While we had the chance to visit and ride the new Orcas & Avant in the hills around Orbea’s Basque home base, we also got a sneak peek at the new gravel bike that the company has been working on for some time. Dubbed the Terra, it is the culmination of few years of development after they hadn’t produced a cyclocross bike. It brings back that cross name, but hopes to bridge over to the rapidly growing gravel side as well. They way Orbea saw it, most people who were riding their previous cross bikes were putting in a lot of saddle time away from CX courses, so they wanted to develop a bike that would bridge that gap better. They’ve already taken the race-ready Orca and given it disc brakes and improved tire clearance for a bit of rougher surface riding. They’d already taken the race geometry of the Orca and adapted it for longer days in the saddle and a bit more comfort in the Avant. Now it was time to take those lessons further off-road while keeping that quick Orbea ride and stiff power transfer…
It has been about three years since the Terra name was last seen on Orbea’s canti-equipped carbon cross bike, being raced by the women’s Luna pro team. Orbea stopped production to focus on other segments, but with a crossover to gravel has chosen to reenter the fray with this all-new bike.
The new Terra is making its debut today as the doors open on Interbike in Vegas, but we had a chance to have a quick look at this disguised bike ahead of the show. The bike was developed around the idea of versatility, and you can sense that when Orbea talks about the bike. They call it a gravel bike, but gave it a carryover cyclocross bike’s name. They’ve told us that they will offer it in at least a few different complete build configurations that will tailor it to more specific styles of riding, and expect to see customers race cyclocross on it, cruise gravel road races, and even head out on mixed surface adventure rides.
The Terra will be built with Orbea’s second-tier OMP high modulus carbon fiber tech. That’s the same as their top endurance bike, the Avant, and Orbea says that it offers the best balance of stiffness and durability for any bike that will spend time off the asphalt. Based on the improvements they’ve made building that endurance bike, the Terra frame would be expected to come in just about 1000g before paint.
Looking closely the new Terra seems to take a lot of design inspiration from Orbea’s own disc brake endurance road bike – the Avant. And that’s pretty much a good thing. We’ve ridden that bike and it does a great job of balancing a fast feeling ride with comfort, and even climbs surprisingly well.
The Terra looks to share the same style of straight blade fork, just with more widely set legs for improved tire clearance. The bike gets modular internal cable routing from front to back, and also includes a set of fender mounts mid way down the fork. While they almost look placed to be a low-rider rack mount, there is not a connection for a rack at the front of the fork crown. The mid leg bolt position is just there so that mounting a fender won’t interfere with the front brake mount.
The Terra gets a tapered headtube, with internal headset and a fairly tall stack above the headtube. Orbea explained their racing geometry fit progression to us recently, based on stack and reach figures. With their Orca OMR & OMP coming in at the most aggressive, followed by Orca OME, then Avant, it appears that the new Terra might just define the next step in that fit to target more off-road use.
The Terra shares the same unique groove molded just behind the headtube as the Avant, which with contrasting paint on that bike Orbea makes the headtube look less massive. The bike carries its internal cable routing all the way back, through the hollow carbon dropouts. Just above that are a set of rear fender mounts at the base of the seatstays. Without a seatstay bridge or any other outward sign, we doubt the frame would support a rack, although who needs one these days with all the great bikepacking saddle bag options out there.
This Terra her uses a single ring build, but the frame is not 1x specific. There is a bolt-on direct mount for front derailleur with a port provided for Di2 and cable routing around the BB for a standard mechanical double shift wire. A separate bolt-on mount is provided for a chain guard/retention device like the one used on the Orca, which there also houses a power meter-friendly magnet mount.
Another hole midway up the seattube will presumably mount a fender since the no-chainstay bridge design doesn’t provide a place to attach it at the bottom bracket. The Terra looks to fit Orbea’s general racing use philosophy in that it has just 2 sets of water bottle bosses. If your gravel riding and racing takes you farther afield, you need to carry more water somewhere else.
Tire clearance is generous around the 40mm Schwalbe G-One tires were they were installed, both at the fork and the chainstays. But neither end of the bike has a lot of taper a the tightest points, so you won’t be able to fit anything larger on a 27.5″/650b wheel.
We’re going to effectively ignore those inline hydraulic quick releases, both because they are ugly and won’t show up on a production bike. Orbea has them there so the bike can be easily and compactly broken down and packed for travel, so they won’t be needed on bikes for sale. The Terra will use the same BB386 EVO press fit bottom bracket they use on most of their bikes. And like all of Orbea’s road disc bikes, the Terra will pair 12mm thru-axles at both ends with flat mount discs and 140/160mm rotor compatibility.
There is no official word yet on availability, although early 2017 was heard mentioned. Even though it is making its debut just ahead of Cross Vegas, you won’t find the women of the Luna Team riding the new Terra yet. For now they will stick to riding the Orbea-rebranded Ibis Hakkalugi carbon disc brake bikes that they’ve been racing for the last two seasons.