After being suitably impressed with the 2009 Orca, we were interested to see what was happening further down the Orbea range, and they've obliged by sending us a brand-new-for-2009 Onix. Confusingly they're still making the old Onix too, which is branded as the Onix Vuelta – I guess there's still some tooling costs to recoup from last year!
Our Onix is the Tour spec, which at £1599 is a mid-range build. You can have one with 105 for just £1200, or splash out nearly three grand on a Dura-Ace equipped machine. The Ultegra-specced Tour makes good sense, giving you a blend of decent quality kit to hang on your newly-designed Onix frame, which will certainly bear upgrading when the parts begin to wear out.
Along with Ultegra you get Shimano's RS20 wheels, Zeus Carbon forks and seatpost and Zeus Cat II stem and bars. All-in weight for the Tour spec is a reasonable 8.6kg (19lb) – the frame isn't super light but you could easily drop a couple of pounds with a lighter wheelset and some component substitutions.
So what have Orbea done with the Onix frame for 2009? Well, they've given it the SSN treatment, that's Size Specific Nerve, which until now has been reserved for the Orca and basically means that the tube diameters and carbon layering are specific to each size to optimise the ride characteristics. In manufacturing terms that means that each size of bike is a completely separate machine but all built to give the same ride. The other approach is having all the different sizes made from the same tube diameters, built to the same geometry, and so all actually riding differently.
Some of the geometry has been tweaked, especially on the small 48cm frame, which is longer with steeper angles. That suggests that in the past the bikes have been designed around a medium frame and that this new approach is more holistic drawing up each frame size on its own merits.
There's five men's sizes and three women's frames, he smallest designed for 650C wheels. Some of the frame detailing from the Orca, including the bottom bracket assembly, lightweight dropouts and lovely head badge cable guide, has trickled down to the Onix though the T700 fibre construction isn't as classy as its dearer sibling.
There's not much else to say for now, save for that you can get red, white and blue ones (light blue or white for the ladies). We'll get our riding experiences of the Onix up on road.cc as soon as we've given it a proper thrashing...
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.