Orbea is unveiling their all-new, totally redesigned Orca road bike this afternoon, but we’ve got your first look at the slick new Pro Tour level racer right here on Bikerumor!
When Orbea launched the Orca in 2004, it became their flagship road bike. This is third generation Orca, and it takes the bike and sculpts it, shaves it and adds some trick aero features to create a svelte racing machine.
Unveiled today at the Quebrantahuesos, one of the largest Gran Fondo rides in the world, the new Orca will debut to the riders it’s designed for: Endurance, performance enthusiasts. That said, it’s also a Pro Tour capable racer, which will be proven as Euskatel-Euskadi rolls up to the start line at the Tour de France in July on the bike…and they’ll be getting them just before le Tour.
So, what’s new? Lots. So much that they considered naming the bike something else. Common branding sense prevailed, and here for the first time is the all-new 2011 Orca…
The 2011 Orbea Orca frame in a nutshell is a hi-modulus, monocoque carbon fiber road frame with oversized, tapered headtube, mild aero shaping, BB30 bottom bracket and Direct Cable Routing. Here’s the details:
Starting at the front, the headtube is tapered with J-Lo profile: Normal top (1-1/8″), a carved out middle section and a fat bottom (1.5″). The sculpted headbadge that used to capture the cable housing is gone. In its place are two aluminum cable stops that flow with the frame’s lines.
The cables are Gore’s RideOn sealed system, which uses clear end-to-end tubes within the housing to completely seal the cable from lever to derailleur (which we reviewed here). The clear housing becomes visible just after the aluminum stops, and as it moves along the downtube toward the bottom bracket, it melds into the frame. More pics of this as we get them.
The 2011 Orca uses Orbea’s SSN (Size Specific Nerve) design, which tailors the construction and design of each size to the intended rider. The frame better matches the average power and weight of each size rider. New for 2011, they’ve rejiggered their size offerings and added a size. The 54cm is gone, replaced by 53cm and 55cm options. There are a total of six sizes (48 / 51 / 53 / 55 / 57 / 60) for men and four (47 *new* / 49 / 51 *new* / 53) for women.
Ladies, if that seems like a small range, fret not: Orbea’s got an all-new Orca-equivalent, high performance road bike specifically for women coming out later this year. That’s all they’d tell us about it.
Ronnie Points, Orbea USA’s sales manager, says the goal with the new Orca wasn’t to create the lightest bike or to create a total aero bike. Rather, the goal was to make a fast bike, and the way to do that was combine real-world aerodynamics with a light but sturdy frame.
Using the San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel, Orbea managed to improve aerodynamics by 14% from the previous model. One way they did that was to bring the fork and seat stays in as close to the rims as they could, hence the curved/bent shapes on both. They claim this design also enhances stability.
Another way they cut drag was by borrowing the droplet shape from their Ordu triathlon bike and apply it to the seatpost and seat tube on the Orca.
As far as aerodynamics go, here are the numbers for you engineers:
Rear Triangle: 14 gr
Clamp: 17 gr
Headset and Fork: 15
Seatpost + Seat Tube: 10 gr
Diagonal tube : 8 gr
Total: 64 grams of drag reduction. Equivalent to a 14% reduction of the surface of the bicycle.
The new frame design borrows the shape of their new Alma 29er hardtail. The top tube breaks early, slanting down to the seatstays in front of the seat tube, and the seatstays line up above the rear axle. This provides a laterally stiffer bike while improving vertical compliance. In other words, power goes where it should and road bumps are minimized before they hit your derriere. Orbea claims it also improves traction.
Final production weights aren’t in, but early reports are that it’ll be a bit lighter than the current model. Points says that while lightweight bikes are great, being the lightest isn’t a priority at Orbea.
“Everytime we’ve tested an ultralight bike with our athletes, they come back saying it just doesn’t feel right, particularly when descending,” says Points. “And while other manufacturers are pushing it, it’s better to build a solid bike and get down to the UCI minimum with smart parts selection. That said, the frame is still under 1,000 grams.”
That solidity results in a lifetime warranty on their frames.