Chillout! Its Friday! And for this relaxed end of week feature, we showcase the Orbea Orca M30 of a friend, equipped with the Orbea wheelset and Shimano 105 groupset.
Presenting the Orbea Orca M30
The retail price for the Orbea Orca M30 is SGD 4,749 inclusive of GST.
My buddy just got into road cycling, and as his first road bike, he went for the Orbea Orca M30. Orbea is an old Spanish company, and has the distinction of the second oldest bike manufacturer in the world. The oldest is Bianchi which was established in 1885, and though Orbea as a company was established in 1840 in the Basque country by the three Orbea brothers, they did not make bikes till well into the 1920s. Their original business was in smithing guns which were an essential everyday carry in the then tumultuous and often violent period in the Spanish history. After decades of producing guns, Orbea had developed significant expertise in the shaping, joining and fabrication of round tubing. Bikes were a logical next step as they were also made of round steel tubing, and was natural pivot for the business as the firearms business started to see decline. The company split into two, one continuing with gun manufacture, and the other with bikes. The firearms manufacture eventually went out of business but bicycles remained till today.
Orbea began participating in the Tour de France as early as 1934, with famous Spaniard Mariano Cañardo as the face of the Orbea road cycling team. The company manufactures and assembles bikes at their own factory in Mallabia (Spain), with some models being made in Portugal and framesets being made in China. As mentioned in earlier bicycle features, mass market carbon production is a speciality of companies in China and Taiwan, with the highly skilled workforce producing frames with excellent quality,
Unlike the other bikes we have discussed in this column, the Orbea Orca M30 is presented as a full bike, instead of a frame set with options for wheels, gear train and cockpit. My buddy bought the entire bike, and in this current form is stock.
As mentioned, the Orca M30 is a in a stock configuration. The frame is in size 51. Like most manufacturers, the carbon used by Orbea in the Orca is only vaguely specified. The frame is claimed to be a monocoque construction with modern specifications like a huge head tube, with a matching large bottom bracket. The paintwork is described as gloss metalic orange with black matte, and makes the bike look absolutely stunning. The paintwork is excellent.
The BB standard used in the BB 386, and the bike features front and rear true axle measuring 12x142mm, with a speed release dropout. The saddle supplied is a rather standard, and this is the high quality and popular Fizik Aliante R5.
All cabling is internal, and the bike looks very neat without any exposed cables. The Shimano gear cables and hydraulic lines are nicely tucked out of the way for better aerodynamics. The wheelset is rather vaguely specified as Orbea wheels with Shimano RS470 28H hubset. This wheelset is rather heavy, and will probably be the subject of the first upgrade to an aerodynamic carbon wheelset.
The bike is shod with Vittoria Zafiro V Rigid bead 700x28c. These are not the most comfortable tyres in the market, and coupled with the stiff frame makes the ride somewhat harsh over rough roads. The massive and short chain stays and large seat stays combine to provide a solid platform, with very little flex out of the saddle. This makes the bike very good for racing, but gives up something in the comfort department.
The cockpit uses the Orca OC1 road bars with its own computer mount. At the time of the photography session, the owner has not yet decided on which computer he wants. In its current form, there is no power meter installed.
The Shimano 105 is the third tier groupset from the giant Japanese component manufacturer. The top of the line being Dura-Ace, then followed by the Ultegra and the 105. Generally considered a workhorse, the 105 is a competent and well designed groupset as it inherits many of the features from previous generations of Ultegra. The Orca M30 is equipped with the latest R7000 series from the 105 group. The R7000 is an 11 speed groupset and is considered one of the best buys in the market. The groupset shifts very smoothly and cleanly throughout all the gears.
The front derailleur is the 105 R7000 RS which shifts the compact 50/34 chainring mechanically. This is a good chainring selection for novice riders who may find it difficult to push the harder professional gearing standard of 53/39 or even the 52/36 mid-compact favoured by most advanced amateurs.
The rear detailleur is also 105 R7000 and operates mechanically over a sensibly chosen 105 R7000 11-30t 11-Speed cassette. Though the smallest 11 tooth sprocket is perhaps a bit ambitious for non-professional riders, the large 30 tooth is handy for climbing, especially in combination with the small chainring which has 34 tooth.
I did get to ride the Orca M30, but only for a short distance. The bike handled very nicely, with a rather racy geometry giving it a nimble character. As mentioned, the ride is a bit harsh on rough roads, which is the result of the combination of the large chainstays and seatstays with the tyres.
Overall, the Orca M30 rides very well, and coupled with the inexpensive but competent Shimano 105 is perhaps one of the best bargains in cycling. In the stock form with aluminium wheels, it is rather heavy. I did not weigh it, but was told that it tips the scales at close to 10kg, which is considered heavy for a carbon race bike. In comparison, my Pinarello Dogma F10 weighs in at 7.7kg.