Most advancements in the bike world are an evolution of design and technology that has proved itself in the past.
It’s not often, that a company starts with a completely blank slate, and crafts their dream of the latest and greatest.
Orbea has done just that with the completely new, and radically different, successor to the Rallon namesake.
We got one of the first Rallon bikes to hit North America, and we put it through the wringer to give you our first look at this big-wheeled ripper with Spanish flavor. EUSKADURO!!!
2018 [Rallon] is a radical departure from everything that had the name before
Orbea Bicycles is from Euskadi, otherwise known as the Basque Country of Northern Spain. Their proximity to the Pyrenes has always led Orbea to make bikes familiar with going uphill and downhill in a hurry. But let’s be honest, when we talked about their long-legged mountain bikes we often used phrases like, “the geometry was very Euro”—it was our way of saying, “this bike isn’t as capable as we would have liked, but it’s okay because European bike companies are more about making cross country oriented bikes”. I always believed that road bike trends developed in Europe, and mountain bike trends developed in the United States—and that we both played catch-up respectively. Well, not any more… Maybe the Enduro World Series flipped the script, maybe it is the fact that Europeans have been doing “rally” events for decades and they arrived at the right formula right on time. Whatever the reason, it is time that we all reset our geographical biases.
Rallon Design and Build Quality
I wish Orbea would have given this bike a new name. Rallon is a cool moniker, and the 2017 bike was very good, but this new 2018 rig is a radical departure from everything that had the name before it. New material, new industrial design, new wheel size, new geometry, new attitude—let’s just pretend this is the first one, not a sequel… First thing first—yes, it has an asymmetric frame. Some people will think this is cool, some people might have trouble with the concept—I simply forgot about it, until I started thinking about how stiff the mainframe is (and that was the whole point of offsetting the shock by 10 mm and including a structural brace from the seat tube to the top tube). It also has a massive down tube and a really wide top tube; my initial impression was that the front triangle is as stiff as anything I have ridden (it’s really accurate and confidence inspiring). Part of the recipe is the use of a large-diameter upper pivot link that is keyed like a mini bottom bracket. Orbea also uses a concentric secondary pivot that uses the rear axle as a structural reinforcement (you get the small-bump-sensitivity and active-travel-under-braking that you would expect from a Four-Bar Link, without the flex, noise, and maintenance). They also dropped the top tube and seat collar to accommodate a 175 mm dropper. There is a whole lot of tech to discuss with this bike, but I am going to focus on what that means to you and I on the trail.
Prepping for testing, then hitting the road to find suitable testing grounds.
Performance and Ride Impressions
Longer, lower, slacker! That has been the marketing battle cry that we have heard over and over for the past three years. The thing we have to remember is that every change to one aspect of geometry affects something else, so we have to look at the whole picture—we also can’t assume what one number is going to translate to on the trail. I “assumed” that the 65* head angle was going to make this thing a beast when pointed straight downhill, but that it was going to feel lazy and wander all over the place when I hit a section of steep climbing. That was not the case—by pairing that slack head angle with a 35 mm stem and an 800 mm bar, it still likes to turn in and carve. The 76* seat tube angle kept me on top of the pedals, and it meant enough weight forward that this thing held a line very nicely going uphill (I would go as far as to call it one of the best climbing bikes in this category). I liked that they kept the rear center tidy (435 mm chain stay length), it made the Rallon feel lively and fun. While some of these numbers seem progressive for a 29er, in practice it all works very well together—it just felt right from the first ride.
Climbing, descending, chilling, just looking good… Not much this bike isn’t good at.
I was a big fan of the concentric suspension design used on the previous-generation Rallon; the 2018 model benefits from some kinematic refinements, a stiff upper link, and a great custom tune on the provided Fox X2 shock. I set it for 30% sag, adjusted the rebound damping a bit on the fast side, and let it rip. I knew it would be supple, I knew it would be progressive at the top (I only felt a soft bottom-out one time, when hitting a sizeable huck-to-flat)—but what surprised me was the pedaling efficiency! You will not need to use the climb switch. The Rallon doesn’t feel like it has compromised in terms of small-bump sensitivity, but it really manages pedaling inputs well, even choppy pedal strokes (in or out of the saddle).
Searching for something that would challenge the Rallon’s confidence… still looking.
