Named after the Norse god known as a tricky shapeshifter, the new Orbea Loki makes the bold claim of being “perfect for everyone.” It’s a capable 29er hardtail. It’s also fun, slack 27.5+ trail bike. Either way, you’re getting 120mm of travel up front and a high end alloy frame that’s ready to rumble.
The design is called Double Duty, referring to the ability to switch between the two wheel sizes. The rear end uses Boost 148 spacing, and regardless of wheel size, they’re using the same Boost hubs and mostly 110mm spaced Boost forks. It’s not the first bike to offer the swappable wheel sizes, but it’s among the first to make it very affordable while still offering good spec and top notch features. That makes it a perfect do-it-all second (or fifth) bike or a great first mountain bike for those just getting into it…
The Loki uses Orbea’s skill at hydroforming metal to give the bike a high end platform on which to shred. It’s the same level of alloy manipulation found on their Rallon and Occam bikes, but in a package that starts at just $1,200.
The cockpit is stretched out, ending with a short stem to give you good control but with a longer, more stable wheelbase to inspire confidence on the downhills.
The frame gets internal routing for stealth dropper, and the top model gets a Reverb Stealth. Mid-range models get Orbea’s brilliant new Digit Seat Post, which makes manual seat height changes quick and easy, helping you return to the same position at the top every time. By using a channel on the back of the post and upper and lower limit set screws, you simply open the quick release collar and slam it up or down. The slotted channel keeps the seat facing straight forward, and the set screws ensure it goes only as low as you want and returns to the correct height. Depending on the amount of insertion your frame allows, it’ll give you up to 200mm of drop in 50mm increments.
Shifter cables and rear brake hose run through the downtube, and there’s room in the exit ports for the stealth dropper seatpost cable, too, which then re-enters at the base of the seat tube.
The bikes use Race Face cranks with direct mount chainrings that have that brand’s standard 51mm chainline, which ends up working just fine with Boost spacing. It has ISCG05 tabs and a removable front derailleur mount, which is compatible with standard, Sideswing and Di2 front derailleurs.
Rear derailleur uses Shimano Direct Mount designs.
Post mount direct mount rear brakes do away with adapters and parts if you’re running a 160mm rotor. The thru axle is tooled to maintain a clean, sleek appearance.
Tire clearance with the plus sized (3.0″) tires is adequate, and outside rotating diameter is the same as a 29×2.2, which would have clearance for days.
Spec includes 110mm-axle boost compatible forks on all but the lowest level, which gets a 120mm Rockshox Recon Gold with 29×2.4 tires…which might could fit the 27.5×3.0 Maxxis Chronicle if you’re not too concerned about clearance (do so at your own risk).
Geometry has a long reach with short stems, a low bottom bracket and 430mm stays. Combine it with a 67º head angle with the recommended 120mm fork, and you’ve got the makings of a playful bike. All the figures stay the same for both size wheels when using 29×2.2 or 27.5×3.0.
Four models will be offered, leading with the H-LTD 27.5+. It’s spec’d with the Fox Float 34 Factory 27.5+ fork, Race Face Affect SL with 28-tooth single chainring. The bike, like many other Orbea’s for 2016, will also ship with the 26-36 double chainring setup in case you want to add a front shifter and derailleur at a later date. XT shifter rear derailleur and 11-42 cassette pair with BR-M506 hydraulic brakes, Fizik saddle and Modus/Rodi wheels with 40mm wide rims running the Maxxis Chronicles. This one is sold in 27.5+ format only, both bikes below come sold as complete bikes with either wheel size.
Next down is the H10 27.5+ and comes with SLX shifters and Sideswing front derailleur (picture is not reflective of actual spec), XT rear mech, HG50 10-speed 11-36 cassette and BR-M506 brakes. Fork is the new Fox Float 32 with Boost, and it gets the Digit seatpost, Orbea handlebar and Race Face stem. Maxxis Chronicle TLR tires wrap around the same wheels as the H-LTD, or Maxxis Ardent 29×2.4 on the 29er version.
The H30 steps down to Deore shifters and SLX front/rear mechs, the same cassette as above and BR-M425 brakes. The 27.5+ bike gets a Suntour Raidon LO-R (lockout/rebound) Boost fork, while the 29er comes with a Rockshox Recon Silver fork with standard axle spacing. On this one, we’d recommend going with the 27.5+ bike if only for the more future-proof fork standard.
Prices are TBA, but the base level bike starts at just $1,200.
FIRST RIDE IMPRESSIONS
I’m a full suspension kinda guy, but will admit this was pretty fun. With the wide, soft tires, I had traction for days, which made for some spirited riding. The geometry of the bike worked well for everything from climbing to gnarly technical descending to whipping through tight, tree-lined singletrack.
The Chronicle’s EXO casing did an admirable job of fending off the abundant rocks in the Spanish Pyrenees. The low profile knobs would be better suited for dirt, but they did pretty well on the trails except when there was a lot of loose scrabble on top of the rock. At the risk of flatting since they weren’t set up tubeless for our test rides, I ran pressures as low as 13psi to soften the ride and take full advantage of the plus sized tires.
Orbea’s pitch is one bike for any type of rider, and it comes close. I’d still opt for the Rallon or Occam if you’re going big, but the Loki quite capable of keeping up with those two on many trails. We rode old sheep trails through the woods, past ruins that were older than America, up long fire roads and down techy, rocky singletrack. The Loki ate it up, and having the extra cush of the tires made it easier to clear some sketchy climbs and toned down the harshness usually transmitted through the pedals to my feet on drops. If you’re a hardtail kinda guy (or girl), Orbea’s Loki has all the right features at a very good price.