Introducing the Orbea Orca Aero and Orbea Orca!
With the summer months approaching and road biking looking more enticing with the good weather we thought now would be the best time to introduce you to the Orbea Orca and Orca Aero that make up the Orbea Orca Range.
We’ll tell you a bit more about the background of Orbea, the mechanics of the bikes, what they’re like to ride and how the Orca range can help you get where you want to go.
Orbea is a Spanish company, named after the brothers who founded it in 1840, initially producing firearms. The company switched to producing bikes in the 1930s, making Orbea one of the oldest bike manufacturers out there. They have a long history of producing bikes for winners in the Tour de France and the Olympics. One of the best things about Orbea as a company is that all their bikes are assembled at the Orbea Factory near Ermua in the Basque Country, Northern Spain. This means all their bikes are highly customisable and specific to each order. Because of their Centralised construction set-up, their bikes can be painted to customers’ specifications without any extra charge. Follow this link to go to the Customize page of the Orbea website, where you can procrastinate by designing your dream bike.
The Design of the Orca Aero
The Orca Aero design is similar to the engineering of a TT bike with drop bars. The frame is designed for optimal airflow with a horizontal top tube and chainstays, the single profile transitions between the head tube, down tube, seat tube and seat stays reduce drag. The down tube and seat tube have been optimised for 25-28mm tyres, and the forks have been reimagined to suit high-profile wheels along with new aero handlebars, stem and seat post to minimise drag. Above 40kph the newest design improvements save 15 watts and 28 watts beyond 50kph. The Orbea aerodynamics team tested the Orca Aero in the controllable conditions of an indoor velodrome and the low-speed efficiency of the bike outdoors on climbs. The reduced wheelbase and size-specific fork trail have made the bike more responsive alongside the shorter chainstays for exceptional acceleration. Finally, the design of the frame allows for optimal tyre clearance even for 30mm tyres. This change is to move with the trend of wider tyres at a lower pressure to reduce rolling resistance and make any ride more comfortable and faster.
Riding the Orca Aero
The Orca Aero is what it says on the tin, an aero bike, if your looking to do a lot of steep climbs the added weight and geometry of the frame probably won’t help you there. But it will help you get to the climbs faster, the Orca Aero is a weapon on flat roads and lower gradient climbs. Because a rider equates to 80% of the drag on a bike, the Orca Aero encourages a very aerodynamic position to minimise this. For example, the head tube angle on the Orca Aero is 72.3° which is only 0.3° slacker than that of the Cannondale SystemSix – one of the most highly rated aero bikes available and used by the Ef Education Easy Post World Tour Team. The measurements between similar sizes of the SystemSix and the Orca Aero are comparable across the board, making these bikes major competitors. If you’re looking to surprise friends and become the new fastest rider on your local group ride, or if you plan on tackling some races the Orca Aero can help you get there.
The Orca Aero also features some of the more unusual characteristics that we see in cycling, the aerodynamic water bottle and aero accessory container. We often hear comments that the aero bottle and box are unnecessary add-ons that make the bike look odd. However, in person, the bottle and box look like they’re meant to be on the bike. They also make it faster, the fact that you can’t see either from the front of the bike just shows how fast the bike is designed to be. Our team have tried the Orca Aero on various occasions and one member of the Cyclewise team liked the Orca Aero so much that he got it as a personal bike. He does agree that the Orca Aero is a speed machine and that the accessory box and bottle look better when you see the bike first hand.
The Orbea Orca
If you would class yourself as more of a climber than a sprinter then Orbea have an alternative to the Orca Aero that suits climbing a little better. The Orca Aeros little brother the Orbea Orca. The frame of the Orbea Orca is made from the same OMX or OMR carbon composite as the Orca Aero with a slightly less prominent design. This makes the Orbea Orca as light and as responsive as it Aero counterpart. The geometry of the Orbea Orca is designed to be slightly more comfortable for long riders and steeper climbs. But the Orbea Orca is still equally capable of racing over any terrain. In fact, another member of our team preferred the Orca to the Orca Aero and now has is as his personal bike, consistently finishing in the top 10 at local circuit races.
The Orca Aero
It’s easy for us to say the Orca and Orca Aero are great bikes because we sell them, so to give you a more balanced view we’ve included the negative as well. We hope this wont sway your opinion too strongly on either bike because they are still brilliant. That being said we love a bit of variety at Cyclewise so: the OC saddle mount can be a bit difficult to adjust because of all the moving parts on it. Because the frame of the Orca Aero is stiff and bulky in places along with the deep section wheels it can be twitchy to handle in high winds. Finally riders of the Orca Aero often get asked if it’s an E-bike because of the accessory box.
On the other side of the coin the Orbea Orca is also limited by a couple of sticking points. The standard Vision 40 SC Disc Carbon TLR CL wheels the Orca comes with from the Orbea Factory are heavy. On top of this the Vittoria Rubino Pro IV G2.0 700x25c tyres that come as standard are average quality, which limits the performance of the Orca or need to be upgraded. The Acros Alloy 1-1/2″ Internal Cable Routing, Stainless Steel Bearing headset that allows internal cable routing can also be difficult to drop low enough to reach an aero position on the right sized frame. This isn’t a massive issue if you’re looking for a comfortable ride over speed.
If you’re looking at getting an Orca Aero or an Orca that great, but you should give some thought beforehand as to what you hope to achieve with this bike. If you race, just want to be rapid, or you’re not keen on smashing all the climbs, the Orca Aero will have you flying. Alternatively, if you enjoy a ride that gets you to a rewarding view with a comfortable ride and satisfying descent afterwards, the Orbea Orca is the way to go. We hope this page has given you some useful information about the Orbea Orca range.
Go to our Shop page to see more information on the sizes and colours we currently have available.
Or go to the Orbea website to see more specific information about the Orbea Orca and Orbea Orca Aero.
The Cyclewise Team