite. That means a similar XT equipped bike from another brand would be about a grand cheaper when spec’d with Fox or Rockshox rather than BOS.

2016 Orbea Rallon enduro mountain bike tech details

The second reason is once they’re committed to a carbon frame, they would likely have to amortize the cost of the molds over four years, which prevents them from making further geometry tweaks as riders’ tastes change. So, if you prioritize suspension performance over having a carbon frame, the top level Rallons should be on your short list.

Other models get Fox forks and shocks with the latest FIT4 damper. All models use the same frame, and you can get any spec with any frame color through their MyO built-to-order program. You can even switch out the suspension, putting the BOS setup with the least expensive groupo if you like.

2016-orbea-rallon-geometry-chart

Unlike the wide array of wheel and frame size options on the new Occam, the Rallon is 27.5” only and comes in S (16”), M (18”) and L (19.5”). Available in September.

FIRST RIDE IMPRESSIONS

2016 Orbea Rallon enduro mountain bike first ride impressions

Orbea brought us to the incredible trails around Ainsa, a small medieval hilltop village in the Spanish Pyrenees, to test out the new Occam, Rallon and one more bike that will be announced soon. For the Rallon, our guide led us through some of the higher speed sections and steeper, swoopier descents trying to mimic what might be found on enduro courses.

2016 Orbea Rallon enduro mountain bike first ride impressions

The frame itself is dialed, and the slightly slacker geometry worked wonders on anything flat or pointing down. On some of the steeper climbs, the front end would wander a bit, but not enough that I’d want to give up any of the downhill performance by tweaking it.

Orbea’s manipulation of the tubes and oversized pivots make the bike very stiff, which is further improved by the wider Boost standard. This is a bike that’ll go exactly where you point it and handle any abuse thrown its way. It’s no wonder it’s garnered plenty of accolades over the past couple years.

2016 Orbea Rallon enduro mountain bike first ride impressions

One thing that became apparent with the BOS suspension is it likes to go fast. Perhaps it was the specific tune on these bikes, but I also noticed it on the Marin Attack Trail I rode with BOS suspension…it seems to perform best at higher speeds. It’s also a suspension that shows its best side when you take the time to tune, retune and fine tune over a couple weeks of riding. If you’re the type of rider that likes to set it and forget it, taking the bike from showroom to shred session, it might be worth looking at one of the models spec’d with another brand’s fork and shock on it.

First impressions are very good – the bike is plenty capable at speed and general riding. And Orbea is getting better and better at choosing component spec on their bikes, with properly wide bars and short stems, plenty of Race Face parts and now some options for very high end suspension.

Orbea.com

5 COMMENTS

  1. “Advanced Dynamics is their method for designing suspension around more than just the shock tune and leverage ratio by considering rider generated forces on the pedals, handlebar and frame.”

    Their marketing literature may say that, but their linkage is essentially linear, not special or unique in any way. They may “consider” those forces but its not reflected in kinematics at all.

  2. What? No novice level complaints about it having Boost in the rear? Did all the forum junkies get bikerumor access blucked at work? 😉

  3. I like Boost. It is not beneficial on all bikes, but having a standard which lets everyone use 29″ or 27.5+ rear wheels with short chainstays is a good thing all around. So yeah, “yea” for Boost (in the rear, anyway). But down with internal cable routing and press-fit bottom brackets.

  4. What is it about the cycling press and BOS? No, recommending customers take an inferior product because the best one takes more time to set up is not sound consumer advice. Besides, once you’ve got the setting down for a BOS fork and shock you should write it down and never worry about it again, they can cope with higher speeds than you can, unless your name is Thirion.
    .
    It would be far more useful to talk about BOS and their stereotypically french attitude to customer support and spares. As the owner of a Deville and Kirk I think they’re fantastic performers, but dear God do I dread any repair that needs a part from BOS. That’s a far more persuasive argument against them and for Fox/Rockshox than a crippling fear of dials. Can’t fault the performance though, the faster you go, the smoother it gets.

  5. “having a standard which lets everyone use 29″ or 27.5+ rear wheels with short chainstays is a good thing all around”

    we already had the 150/157 standards

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