Orbea Laufey H-LTD Review


Words by Robert Johnston  |  Photos by Finlay Anderson

The Laufey has been in the Orbea lineup for a while now, as the aggressive alloy hardtail aimed at capturing the fun side of mountain biking. For 2024, they’ve revised its design all over to maximize its performance and refine its looks. They even went to the trouble of giving it their LockR downtube storage system, helping to carry the essentials for your rides. We were interested to see how this fun-loving hardtail would perform on the local trails around Scotland. Read on or watch the video to find out how we got on.


• Hardtail With 140mm Fork
• HTA 64.5º (static)
• STA 77º
• REACH 475 (Large)

Orbea Hydro Triple-Butted Alloy
Fork: Fox 34 Performance 140mm | GRIP

Shimano M6120 | 180F/R rotors
Handlebar: OC Mountain Control MC20 Alu SL | Rise: 20mm | Width: 800mm
Stem: OC Mountain Control MC20 | S: 35mm; M/L: 40mm; XL:50mm
Headset: Acros Alloy 1-1/8 – 1-1/2″ Integrated
Seatpost: OC Mountain Control MC21 Dropper | S: 125mm; M: 150mm; L/XL: 170mm
Saddle: Ergon SM Enduro

Race Face AR30c Tubeless Ready
Front Tire: Maxxis Dissector EXO MaxxTerra | 29”x2.6”
Rear Tire: Maxxis Dissector EXO MaxxTerra | 29”x2.6”

Bottom Bracket: Race Face 24mm
Cassette: Shimano CS-M7100 | 10-51t
Cranks: Race Face Aeffect | 32t
Shifter: Shimano SLX M7100 I-Spec EV | 12spd
Derailleur: Shimano XT M8100 SGS | 12spd


  • Well Balanced Geometry

  • Dialed Build Kit

  • Well Executed Frame Storage

  • Quality Frame


  • It’s Still A Hardtail

  • Could Be More Playful

  • It’s Not Cheap


With their Laufey, Orbea aimed to provide a hardtail on which to squeeze the maximum enjoyment from the trails. Paying particular attention to the frame construction and geometry, Orbea reckons the Laufey is as fun as it gets.

FRAME AND FEATURES | With the new Laufey, Orbea didn’t want to skimp on the frame, so packed it full of features and details to deliver a premium product. They opted to equip a pair of 29” wheels and a 140mm fork to take the sting off. The frame is manufactured from their Triple Butted Aluminum Alloy, called Hydro. Orbea developed this frame construction to obtain the ride feel they demanded, adding stiffness where needed and compliance where desired. Stiffness between the hands and feet – in the Head Tube and along the Downtube – is kept high for precision. Compliance is added to the rear end through tuned flex in the Top Tube and Seat Stays, aiming to reduce vibrations and increase comfort.

To give Hardtail riders the same premium experience as on their full suspension models, Orbea added their LockR storage system into the Downtube. The bottle cage sits on a plastic cover, which has a lever to lock it in place. When released, you can access a large opening to store spares, tools, and snacks inside. With the full volume of the Downtube accessible, it’s feasible that you can store a spare waterproof in there for a rainy day. Orbea includes their OC bag to keep items organized inside.

Orbea Laufey H-LTD Hardtail Review

Orbea has given the latest Laufey their Steep and Deep seatpost theory to maximize dropper seatpost insertion depths. The frame is low slung to add further ride clearance, though smaller riders may be disappointed to see the 29er wheel spec in the size Small. The bottom bracket and chainstay yoke are formed from one forged and machined part, maximizing tire clearance to easily accept 2.6” rubber.

SRAM’s UDH features to make sourcing replacements easy, and allow for T-Type compatibility. There’s an ISCG-01 chainguide mount around the BB for improved chain keeping if desired. An additional tool mount sits on the underside of the top tube for quick access fixes. Final details of note are the vinyl Downtube protector; internal cable routing through Downtube and Chainstays; and the custom rubber Chainstay protector.

 SUSPENSION | 0mm travel, undamped and unadjustable. Hardtail style. 140mm fork upfront.

Orbea Laufey H-LTD Hardtail Review

GEOMETRY | Orbea offers the Laufey in a size range from Small to XL to suit riders between 4’11” (150cm) and 6’6” (198cm). Geometry is contemporary, without anything being too extreme. Notable is the rear end length, which is fairly long for this style of bike at 440mm, which comes with the flip side of fitting in a 2.6” tire on that 29” rear wheel with plenty of mud clearance.

Static figures across the size range include a 77º Seat Tube angle; 64.5º Head Tube angle and 65mm Bottom Bracket Drop giving a 310mm BB height. The size Large tested had a 475mm Reach length and 655.5mm Stack height, with the Wheelbase sitting at 1240.6mm.

BUILD SPECS | Orbea offers the Laufey in three build levels, from the $1,899 / £1,599 H30 to the $2,999 / £2,699 H-LTD tested. Orbea’s MyO program sadly doesn’t apply to this bike.

The H-LTD build is equipped with a 140mm Fox Performance 34 fork with the GRIP damper, offering adjustable Low Speed Compression to lockout. Race Face AR 30c wheels are wrapped in a pair of 29×2.6” Maxxis Dissector EXO tires with MaxxTerra rubber. Shimano provides a mixture of XT and SLX drivetrain components, and there’s a Race Face Aeffect alloy crank. The brakes are Shimano’s 4-pot M6120 with a pair of 180mm rotors. The bars and stem are the Orbea OC MC20 alloy units, and there’s an OC MC21 dropper seatpost with generous drop lengths. Ergon’s SM Enduro saddle and GE10 grips round out the build. It weighed in at bang-on 30lbs for my size large test bike.

