As we were watching the women’s XC World Cup race at Mont St. Anne today, we noticed something peculiar about Canadian Catherine Pendrel’s race bike. It may have been a 29er 26, or even a 650b, but it was definitely a full suspension and it was an Orbea.
UPDATE: Just received this from Orbea USA managing director Tony Karklins: “That prototype was built with 26 inch wheels. We have some new 29 inch product launching next month and we are still analyzing 650b”
We’ve heard rumor (and even seen a prototype mule) that they’ll be launching such a bike this summer, and now it looks as though they’re wrapping up a little race testing before we see something (likely) in August. Beyond the newness of the bike, the photos we captured show the Fox/Di2 electronic remote lockout working the suspension’s settings…
The electronic compression control box is very clearly visible on the bottom of the shock. Just in front of it is the Di2 battery.
On the drive side handlebar grip you can see the narrow slide control for the electronic lockout.
This shot gives a better profile of the complete bike. The prototype we saw earlier this year led us to believe it was a slightly longer travel 29er version of the Occam, which is their 26″ light trail bike introduced last fall. That bike uses the rear axle as the pivot point, something Orbea calls Advanced Dynamics, and it worked pretty well in our test rides on the Occam. It’s hard to tell from these photos if that’s the case on this bike, or if the pivot is just above the axle like on the Rallon. This bike, despite the graphical attempts at camouflaging the frame, looks a little sleeker. Could just be that it’s a very small frame. It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but at certain angles it looks like it could be a 29, others maybe something smaller like a 650b. Perhaps she is just running bigger tires than the rest of the ladies, but her wheels just look stockier than the other 29ers in the field…
More when we have it.