2018 Orbea Rallon M-Team

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First Ride: 2018 Orbea Rallon - A Wildly Fun Carbon Enduro Machine

With aggressive enduro riding in mind, the Rallon is a versatile 29-inch wheeled carbon machine with one goal - getting you to the bottom of the trail as fast as possible hooting and hollering the whole way down.

Rating: Vital Review
First Ride: 2018 Orbea Rallon - A Wildly Fun Carbon Enduro Machine

Orbea recently brought us out to Benasque, Spain, which is a small town nestled within the vast and beautiful Pyrenees Mountains that lay along the border between France and Spain. Why has Orbea brought us to such a unique region? To introduce us to their new 2018 enduro bike, the Rallon. Unlike the previous alloy 27.5-inch 2016 Rallon, the new enduro bike not only makes the jump to bigger 29-inch wheels, but they've also gone full carbon with the 2018 Rallon. With 150mm of rear travel and 160mm up front, Orbea is hoping you get addicted to "Enduralin," or so they say.

In their words, "Enduralin is the formula of excitement and fun that turns Read More »

Orbea recently brought us out to Benasque, Spain, which is a small town nestled within the vast and beautiful Pyrenees Mountains that lay along the border between France and Spain. Why has Orbea brought us to such a unique region? To introduce us to their new 2018 enduro bike, the Rallon. Unlike the previous alloy 27.5-inch 2016 Rallon, the new enduro bike not only makes the jump to bigger 29-inch wheels, but they've also gone full carbon with the 2018 Rallon. With 150mm of rear travel and 160mm up front, Orbea is hoping you get addicted to "Enduralin," or so they say.

In their words, "Enduralin is the formula of excitement and fun that turns a good ride into a great one." Sure, it's a marketing pitch, something to get people hyped on an idea, a product, a bike, anything. Do you really need a sales pitch like that to get excited to ride your bike? If you're reading this, likely not. What gets us excited is a bike that rides better than the marketing, a bike that puts a smile on our face and makes us spit the dirt out of our mouth from grinning so hard the whole way down the mountain. We spent a couple long days aboard Orbea’s new 29-inch enduro machine, the Rallon, in the highest peaks of the Pyrenees to see if we caught the "Enduralin" addiction.

Highlights

  • OMR Carbon front and rear triangle
  • Asymmetrical monocoque frame construction
  • 29-inch wheels
  • 150mm rear travel with 160mm front travel
  • Adjustable head angle and bottom bracket height
  • Accepts both air and coil Metric shocks
  • Keyed-in oversized yoke
  • Internal cable routing
  • Sealed Enduro Max bearings
  • Four-bar suspension with concentric rear axle pivot
  • Integrated downtube, seatstay, and chainstay protection
  • 1x drivetrain specific
  • Threaded bottom bracket
  • 180mm post mount rear brake
  • ISCG 05 tabs
"What we [Orbea] were looking for was ultimate performance. The kind of customers, the kind of riders who are looking for high-performance - people who have fun going fast and clearing very sketchy sections. After testing different products we realized that now-a-days, 29ers, with all the opportunities of new products, Boost spacing and what else is on the market [that] this bike makes a lot of sense." -Xabi Narbaiza, MTB Product Manager at Orbea

    Asymmetrical Monocoque Carbon Construction

    The 2018 Rallon is Orbea’s 5th generation of the bike and at first glance it’s apparent it has come a long way from the original bike. While the new bike maintains the overall sleek lines of the previous generation, the new Rallon makes the jump from aluminum to carbon and features an asymmetrical shape offsetting the shock on the drive side. In doing so, shock adjustments and maintenance access issues should be a thing of the past.

    Other brands have pulled off single-sided construction similar to what Orbea has done with the Rallon, most notably the current Specialized Demo. While structurally the design may look like a weak point, Orbea has designed this area in a way that specifically fights lateral forces that may be placed on the shock. After spending nearly four years searching for the exact carbon that exhibited the balance of strength-to-weight they were looking for, Orbea was able to create a layup method that achieved both the stiffness and overall weight goals of the new bike. The Rallon frame weighs a svelte 2.6kg (5.73-pounds).

    Internal chainstay rib for tuned stiffness.
    Keyed in oversized link.
    Oversized link preload and hanger tool.

