When you’ve been in business for 175 years, you’re in rare company in the bicycle business. True, Orbea started out manufacturing guns, but they’ve been onto bicycles for quite some time and have racked up more than a couple major wins over the many years.
Like any good bike brand, they’ve also racked up quite a few odd designs, not the least of which is this 1994 Next One hardtail…
In 1930, Orbea left the gun business after demand dwindled following the first World War. They moved onto other things where their expertise in metal tubing could be useful. Namely, Bicycles. By the mid-1940s they were making 50,000 bicycles a year in their Eibar, Spain, factory, which was capable of making every component necessary for a complete bike. From there, they dabbled in mopeds and other non-motorized wheeled transport, but eventually focused entirely on bicycles. In 1969, the company’s employees bought the assets and formed a cooperative business in which everyone who works there is also an owner. Shortly thereafter, they moved to their current town of Mallabia.
Over the past 50 years, they’ve made all manner of recreational bicycles…
…and racing bicycles. And, in Europe., they continue to offer a very wide range of city, commuter, youth and other bikes beyond the performance road and mountain bikes we know them for in North America.
As indicated by the placard, the show bike’s Ambivalent Multiple Wheel fork is almost certainly installed backwards.
Check out the integrated shifter mount/brake lever, which included the cable entry mud shield for 1994 XTR.
Assuming the fork was flipped around, that’d put almost all of weight on the driveside, an interesting design decision. Drum brakes front and rear probably weren’t affected by mud, but we’re guessing V-brakes were still an improvement.
Could you get this off quickly? Probably not, but without any stays on the opposite side, you wouldn’t need to remove the wheel to change a flat.
Hutchinson RockX Country tires.
Fast forward about twenty years and you have this:
To celebrate the official launch of the new Ordu triathlon bike, Orbea hosted a little Spanish wine, cheese and meat cocktail party in their Eurobike booth, which was conveniently located near enough the exhibit halls large doors to hear this pull up.
- Orbea Loki 27.5+ hardtail mountain bike
- Orbea Rallon enduro bike
- Orbea Occam trail bike
- Orbea Orca team replica road bikes