The Orca Aero Disc feels like it’s arrived beneath the radar, without the big splashes created by the launches of the Venge, Madone and Cervélo’s radical new S5.
- The Orbea Orca Aero M10iTeam-D19 is one of our Bike of the Year bikes for 2019. To read reviews of the other contenders and the categories tested across road, mountain and women’s bikes, visit our Bike of the Year hub page.
The disc version follows the rim-brake model’s shape closely, but Orbea has taken advantage of the extra space available to increase tyre clearance and smooth out the lines.
The Orca’s sculpted front end looks slick and purposeful as it comprises an excellent aftermarket Vision stem and bar, but that does mean that there’s still exposed cable. That Vision cockpit is the slick Metron 5D, with its straight front edge for a big aero gain.
I like that the two out-front fittings are included with the owner’s manual and spares, so you can fit a GPS computer or a round bar section to accommodate traditional lights.
The bike’s shape is particularly good, my 57cm test bike features a tight 1-metre wheelbase and parallel 73.2-degree seat and head angles.
The kit levels are what I’d expect on a bike at this price, with full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and great wheels in the DT Swiss ARC1400 Dicuts. These feature a deep (48mm) rim combined with premium-quality Dicut hubs for a wheel with impeccable stiffness, a nice quick pick-up and sharp responsive feel.
At 1,577g a pair, their weight is decent for this depth. Their internal width of 17mm is best suited to 25mm tyres, so even though the chassis has the tyre clearance, I wouldn’t advise going bigger on these hoops.
While the trend is towards wider rims and bigger rubber, there’s still something to be said for a setup like this as it gives the Orbea Orca a light, nimble-feeling front end, making it much more flickable than your average aero bike.
Orbea Orca Aero M10iTeam-D19 ride impressions
The Orca is undoubtedly a rapid ride, but the lightness at the front end makes it feel more akin to a super-sharp criterium bike than a pseudo time-trial machine with drop bars. Orbea should be applauded for constructing a bike that goes this quickly without compromising the fun factor.
The contact points are excellent thanks to the aforementioned 5D bar and brilliant Prologo Dimension saddle. It’s a comfortable place to be, but the ride is definitely firmer than the S5, SystemSix or sublimely smooth Madone and Defy.
It climbs superbly, which is something I loved about the rim-braked version. This is every bit its equal, and even betters its predecessor on descents thanks to the superior brake control. I also love the fact that 160mm rotors are specced on this larger-sized bike.
The Hutchinson tyres are designed to be run tubeless but come set up with inner tubes (the tubeless valves are included). Mounted on their rims, they come up bang on 25mm. They feel okay on the road and grip is good, but I think they would benefit from being set up tubeless sooner rather than later to save a few grams and introduce a bit more feel.
Taken as a whole, the Orca Aero is a stunning machine. It’s as fast as an aero road bike should be yet comes with truly outstanding handling chops. It may weel be the dark horse, but it could well be the smart choice for those looking to go as fast as their legs can take them with a thick layer of fun on top.
Orbea Orca Aero M10iTeam-D19 specifications
- Sizes (*tested): 47cm, 49, 51, 53, 55, 57*, 60
- Weight: 7.85kg
- Frame: OMR Carbon
- Fork: OMR Carbon
- Chainset: Shimano Dura-Ace 9150 Di2, 52/36
- Bottom bracket: BB386
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace 11-28
- Chain: Shimano HG 901
- Derailleurs: Shimano Dura-Ace 9150
- Shifters: Shimano RS-700
- Wheelset: DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut
- Tyres: Hutchinson Fusion 5, 25mm
- Wheel weight: 1.21kg (f), 1.53kg (r)
- Stem: Vision Metron 5D Compact
- Bar: Vision Metron 5D Compact
- Headset: Orbea
- Saddle: Prologo Dimension T4
- Seatpost: Orbea Carbon
- Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 hydraulic disc
Orbea Orca Aero M10iTeam-D19 geometry
- Seat angle: 73.2 degrees
- Head angle: 73.2 degrees
- Fork offset: 4.3cm
- Bottom bracket drop: 7cm
- Bottom bracket height: 27.15cm
- Chainstay: 40.8cm
- Seat tube: 55.5cm
- Top tube: 57.75cm
- Head tube: 18.1cm
- Stack: 58.5cm
- Reach: 39.8cm
- Wheelbase: 1,000mm
- Price: £7,199 / US$8,999 / AU$11,799