    Orbea was also able to fine-tune the stiffness of the new Rallon to what they felt was an optimum balance of ride feedback and tuned rigidity. By employing a number of techniques such as adding internal carbon ribs to the chainstays, a concentric rear axle pivot that rotates on Enduro Max bearings, as well as a keyed-in oversized link, one of Orbea’s goals with the new Rallon was to find a finely tuned balance in structural stiffness between both the front and rear triangle.

    Orbea was also able to fine-tune the stiffness of the new Rallon to what they felt was an optimum balance of ride feedback and tuned rigidity.


    Kinematics Is Only 50% Of The Equation

    When it comes to suspension design, Orbea listened to the feedback users provided from the previous generation Rallon and decided to leave the overall progressivity of the bike relatively the same at 10%. One important factor Orbea focused on in regards to the suspension was the tuning of the rear shocks they've made available for the bike. After working with FOX, a slightly more progressive shock tune was created allowing Orbea to spec the bike with three volume reduces installed. This lets the end user tweak the progression to the exact liking by either removing or installing volume spacers within a range Orbea found usable given the bike's specific leverage curve.

    Not wanting to limit the end user when it came to shock choice, Orbea offers the Rallon with three different shocks - a FOX DPX2 or a Float X2 shock if an air spring is your preference, or if you want the ultimate small bump compliance and supple feel of a coil shock, a custom-tuned FOX DHX2 is available. All offered shocks feature FOX’s Factory treatment and Kashima coating, no matter what level build Rallon fits your budget.

    Geometry

    Lower, slacker, and longer. Orbea focused on bringing the new 29-inch wheeled enduro steed up to modern racing geometry. The new Rallon features a slack 65.5-degree head angle and 343mm bottom bracket in its standard "Low" position. If more aggressive angles are called for, the rear shock mount can be flipped to the "Lower" position which brings the head angle to 65-degrees and dropps the bottom bracket 7mm for an overall height of 336mm. In an effort to create a bike that offers high-speed stability, nimble cornering abilities, and a low center of gravity, Orbea has increased the wheelbase of the bike, while stretching out the front-center and bringing in the rear-center measurements. The relatively short chainstays measure 435mm across all sizes, while the wheelbase ranges from 1,187mm to 1,253mm from the smallest to the largest size Rallon. Reach ranges from 430mm to 485mm, with the size large frame we rode measuring 455mm. Being that the Rallon is a bike intended to earn its descents, Orbea has employed a steep 76-degree seat tube angle in an effort to put riders over the pedals as much as possible. This seat tube angle slacks out to 75.5-degrees when the bike is set in the "Lower" geometry position, which is still a relatively steep angle.

    If more aggressive angles are called for, the rear shock mount can be flipped to the "Lower" position bringing the head angle to 65-degrees and dropping the bottom bracket 7mm for an overall height of 336mm.

    On The Trail - The Varied Terrain Of The Pyrenees

    Thanks to the extremely diverse region of the Pyrenees mountains and the knowledge of our trail guide Doug “El Jefe” McDonald of Basque MTB, we were able to ride the Rallon on trails ranging from steep and technical to high-speed, wide-open face melters with a few rail-able berms to keep the flow alive. Aside from the incredible riding and gorgeous landscape of the region, we were able to clock what we’d estimate was close to 30,000 feet of descending thanks to the help of some mules and a heli-drop.

    From our first descent, which was a short but fast test track to help us get our bikes dialed-in, it was clear the Rallon is a fast bike that lets you open it up while it works to make the chop and chatter disappear underneath you. With the initial setup of 30% of sag for the FOX Float X2 and 20% for the FOX 36, we felt the bike to be very well balanced. That, coupled with the geometry of the bike, allowed us to ride centered and “inside” the bike.

    Once we got the bike on steeper terrain the aggressive nature of the Rallon really shined. Even while left in the "Low" position (the steeper/higher setting), the bike never held us back and not once did we feel it was overwhelmed. After a demanding first day of testing, day two would be the day we were able to ride the Rallon on the widest variety of terrain.

    From our first descent, which was a short but fast test track to help us get our bikes dialed-in, it was clear the Rallon is a fast bike that lets you open it up while it works to make the chop and chatter disappear underneath you.

    Day two started with a long hike-a-bike, but thankfully for us testers it wasn’t us hauling the bikes up. Orbea organized a pack of four mules to carry our test bikes up a steep mountain trail which was originally used as a smuggling trail between Spain and France. Awaiting us just over the pass was a rocky, steep, and switchback riddled descent into the French countryside. This trail featured more switchbacks in a single run than we likely ride within a six month period, many of which were extremely tight.

