Orro bikes are designed in the shadow of the legendary Ditchling Beacon and on the doorstep of some great UK gravel in the South Downs.
The Terra range consists of carbon, aluminium and electric versions, plus the S model where the S stands for steel.
In this case, it’s a custom-drawn 4130 chromoly that’s triple butted to Orro’s design. Up-front, a full-carbon fork completes the heart of the bike.
Orro has built a deserved reputation for value and the Terra S certainly follows suit. It’s practical, lively and fun.
Orro Terra S GRX600 specifications
For a penny under £2,000, you get Shimano’s GRX600 drivetrain, GRX400 hydraulic brakes, Fulcrum wheels, Continental tyres and a classy Deda cockpit.
The skinny-tubed frame is very well appointed, with triple bottle bosses on both seat and down tubes, so you can make space for a larger frame bag should you want to take the Terra bikepacking.
A third set of bottle bosses set under the down tube further expands liquid capacity. There are also proper rack and mudguard mounts front and rear, plus bosses on the carbon fork for more mounting options.
The skinny top tube doesn’t suit bento box mounts. Instead, Orro has slightly ovalised the tube itself to provide a stable base for a strap-on top bag and add stability to frame bags too.
The GRX600 drivetrain used here is the 1x option, combining a 40-tooth chainring with a wide 11-42t 11-speed cassette. I like the simplicity of the single chainring.
Down in the speedier gears (11 through 21) the steps are two teeth, which is progressive enough for all but the ficklest of gearheads. It’s only when you get up into the larger cogs that the jumps become more pronounced, with five teeth between the final three gears of 32, 37 and 42.
I didn’t have an issue with the jumps. I much prefer having a gear that I can keep spinning the pedals in when the ground is loose and the gradients steep.
The Fulcrum Rapid Red 900 DB wheelset is part of Fulcrum’s OEM (original equipment) range. That means these are only available on complete bikes, rather than as aftermarket upgrades.
The 24mm-deep alloy rims are laced to Fulcrum’s hardy yet easily serviceable hubs with 24 stainless steel spokes front and rear.
The rim is broad at 27mm, with a generous 22mm internal width that Fulcrum recommends for use with tyres ranging from 28mm to 45mm wide. The fitted Continental Terra Trail rubber comes up at 40mm wide.
The wheelset uses Fulcrum’s 2-Way fit standard, so can be run either with tubes (as supplied) or fully tubeless. At 1,950g, however, they are on the hefty side.
High-quality versatile tyres
The Terra Trail tyres have a diamond-shaped block tread pattern with bigger, well-spaced shoulder knobs.
They roll surprisingly well on tarmac. Although not as fast as road bike tyres, they don’t hamper on-road pace as more extreme gravel treads can.
They coped very well biting into choppy mud that had been churned up by horses on one of my bridleway excursions.
On loose gravel corners, I was hugely impressed by the Terra’s stable grip levels. It took quite a lot of speed and plenty of lean to get even the slightest hint of the rear tyre breaking traction.
I would like the Terra S to have come set up tubeless to take advantage of the greater range of tyre pressures, especially in difficult seasonal conditions where the going underfoot is much softer.
The Orro’s brake system uses the base model hydraulics of Shimano’s GRX400 range, here operating on dual 160mm SM-RT70 rotors.
Strangely, however, the Terra’s braking never felt quite as positive as the Scott Addict Gravel I’ve also tested, despite using the same setup.
The brakes still have plenty of feel through the lever and are progressive in power application – it just took more lever throw to get the full power when compared to the Addict.
Orro Terra S GRX600 geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||75.6||74.9||74.2||73.3||72.6|
|Head angle (degrees)||71||71||71||71||71|
|Seat tube (mm)||460||480||510||545||580|
|Top tube (mm)||508||529||553||581||604|
|Head tube (mm)||120||140||165||192||225|
Orro Terra S GRX600 ride impressions
The ride of the Orro Terra S provides a valuable lesson in what makes a great steel gravel bike.
The skinny tubes of the frame bring a lot of life to the ride. The spring of the steel not only helps reduce vibrations from ruts and rough shale surfaces, but it also adds plenty of zip when you pile into an off-road gravel corner.
