Orbea Rallon M-LTD 19 Review
Words by Sourpatch | Photos by Troy Knight & Drew Rohde
Orbea Bicycles have been producing bicycles since the 1930s, making it one of the oldest bicycle manufacturers in the biz, although their manufacturing roots run much further back than that. Founded in 1840, the company, originally name Orbea Hermanos or Orbea Brothers (later Orbea Brothers and Co.), got their start making and selling handguns to the government. With the lessening demand for guns and a peacetime weapon restriction in place following World War I, Orbea Brothers and Co. decided it was time to get out of the gun business and utilize their steel tubing expertise in other markets. Thus, Orbea Bicycles entered the picture. It wasn’t until the late 1980s, over 55 years later, that Orbea would begin producing mountain bikes. Just a few decades later, and here we are.
The last Orbea I rode was the first Rallon, which was the brand’s attempt at an enduro/all-mountain rig. It showed some promise; however, it just didn’t quite leave a lasting impression. Last fall, Orbea reached out and offered a brand new Orbea Rallon to throw a leg over, and I am glad they did.
Orbea sent over their Purple Orbea Rallon M-LTD 19, which is their top of the line Rallon, but downgraded with DT Swiss wheels and a Fox Float X2 rear shock. Straight out of the box, with zero “tuning” this bike is a beast, easily earning the nickname, “The Purple Creature Eater.”
Clean, sculpted lines succinctly describe the Orbea Rallon’s 150/160 asymmetrical OMR (Orbea Monocoque Race) carbon frame. Orbea’s Monocoque Race frames use a blend of high modulus fibers and high strength fibers while using as little carbon as possible. They accomplish this by laser cutting carbon sheets to minimize excess materials and overlap. The asymmetrical/offset design also offers it’s own advantages, like increased stiffness while decreasing weight, but also provides unobstructed access to damping controls on the rear shock.
The Rallon uses what Orbea refers to as “pure enduro geometry.” They define this as having a long wheelbase (1,217mm), long cockpit (reach of 455mm), and short chainstays (435mm), in High mode. Match those numbers with a balanced headtube angle (65.5 degrees), steep seat angle (76 degrees), a low BB height (343mm), and you have yourself a bike that offers excellent stability at speed in the rough while supplying optimum balance and weight distribution. By flipping the rear shock bolt and putting the bike in Low, the Orbea Rallon gets slacker by .5-degree (HA 65 degrees, STA 65.5 degrees) and drops the bottom bracket 7mm to 336mm.
Orbea employs their concentric Boost suspension on the Rallon. This platform seeks to optimize pedal efficiency, small bump sensitivity, suspension progressivity, and focus on the rear-end stiffness to weight ratio. The squishers on our Rallon are a Fox 36 Float up front complimented by a Fox Float X2 in the rear. A Fox DHX2 is also available if you’re inclined to run a coil.
The Rallon M-LTD is outfitted with a complete SRAM drivetrain. Climbing is made possible thanks to SRAM’s ever-so-sweet Eagle 12-speed while a pair of Code RSC brakes provide the stopping power. A Maxxis Aggressor/Minion tire combo wraps the DT Swiss wheels. A Selle Italia XR Trail saddle is bolted to the Crank Brother Highline dropper post, which is not pleasant to install, and didn’t have the return speed I’d like.
Say you don’t like the standard color options Orbea has to offer, well, you’re in luck. Thanks to Orbea’s MyO bike builder, customers can customize their bikes from the factory. Orbea currently has 22 colors available on their palette that can check the main, secondary, frame detail, and Rallon logo boxes. Meanwhile, the remaining logos only have black, greys, and white color options. Customers also get to decide whether they want a gloss or the ever-so-popular matte finish. Once the colors get dialed in, customers get to change out some of the specs on their ride, though the options are dependent on which model you start with, and the options are few. On average, MyO orders take six to eight weeks to be completed and delivered. Though I didn’t get to order our test bike through the MyO builder, I have spent quite a bit of time playing the builder on more than one occasion.