Orbea tweaks the new Avant endurance bike for more comfort

Basque brand borrows tech from its race bike for long-haul Avant

Every brand worth its salt has its own take on the now ubiquitous endurance road bike, and Orbea invited us to the brand’s native Basque country to check out its updated long distance bike, the Avant.

Updated frame tech

The Avant sits alongside the racier Orca (which we will be covering in a later article) in the Orbea range, and borrows a great deal of tech from it.

Starting with the basics, Orbea moved to laser-cut carbon sheets for 2017, which allows all sorts of funky shapes to keep the amount of material that makes its way into the mould to the bare minimum.

The different carbon weaves used in the frame can be clearly seen in this cut away
The different carbon weaves used in the frame can be clearly seen in this cut away

The carbon that is used throughout the frame is slightly heavier than what is used in the Orca, but the weave of the fibres is said to improve the compliance of the ride.

The use of polyurethane inserts in the bottom bracket shell and head tube is also said to put less stress on the fibres around these areas during the manufacturing process, making for a stronger and marginally lighter frame.

The aggressively sloping top tube leaves lots of seatpost exposed with our testers lanky, spaghetti like legs
The aggressively sloping top tube leaves lots of seatpost exposed with our testers lanky, spaghetti like legs

The Avant also makes use of an aggressively downward sloping top tube, with 80mm more drop than the Orca, which ensures that as much of the 27.2mm seatpost is exposed as possible to improve compliance.

Front end tweaks

The head tube is still pretty tall in a 57cm size frame
The head tube is still pretty tall in a 57cm size frame

One of the key differences between endurance road bikes and all-out race machines is their higher handlebar position. This is normally accomplished by increasing the length of the head tube, but on larger sized bikes in particular, things can begin to look a little odd as it becomes excessively tall.

Orbea have aimed to address this issue by decreasing the length of the headtube on the updated Avant by 10mm, while making up the difference by increasing the axle-to-crown length of the fork. 1cm doesn’t sound like a great deal, but it does help to keep things visually balanced.

Increasing the length of the fork legs also allows them to flex a smidge more, which is said to help improve the comfort and tracking of the bike when things get rough. The increase also improves the clearance around the crown should you want to fit some meatier rubber.

Skinny rubber

The new Avant comes stock with 23mm, Vittorio Corsa tyres and has clearance for tyres up to 28mm in width. This is somewhat diminutive by modern standards given that many bikes are coming with at least 25mm, if not 28mm — and some are even going to 32mm for 2017.

The 23mm Vittorio Corsa tyres are undoubtedly nice, but we would have liked to have seen something chunkier
The 23mm Vittorio Corsa tyres are undoubtedly nice, but we would have liked to have seen something chunkier

Orbea claim the Avant is designed around 28mm tyres, but we reckon you might squeeze something bigger in there
Orbea claim the Avant is designed around 28mm tyres, but we reckon you might squeeze something bigger in there

Also slightly disappointing is the lack of eyelets for mudguards/fenders. Although the geometry screams ‘ride me really, really far’, the bike won’t be a perfect long-distance machine for those that live in wetter climes as mudguards are a key part of being comfortable on a long ride.

Pricing and availability

The Avant range starts at £549 (€699, N/A US) for the entry-level alloy H70 and rises to a heady £4,699 (€5899, $5,999) for the top-end, Dura-Ace spec M10iTeam-D. All bikes are available for order from your local Orbea dealer (Australian pricing unavailable at time of writing).

Every bike in the top three tiers of the range from Orbea is available through their Myo, customisation program. Much like Trek’s Project One, for an up-charge (a very reasonable €250) you can choose the paint scheme and spec of your bike.

The Ultegra Di2 hydro groupset is a great match for this bike
The Ultegra Di2 hydro groupset is a great match for this bike

Our test bike is a M20i Team D, which features hydraulic brakes and a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset. Our bike was also outfitted with the optional carbon, Vision Metron 40 Disc upgrade wheels. Look for a first ride report on the bike shortly.

Although most pros will opt to ride the more spritely Orca for the vast majority of events, Orbea are hoping to see the Avant featured at some of the upcoming season's spring classics.

Jack Luke

Staff Writer, UK
Jack has been riding and fettling with bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork and thinks nothing of bivouacking on a beach after work. Also fond of cup and cone bearings, skids and tan wall tyres.
  • Discipline: Long days in the saddle by either road or mountain bike
  • Preferred Terrain: Happiest when on a rural road by the coast or crossing a remote mountain pass. Also partial to a cheeky gravel adventure or an arduous hike-a-bike.
  • Current Bikes: Custom Genesis Croix de Fer all road adventure wagon, Niner EMD 9.
  • Dream Bike: A rigid 44 Bikes Marauder, all black please.
  • Beer of Choice: Caesar Augustus
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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