    This was the only area we struggled with the Rallon, with the bike requiring some interesting body language and muscle to clean the tight corners, some of which we didn’t clean at all. This is likely due to the bike’s “long and stable” nature and it's a trade-off we see fit given the bike’s capabilities when the speeds increase or the grade steepens.

    Once we reached the bottom, it was time for the “big one,” a heli drop in the high-mountain reaches of the Pyrenees where we started the descent at around 9,000-feet. The terrain was as “big mountain” as it gets - vast vegetation-less ridgelines covered in loose iron scree rock. With no defined trail to speak of at the top, we were able to hold the throttle wide open as we carved our way down ridge line after ridge line. With speeds approaching 40 mph over the loose and often rough scree, we were grinning from ear to ear at just how stable the Rallon was.

    As the tree line quickly approached, scree turned to dirt before dropping into one of the steepest and longest descents the region has to offer. Steep shoots with small catch berms kept us hard on the brakes and being able to stay in control while riding off the back was key. It was in these situations where maintaining traction while under heavy braking is supreme, and we noted the bike still hugged the ground and remained quite active despite our heavy-handed braking techniques.

    We experimented with the "Low" and "Lower" settings featured on the Rallon and we were thankful we did. That little bit of extra aggressive geometry was appreciated on the final descent. While the bottom bracket drops nearly one-third of an inch (7mm), we had no issues with chainring or crank strikes. It is worth noting that a slight change in suspension setup is called for between settings, as we found ourselves riding further off the back of the bike so letting 10 psi out of the fork was necessary in order to utilize full travel again.

    Build Kits, Pricing, & Availability

    A great performing frame can easily be hampered by a poor build spec. We’re happy to report Orbea did their homework when specing out the 2018 Rallon line. With their philosophy that kinematics is only half the equation when it comes to suspension performance, Orbea has spec'd custom tuned FOX Factory shocks across the entire range. Depending on your specific priorities or taste, Orbea offers three shocks for the Rallon: a FOX DPX2, DHX2, or Float X2, all of which feature Kashima coating. Why multiple options custom tuned for the same frame? Cost does come into play here, but Orbea pointed out that each shock can uniquely suit different demands of multiple levels and styles of riders. If simplicity and weight is the number one priority, the FOX DPX2 is a great candidate for that user. If an air-spung shock with maximum tunability is at the top of the list, the FOX Float X2 offers excellent tunability in a lightweight package. If it's the always sought after coil feel that is of the utmost importance, the coil sprung FOX DHX2 is the ticket.

    800mm wide Race Face bars are spec’d throughout the line, as well as a short 35mm Race Face stem. An area not uncommon to see some build kits skimp is in the rubber department, but Orbea runs Maxxis Minion // Aggressor rubber on every build. With three build kits ranging from $4,999 to $8,999, it’s also nice to see SRAM 12-speed drivetrains included across the range.

    Orbea also offers a MyO custom component and paint program which allows riders to custom tailor the build spec to their specific priorities. From wheel choice to stem length, down to which dropper post travel option you prefer, Orbea understands that some OEM build kits don’t fit the needs of every rider and this is their solution. If a completely one-off custom paint job is also your thing (at no extra change, mind you), Orbea offers customizable paint via the MyO program which allows for a mind-boggling 7.4-million different configurations.

    Rallon M-LTD

    Rallon M-Team
    Rallon M10
    • Rallon M-LTD Build Kit - $8,999 USD
    • Rallon M-Team Build Kit - $7,999 USD (Tested)
    • Rallon M10 Build Kit - $4,999 USD
    • Rallon Frameset - $3,999 USD

    View M-LTD build specs | View M-Team build specs | View M10 build specs

    Just a few short years ago we never expected to be praising 29-inch bikes so often, but you can’t deny a good ride. Orbea’s new Rallon is yet another new wagon-wheeled bike that will put a grin on any descent-craving aggressive rider’s face.

    What’s The Bottom Line?

