Orbea Terra M20-D 17 review

All-roader first from the Basque race brand

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
£2,799.00 RRP

Our review

A very welcome departure from Orbea that’s smooth and speedy with sweet handling
Buy if, You want to cover grit and gravel fast and don’t want to compromise your road rides too much either
Pros: Rapid off road, sweet handling and smooth on it
Cons: Some component compromises mean less value for money than some
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Orbea is known as a race-focused brand that has a long association with professional cycling. Numerous world and Olympic champs have ridden its bikes. Its new Terra, however, is something of a departure, being every inch a gravel bike. With only a handful of events in Europe to suit this type of bike, Orbea has built something that’s more about the fun of riding, and that’s fine by us.

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Specifications

  • Weight: 9.18kg (L)
  • Frame: Terra OMP carbon
  • Fork: Terra carbon
  • Gears: FSA Gossamer 48/32, 11-32
  • Chainset: FSA Gossamer
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-RS805
  • Wheels: Mavic Aksium disc
  • Tyres: 1.5in Schwalbe G-One
  • Handlebar: FSA Energy
  • Stem: FSA Energy
  • Saddle: Prologo Nago Space

Orbea claims an 1,190g frame weight for the Terra and since its a bike built for toughness not lightness that’s a decent compromise weight wise. Orbea backs up that toughness claim with a lifetime warranty.

It’s not only tough though, the Terra’s versatile too – mudguard and rack mounts on the frame, allow it to easily take on bike-packing and daily commuting as well as gravel riding and racing. With the right tyres you could even consider cyclocross.

The Terra’s tyre clearances have been optimised for 40mm gravel tyres if you’re heading off-road and 28mm rubber if you’re staying on it. Even though the test bike came specced with fat Schwalbe G-Ones, a gravel-friendly 48/32 chainset and an 11-32 cassette, I was impressed with the way the Terra covered tarmac. Aside from the buzz of the tyres when cornering and the slightly sluggish acceleration, compared to slicks, the Terra is a great companion for road riding.

The traditionally shaped frame means a solid base and the stiffness through the drivetrain makes for a responsive ride. Up front the slightly longer fork is designed to offer flex in its lower two-thirds to take the sting out of rough roads and rutted trails.

Orbea uses special carbon lay-ups – something it calls ‘Dynamic Structure’ – at the head tube, seat tube / top tube joint and above the front and rear dropouts to help absorb vibrations. I can’t vouch for the slightly secretive design, but on broken and rougher dirt surfaces the Terra is impressive. It doesn’t jar or jolt but doesn’t feel soft either.

The Terra is part of Orbea’s MyO program so you can choose options on some of the finishing components, gear ratios and, more interestingly, the paint scheme. I love the ’90s-inspired fluoro touches on the test Terra, but if you have more modest tastes there are plenty of options for you.

Ride-wise there’s a lot to like about the Terra and it’s one of the best I’ve tried for covering grit and gravel quickly. It’s also impressively light for a bike of this type at just over 9kg, but in terms of value we do have some reservations.

At just under £2,800 I’d have expected a full Ultegra groupset. And while I can forgive the down-spec to FSA’s Gossamer chainset as Shimano doesn’t yet offer a gravel-friendly 48/32 option, the entry-level FSA Energy bar and stem come across as a little below the Terra’s pay grade. As do Mavic’s highly competent yet still entry-level Aksium disc-brake wheels.

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That said, the Terra does meet the needs of the fastest gravel riders, and with a switch of tyres you would also have a superior on-road machine. With the current fad for having a single bike for every type of riding, the Terra should be on everyone’s shortlist.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Terra M20-D 17
Brand Orbea

Available Sizes XS S M L XL
Rear Wheel Weight 2010
Wheelbase (cm) 106.5
Top Tube (cm) 58.5
Standover Height (cm) 85.5
Seat Tube (cm) 56.5
Chainstays (cm) 43
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 28.5
Wheelset Mavic Aksium Disc
Weight (kg) 9.18
Trail 5.9
Stem FSA Energy
Shifters Shimano RS805
Seatpost FSA SL-K Di2, 27.2mm
Seat Angle 73
Saddle Prologo Nago Evo Space
Rear Tyre 1.5in Schwalbe G-One
Bottom Bracket FSA BB30, BB386 adaptor
Rear Derailleur Shimano Ultegra
Headset Type FSA
Head Angle 72
Handlebar FSA Energy
Front Wheel Weight 1650
Front Tyre 1.5in Schwalbe G-One
Front Derailleur Shimano Ultegra
Frame Material Terra OMP carbon
Fork Offset 5
Fork Terra carbon
Cranks FSA Gossamer 48/32
Chain FSA Team Issue
Cassette Shimano Ultegra, 11-32
Brakes Shimano BR-RS805 hydraulic disc
Frame size tested L