Orbea’s Alma cross-country hardtail gets a complete overhaul from affordable alloy to World Cup level OMX carbon that is lighter and more technically capable than ever. The 2021 Alma has gone 29er at all levels & sizes, bringing more modern trail-ready race geometry and bigger tire clearance to a family of bikes that starts out with affordable 900€ complete bikes and top out for the World Cup circuit in lightweight OMX carbon build more than seven times that.
2021 Orbea Alma XC 29er race-ready hardtail mountain bike
It’s actually been four years since we’ve seen the Alma’s last update, while its full-suspension Oiz XC race sibling has seen a couple of updates in that time. But all good things in time, the new Alma is more capable than ever before, while also getting even lighter.
The lightest frame is often the end goal in XC racing, but more technical modern race courses demand stiffness, durability, and proper geometry to stand up to the ever-harder task of XCO racing. Orbea’s top OMX hi-mod carbon construction does a good job of meeting those challenges between carefully designing fiber placement and ensuring quality through the frame’s hand-laid carbon construction.
Now, weighing just 830g (M), this new Alma OMX frame is the lightest ever mountain bike hardtail for Orbea, without giving up World Cup-level drivetrain & handling stiffness through the headtube, downtube & chainstays, or compliance at the 27.2mm seatpost before it gets to the rider.
The top half of the frame features even thinner seatstays and a toptube that tapers quickly behind the headset to eat up even more trail vibration. Orbea says, “the sensation is subtle – but it is noticeable and can be tested. And at the end of a grueling ride it could make the difference between the podium and the consolation prize.” In fact, now with extra room to fit up to 2.4″ tires, there’s more compliance than ever, paired with improved grip in tough terrain.
World Cup-ready XC geometry
The Alma has already been proven on the XCO racing circuit, but this latest iteration is even more aggressive & fast – without succumbing to the efficiency or precision sacrifices in real ‘trail bike geometry’. Still a slack 68° headtube angle when paired with a 100mm XC race fork is actually slacker than the new 100mm Oiz XC, with a 74.5° seat angle that sits in between Oiz XC & TR. The idea is to be similar in feel to the race-ready full-suspension bike, but to still give a confidence boost that lets racers pick the lighter hardtail for even some of the most challenging race tracks.
The Alma actually also keeps the longer 435mm chainstays of the older Oiz, again balancing in extra stability, since drivetrain efficiency and rocket-like acceleration is easier to build into the superlight hardtail.
Orbea Alma OMX – Tech details
Much like the new Oiz, the new 29er Alma OMX gets a number of updates in the details too. The alma also gets the same new ICR internal cable routing with modular cable ports on the headtube to eliminate any cable rub.
The top-spec OMX frames also get flat mount disc brakes, while OMR carbon & H alloy frames stick with post mount.
New on the Alma OMX is a tapered 1.5″ Acros Blocklock headset that limits bar rotation to 164° to prevent hitting the fork crown on the downtube. Orbea says this helped them reduce overall frame stack height, which also helped fit smaller riders on 29″ wheels (four sizes available, S-XL).
Plus it gets the same integrated look OC stem, spacer & headset design for a sleek look.
The carbon bikes are all 1x only, but feature a new bottom bracket mounted chain security device to prevent dropped chains in super rough terrain. They also get co-molded chainstay protection, a UDH hanger, stealth dropper routing, wide PressFit PF92 bottom bracket, Boost 12×148 spacing, and a 27.2mm seatpost.
2021 Orbea Alma – MyO customization, price range & options
While the new MY2021 update includes a number of affordable alloy Alma builds starting at 900€ complete, the carbon bikes start with this M50 using the slightly heavier OMR carbon frame to hit this $2000 / 1700€ price point with a RockShox Judy Silver fork & mixed Shimano Deore/XT groupset.
Then at the absolute pinnacle of the range is the $8000 / 7500€ Alma M-Ltd with the top-tier OMX carbon frame & Orbea’s lightweight Spirit rigid carbon fork to make it superlight, plus a SRTAM XX1 Eagle AXS groupset. Of course you can swap in a Fox 32 SC fork for 100mm of front suspension, but the options only begin there.
My like the MyO customization of the Oiz OMX, the Alma OMX can be custom painted through MyO, and you can personalize much of the individual component spec, as well. The lower-spec OMR carbon & H hydroformed alloy frames can’t be custom painted through MyO, but you still can do a fair bit of component & sizing customization at every build level.
The new Almas are available globally now, with some bikes already in stock with local bike shops.