    Just a few short years ago we never expected to be praising 29-inch bikes so often, but you can’t deny a good ride. Orbea’s new Rallon is yet another new wagon-wheeled bike that will put a grin on any descent-craving aggressive rider’s face. With excellent handling in the steep, fast, and rowdy, all while being capable of making the journey to the top, the Rallon is absolutely one bike we wouldn’t hesitate to throw a leg over again. With Metric and Boost spacing, modern enduro geometry, and well-thought-out features and design, we’re sure the shelf life of this bike will deliver years of hard charging and fun riding to come.

    For more information, visit www.orbea.com.

    Vital MTB First Ride Rating

    • Climbing: 4 stars - Excellent
    • Descending: 5 stars - Spectacular
    • Fun Factor: 4.5 stars - Outstanding
    • Value: 4 stars - Excellent
    • Overall Impressions: 4.5 stars - Outstanding

    About The Reviewer

    Fred Robinson - Age: 32 // Years Riding MTB: 14 // Height: 6'1" (1.85m) // Weight: 245-pounds (110.95kg)

    "Drop my heels and go." Fred has been on two wheels since he was two-years-old, is deceptively quick for a bigger guy, and likes steep, fast trails where he can hang it off the back of the bike. Several years of shop experience means he's not afraid to tinker. He's very particular when it comes to a bike's suspension performance and stiffness traits.

    Photos by Matt Wragg

    Rate review: 0 Up Down
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    Specifications

    Product Orbea Rallon M-Team
    Model Year 2018
    Riding Type Trail
    Rider Unisex
    Sizes and Geometry
    S/M, LG, XL View Geometry
    Size S/M LG XL
    Top Tube Length 582 611 644
    Head Tube Angle 65.5° Low, 65° Lower 65.5° Low, 65° Lower 65.5° Low, 65° Lower
    Head Tube Length 100 110 125
    Seat Tube Angle 76° (Low) / 75.5° (Lower) 76° (Low) / 75.5° (Lower) 76° (Low) / 75.5° (Lower)
    Seat Tube Length 406 444 483
    Bottom Bracket Height 343 (Low) / 336 (Lower) 343 (Low) / 336 (Lower) 343 (Low) / 336 (Lower)
    Chainstay Length 435 435 435
    Wheelbase 1187 1217 1253
    Standover 737 767 781
    Reach 430 455 485
    Stack 615 624 637
    * Additional Info Fork Offset: 51mm
    Frame Material Carbon Fiber
    Frame Material Details OMR Carbon, Asymmetrical frame design
    Rear Travel 150mm
    Rear Shock FOX Factory Float X2 2-Position Adjust Kashima with custom tune, 230x60mm
    Fork FOX 36 Factory Float FIT Kashima with HSC and LSC adjustment, QR15x110mm
    Fork Travel 160mm
    Head Tube Diameter Tapered 1 1/8" to 1 1/2"
    Headset FSA Integrated
    Handlebar Race Face Next 35, 10mm rise, 800mm width
    Stem Race Face Turbine R, 35mm interface
    Grips Race Face Love Handle Lock-on
    Brakes SRAM Guide RSC
    Brake Levers SRAM Guide RSC
    Drivetrain 1x
    Shifters SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
    Front Derailleur N/A
    Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
    ISCG Tabs ISCG05
    Chainguide OneUp Components Chainguide - ISCG05
    Cranks Truvativ Descendant Carbon Eagle
    Chainrings SRAM Eagle 32 tooth
    Bottom Bracket Threaded
    Pedals N/A
    Chain SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed
    Cassette SRAM X01 XG-1295 Eagle, 10-50 tooth, 12-speed
    Wheel Size 29"
    Rims DT Swiss EX-1501 Spline One 29 / 30mm internal width
    Hubs DT Swiss Spline One, 36-tooth ratchet
    Spokes DT Swiss Competition, straightpull
    Tires Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 60TPI 3C EXO TR front, Maxxis Aggressor 2.5 60TPI 3C EXO TR rear
    Saddle Selle Italia XR Trail
    Seatpost Race Face Turbine, 150mm or 175mm
    Seatpost Diameter 31.6mm
    Seatpost Clamp Orbea
    Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions Boost 12x148mm
    Max. Tire Size 2.6"
    Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
    Colors Purple / Teal, Blue / Teal, Orange / Black, with over 7.4-million customizable options via Orbea's MyO program
    Warranty Limited Lifetime
    Weight 27 lb 8.9 oz (12500 g)
    Miscellaneous Offset water bottle cage mounts allow for left hand access only

    Frame will accept a coil shock
    Price $7,999
    More Info

    ​www.orbea.com