The bike positively springs out of bermed singletrack corners.
The 612mm stack and 397mm reach of the large-sized frame are very much in the endurance bike realm, as is the steep 73.3-degree seat angle.
The slightly relaxed 71-degree head angle and generous 1,052mm wheelbase further add to the long-distance potential of the Terra S.
What impressed me most about the Terra S is that it feels smooth and steady when you’re rolling along on a doubletrack gravel road. It goes about its business of reducing fatiguing vibrations and covering plenty of miles.
Then, when you encounter a bit of trail, singletrack or other exciting excursion, the Terra S responds like an excited puppy.
The frame absorbs rough rooty smacks and steps, springing back with plenty of energy. It stays resolutely stiff so as not to get drawn off line in the manner that some more flexy frames can.
The sturdy carbon fork has more rigidity than the frame, but it balances well. It serves to keep the steering reactive, while a great Deda gravel handlebar wrapped in thick shock-absorbing tape meant the Terra never felt anything less than comfortable even on the worst surfaces.
The bar is based on the alloy Zero bar, so it gets the short and shallow drop of that design, but here it’s combined with a subtle 12-degree flare.
This means the levers don’t angle out at too much of an extreme, yet the 42cm nominal width extends to a wide 48cm at the base of the drops.
The Orro Bostal saddle is fine – slender, quite long, but well padded. It wouldn’t be top of any list of mine, but saddles are a personal choice, and I found the Bostal comfortable enough for all-day rides.
The sturdy alloy post has a little setback and does everything it should. Long-term, I’d look to upgrade to a lighter carbon post because it’s an easy way to save a few grams and add a bit more compliance (even though the Terra S frame isn’t wanting for that).
Orro Terra S GRX600 bottom line
The Terra S is an easy bike to like; it’s very, very well priced and hits all the right notes for practicality.
It would make an equally formidable commuter bike or winter road bike, just as it would an epic bikepacking adventure companion. That’s reason enough to put this high on any list of the best gravel bikes.
The fact that it’s so much fun to ride makes the Terra S a bike you can buy with both your head and your heart, and that’s more than enough for me to strongly recommend it.
How we tested
In the highly competitive £2,000 to £2,500 gravel bike world, there’s a huge variety of designs available.
Here, we put to the test three distinct takes on gravel bikes, on road, smooth hardpack, twisting forest fire roads, heavily used bridleways and more than a smattering of mountain bike singletrack trails.
Bikes we tested
- Orro Terra S GRX600
- Surly Grappler
- Scott Addict Gravel 30
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, EUR €2012.00GBP £2000.00USD $2170.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 11.1kg (L), Array, kg|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Orro|
|Available sizes||br_availableSizes, 11, 0, Available sizes, XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Brakes||br_brakes, 11, 0, Brakes, Shimano GRX400 hydraulic disc|
|Cassette||br_cassette, 11, 0, Cassette, Shimano Deore M5100 11-42T|
|Chain||br_chain, 11, 0, Chain, Shimano 11 Speed|
|Cranks||br_cranks, 11, 0, Cranks, Shimano RX600 40t|
|Fork||br_fork, 11, 0, Fork, Full carbon|
|Frame||br_frame, 11, 0, Frame, 4130 Steel triple butted|
|Handlebar||br_handlebar, 11, 0, Handlebar, Deda Gravel alloy|
|Rear derailleur||br_rearDerailleur, 11, 0, Rear derailleur, Shimano RX812 11-Speed|
|Saddle||br_saddle, 11, 0, Saddle, Orro Bostal|
|Seatpost||br_seatpost, 11, 0, Seatpost, Orro Alloy Setbac|
|Shifter||br_shifter, 11, 0, Shifter, Shimano ST-RX600|
|Stem||br_stem, 11, 0, Stem, Deda Zero|
|Tyres||br_tyres, 11, 0, Tyres, Continental Terra Trail 40c|
|Wheels||br_wheels, 11, 0, Wheels, Fulcrum Rapid Red 900 DB|