Over the course of our testing, we took the Orbea Rise on mellower trail rides on flat, pedally trails to trail center jump lines and everything in between. Our testers have really grown to love the Rise on most trails and feel it’s a big jump in the direction of where eBikes hopefully go in the future. It is a lightweight, snappy, and poppy bike that you almost forget has a motor and battery.
Of course, the steepish 65.5-degree head tube angle has a part to play with the snappy and fast handling. For most riders, those who aren’t regularly charging very steep downhill trails at Mach speeds, the geometry is going to make this bike feel spritely. Quickly changing directions, threading the needle between obstacles, and climbing technical challenges are all effortless aboard the Rise. The 60Nm of torque certainly help make this bike climb quite a bit better than others in the category as well.
The downside to the responsive feel is a slight lack of confidence at super high speeds when trails are super steep. It’s not enough to really bother us, but it will force you to make a conscious effort to stay off the brakes and be a bit more focused. It was plenty capable, and we could still hang with the pack on gnarly trails, however we did notice it has a stiffer suspension feel than some of the plusher bikes on the market. The feedback is felt in the feet and hands however it translates to a more engaged ride experience and makes pre-hopping, pumping, and accelerating on the backside of transitions even more fun.
When directly compared to the Levo SL, which we’d say has a relatively soft, “In the travel” sort of feeling, the Rise is very different. Closest thing we could relate it to is coming off a luxury sedan or a sports car. Neither product has “bad” suspension, they just have different users and demands. A luxury sedan (Levo SL) offers a smoother, more relaxed ride that lots of people will enjoy whereas a sports car is going to have a stiffer suspension tune, which could make it a little more uncomfortable driving over potholes or rough sections of freeway, but when you decide to put the pedal down and hammer through the canyons, you’re going to be very happy. The Orbea Rise is that sports car.
While we do like a lot of things about the Rise, we have a few points to address. The wheelset is probably worth evaluating depending on your weight and riding style. Of all the riding we did on this bike, we’d say that about 10-15% of the time we had it out we realized the wheels were a bit to squeamish for us. Big compressions, especially in berms or while landing long sends resulted in some disconcerting squirm that took us a while to pinpoint. If you’re not riding black diamond jump lines with massive berms or sending little trail gaps 15-20 feet to flat, then you’re likely not going to even notice the issue as we really didn’t notice it on most of our riding. In fact, the compliance was very appreciated on wet, rooty trails or while scrambling for traction on dry and rocky desert trails.
Second, we didn’t love the selection of the Shimano EW100 Junction box over a more traditional EM800 computer display. The junction box is part of the minimalistic, RS philosophy we understand, and you can always pull out your phone to look at your Shimano Steps app, but in reality, we don’t want to look at our phone to know how much battery we have left. The junction box shows green until 20% battery is left and then it changes color. The lights in the box are very small and while you may be stoked that you’re still showing green and want to head back for one more lap, you could quickly find yourself in the red with only 20% of battery left. For a $119 upgrade, Orbea will ship the bike with a display, and we think it’s a worthwhile upgrade to get more info on the fly…If you want to spend another $119 on your already expensive new bike.