• ieuanwilliams

ORBEA RALLON M-TEAM - BIKE TEST

Updated: Nov 5, 2019



The Orbea Rallon. Where to start...? Orbea is a Spanish brand that has been producing some great bikes, with the previous Rallon being somewhat of a good performer. Just over two years ago came this, the 29” carbon chassis Rallon.


Having spent some serious time onboard a Rallon it is fair to say it has been a high scorer on previous outings. After it having had a little tweak for 2020 we found it a great time to get on the bike and see if it still hits the notes that it did before.



Shape and Fit


Orbea offer three size options S/M, L and XL offering reach numbers from 430mm to 485mm. The XL sizing may not be world breaking but there is plenty of room for most riders. If you are over the 6’2” mark then you may find it a little on the smaller side. There is certainly room for a 500mm reach bike in the Rallon lineup that’s for sure.


The bike that we opted for this test, as two riders had to ride it, was the large. This has figures measuring in at 455 reach, 64.5 degree headangle and 339mm bottom bracket height in the lower setting.



Suspension and Chassis


The Fox dampers were out in force. Upfront the very high performing Fox 36 Float Factory 170 Grip2 RC2 fork not only looks the part but has the dynamics to go hand in hand with the Rallon's on paper performance.


At the rear Orbeas Advanced Dynamic suspension technology is driving a Fox Float X2 Factory. This metric shock offers a sizeable 160mm of rearward travel after the addition of the new linkage.


When getting into the finer details, the monocoque front triangle is a good place to start. The carbon main frame is manufactured from a single piece mould, giving the optimum strength to weight ratio. The Rallon also has the Connected suspension link. This is a part that we feel needs a mention due to its well designed nature. The spline shaft gives great strength, ease of fitment and improved stiffness where it is needed.



Specification


Frame

Orbea Rallon. Advanced Dynamics 160mm suspension technology. 29"

Forks

Fox 36 Float Factory 170 Grip2 RC2 QR15x110 Kashima

Rear Shock

Fox Float X2 Factory 2-Position Adjust Kashima custom tune 230x60mm

Rear Derailleur

Shimano XTR M9100 SGS Shadow Plus

Shifters

Shimano XT M8100 I-Spec EV

Chainset

Race Face Next-R 32t

Cassette

Shimano XT M8100 10-51t 12-Speed

Stem

Race Face Aeffect R 35mm interface

Handlebars

Race Face Next R 35 20mm Rise 800mm

Tyres

Maxxis Minion DHF 2.50" FB 60 TPI 3C Maxx Terra Exo TR

Saddle

Fizik Taiga Kium rail

Seatpost

Crank brothers Highline

Brakes

Shimano XT M8120 Hydraulic Disc

Wheelset

DT Swiss EX-1501 Spline 30c TLR 15/110mm CLWheel




Feeling ( Ieuan Williams)


It is no secret that the Rallon is a bike that I just gel with. After un-boxing this new beast it took all of 10 yards to be totally at home on board. It really is a great feeling when you can just hop onto something and know that you will have a great day, regardless of what and where you are riding.


Starting with the damping, with the Fox dampers bolted to the Rallon the setup process is easy, having ridden enough pairs to have a setup in mind. With that ticked off then there is the cockpit area. Orbea offer different length stems when placing the order to make sure the customer is 100% happy with the feel of the bike. This is a really nice touch. Not everyone wants a 50mm stem, so the choice is welcome. Matching that up with an 800mm wide RaceFace Next bar the Rallon certainly has a comfy feel even before you get to the business end of the ride.


Taking a quick lap of the parts that are bolted to the bike, there really is not much you would consider changing on this M-Team model which comes packing some seriously punchy spec. The aluminium DT Swiss wheelset is a component that we highly rate on this build too, never skipping a beat and aiding the great overall feel of the bike.



Ride wise the Rallon has a good steep seat tower measuring in at 76 degrees in low and 75 degrees in the lower position. The steeper tower gives a great position for the climbs allowing the rider to get their body into a place that provides good power to the drive and a neutral position for grip and balance when needed. Orbea also offer different seat post lengths with the builds, for that all important customised ride feel.


