Orbea Orca Review
We've put Orbea?s top-of-the-line road bike to the test.
New for 2004, the all-carbon Orbea Orca will make things a little easier for Iban Mayo and his Euskaltel teammates in the Tour de France, and is also bound to make riders with the American Jelly Belly team want to extend their contracts. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
When our reviewers spotted the Orbea Orca bike at Interbike, they immediately knew that it was going to be an extremely popular bike during the 2004 season - and beyond. The Orca delivers strong performance and sports a design so hot that it will make any designer apply for a job at the Orbea headquarters in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
The Orca is Orbea?s top-of-the-line road frame for 2004. It weighs in at about 1000 grams and comes in five different sizes. Therefore, exact fitting is done by adjusting stem and seat post length. The Orca frame?s front triangle is made from one piece and the innovatively shaped carbon tubes form a bike that?s both very stiff and very light, and therefore ideal for road racing. The frame is made even stiffer through the use of a sloping top tube, resulting in a smaller front triangle. The two frame pieces are assembled so smoothly that locating the joints is one tough job for even the most experienced bike lover.
A unique frame feature is the number plate mount ? a very important feature for those of us who feel the need to be absolutely ready when Lance calls us at the 11th hour, wanting us on his Tour team. And yes, this bike is truly made for pro racing!
Depending on your location, the Orbea Orca is available in various fashionable color schemes, including Euskaltel orange, Jelly Belly red, black/silver and blue/white/carbon ? all suitable for hot-blooded riders who wish to make a clear statement when they are on the road.
We got the opportunity to test an Orca bike in our European headquarters. The bike featured the stunning Euskaltel orange-colored Orca frame, a full Shimano Dura-Ace gear group, Mavic Ksyrium SL SSC wheels, ITM Millennium super oversize cockpit, Deda Magic carbon seat post, Vittoria Open Corsa EVO-CX tires, and a Selle Italia SLR saddle.
The tested Orbea Orca bike accelerated fast on the flats and climbed like a dream. After getting used to the new bike, our tester almost felt like he became one with the bike on climbs in the later stages of the testing period. The bike was very responsive and reacted instantly, yet smoothly to every request made by the tester. No bottom bracket flex was experienced during testing ? not even while riding the bike pushing big gears at top speed.
The Orca was a very comfortable ride during even the longest rides, and our tester never felt too tired to get out of the saddle to fight the toughest climbs or to take an aerodynamic position during those tough descents. When using the Orca, our tester felt less worn out after long, hard rides. This allowed him to train more than usual. In fact, our