SETUP | It took the crew a little time to get the setup on the Wild dialed in, with the stiff frame and carbon bar requiring some increased compliance from the suspension to damp the trail. Once the setup was dialed in though, the Wild was a very easy bike to hop on and attack the trail.
ELECTRONICS & INTEGRATION | The latest Bosch Smart System, with the discrete wireless Mini Remote on the handlebar and integrated System Controller in the top tube represents some of the cleanest integration on the market right now, with no extra wires on show or bulky displays to get in the way of your knees when pedaling. That said, some of the crew find value in having more information presented to them on a screen, so some of them would likely add the optional display to the system if they were to purchase the bike for themselves. Around the rest of the bike, Orbea has done an excellent job at delivering clean looks, well-finished edges and avoiding any notions of noise when riding, aside from the whirr of the Bosch motor when delivering its power. Of course we can’t talk integration without talking about the hotly contested headset cable routing. Most of our crew were pleased with how tight and well it’s executed on the Orbea but Robert fought us on that ‘til the end. What we can say is that we’ve ridden this bike in snow, mud, sand, pouring rain and everything in between. These rides were followed with daily pressure washes or hose-offs and we’ve yet to discover any rust, noise or gritty feelings from the bearings inside the head tube.
CLIMBING | Between the mid-length rear end and mid-height BB; the reasonable pedaling support; and the nicely centered seating position thanks to the relatively steep effective seat tube angle, the Orbea Wild M-Team is a very competent climber that left none of the crew with any complaints. Steep pitches were tackled effectively and techy sections cleared without issue thanks to the well-delivered power of the Bosch motor and the bike’s geometry and suspension platform allowing the power to be harnessed.
DESCENDING | Onto the descents, and it’s clear that e-Enduro racing was on the mind of the designers when creating the new Orbea Wild. Intuitive handling, great support from the suspension and a stout but not overly harsh feel overall had all testers going hard from the get go. The balance and poise of the Wild is truly spectacular, and from the desert rocks to the rooty coastal loamers, everyone was in agreement that the Wild is a descending animal. When it came to comfort on the longest and roughest tracks, some riders mentioned increased fatigue by the end of the run, so riders who value the most terrain-ironing sensitive machine may be better served by an alternative, but many will appreciate the Wild’s direct feel. It is a bike that excels when pushed and ridden hard, but will still reward the average Joe in most situations.
FINISH AND VALUE | When we’re talking about a bike at nearly $10k, it’s hard for us to say it’s a great value purchase. That said, the component spec on the Wild M-Team leaves very little to complain about, especially when the finish quality is taken into consideration. We’d likely opt for one of the more affordable models if we were to put our hands in our pockets, perhaps even selecting one of the alloy-framed “H” models. That said, if you have deeper pockets than we do, it’s unlikely that you would be unhappy with your purchase of this incredibly capable carbon-framed beauty.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Orbea Wild is a bike that our whole crew enjoyed. One that inspires brave and bold riding on the downhills and facilitates efficient climbing up technical ascents thanks to its geometry and ground clearance. The Orbea Wild M-Team is a bike we highly recommend and undoubtedly put down some of the fastest and fun laps during our shootout. It is an absolute pinner.
WHO’S IT FOR?
A rider looking to buy into the peak of aggressive descending eMTB performance, without losing every last bit of playful character. The 2023 Orbea Wild excels across the spectrum of terrain, and climbs extremely well too, so unless you’re looking for the absolute most terrain-ironing bike, the Wild will likely suit you well, as it did our entire crew.
WHERE TO GET?
Price: $9,600 (M-Team)
Weight: 52 lbs
Order Your Orbea Wild Today At: Orbea.com