We’ll let Orbea introduce this article. “Orca is for professionals, hardmen, hardwomen and dedicated weirdos that have never even consider quitting early.” Think you fit the bill? Read on.
History of the Orbea Orca
Its 2003 and with carbon road bikes really starting to get into their stride, Orbea unveil the Orca (ORbea and CArbon, see it?!) Distinct tube shapes, standout graphics and with new carbon technology to match, the bike is a hit. Throw in an association with the now defunct Euskaltel-Euskadi professional cycling team and the Orca started to earn a solid fan base.
The tenth anniversary edition of the Orbea Orca. This model was launched at the 2013 Tour de France.
Of course, it’s not 2003 anymore - 23c tyres, caliper brakes, 11-23 cassettes are no longer de rigeur. Today, Orbea offers the Orca with caliper or disc brakes and the Orca Aero, again available with caliper or disc brakes.
Across each of those four categories there are a dizzying number of build options and colour variants to choose from. So many in fact that that even the harshest design or component critic should find something to suit.
Not convinced? Orbea’s MyO programme enables you to design a completely custom Orca, right down to the exact paint colour combinations!
To save confusing matters, the rest of this article focuses on the standard Orca, rather than the Orca Aero.
The Orbea Orca Frame
The Orbea Orca sits very much on the race side of the road bike fence. If you’re looking for something on the other side, a bike which is designed for endurance riding, you’ll be more suited to Orbea’s other road platform, the Avant.
If you want to learn more about the differences between race and endurance road bikes, have a read of our road bikes buyer’s guide.
Back to Orbea and another quote about the Orca: “there are plenty of great bikes that offer flexibility, a relaxed, neutral position and mellow handling. Orca is not one of them.”
To ensure the bike lives up to this billing, Orbea have thought carefully about the carbon layup of the bike’s frame, paying particular attention to the headtube, downtube and seatstays. Reducing flex in these areas helps transfer every pedal stroke into forward momentum.
Don’t worry, concessions have been paid to ride comfort. The cross section and diameter of the Orca’s top tube and seatstays have been reduced to help quell vibration when riding over rough roads.
In a nod to evolving road bike trends, Orbea have designed the Orca’s forks to perform with wider wheels and tyres. As a wheel spins, the area behind a bike’s fork can experience high and often turbulent air pressures. By spreading the fork legs, the airspace inside the fork blades becomes less chaotic.
Away from all that technical stuff, we particularly like the angular shape that’s created at the back of the headtube and the seamless transition of the bike’s top tube, through the seatpost cluster and down to the seatstays. Oh, and can you see that ‘Ride Fight Win’ on the underside of the downtube? Nice!
The Orbea Orca M20 2019
Pictured throughout this article is the graphite colourway of the Orca M20.
Sneaking under the £2k mark and with a full Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels, it’s an attractive package.