Compared to the last crop of mid-power eMTBs, or eBike Lights as we call them, Orbea has led the charge when it comes to outright power. With 60Nm of torque coming out of the Shimano EP8 RS drive unit, the Rise H climbs every bit as good as the more expensive carbon model and leaves other lower-powered eMTB’s in the dust. It’s not quite enough to keep up with a full power eBike in Boost/Turbo mode, but if you’re a fit rider and push hard then you won’t be too far behind.
What is cool about the Orbea Rise RS platform however is that it allows riders to co-mingle with unassisted, mid-power or full power riders quite naturally. Although we enjoy the reduced weight of mid-power eBikes, traditionally, these eBike Light category bikes have not had enough battery power to make us consider ditching our full-power eMTBs. The Rise H certainly has a lot more battery range and we do like the extra downhill laps the larger battery affords over the lighter “M” models. Granted this bike isn’t really built to be a self-shuttling enduro rig – it’s designed to be a well-rounded trail bike that makes uphills, downhills, and flat hills equally fun to ride. And with the larger internal battery, the Rise H is ready for even more fun.
Moving beyond the climbing and range capabilities of the Orbea Rise H10, the handling and downhill performance come into view. As we said above, the Orbea Rise was designed to be an eMTB offering for discerning trail riders and those who don’t need massive amounts of travel or want big bulky down tubes with overly powerful motors. That intention carries over when it comes time to descend the Orbea Rise. As former downhill racers and riders who seek out the steepest and chunkiest downhills possible, we are admittedly not the ideal consumer for this bike. That’s fine however, since not everyone will be looking to ride the same type of terrain and will be pleased to know that although the Rise gets a bit nervous on the steepest and fastest of pitches, it still came out the other end with all its nuts and bolts.
Orbea’s MyO program allows for some customization beyond just paint and looks, which is how we ended up with larger brake rotors, some burlier wheels and tires and a longer travel fork. If you are also an aggressive rider, you’ll likely want to take advantage of that option as well, and we’d suggest getting a rear shock with a reservoir. The Rise H in our spec rode quite well and when we started pushing it hard it handled the hits, however we had to air up the rear shock quite high to keep it from bottoming out, and the downside of that high air pressure meant the bike was a bit stiff off the top on mellower trails or slower speeds. Some volume reducers and the larger volume shock will help combat the issue, but we felt it pertinent to address in case you own this bike and are having some similar feedback.
Even with our longer travel fork up front, the 65.5-degree head tube angle meant the bike was snappy, agile and very lively on the trail. We rode this bike on our PNW test trails, drove it all the way to Bentonville, Arkansas for the Bentonville Bike Festival, and had a great time riding everything in between. It really excels on the fun jibby types of trails, jumps well, and is also a speed demon on your general mountain bike trails. We have a ton of fun on this bike and so our only real criticisms are that it has some loud cable rattle in the downtube and that we wish there was a 160mm version for more aggressive riding. Orbea does have the Wild FS, which we also love, but it’s a full power eMTB in a different category, so for now your maximum eMTB light capabilities must be served by the Rise.