Orbea presented its new Rallon bike by opening with a photo of a pill labelled Enduralin, accompanied by the tag line 'The formula of excitement and fun that turns a good ride into a great one'. And that phrase really summarises everything Orbea has tried to encapsulate in its completely redesigned long travel enduro weapon.
- Best 29er trail bikes
- Best mountain bike: how to choose the right one for you
- Best women's mountain bike: how to choose the right bike for you
Now in its fifth incarnation, the Orbea Rallon is not just an evolution of the old model, it's a whole new machine that's been several years in development.
Orbea product manager Xabi Narbaiza told us that with all the resources at his disposal, if we don't like it he has no excuses, it's the best bike he can make! With that kind of confidence, I was eager to see for myself and headed to the Benasque Valley in the Spanish Pyrenees to find out more.
Orbea Rallon M-Team spec overview
- Frame (inc travel): Rallon M-Team with 150mm of travel
- Fork (inc travel): Fox 36 Float Factory with 160mm of travel
- Shock: Fox Factory Float X2 2-Position Adjust Kashima custom tune 230x60mm
- Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed
- Wheelset: DT E-1501 Spline 30mm TLR
- Tyres: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5in WT 3C Exo (fr), Maxxis Agressor EXO TR 2.3in (r)
- Brakes: SRAM Guide RSC (180mm rotors)
- Bar/stem: Race Face Next 35 10mm rise, 800mm/ Race Face Turbine R 35mm
- Chain guide: OneUp Components ISCG05 Guide
- Seatpost/saddle: Race Face Turbine 150mm drop/ Selle Italia XR Trail
- Stack: 624mm (large bike in low setting)
- Reach: 455mm
- Wheelbase: 1217mm
- Head angle: 65.5 degrees (low setting), 65 degrees (lower setting)
- Seat angle: 76 degrees (low setting), 75.5 degrees (lower setting)
- Bottom bracket drop: 28mm (low setting), 35mm (lower setting)
The three tiers of Rallon
Orbea is offering the Rallon as frame only, priced at £2,999 / $3,999 / AU$TBC, or in three stock build kits:
Orbea Rallon M10
The range starts with the M10, which comes with a Fox DPX2 Factory shock, Fox 36 Performance forks, SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain and Race Face Aeffect finishing kit.
- £3,899 / $4,999 / AU$TBC
Orbea Rallon M-Team
Next up is the M-Team, which is the bike I tested and the detailed spec for this is shown above.
- £5,699 / $7,999 / AU$TBC
Orbea Rallon M-LTD
Top of the range is the M-LTD, decked out in an array of top drawer parts: Fox Factory suspension and DHX2 coil shock, SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain and carbon DT Swiss XMC-1200 wheels.
This all amounts to a seriously impressive weight of just 12.44kg in size large, making it one of the lightest long travel 29ers on the market.
- £6,899 / $8,999 / AU$TBC
Besides these standard builds, Orbea is offering a range of other upgrades on all three bikes that include: a choice of Fox rear shock, SRAM Code or Shimano XTR brake upgrades, DT Swiss carbon wheels, the option of either a 150 or 175mm dropper post and Rotor QX1 oval chainrings.
And that's not all. Like Nike ID has done for its trainers, Orbea's 'My O' website gives every Rallon customer the chance to completely customise the look of their bike at no extra cost. There's the choice for numerous colour combinations in either matt or gloss finishes, and even the option to have your name printed on the bike — now that's pretty pro!
With The Rallon 4, Orbea designed it to be a jack of all trades bike for both recreational riders and racers, but it now feels that with the former group erring towards e-bikes, the market has changed.
With that in mind, the new Rallon is focused towards competent riders wanting all-out performance, and the first indication of that is the choice of 29inch wheels — which Orbea believes are the clear choice for traction and stability at speed.
Unlike the previous Rallons, the frame is carbon, Orbea's highest grade of carbon in fact, and the front triangle is made from a one-piece monocoque for maximum strength.
Inside the frame, Expanded Polystyrene System (EPS) technology is used during construction to give a smooth finish, reducing imperfections and further increasing strength. However, Orbea has been conscious to build in a desirable amount of compliance into the carbon and add stiffness where required. An example is the aluminium linkage, which uses a crankset interface to join the two sides.
The most eye-catching feature of the frame has to be its asymmetric design. By offsetting the shock 12mm to the right and using a one-sided brace to manage the stresses going into the top tube, Orbea has been able to slim this down for maxiumum standover height.
The offset design also has the benefit of making the shock controls easy to access during riding, and by offsetting the bottle cage mounts to the left, The Rallon can accommodate a 500ml bottle — alongside a specially designed tool pouch that comes with the bike.
Suspension design is something that has remained fairly unchanged from the Rallon 4. This is good to hear, because when we tested the old bike as part of our E-bike of the Year test previously, we were impressed by the suppleness of the 'Concentric Boost' design.
