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Gran fondo bike features spread tow carbon fibre to reduce frame weight and increase stiffness

The latest bike to cross the road.cc threshold is the Orro Gold STC Disc, a £2,099 road bike that features spread tow carbon fibre that’s designed to reduce frame weight by 10% and increase stiffness. Built up with a Shimano Ultegra (mechanical) groupset, it’s priced at £2,099.

Orro is a UK brand that belongs to the same group as i-ride, the UK distributor of big names like 3T, Campagnolo, Argon 18, Prologo and loads more. 

Orro Gold STC Disc - top tube detail.jpg

It’s relatively easy for a distributor to buy generic open mould carbon-fibre frames from the Far East, slap some logos on them, and sell them at competitive prices, but Orro hasn’t done that.

The Gold STC Disc is designed in the UK, it’s made in Orro’s own unique moulds, and it uses technology from Sigmatex, a Runcorn-based carbon composite specialist that focuses mainly on the automotive industry. The frame is made using Sigmatex’s spread tow carbon.

Orro Gold STC Disc - top tube decal.jpg

Spread tow? 

“The sigmaST range of spread tow fabrics are very thin, are ultra lightweight, have near zero crimp and fewer interlacing points,” says Sigmatex. “As well as being aesthetically pleasing, this technology has improved mechanical performance at a reduced thickness and cost when compared to standard 2D fabrics using 1K fibres.”

Orro Gold STC Disc - seat tube detail.jpg

The carbon fibre is arranged in flat and wide tapes that are woven together. It’s the spread tow that gives the bike’s tubes the distinctive chessboard appearance, but the reason to use it is nothing to do with looks, it’s to reduce weight and increase stiffness. Orro is proud of the fact that it knows exactly where its carbon comes from and that it can trace it through every stage of the bike’s production.

Orro Gold STC Disc - seat tube decal.jpg

We’ve reported in the past on frames from Cube and Felt that use spread tow carbon but they’re the exception rather than the rule.

The Gold STC comes out of the existing Gold’s mould, so you get the same gran fondo/sportive geometry as before. It’s designed to be relaxed but not too relaxed. The idea is that you can still ride fast, but in comfort.

Orro Gold STC Disc - fork.jpg

Check out our review of the Orro Gold Limited Edition here. 

We have the large sized model in for test with a 596mm stack (the vertical distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube) and a 390.9mm reach (the horizontal distance between those two points). When we reviewed the Orro Gold Limited Edition we said, “That makes for a ride position that's relatively easy on your back but still performance-orientated,”

Orro Gold STC Disc - bottom bracket.jpg

The Gold STC Disc comes with an oversized bottom bracket shell that’s designed to provide stiffness through the middle of the bike, and a tapered head tube for accurate steering. These were existing features but the big difference now, of course, is that the model we’re reviewing is equipped with disc brakes. They’re flat mount – that’s certainly the way the market is going – and the wheels are fitted with standard quick releases (neither the frame nor the fork use thru axles).

Orro Gold STC Disc - rear disc.jpg

The Gold STC Disc frame is finished in the UK – in Sussex, not far from Orro HQ – and it’s built up here too. You can choose from either the Gold STC Disc Ultegra (mechanical) that we have here, the Ultegra Di2 model at £2,749.99, or the Signature Gold STC Di2 Disc, the Di2 in question also being the Ultegra variety, at £3,799.99 You get to spec the paint job on this one. As you probably know, Ultegra is Shimano’s second tier road groupset, sitting below only Dura-Ace in the hierarchy.

Our review bike is equipped with a 52/36-tooth chainset and an 11-28-tooth cassette. The brakes are Shimano’s RS805 hydraulic discs so we have high hopes of a reliable performance.

Orro Gold STC Disc - tyre.jpg

All of the other components are from brands that i-ride distributes, including the Fulcrum Racing 5 Disc wheels. These come with disc-specific rims that have a 24.5mm external width for the easier fitting of 25mm tyres, which is exactly what you get here – Continental Grand Prix. Orro has always fitted 25s across the range.

Orro Gold STC Disc - cable route.jpg

Check out our complete guide to Fulcrum road wheels here. 

The handlebar, stem and seatpost all come from 3T while the saddle is a Kappa Evo from Prologo. The complete bike weight is 8.5kg (18.7lb).

Orro Gold STC Disc - saddle.jpg

We’ve tested a lot of disc brake equipped road bikes on road.cc recently but not many around the £2,100 mark. We did review Merida’s Ride Disc 5000 (now £1,950) last autumn. Like the Orro, that bike has a geometry that’s more relaxed than that of a traditional road bike, although the Merida is actually considerably more upright. Rather than a Shimano Ultegra groupset, the Merida has next-level-down 105, a compact (50/34-tooth chainset) and Fulcrum Racing Sport wheels.

Orro Gold STC Disc - rear mech.jpg

The Cannondale CAAD12 Disc Dura-Ace is £300 more expensive than the Orro at £2,499. As the name informs you, it comes with a top-level Dura-Ace groupset and the frame is aluminium rather than carbon fibre. Some people would see that frame material as a downgrade be we rate the bike highly. If weight is a concern, the Cannondale is actually lighter than the Orro.

Orro Gold STC Disc - crank.jpg

Right, we going to saddle up and get out on the road. Look out for our review soon.

www.orrobikes.com

Mat has 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.