Raced in stealth paint schemes under the Cofidis team at this year’s Tour de France, the fifth generation Orbea Orca is now official.
Over the past few years, Orbea’s whittled down the frame weight and made the Orca stiffer and more efficient, which serves only to keep them competitive as everyone else makes the same changes. And this one continues those efforts. But, it takes a little something more to stand out these days, and this bike’s front end could (literally) be leading the charge…
To keep the bike’s pro racing cred, they gave it a large diameter downtube and chainstays, with equally robust head tube and BB386 bottom bracket sections. Even the 1.5″ tapered-steerer fork appears to be beefed up to provide a very rigid bottom half of the bike.
The top tube and seatstays were made thinner and given revised carbon layups to boost compliance. In their words, the new Orca “feels like floating over rough roads,” something aided by spec’ing a comfortable 27.2 seatpost. Those attributes are good because max tire width recommendation is 27mm, a bit shy of the increasingly popular 28s.
All of it is put together with their monocoque frame building process. Carbon sheets (Toray T700, T800 and M40J fibers, if you’re counting) are laser cut to minimize material and overlap for a light but strong frame.
Leading the new bike’s changes is the fork. Using a wider, more bowlegged stance, it’s in stark contrast to the prior version’s bent-inward design. Called Freeflow, it accomplishes two things. First, it creates room for wider tires, as is to be expected nowadays. But it goes a step further to move the legs further out from the turbulent air coming off the spokes. As you ride forward, the top half of the wheel is moving in the opposite direction, and Orbea calculates that the opposing winds created there can create drag and high pressure zones, both of which slow you down. The new Freeflow design lessens the turbulence by moving the legs out of the way. Normal aerodynamics still apply, it’s just that the air flowing around the inside of the fork and that coming off the spokes have a little more space to work around each other.
Little things like a hidden seatpost clamp and full internal cable/hose/wire routing clean up the design overall design, and an integrated chain watcher keeps your double from dropping things off unexpectedly.
If all of this info feels a wee bit superficial for such a major product in Orbea’s lineup, that’s because it is – sort of. The full launch event for the new Orca doesn’t start until September 12, just after the Cofidis team finishes racing it in this year’s Vuelta a España. However, all of the models are already listed on their website, including the progression of that team-only disc brake Orca we saw earlier in the year. In fact, they’ve gone full throttle and have five complete disc brake bikes in the catalogue.
At the top of the range is the Orca M10ILTD-D, complete with the new Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 Di2 group with R9170 hydraulic disc brakes. Retail is $8,999 and includes Vision Metron 40 Centerlock wheels with Vittoria Open Corsa G+ 700×25 tires and lightweight FSA cockpit parts. All disc brake bikes go with 12mm thru axles front (100) and rear (142). Note that bike images may not be 100% accurate on spec.
Below that are the M10ITEAM-D ($6,999 / DA R9150 Di2), M10TEAM-D ($5,699 / DA R9100 mech), M20ITEAM-D ($5,499 / Ult 6870 Di2), and M20TEAM ($4,499 / Ult 6800 mech). Yes, all of them are on the upper level of spec when you get disc brakes.
Disc brake bikes’ geometry shown above, click to enlarge.
The Orca M11LTD leads the rim brake group with what’s likely to be their lightest offering thanks to the OMR (Orbea Monocoque Race, their top carbon fiber designation) construction and SRAM Red mechanical group. Retail is $7,499 and includes some of FSA’s lightest bar, stem and seatposts, Vision Trimax TC wheels with Vittoria Corsa Speed 700×23 tubular tires and a Selle Italia SLR Tekno saddle.
Below it is the Orca M10ILTD with Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2 for $8,999, followed by five more iterations for seven rim brake options total. Geometry for rim brake bikes is:
The lowest spec level in the range (with the new frame, prior models are still shown on their website, too) is the M20TEAM for $3,999 with mechanical Ultegra 6800. Both the disc and rim brake models have several stock color options, some light and some dark, and all can be ordered through their MyO custom paint program, too.