Orbea Laufey H-LTD Hardtail Review


SETUP | Initial setup on the Orbea Laufey subjected me once again to the woes of high volume and flimsy tires. Finding the right balance of pressure is extremely difficult. Too soft, and you fold the tire easily and can quickly damage the rims. Too hard, and it’s extremely uncomfortable. I tried and failed to find a pressure that left me happy with the tires as standard. Fitting a Vittoria Air Liner Lite insert to both ends let me drop pressure a couple of psi without losing support or risking rim damage, and things quickly improved.

The fork proved to leave me in a similar struggle to find a compromise of support and comfort, but I eventually ended up on the slightly lower air pressure and higher compression side of setup to obtain a comfortable overall performance.

CLIMBING | Climbing performance is solid with plentiful weight on the front wheel thanks to the fairly long rear end and steep Seat Tube angle. There’s enough agility retained to wiggle through tight sections of climb. The pedal clearance is reasonable, if not incredible, making most technical climbs manageable.

I found a pronounced tendency for the tires to “bounce” when pedaling seated, oscillating and leading to some discomfort. It’s amazing how much of the terrain you feel when seated pedaling a hardtail – even fire roads can be uncomfortably rough. Even so, it didn’t feel to rob the bike of efficiency, and the reasonably fast rolling Dissector tires let the Laufey cover ground well. It’s not an ultra-light build, but it’s certainly in a comfortable zone to cover mellow miles, albeit with increased fatigue from rougher surfaces than you’d get on a full suspension bike.

Orbea Laufey H-LTD Hardtail Review

DESCENDING | On the descents, there was a standout element of the Laufey that’ll suit some riders and hinder others: the rear end length. At 440mm, it’s on the longer side for a hardtail. Combined with the other geometry figures, the result is more weight naturally on the front wheel. This leads to stability and confidence when pushing hard in rowdy terrain, letting the Laufey hold its own in the gnar. High speed cornering is excellent, and the bike generally feels well balanced from a neutral riding stance.

The flip side though – which I consider a fairly major drawback for the Laufey – is its reduced playfulness. Popping up the front end for a manual or to clear a trail obstacle is more difficult, and there’s a more forward weight bias in the steeper terrain. While excellent riders will be able to deal with this and still pop and play, it does take away from the overall picture of “fun” in my eyes. I’m sure other elements like the tire clearance were taken into account when choosing this figure, but I’d have loved to have seen a 10mm shorter rear end to increase agility.

Given that I only ride a couple of hardtails a year, I’m not perfectly tuned into the comparative comfort of different hardtail frames. They all feel stiff and harsh to my full suspension-loving knees, and the Laufey was no exception. Even with the 2.6” tires down at fairly low pressures, there’s no mistaking that the rear end doesn’t have a shock absorber.

FINISH AND VALUE | I wouldn’t say this H-LTD build spec is incredible value for money. The frame is neatly done and looks killer, and the components throughout are solid, but it’s only “okay” value at best. At this price I’d have loved to have seen a Performance Elite fork, but otherwise I really can’t complain about the performance of any components.

The LockR system is quite unique for the hardtail world at this point, and is great to see for customers. The system worked well and I had no issues with the cover popping off under hard compressions with a full water bottle. The bag inside feels well made, and there’s enough space in the downtube to squeeze in a thin waterproof layer if rolled up tight. I don’t find myself making much use of frame storage solutions since not all bikes have them (I run a hip pack instead), but they’re undoubtedly useful for people who only own a bike or two.

I would likely opt to go for the entry-level H30 build spec myself. Though there’s an undeniable drop in component quality, the drop in performance may not be quite as severe. Especially given the nice chunk of cash you’d save. But that’s just me, and discerning hardtail riders will certainly appreciate the improved wheels, brakes and fork of the higher end builds.

Orbea Laufey H-LTD Hardtail Review


Ergon SM10 Grips And SM Enduro Saddle – It’s great to see the finishing details taken care of, including a high quality saddle and grips. While not the most expensive components on a mountain bike, they make a large difference to rider comfort and boost rider experience more than the difference between two derailleur tiers for example. These Ergon offerings are both excellent.

Maxxis Dissector 2.6” EXO – These tires really don’t work for me. I love the Dissector tread pattern, but in 2.6” guise they’re vague and if you’re trying to push fairly hard you’ll likely run into tire pressure dilemmas. I’d be switching these out for a better damped, slightly narrower set of tires if it were my bike. EXO+ 2.5” Assegai front and Double Down 2.4” Dissector rear most likely.

HOW DOES IT COMPARE? | Compared to the other aggressive Hardtail I’ve spent time on recently – the Starling Roost – the Laufey falls behind a little in fun factor. I guess hardtail riding for me is just about less speed focus and more bmx-inspired playfulness, which the Laufey doesn’t deliver quite as well. Conversely, it does deliver increased confidence at speed, so if you’re a die-Hardtailer trying to keep up with buddies on full suspension bikes, then it could be a good shout.

The Wolf’s Last Word

The Orbea Laufey H-LTD proved to be a solid all-rounder hardtail, but failed to truly capture the essence of fun for me. A slightly less playful demeanor than some lead it to being a great trail hardtail for attacking the descents, but it lacks a little of the agility I’d have loved to see.

Price: $2,999 /£2,699 /€2,499
Website: Orbea.com


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