The Orro Gold Limited Edition is a gran fondo bike with a high-performance edge for racking up the big and the not-so-big miles in comfort. As such, it's going to appeal to a whole lot of riders.
Orro is a brand from major UK bike and parts distributor i-ride. www.i-ride.co.uk. It launched last year with two road models, the Gold and the Oxygen. Both have been designed by Orro; you won't see these bikes badged up elsewhere with someone else's name.
The Gold that we have in on test is a limited edition model courtesy of its gloss black paint scheme with a gold fleck finish – the bike is hand-painted in the UK – and a choice of different from normal groupsets. You can choose between the 2015 Campagnolo Chorus option that we have here and Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical.
Whichever you go for, the price is the same: £2999.99.
Here's why the Orro Gold Limited Edition might be right for you.
Orro talk lots about comfort and they've delivered plenty in the Gold. If you have a line with 'harsh' written at one end and 'plush' written at the other, the Gold is certainly positioned closer to 'plush'. It's not super-soft in terms of its vibration-eating capabilities, but it cancels out enough buzz that you can focus on the job of getting the power down rather than nursing your battered body towards the end of a long day in the saddle.
Orro reckon this is down to the blend of 20, 40, and 60 Ton carbon fibre that they use in the frame, the 20 Ton material being used to provide flexibility in the seatstays and the seat tube. Who knows? It could be. The point is, though, that you don't feel like the back end is constantly kicking you in the arse when the road surface is anything less than perfect.
The Continental Grand Prix 25mm tyres help on that score too. Orro spec 25s across all build options in the range – it's part of the brand's DNA rather than just something that has been added as an afterthought – and there's enough clearance to fit mudguards easily too. You can go with 28mm tyres if you're willing to forgo the mudguards.
Saddles are always a matter of individual preference but I really liked the Prologo Kappa Evo too. There's enough give in the shell to soak up the odd bump and the cushioning is ample rather than excessive.
The other factor that adds to the comfort is the frame geometry. Orro have designed the Gold as a gran fondo bike rather than as a full-on race bike, so the geometry is a touch more relaxed.
We have the medium model in for review and it comes with a 554mm top tube and a 174mm head tube. That makes for a ride position that's relatively easy on your back but still performance-orientated. Know what I mean? It's designed for riding fast but it's not extreme.
As long as you have reasonable flexibility, you should be able to divide your time between the tops, the hoods and the drops without too much trouble, that drop position being low and aggressive enough to ride efficiently when you really want to turn up the speed.
Don't let all this talk of comfort leave you with the impression that the Orro is some sort of armchair for the elderly. It's a long, long way from that. Bikes can be both comfortable and responsive; the two aren't mutually exclusive.
The Gold comes with a tapered head tube (1 1/8in at the top, 1 1/2in at the bottom) and a BB30 bottom bracket, and Orro claim a fully painted frame weight of just 955g. Our complete bike hit the road.cc Scales of Truth at a highly respectable 7.48kg (16.5lb) and it gets off the mark with the energy you'd expect from a bike of that weight.
You'll find bikes that climb with a little more urgency but the Orro certainly doesn't hang around on the slopes, giving you a generous return on the power you invest. The aluminium handlebar and stem from 3T hold steady when you get out of the saddle and grapple with them, and the frame itself doesn't let itself get pushed out of shape to any notable extent when you're giving it maximum torque on the steep stuff.
The other aspect of the handling that's worth mentioning is the Orro's stability. Whereas some bikes can feel twitchy and need constant attention to keep them on track, the Orro is steady. That's particularly good news over the course of a longer ride and it also makes for confident descending. That's a time when any skittishness can get magnified and become a real problem, but not here. The Orro feels safe and well-anchored on even the fastest downhills.
Talking of descending, the Campagnolo Chorus brakes provide very good, morale-boosting control when you need to rein things in. Admittedly, a lot of that is down to the fact that they're working on the aluminium rims of Fulcrum Racing 3 wheels here, but as a package everything works very well, giving you the assurance you need to take on the descents rather than backing off just in case your equipment lets you down.
The standard Orro Gold is available in two different builds: Shimano Ultegra mechanical (£1,999.99) and Shimano Ultegra Di2 (£2,599.99). Both come with Fulcrum Racing 3 wheels.
The bike we have in for review, though, is the Gold Limited Edition built up with a Campagnolo Chorus groupset and those same Fulcrum Racing 3 wheels. The Gold Limited Edition is also available in a Shimano Dura-Ace build at the same price, £2,999.99. The same frame is compatible with both mechanical and electronic shifting, by the way, if you want the option of swapping further down the line.