The leverage rate is progressive, but not overly so, which Orbea says allows you to make use of full-travel and not feel the harshness of hydraulic bottom-out, which occurs with some highly progressive designs.
Pedal efficiency is something that Orbea has sought to retain, but pivot placement on the new bike has been optimised for the larger chainring sizes of a SRAM Eagle drivetrain.
A look at the geometry chart shows a bike that's definitely aimed towards the longer and lower side of things, especially when it comes to bottom bracket height. A flip-clip in the linkage allows you to switch between aptly named 'low' and 'lower' settings, and the latter gives you a pedal-draggingly low 35mm of BB drop.
Reach measurements are spacious, but not huge, so something that's good to see is the use of short seat tube lengths throughout the range, allowing customers to select what size of bike they want based on reach, rather than worrying about clearance. What's also worth noting is the steep 76-degree seat angle, which will certainly help on steep accents.
The whole bike comes together in a clean looking package thanks to internal cable routing throughout. Features like a direct rear brake mount and a rubber down tube protector, which is honeycomb patterned to save weight, show that every detail has been carefully thought through. It's also good to see a more reliable threaded 73mm BB shell as opposed to press fit.
The build kit
In its standard guise, Fox's Float X2 shock is quite linear, so the Rallon is supplied with a custom tuned shock. I found this to be a good base setting without needing to add or remove spacers, and I simply added a few clicks of low-speed compression damping.
Out front, the Fox 36 performed flawlessly and proved to be a good match to the rear. While the combination of 30mm wide rims and a Maxxis Minion DHF Wide Trail tyre up front gave excellent traction and thanks to the low-profile Aggressor at the rear, the bike felt eager to accelerate.
When it came to shifting gears, the SRAM X01 Eagle never skipped a beat, and with a 32-tooth chainring fitted I found there weren't many climbs I couldn't grind up.
In the cockpit, the Race Face bars felt well proportioned, but it might have been preferable to see a 20mm rise bar in place of the 10mm one spec'd. On the large sized bike I found myself running all the spacers underneath the stem and still wanting a little more height.
First ride impressions
The wide variety of terrain in the Benasque Valley provided the perfect testing ground for the Rallon. Over the course of the day's testing, I encountered everything from rock strewn woodlands to high-speed singletrack and loose alpine scree fields. I was even heli dropped atop one of the tallest peaks in the Pyrenees for a near 2,000m brake cooking descent down some of the most incredible natural trails I have ever ridden.
Being bang on the 6ft mark, I began on the large sized bike, but had a 50mm stem fitted rather than the supplied 35mm option.
Despite the tight twisting nature of the first trail, what I instantly noticed was how easy the bike was to ride and there was none of the awkwardness you might expect from going in cold aboard a long travel 29er.
After the first morning of testing, I upsized to the XL model and countered the much longer 485mm reach with a 35mm stem. Although it definitely took a bit more dynamism to get the bike going, the ride position felt well centred and the extra stability encouraged me to start pushing the limits.
Due to the seriously rocky nature of the trails, I rode the bike in the higher of the two geometry positions for the majority of the testing period. Even here, it was hard to fault the Rallon's cornering ability and several times in the loose conditions I expected the tyres to break traction, but they kept gripping.
When I dropped the linkage into the lower setting and bolted the Fox DHX2 coil on to the back, things just got even better. Not only was the level of grip phenomenal, but the coil shock's consistent bump eating capability while riding down 10 minute-plus descents was seriously impressive.
With gravity working against you, the Rallon climbs well thanks to its steep seat angle and big gear range, but I was definitely conscious of the low BB and on more than one occasion I caught a pedal or fumbled because I felt I couldn't risk a pedal stoke.
Trail obstacles aside though, the bike climbs well and it's worth remembering you're not buying a bike like this for riding XC. Something I did find a little trickier on this bike than some others however was getting the front wheel off the floor for manualing or gapping through sections, but I think fitting a taller handlebar would go a long way to solving this.
And finally, one small complaint is the noise of chainslap that's caused by the chain running so close to the chainstay pivot. Pop a bit of mastic tape on there though and job's a good'un.
One thing worth mentioning here is that all the trails I rode were completely natural or hand cut, so it was difficult to get a feel for how the bike would perform through the big compression berms and jumps of a bike park. I'll report back on this when I've had the chance to ride the bike in some other situations.
Rallon M-Team early verdict
Orbea has really stepped the game up with this bike. If you want a rig you can throw into the gnarliest terrain with total confidence, line up and be competitive at the highest level of enduro racing or occasionally mix it up and go for a big day pedalling in the hills, then this bike ticks all the boxes.
With its geometry, this is definitely a bike that favours more experienced riders, but think of it like riding a race horse — be commanding and this bike will come into its own and excel.