It’s easy to overlook Orbea’s Alma 29er, when Julien Abaslon does all of his winning on the 26-inch wheeled version. The 2011 second-generation Alma 29er, due out this spring, will likely be harder to ignore.
The original Alma 29er was the first, and only, monocoque carbon fibre big wheeler on the market back in 2006.
While details of the new bike are yet-to-be released BikeRadar got a peek at a rendering of the new Alma 29er design. Couple the image with the specifications of the 2010 launch of a new 26-inch wheeled version and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what Orbea’s got up its sleeve.
The 4×4 triangle design looks to cross over as inferred from the rendering. The premise behind the four-point system is to offset the dropout from the intersection of the seat and chainstays to incorporate a level of vertical compliance into the frame. The old bikes only used the four-point concept in the rear triangle, but the new bikes use it throughout the whole frame. Orbea says that this gives the bike a level of compliance better than any other hardtail without compromising lateral rigidity.
The Size Specific Nerve will undoubtedly continue, which is the modification of the carbon layup to produce the same experience for riders no matter the size bike they ride.
We can imagine that the Direct Cable Routing technology (DCR) will be used on the new bike. DCR omits the need for derailleur cable housing from the bike’s head tube, by routing a sealed GORE Ride-On cable through specifically made cable guides on the frame.
The 2010 Alma 26er is equipped with BB30, which makes sense for the big-wheeled model as well. Any hardtail race bike can benefit from the lower weight, narrower Q-factor and good stiffness the system has to offer.
Orbea confirmed that they will officially launch the new Alma 29er at the Mellow Johnny’s Classic on 29 May, under the piloting of the Luna women’s team. According to Ronny Points, Orbea’s US sales manager, Georgia Gould has expressed interest in adding a 29er to her race-day quiver.
Geometry, pricing and specification are still to come, but Points told BikeRadar that the bike will continue in three sizes — small, medium and large — and have two color options.