Being a predominately European company, most people don’t know that Orbea has been making bikes for over 80 years. In those 80 years, they have produced fantastic bikes and have evolved with different changes in terms of bicycle design, materials and product technology. The art of carbon manufacturing processes, painting, testing and aerodynamics are continuously improving as the brand makes its mark as one of the finest bicycle manufactures in the world.
Over the last 10 years Orbea has created high end bicycles and specifically of interest to me are the Time Trial and Triathlon bikes. These bikes have won Tour De France stages, Ironman World Championships and countless other wins all over the world. However, their market has been on the higher end of the budget scale. I have been asking Orbea for years to create a bike that will also cater to the more entry level prices. Please keep in mind that entry level has its own category in Triathlon that isn’t an ordinary “entry level” bike. In the sport of triathlon, an entry level bike is a competitive “race ready” bike that has potential to meet the demands and goals of motivated people at a fair value.
Orbea invited me to visit their Little Rock Arkansas office where I had the opportunity to preview the 2015 line of Orbea bicycles. I couldn't have been more pleased to have my request for a great value bike met with the Orbea Ordu M30. I will explain my thoughts and experience as I rode the Ordu M30 for a few hours with the most interesting and informative host of Orbea representatives.
As a professional bike fitter, it is my job to make sure that every bike purchase follows the rule of “it’s only a good deal if it fits”. The fit of a triathlon bike must meet an intersection of comfort, power output and aerodynamics. This criteria ends with a position that is highly individual and unique to the cyclist due to experience, flexibility, and range of motion, injuries, and more.
The Ordu M30 comes in sizes XS, SM, MD, and LG. This range offers a wide selection of riders who vary in body size no matter how small or large. The combination of adjustable seat post angle and aero bar adjustability gives the bike enhanced fit abilities to meet the needs of the cyclists whether in a comfortable ironman distance position or aggressive aero position for short sprints and Time trials. Its monocoque carbon construction frame is designed with both high modulus and standard fibers to meet the demands of performance, durability and of course aerodynamics.
What is impressive to me is the attention to detail of the M30 in terms of having an internal direct cable routing system that allows for both mechanical cabling and electronic cabling if needed for future upgrades. This system allows for reduced friction on cables thus making shifting and braking smooth. Not only is this a noticeable feature to the rider but also much easier to work on when changing mechanical/ electric cables.
Equally impressive to the frames design and features are the chosen selection of components made up of mostly Vision parts and Shimano 105 11sp. I will start with the aero bar assembly. The Vision Trimax alloy handlebar has always been a favorite of mine due to its simplicity in making adjustments. It has extensions that easily move forward or rearward as needed with only one bolt located in the extension end. The ski tip bars are very user friendly compared to the S-bend type that tends to angle your wrist downward making a full grip on the bar difficult. The aero pads are fixed behind the center of the base bar can be widened easily with removing two bolts. The Vision Aero levers are lightweight and responsive with a curvature that allows gripping with confidence while braking.
The aero carbon seat post is a genius design in that it has a sliding scale fore/after ability ranging from approximately 74 to 81+ degrees with one bolt. The saddle clamp is a no brainer that adjusts the tip or down quickly with a 5mm allen wrench. The M30 is stock with a Prologo Zero Tri saddle with a deep center channel that is a great for blood flow and reducing numbness during long rides. I did notice it is a hard saddle and a break-in period will be necessary.
The Vision Team 25 clincher wheels are what I consider to be “race worthy” wheels that are somewhat light but most of all durable training wheels that will get you many miles of training and racing. The low profile aero rims paired with radial bladed spokes make for a stable ride in crosswinds. My opinion has always been that stock wheels should be workhorse wheels that are no frills, not expensive but must be reliable (race wheels are a different story) and the Visions Team 25’s meet this criteria very well.
The Shimano 105 11sp components and FSA Gossamer 52x36 compact press fit cranks make up a very solid drivetrain. If I had to come up with anything I didn’t like about the way Orbea outfitted the bike, it would be the Orbea OC-11 brake calipers. However, my thoughts on brake calipers are much like the training wheel discussion. I want brakes that work well, are durable and reliable for many years. I’m sure the Orbea OC-11 brakes will do fine as performance goes. It just doesn’t make a complete Shimano 105 component package and has little importance in the overall scheme of things.
The ride of the M30 was a quite pleasurable experience. I could really feel the stiffness of the bottom bracket when out of the saddle hammering. Sometimes stiffness can be related to a harsh ride, but this was not the case. The bike tracked straight and solid with no hint of twitchiness. It was able to corner tightly and stable on fast descents. The M30 is a great bike for the short explosive efforts of sprints to the long rides of Ironman.
In addition to the design, components and awesome ride quality of the M30, there are other things worth mentioning that are important but not always thought of when purchasing a bike. One is that the bike will break down and travel well. Bike cases require some disassembling of parts such as wheels, pedals, seat post and removal of the handlebar assembly from the fork steerer tube. Sometimes parts get damaged when traveling and replacements can be so bike specific that a regular bike shop will not be able to help. The M30 doesn’t have any unusual parts and most any shop should be able to help should your luck turn south during your travels.
In closing, I think that Orbea has hit a homerun with the Ordu M30. It is a bike that any triathlete or Time Trialist will be happy racing short or long distances without sacrificing comfort or aerodynamics. At $2399, it is a bike that will make other bike vendors worry in this same price category.