2018 Orbea Orca Aero M11i Team
It’s not hard to understand why Orbea has introduced an aero bike to their line up; in fact it’s a little hard to understand what took them so long. But that long wait just increases the joy you’ll feel when you ride the Orbea Orca Aero and see that they got it oh-so right.
News on the vine is that the inspiration for this bike came when the UCI relaxed their 3:1 height to thickness ratio rule for tube profile depths. That’s not officially from Orbea, so maybe the timing is coincidental, but it’s why you’ll see sponsored team Cofidis racing this bike at the Tour de France and beyond. And since the only rider you can probably name on the Cofidis team is a hot-headed French sprinter, you won’t be surprised to find out that the Orca Aero is epically stiff as well as being sleek in the wind.
The area most lavished with aerodynamic attention is the Freeflow Fork. When looked at straight on, it has a decidedly bow-legged appearance which is supposed to calm the airflow between the rotating wheels and the interior of the fork blade. The rest of the frame strategically changes the tube shapes according to the job each region of the bike is required to fulfill. So the downtube that forms the backbone of the rigidity, but also must have seriously aero qualities, has a chunky appearance aero-optimized shape where the rounded leading edge gets abruptly chopped at the back to guarantee a smooth flow of air from any direction. The oblong top tube has been squashed to flatten out the top, increasing the strength and aerodynamics of the tube, while the seatpost has been given a decidedly aero oval shape which is intended to reduce air turbulence between your legs and the frame.
Orbea has not just focused on the frame, though since they have also designed some integrated bar and stem set up to keep the front end as invisible to the wind as possible. Other little nods to aerodynamics for the seriously aero-serious cyclist is the fact that there are three bottle cage bosses on the down tube, so if you want to get the greatest aero benefit from the design, you leave off the cage on the seat tube, and place the down tube bottle cage in the lowest configuration. Though not many of us have domestiques to keep us supplied, those of us who do and value every watt saved, this will help you feel even more pro. One thing that we all will appreciate is just how neatly the internal cable routing makes electric or mechanical compatibility a non-issue. Carefully designed to route the cables along the path of least obstruction, to keep all shifting and braking actions smooth and snappy, while also eliminating any irritating rattle on rougher roads.
Focusing on stiffness and aerodynamics doesn’t mean that they have forgotten a bike needs to be comfortable first and foremost. So Orbea has been careful to give this carbon frame the type of layup that will accentuate the vertical compliance for which carbon is so admired as a frame material. Snappy acceleration, real-world aero and real-time comfort will make the Orbea Orca Aero your favorite bike to ride whether you are looking to nab some crit wins or signing up for the endurance length of a Gran Fondo.
Frame: Orca Aero carbon OMR
Fork: Orbea Aero OMR
Headset: FSA 1 1/8” - 1 1/2” integrated carbon cup ACB bearings
Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace R9110
Shifters: SRAM Red eTAP
Crank: SRAM Red 34x50T (stock), SRAM Red 39x53T (optional)
Front Derailleur: SRAM Red eTAP
Cassette: SRAM Red XG-1190 11-28T (stock), SRAM Red XG-1190 11-25T (optional)
Rear Derailleur: SRAM Red eTAP
Chain: SRAM Red 22 11-speed
Wheelset: DT PRC 1400 Spline 65 (stock), DT PR 1600 Spline 32 (optional -$1529), Fulcrum Racing Quattro Carbon (optional -$889)
Tires: Hutchinson Fusion 5 All SeasonTLR 700x25 (stock), Hutchinson Fusion 5 All SeasonTLR 700x28 (optional), Vittoria Open Corsa Competition G+ 700x25c (optional)
Handlebar: FSA Metron 5D compact
Handlebar Tape: Black anti-slippery/shock proof
Stem: FSA Metron 5D compact handlebar integrated
Seatpost: Orbea Aero OMR
Saddle: Hard Black Scratch-2 Tirox size 143 mm (stock), Prologo Nago Evo Space Tirox size 141mm Black (optional), Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Black (optional +$69)
Sizes: 47cm | 49cm | 51cm | 53cm | 55cm | 57cm | 60cm |
Colors: Orange, Metal Black, MYO custom color