In 2014, Orbea launched a completely redeveloped Rallon, just days after it was put through its paces in the last race of the Enduro World Series. It quickly grew in reputation as one of the best value and most coveted rides in enduro.
The 2016 X30 is the cheapest of the Rallon range, which is made up of three bikes that share the same geometry. Orbea doesn’t offer a carbon version, in a bid to keep the price down while offering a more competitive component package. At a touch under 15kg (33lb) the hydroformed aluminium Rallon is a touch on the porky side but feels solid and carries a lifetime warranty.
Orbea offers custom build options on its website and build the bikes to order from its factory in Spain. Our test bike was the stock entry-level model, with a solid specification for the asking price including a Fox 34 fork and Float rear shock, Shimano SLX running gear and Race Face finishing kit.
Industrial lines and geometry that talks the talk
Garish colours and unique tubing shapes make Orbea’s 160mm travel bike stand out. There is a lot going on here but the Spaniards have worked hard to keep the Rallon's lines tidy yet somewhat industrial. The cable routing has been thought about and sits neatly on the top of the down tube in a way that avoids cable rub at the head tube and the welds look tidy underneath paint that seems to withstand knocks well.
The sorted suspension geometry means you'll rarely be switching out of open mode
On paper the numbers look bang on for what you’d want from an enduro slayer and they add up on the trail too. The large frame has a 640mm effective top tube length and that with a generous seat angle gives a super comfortable riding position for pedally sections. The Rallon benefits from clever adjustable geometry that can drop the bottom bracket by 7mm and increase both head and seat tube angles by 0.5 degrees. This takes the head angle to 65.5 and seat angle to 74.5 degrees and is done through an easy rotation of the shock mount pin.
However, it’s the suspension geometry that really is the highlight of this bike. Even with the Fox Float DPS Performance shock on open it doesn’t feel like you’re pedalling a 160mm travel bike. To us, it felt like the open setting was all that was needed in 90% of situations, with only the really steep climbs having us switching.
2x gearing isn't fashionable but is effective
The double crankset gives plenty of gear options for the uphills but there are ISCG 05 mounts for a chain device should you want a 1x setup. On the downs, the slack head angle and 1,205mm wheelbase keep the Rallon stable.
Worth a few kit tweaks
We switched out the 70mm stem for a 50mm and replaced the 760mm bars for a wider set. It was these changes that really brought the bike to life and gave the confidence to push it harder. The super short 420mm chainstays help create a fun and poppy ride inspiring us to find any opportunity to get the bike on the back wheel.
Maxxis High Roller and Ardent tyres strike a great combination of predictability up front, while giving the back wheel permission to get rowdy, particularly in poor conditions.
The Rallon's good-on-paper numbers continue to make perfect sense when it's time to get rowdy
The own brand Orbea Digit manual dropper seatpost was a real frustration. Spanish designers have created a marriage between seat clamp and post that should make dropping the seat while on the move easy. Using a slot cut into the post and a guide on the seat clamp, the post can move up and down but isn’t allowed to twist. You will always end up with the seat inline with the top tube, eventually.
It might work in Spain where it’s always dry and the post remains greased but it just became stressful in muddy UK conditions with the post regularly sticking. A standard post and clamp or a remote dropper would be the answer here.
We swapped the stem for a shorter model to bring the bike to life
It was also disappointing to see the lack of lock-on grips. Again, perhaps an oversight, without full consideration of the British weather. With just one heavy shower the grips became motorbike throttles, twisting with every change in body position.
Despite these gripes, the entry-level Rallon represents great value for money and you’ll have some change in your pocket for the upgrades you’ll no doubt find yourself wanting. A remote dropper post is the biggest miss from an otherwise competitive spec sheet but locking grips and a shorter stem would also help maximise enjoyment on the trail.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.