The best traits of the Rallon come out when you get to the top of the trail and point the nose down a hill. The combination of a well crafted chassis that has a great stiffness flex balance, the MaXXis Wide Trail tires and a suspension system that has been well thought out makes for a great cocktail. Grip, poise and speed all seem to come as if they were specified on the build. There was not a moment that the bike held the rider back at any part of the trail. With the confidence that can be had all that is left to do is laugh, smile and hit things faster and faster. The Lifetime warranty is also nice to have in the back of your mind too…



The rear air damper that was specified for this test worked well, as you would expect being a Fox X2. There is the option when building the Rallon to change out the air can for a sturdy coil unit, this would be my choice every time. The feel of a coil damper is hard to replicate in the air shock, and the Rallon has always been complimented by a coil shock. This is an upgrade that has to be considered when ordering or demoing the Rallon.


There are very few bikes that we have ridden that compare to the feeling and confidence you get with the Rallon. The Pivot Firebird was a bike that came close but after a few small short comings the Rallon just pips it. We have a fair list of bikes to get on over the next year and look forward to seeing if the Orbea can keep the excitement going as well as the crown that it holds against them.


With a few simple changes to the cockpit and damping the Rallon was handed over to Alex (The Boss) to see how the bike worked for her riding style. And as this was her first ride on the Rallon it would be a fresh prospective.



Feeling ( Alex Hunter)


There are more and more bike companies out there jumping on the band wagon to develop female specific bikes for the growing population of lady riders. I have not yet decided if there really is a need for this when all too often it comes down to seat tower height vs reach.


Coming from a DH background and at 5’6, I can not help being drawn to a big bike with plenty of reach and stability on the descents. It is difficult to find a ride that gives all that alongside a sensible seat tower height that doesn't leave your toes searching for the ground when the seats slammed.


The size tested was a size large, a size up from the medium that was recommended for my height. In our opinion, it was the perfect fit. There was plenty of adjustment in the seat tower height which meant that my preferred longer reach bike was not compromised by too tall a seat tower.


The ORBEA Rallon took no getting used to. Before I'd reached the end of the first run, it felt like I had been riding this bike for years. The bike puts you into an aggressive yet comfortable riding position. You are in the bike enough to be able to attack what’s on the trail ahead of you but also be able to correct mistakes without being over the front end too much. The climbing position was also nice helping to keep weight on the front wheel and traction at the rear when going up.



The Rallon was very easy to manoeuvre and snappy when coming out of the corners. It had everything I craved for on the descents, being super quick and picking up speed effortlessly, but the icing on the cake was its playfulness. For a large bike it was extremely agile. It had all the benefits of being big with short person features (low seat tower) as a bonus.


I can’t say much about the spec, lucky for me Ieuan is a master at setting up bikes and the suspension felt spot on. The double shift Shimano gears were a lovely touch as was the stash pouch cleverly moulded into the frame. The Crankbrothers seat post was a bit delayed in the beginning but after a tweak it worked as it should. The Shimano brakes had 'character' and were pretty wishy washy to start off with but when they bedded in they were more reliable and less noisy.


This bike has blown me away. It’s a bike you want to get out and ride regardless of the weather. It is hard to put this one back in the box to send home knowing that it’s going to be hard to find anything that will match it.


With all the spec and colour options to choose from, it’s easy to loose a few hours on the ORBEA website. Who needs candy crush when you can gets your kicks from designing awesome dream bikes without the silly sound effects? I still can’t decide which colour to go for though.



Limitations


There really is not much to say here. Maybe the addition of a larger model for the taller of riders out there. But this really is a picky thing and more of a suggestion.


The Shimano stoppers, as nice as they look did give some questionable bite points at times and also after leaving the bike for a few days made a serious racket when taking off the contamination before they felt like they would stop you again.



Verdict


All in all the Orbea Rallon is still the top dog here at Descend. From the plush confidence inspiring suspension to the clean looks, Orbea really well and truly have nailed it! The addition of a cheaper build for 2020 also seems like a top idea from the brand.


Any bike company that can offer a custom paint job and a Lifetime warranty to sit alongside it are really doing things the right way.


The Rallon still reigns king of the enduro scene. And is still ACOJONANTE!


WORDS - Ieuan Williams / Alex Hunter

PHOTOS - Ieuan Williams / Alex Hunter

www.Orbea.com

PRICE FROM - £3,499 to £7,899

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EMAIL: Ieuan.descend@gmail.com / Alex.descend@gmail.com