The Orbea Orca is one of the most familiar names out there when it comes to road bikes. The Basque brand’s flagship race bike was originally launched in 2003 and the Orca OMX is the latest evolution, launched in September, and our Bike of the Week.
Orbea started out in 1840 as a firearms manufacturer, but began producing bicycles in 1930, rising to prominence in the 1980s with Pedro Delgado and the Gin MG-Orbea / SEAT-Orbea teams.
Delgado won the 1985 Vuelta a España aboard an Orbea and finished second behind Stephen Roche in the 1987 Tour de France – a race characterised by the battle between the duo and won by Roche by only 40 seconds. (Delgado would go on to win the 1988 Tour de France having moved to the Reynolds team).
After originally working with steel and then aluminium, Orbea launched the Orca as its first carbon fibre bike.
The Orca has remained a permanent fixture in Orbea’s line-up since then, though the company’s flagship race machine has been redesigned multiple times since we first reviewed an Orca on BikeRadar in 2006.
The Orca name now best describes a family of bikes, with the Orca OMX – Orbea’s sixth-generation Orca, by our count – joining the Orca OMR and Orca Aero.
Where the OMR, with its sub-800g frame, is aimed at lightweight climbers like the Delgado of yesterday, the Aero is, well, designed to maximise aerodynamic performance – a departure in itself for a brand better associated with riders who light up the toughest mountain stages of the world’s toughest bike races.
Now the Orca OMX sits between the two in Orbea’s range. That’s a trend we’ve seen across the industry.
What is Bike of the Week?
Every Tuesday, we’ll bring you a detailed first look at one of the latest bikes to arrive for review – from road to commuting, gravel to enduro, and anything in between.
This is our chance to introduce the bike and everything that makes it unique before hitting the road or trails.
While dedicated bikes for climbers and all-out aero bikes for sprinters continue to have their place, there’s also been a convergence of the two in a bike designed to offer a little bit of everything. Machines such as our Bike of the Year for 2020, the Cannondale SuperSix EVO.
This is Orbea’s take on the theme.
For riders who still value low weight, the headline figures behind the OMX are impressive – a claimed 833g and 370g for the disc-specific frame and fork respectively.
And, if you place equal value in eking out a few extra watts in the town sign sprint, the OMX is said to offer an 8 watt advantage over the OMR at 40km/h.
You can thank the aero-influenced tube profiles, sculpted fork crown and neatly integrated seatpost and cockpit for that.
Like just about every other bike launched in the past year or two, including the Orca Aero (but excluding the new Giant TCR), the OMX has dropped seatstays. All things considered, the OMX casts a similar silhouette to the very competitors it’s looking to avert your gaze from, but that’s the price on progress, we suppose.
Where Orbea differs from most of its competitors, however, is in the personalisation available through the MyO custom programme.
You can choose from a wide range of colours for almost every part of the frame and fork, as well as six unique patterns for the fork – including the pattern featured on our test bike. You can upgrade components on the build, too.
Speaking of which, this is the Orbea Orca M10i LTD D with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL UST wheels (confusingly, OMX doesn’t appear anyway in the name of individual models, despite that being the name of the frame).
Still, it will set you back £7,899, but the range includes bikes from £4,199 with Shimano Ultegra all the way up to £8,299 with SRAM Red eTap.
Orbea Orca M10i LTD D
- Frameset: Orbea Orca OMX Disc, MyO custom paint, BB 386mm, 142×12mm thru-axle
- Fork: Orbea Orca OMX Disc, tapered 1-1/8in to 1.5in steerer, carbon dropouts, 12x100mm thru-axle
- Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 Di2
- Brakes: Shimano R9170 hydraulic disc brakes
- Wheels: Mavic Ksyrium Pro Carbon Disc UST CL
- Tyres: Mavic Yksion Pro 700 x 25
- Cockpit: Orbea OC2 Road Carbon, reach 80mm, drop 125mm
- Seatpost: Orbea Orca OMX SB0-25mm
- Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Boost SuperFlow L Carbon Keramic Rail
- Price: £7,899