Ten years ago, Orbea launched its first full-carbon bike, the Orca, the bike’s name itself — a blend of Orbea and carbon — a tribute to the Basque company’s commitment to the revolutionary material. Orbea unveiled the first Orca under Euskaltel-Euskadi in its orange-crush color scheme and for its 10th birthday, the Orca has a face-lift and a tummy-tuck ahead of Euskaltel’s start in the 100th Tour.
Orbea, like all bike companies, claims its new, top-end frame to be lighter, stiffer, and of course, more aerodynamic than its predecessor.
One of the defining features of the new Orca is its stack and reach fit system. Orbea’s approach to sizing is an evolution from the size-specific carbon layup Orbea began using in the second generation Orca, which tuned ride feel and frame stiffness for smaller riders. Now, the stack and reach system does more of the same, by keeping a linear decrease in stack and reach through the smaller sizes, where other smaller frames have a sharp drop in stack, while reach stays static through the smallest sizes, resulting in long relative top tube dimensions.
To that end, the Orca’s sizes are heavy on the small end of the spectrum: 47cm, 49cm, 51cm, 53cm, 55cm, 57cm, and 60cm. Orbea will offer the Orbea in two different frames, Race and Performance. The Race frame is a touch lighter than the Performance, but no featherweight at a claimed 950 grams. The Euskaltel team will all be on the Race frame and the first complete bikes available to consumers will be Euskaltel edition bikes with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070.
Unlike the previous Orca model, which we tested in our WorldTour VeloLab last summer, the new Orca framesets are compatible with mechanical and electronic shifting, while keeping all cables and wires internal. The Orca uses Orbea’s DCR internal sheaths for cables to make maintenance easier.
Orbea claims that the new Orca is 10 percent lighter and 8 percent stiffer than the previous edition. We can corroborate that the previous Orca model had plenty of room for improvement, after it registered poor results in our VeloLab scientific testing, though we cannot confirm Orbea’s claims on weight and stiffness.
The final improvement Orbea sought to make was in aerodynamics. The new Orca uses a very similar, if not the same, seat post shape as the old Orca. Orbea claims that much of the reductions in drag come from using a fork modeled after the Ordu time trial bike.