This is the first time that we've had the chance to use the redesigned for 2015 Campag Chorus groupset on road.cc and we like it very much.
Chorus is Campag's third tier group (if you take the EPS electronic groupsets out of the equation), and one of the biggest changes this time around is to the chainset. Like Shimano, Campagnolo now use a four-arm spider (that's an odd image) on their higher level chainsets, and a single bolt circle diameter. In other words, gone are the days of one bolt pattern for standard chainrings and another for compact chainrings. That makes it a lot easier and cheaper to swap chainring sizes. Campag also claim an increase in chainset stiffness.
The Orro Gold comes with a 52/36-tooth combination which I really like, providing a wide range of gear ratios suitable for most scenarios. It's almost the best of both worlds.
Campag have made changes to both mechs and to the internals of the ErgoPower levers too (I won't go into the nitty gritty here) but they've retained the ability to upshift by up to five sprockets at a time and downshift by up to three sprockets at a time. You can also run the chain in the big chainring and the largest sprocket without any rub on the front mech if you really want to (there is still a trim position when you're in the small chainring).
The biggest difference between Campag and Shimano (and SRAM) that will affect your everyday riding is in the way that they shift, and you'll probably already know which system feels most natural for you. People argue the toss about the perceived engineering pros and cons of each design but in choosing between the Campag Chorus and the Shimano Dura-Ace version of the Orro Gold, I'd go with the one that feels right to you.
The rest of the Orro Gold's components are all good, solid kit too. The Fulcrum Racing 3 wheels – these are the Dark Label limited edition version with non-standard graphics – aren't super-high end but they're pretty light, stiff and responsive, and I've always found them tough enough to handle the knocks. We've used them on loads of review bikes that have been through the road.cc testing mill and I think I'm right in saying that we've never had any major issues with them. They just work, basically.
The wheels come shod with Continental Grand Prix tyres that provide good grip and decent puncture resistance without being too heavy.
3T provide the Ergonova handlebar, ARX II Pro stem and Stylus 25 Pro seatpost. These are all reliable aluminium offering, and I've already mentioned that I got on well with the Prologo Kappa Evo saddle.
There aren't all that many bikes out there that spec Campagnolo Chorus as original equipment (the increased competition in the groupset market is why Campagnolo plans to make almost one in five employees at its Vicenza factory redundant and shift more production to Romania) and those that do exist don't tend to be cheap.
You can, though, get less expensive Chorus-equipped bikes. The one that leaps to mind here is the Canyon Endurace CF 9.0 Pro at £1,999 (plus forwarding charges). We reviewed this bike in a Shimano Dura-Ace build and it offers astonishing value through Canyon's direct-to-consumer retail model. That's freakishly cheap, though.
To sum up the Orro Gold Limited Edition in brief, it responds to your input a lot like a race bike but it offers just a bit more comfort largely thanks to its geometry. This is a bike you can ride quickly all day long, and that means it'll prove popular with a whole lot of people.
Gran fondo bike with high-performance edge for racking up big miles in comfort
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Make and model: Orro Gold Limited Edition
Size tested: 55 - Black and Gold
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame is a custom blend of 20, 40, 60T carbon fibre
Press Fit BB30
Custom UK Paint Job
955g frame (painted)
Hybrid electronic ready cable routing
Groupset Campagnolo Chorus 11spd
Wheels Fulcrum Racing 3
Tyres Continental Grand Prix 25mm
Handlebar 3T Ergonova
Stem 3T ARX II Pro
Seatpost 3T Stylus 25 Pro
Saddle Prologo Kappa Evo saddle.
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Orro call it a gran fondo bike - so fast and light but slightly more relaxed than a full-on race bike. That sums it up well.
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? The bike feels steady compared to most.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes, it's a very easy bike to get along with; no foibles.
Would you consider buying the bike? It's not exactly the type of bike I'm after, but it behaves as it's supposed to.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?
You might argue that this bike looks expensive compared to the Canyon Endurace CF 9.0 Pro but the same applies to many other Chorus-equipped bikes. On the other hand, it looks cheap compared to the Bianchi Infinito CV Chorus. Comparing spec sheets is dangerous at best.
This is a bike that achieves what it sets out to achieve by providing speed and comfort. It's easy to live with and a lot of fun to ride.
Age: 43 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.