Builds and Specs
To complement a wonderful chassis, Orbea has really gotten on point with component specs. I rode the $7999 Rallon M-Team—it offers a Fox 36 Factory paired to an X2 rear shock, you get DT E-1501 Spline wheels (30 mm internal width) wrapped in Maxxis DHF 29×2.5 and Aggressor 29×2.3 tires, and a clean SRAM X01 Eagle group. For controls: a Race Face Next 35 carbon bar, Turbine R stem, and Turbine dropper post (with the new 1x thumb lever). A welcome addition was the OneUp ISCG05 chain guide.
Great spec, it’s hard to argue with anything here. My only complaint would be that there is a big jump in price between the M-10 at $4999 and the M-Team at $7999, HOWEVER… that is where the MyO program steps in. If you don’t mind waiting about six weeks, you can go on Orbea’s website and create your own ride. There are many no-charge colors to choose from and you can even change out a number of key specs. The smart money might be to opt for a Rallon M-10 model with the highly-capable SRAM GX Eagle group, and then use that extra coin to upgrade to a carbon wheelset.
Click to See Geometry
Use the slider to compare the Rallon M-Team to the M-10 build.
2018 Orbea Rallon Build Specs
|2018 Orbea Rallon Build Specs|
|Monocoque Race Carbon. Advanced Dynamics 150mm suspension technology. 29″ wheels. Concentric Boost 12×148 rear axle. Pure Enduro geometry. Internal cable routing. ISCG05|
|Fox 36 Float Performace 160 3-Position QR15x110||Fox 36 Float Factory 160 FIT HSC LSC QR15x110 Kashima|
|Fox DPX2 Factory 3-Position Adjust Evol Kashima custom tune 230x60mm||Fox Float X2 Factory 2-Position Adjust Kashima custom tune 230x60mm|
|FSA 1-1/8 – 1-1/2″ Integrated|
|SRAM GX Eagle||SRAM X01 Eagle|
|SRAM GX Eagle||SRAM X01 Eagle Gold|
|SRAM X1-1400 Boost 32t||TRUVATIV Descendant Carbon Eagle Boost 32t|
|SRAM GX Eagle 12-Speed||SRAM X01 Eagle 12-Speed|
|SRAM GX XG-1275 Eagle 10-50t 12-Speed|
|Shimano XT M8000 Hydraulic Disc Ice-Technologies||SRAM Guide RSC Hydraulic Disc|
|DT E-1900 Spline 30mm TLR 15/110mm IS (6-bolt)||DT E-1501 Spline 30mm TLR 15/110mm IS (6-bolt)|
|Maxxis Aggressor 2.30″ 60 TPI Exo TLR|
|Race Face Aeffect 35 20mm Rise, 780mm Width||Race Face Next 35 10mm Rise, 800mm Width|
|Race Face Aeffect R 35mm interface, Length: 40mm (Small, Medium, Large) 50mm (XL)||Race Face Turbine R 35mm interface, Length: 40mm (Small, Medium, Large) 50mm (XL)|
|Race Face Aeffect Dropper 31.6×385/125mm||Race Face Turbine Dropper 31.6×490/175mm|
|Selle Italia XR Trail|
|Enduro, All mountain, Park, Trail|
|~27.5 lbs, 12.5 kg|
The Final Spin
At the end of the day, I loved the Rallon just as it came out of the box. There are a lot of great long-travel 29ers on the market right now, and I have been fortunate enough to ride most of them. 150 mm-travel 29ers really suit my riding style—I like the traction and momentum benefits when climbing, I appreciate the stability and “in-the-bike” feel while descending. I really dig the new Rallon—I was trying to figure out how to explain how much this bike impressed me. I guess I could sum up my experience by sharing that I am buying this particular demo bike. Rally on!
Welcome to your new home, my love!
This is a all mountain rig for sure. It may be a bit over-gunned for a strictly XC trail, but it would still be fun and efficient enough. But, if your idea of a good day of riding has you tackling big climbs so you can rip fast and rowdy descents, this bike is your ticket. Or, jump on your local bike park chair lift or your buddy’s shuttle run, and this bike will be able to hang with all but the absolute gnarliest of trails.
What we loved:
- Very capable in technical terrain, at the same time it has “every-day driver” charm
- Torsional stiffness in spades
- MyO custom program—you can have it your way.
What we didn’t like (a short list so far):
- $5k is a pretty steep price of admission.
- Big price jump between builds
- Radical change to Rallon could have driven a new moniker