The colour-matching design company Pantone announced on Friday that an orange shade named Tangerine Tango will be Colour of the Year in 2012 a fact that we could have told them when we posted from Eurobike in September and speculated about what would follow the current on-trend green.
Anyway, mentioning orange only elicited a Pavlovian reaction from us; two bikes. One of which, the Team Rabobank Giant TCRs we'd already covered on Wednesday, in at no.2 in our cut-out-and-keep guide to the bikes of the forthcoming 2012 WorldTour, leaving Euskaltel-Euskadi and their Orbea team bikes as a long-running orange themed sponsorship and design tie-in.
Orbea is an interesting one and just as interesting as the set-up of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team itself which is partly state-funded by the Spanish Basque region or some would say separate country as an exercise in national pride and partly by the local telecoms provider. One of the Euskadi rules is that team riders have to be Basque natives and it's no surprise therefore that Orbea is also a local company. What is novel is that it must surely be the only substantially-sized bike manufacturing company in the world that is formally constituted as a co-operative. In other words, it is owned mutually by its workers.
Orbea makes all its own frames from utilitarian urban hybrids all the way up via an enormous and comprehensive range to the Orca carbon road frame which in its latest guise is as light and up-to-the-minute as any in the peloton at the Vuelta a España. High-grade carbon-fibre, tapered headtube, a BB30-grounded fuselage and forks and stays fettled within an inch of their life to balance the contradictory demands of speed and comfort.
What we love about Orbeas in general and the Orca in particular are the exquisite little details; things like the dropouts and the seatclamp. Yes, that Deco-style seatpost clamp is definitely our favourite detail on any bike anywhere. Gratuitously stylish yet perfectly strong and functional; any Orbea dealer will tell you that clamp never slips or snaps which is more than can be said for a great many with their simply enormous torque-setting stickers thereon.
A fairly straightforward build for Orbea; it's Shimano Dura-Ace electronic Di2 top to bottom. They just want their bikes to be light because the Euskaltel-Euskadi riders are used to being dangerous in the Pyrenean mountains where they come from. Maybe 2012 really will be a big year for Orange?