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£2,999 Basque carbon road bike with brand new Shimano Ultegra Di2 11-speed arrives for testing

It has been a few years since road.cc last tested an Obrea, but we’ve just got our hands on this £2,999 Orca B M10 with a brand new Shimano Ultegra Di2 11-speed groupset for testing.

Hailing from the Basque country, Orbea are famous for their orange bikes that ensured the now defunct Euskaltel-Euskadi stood out in the pro peloton, in only a way an orange bike can. Not only did their bikes stand out from the crowd due to the orange paint, but because of the clear investment in research and design and latest carbon frame manufacturing the Orca demonstrated. The model has been with us for ten years, and has constantly evolved in that time.

The Orca B M10 we have here closely resembles the redesigned Orca that debuted at the Tour de France, but there are subtle and important differences. Orbea split the Orca range, which numbers 15 bikes in total, into two halves with the top-end M-range made using Performance carbon, and the Bronze range using an Evolution carbon, a blend of intermediate modulus fibres compared to the high modulus carbon used in the top models.  

Offering a good spread of prices, the Bronze range starts at £1,349. This model, which tops the range, costs £2,999 with an Ultegra Di2 11-speed groupset. There are another seven models above this bike, all of which use the latest Orca frameset boasting even more integration, aero features and posher carbon fibre, topping out at £8,699.

There are many similarities to the top-end Orca though, but look closer and subtle differences become apparent. The most obvious difference to the model we’re testing are details like the integrated seat clamp, carbon dropouts, cable routing and different tube profiles to improve aerodynamics. This model certainly doesn't look second best in any way.

While they don’t label the Orca as an aero bike, Orbea call the shape of the main tubes AIZoneE (aerodynamics investigation zone). This is their name for a frame that reduces aerodynamic drag while maintaining a high level of stiffness. The head tube is pretty narrow, pinched in at the middle, the down tube is aero shaped with a pointed trailing edge giving way to a cut tail at the water bottle mount, and the seat tube is slightly ovalised with a hint of a cutaway close to the rear wheel.

Orbea recognise that as important as aerodynamics and stiffness are in a frame, comfort is also an important factor. Especially for the likely customers of these entry and mid-range bikes. To achieve that the frame and fork have dramatically kinked shapes that Orbea says dampens the vibrations from riding along bumpy rough roads by absorbing the compressive forces. The kinked shapes are something of an Orbea trademark, and you see it in across their range of bikes.

The frame is compatible with mechanical and electronic groupsets, and with a Di2 groupset installed the wires are very neatly routed inside the frame. The rear brake cable is also routed internally. There’s other rapidly becoming standard features such as a tapered head tube and press-fit bottom bracket.

As mentioned, the bike is fitted with Shimano’s latest Ultegra Di2 groupset, which follows Dura-Ace with the upgrade to 11 sprockets on the cassette. It’s the first time bike we’ve managed to get our mitts on the new groupset so I'm looking forward to seeing how it performs - I’ll be bringing you a separate review on the groupset once we’ve logged the necessary miles. The bike pairs a compact 50/34 chainset with an 11-28 cassette.

The rather modest Mavic Aksium wheels are far from the lightest but they’re reliable and stiff, and come fitted with the French company’s own 23mm rubber. The Orbea website lets you upgrade to Mavic’s Ksyrium Equipe WTS wheels for an extra £157.50, which seems a good deal and would be an attractive upgrade if you want to lighten the overall bike a little. 

Orbea have their own inhouse parts brand which they use for the alloy stem, compact shaped handlebars and carbon seatpost. A Selle Italia SL Flow saddle completes the build, which on the road.cc scales comes out at 8.10kg (17.85lb)

Right, I’m off for a ride on it, stay tuned for a review.

More info about Orbea at www.orbea.com

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

13 comments

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alg [158 posts] 2 years ago
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I shall be most interested to hear what you have to say about this. I have had the 2013 BLT model for 3 or 4 months and confess to being a little underwhelmed; cant put my finger on why though

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belgravedave [263 posts] 2 years ago
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Two things,
It costs three grand yet weighs 8.10kgs and visually it looks ten years old.
Can't see how the road side of Orbea will survive with products like this.

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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belgravedave wrote:

Two things,
It costs three grand yet weighs 8.10kgs and visually it looks ten years old.

^^^ That's three things really.

I quite like it. Three grand for Ultegra Di2 11-speed seems good value to me. Looking forward to the full review.

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Al'76 [110 posts] 2 years ago
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I like that they offer the opportunity to upgrade components at a decent price; bit like Rose but not so good...for another £15 you could have a higher grade frame & fork, FSA finishing kit, Ksyrium Elites. Oh, and it wouldn't be grey!
I think they make some nice stuff, it's just that here they've compromised the rest of the package to get electronic shifting on it.
Nice bike, wrong model...

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belgravedave [263 posts] 2 years ago
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If the 'yet' had been an 'and' or a ',' then it would be three things. Think you need to study up on your english or maths.

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darranmoore [35 posts] 2 years ago
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You mean English or maths?  21

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jayonabike [10 posts] 2 years ago
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It could do with a few more logos. I can't quite tell who the manufacturer is.

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Guyz2010 [302 posts] 2 years ago
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Guess they'll be hitting the hills with 50/34 - 11/28 gearing. Always fancied Orbeas due to the relative obscurity over a Specialised or Trek.

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Efe M. Balli [14 posts] 2 years ago
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Aksiums on a £3000 bike? Seriously.

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Bobbinogs [128 posts] 2 years ago
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I can imagine the design briefing...
"how do we take an exciting looking bike and make it look as dull as dish water?"
"battleship grey, works every time".
"Sorted, creme de menthe, Tarquin?"

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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darranmoore wrote:

You mean English or maths?  21

If belgravedave could understand English (as opposed to his own 'english') then he would also have realised that the addition of the word 'really' to the end of the sentence meant that it was a light-hearted poke rather than a direct criticism of his statement. It went over his head. Never mind.

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belgravedave [263 posts] 2 years ago
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Nothing wrong with a light-hearted poke when it's correct. As for the 'english'
that was there for you to have another bite, shame someone got there before you.

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alg [158 posts] 2 years ago
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... its an orange bike so the quality of the English wont matter.

With a frame stiff enough not to waste my energy and 50/34 - 11/28 it climbs as well as any bike I have owned
My reservations are I think the finishing kit (a 3T cockpit is necessary) and perhaps the package does find out the Aksiums. I might agree that Ksyrium Elites really should be on it.
I'll wait on the test and then decide