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When it comes to aero bikes, delivering speed is always a top priority. But doing this without compromising other factors like stiffness and handling can be tricky. To make its greatest aero bike ever, Spanish brand Orbea has delved deep to find the optimal tradeoffs of these factors to deliver a fast bike with minimal tradeoffs. This is the new Orbea Orca Aero.
Take one glance at the Orca Aero’s profile and you know its speedy intent. For this latest iteration, Orbea already had a rich foundation to work with from the work done bringing the Ordu time trial bike to life. From there, many aero refinements were made. The toptube and chainstays are now horizontal to improve airflow, while the downtube and seattube profiles have been aerodynamically optimized for 25mm-28mm tires (with a max clearance of 30mm tires), better directing airflow over wheels with these size tires. Up front, a new aerodynamically designed fork has been optimized for deep section wheels. The aero improvements extend beyond the frame as well. A new aero handlebar, stem and seatpost reduce drag by 2 percent. There are also a non–UCI-legal storage compartment as well as an aero water bottle which improve the aerodynamics of the bike. It’s something the pros can’t enjoy, but the rest of us certainly can.
Put all these improvements together and you get Orbea’s fastest ever road bike. As is often the case with aero bikes, the benefits accrue more as you go faster. Riding at 40 kilometers per hour saves 15 watts, while riding at a pro-level speed of 50 kilometers per hour boosts that aero savings to 28 watts.
To maintain a stiff ride, Orbea has focused in on the headtube, downtube and chainstays, making them even stronger through the carbon layup and the use of the brand’s OMX carbon. The new frame’s weight of 1,150 grams, in conjunction with these reinforcements, improves the new Orca Aero’s stiffness to weight ratio over the previous version—making it, by Orbea’s claim, one of the most efficient and fastest bikes available.
The geometry has also been significantly reworked to ensure great handling. Make no mistake, this is a race bike featuring an aggressive geometry. A shortened wheelbase and chainstays makes for a more responsive ride, while lower stack and a bigger bb drop make for better aerodynamics and stability.
At the cockpit, Orbea has opted for serviceability and adjustability over the absolute fastest option. This is very welcomed by us because the ability to adjust your position exactly how you like it far outweighs the small aero advantage a single-piece bar/stem combo provides.
The Orca Aero line features multiple models costing between $4,499 and $9,999 and is available in seven sizes from 47 to 60.
The bike is available through Orbea’s MyO customization program which lets riders choose the paint design as well as the components they really want.
More info: orbea.com