Accessibility Widget: On | Off

This Could Change Everything - We Ride Orbea's Sub-40-Pound E-Bike 14

Making use of a custom tune on Shimano's EP8 motor, Orbea is ushering in a new era of lightweight e-bikes.

This Could Change Everything - We Ride Orbea's Sub-40-Pound E-Bike

A few weeks ago, Orbea reached out, saying they had something special to share. As it turns out, it was an e-bike. Orbea already has the Wild FS, its hard-charging big bike, what could be next? We heard whispers of a lightweight e-bike, something akin to Specialized's Levo SL. Certainly, that is what Orbea has delivered. Meet the Rise, Orbea's lightweight trail e-bike.

 

We've often made the claim that e-biking is a different sport than mountain biking. With the technology, ride qualities, ideal terrain, and overall experience being something different; we say that qualifies. Still a blast, but different. Orbea is on a mission to change that with the Rise. They've brought to the table a bike that offers a ride that is more like your favorite mountain bike. Skeptical, we listened, and more importantly, we rode the new Rise.

Photo

Highlights

  • Custom-tuned Shimano EP8 RS motor
  • 360Wh battery
  • Optional 252Wh range extender available
  • Maximum 60NM torque
  • Power maps can be custom-tuned through Shimano's eTube app
  • 29-inch wheels
  • OMR carbon frame on all models
  • 140mm (5.5-inches) front and rear travel (150mm fork option tested)
  • Shimano XTR 12-speed drivetrain and brakes (tested)
  • e*13 cranks and chainring
  • Maxxis 29x2.4-inch Dissector EXO+ and Rekon EXO+ front and rear, respectively
  • 40-pounds with pedals (as tested)
  • $9,499 USD (as tested)

Orbea's Intent with the Rise

Orbea wanted to create a bike that delivered a ride experience that was focused more on rider input than on motor output. If Orbea could create an e-bike that delivered the mountain bike experience but allowed riders to ride longer, it would be mission accomplished. Using the Occam as the road map for geometry, the next step was to set up an appropriate powerplant.

Shimano's new EP8 motor was designed with power curves that would not only optimize battery life and efficiency but also supply a power output that would be less jarring on the trail. With the two brands on a similar mission, they went about coordinating efforts to create the Rise. The result is a motor that Orbea has dubbed the EP8 RS (Ride Synergy.) The RS moniker is Orbea's stamp, identifying the custom mapping and limited torque output. Why limit power though?

Shimano EP8 Motor with Orbea's RS Tune

If you reduce torque output, you can use smaller batteries, a lighter frame, and lighter components. The result? An e-bike that is sub-40-pounds. Our Orbea Rise M-Team bike was just a hair over 40-pounds with pedals. Orbea has claimed that with the proper parts spec, riders can get their Rise down to just under 36-pounds without pedals.

Could the Orbea be the sort of competition the Levo SL has been waiting for?

Orbea Rise weighing in at 16.24Kg//35.8-pounds without pedals

Our particular test bike was set up without a display unit and only has a small, in-line box with two LED lights. One light illuminates green, to let you know the system is on. It will turn red once you hit 20% on your battery life. The other light will change color, depending on what mode you are on.

Change modes here
All the intel you need

Orbea's power to weight ratio is plenty strong. In fact, the 60NM torque output is a fair bit stronger than the Levo SL's 35NM. Orbea also backs up the motor with a slightly more powerful battery (360Wh vs 320Wh, respectively). Could the Orbea be the sort of competition the Levo SL has been waiting for?

Technology

The Orbea Rise uses Shimano's new EP8 drive unit but with a custom tune. Orbea and Shimano worked together to essentially limit the maximum torque output of the EP8 motor to 60NM (versus the standard 85NM). The EP8 is intended to deliver a smooth onset of power for what Shimano and Orbea are calling a more natural riding experience. Toning down peak torque and optimizing power curves within preset limits, Orbea is aiming to make the Rise a viable option for die-hard mountain bike enthusiasts.

Photo


Riders do still have the option of creating their own custom tunes through the Shimano eTube app but if you are wondering if you can crank the power back up to the full 85NM of torque, the answer is no.

Riders will have two user profiles that are both customizable. Within each setting (Eco, Trail, Boost) you can adjust the power curves to deliver how you like. This wasn't something we were able to mess with during our initial look but we would be intrigued to see how it can affect the Rise's performance.

Power map reflecting rider input to EP8 RS output in the two, preset maps.

The restricted torque of the motor allowed Orbea to spec the Rise with regular mountain bike components. First up, this saves a bit of weight as e-rated parts tend to be heavier and a bit more burly to cope with the added stresses of a traditional e-bike. Second, there are small things, like being able to shift multiple gears at a time (e-bike shifters are limited to one click at a time) that make riding the Rise a bit more pleasurable.

With a motor sucking less juice, Orbea doesn't need a milk crate of a battery to keep the ride going. A 4.8-pound (2.2kg) battery is housed in the downtube, providing 360Wh. Riders looking to go further can use the 252Wh range extender that fits neatly into the bottle cage. In all, Orbea says riders can get eight hours of ride time in Eco Mode.

Range extender
Plugged in and ready

Holding it all together is Orbea's 5-pound (2.3kg) full carbon frame which is of the same OMR construction as the Occam and Rallon. Speaking of the frame, what of the geometry?

Geometry

For a variety of reasons, e-bikes lean towards a longer wheelbase than traditional mountain bikes. The Rise would be a relative exception here. In essence, geometry started with the Occam and got a few minor tweaks to account for the addition of the motor.

Photo
Photo

The Rise has 140mm of rear travel throughout the line but depending on which model you select, a 140mm or 150mm travel FOX fork will come equipped. For the first look, we rode the Rise M-Team which has a 150mm travel FOX Factory 36.

Overall, we would describe the geometry as modern-ish without getting too wild. A 450mm reach on our medium felt right at home. Since we had the longer-travel FOX 36, the head angle was 65.5-degrees (140mm models are 66-degrees), plenty slack for a 29er trail bike. The 445mm chainstays are just 5mm longer than the Occam. In all, the wheelbase and fit of the Rise is in line with most any trail bike.

Photo

Models

The Rise is available in four models, all with carbon frames. They start with the M20 at $6,499 US and top out with the M-LTD at $10,499. Three of the models run a 140mm FOX fork with a 140mm of rear travel. Our particular test bike was the M-Team, which is outfitted with a 150mm travel FOX Factory 36 and FOX Factory DPX2. Finished with an XTR drivetrain and brakes, the M-Team runs $9,499 US.

View complete specs and compare the bikes in the Vital MTB Product Guide.

M20 - $6,499
M10 - $7,199
M-Team - $9,499
M-LTD - $10,499

As with any Orbea, customers can get as custom as they want through the MyO program. Have fun getting lost down the rabbit hole of color and parts options.

Photo

On the Trail

We were able to get in two rides on the Rise while Orbea was in town. Day one was at Eagle Bike Park and served to simply get the bike set up and get an initial feel for the Rise. After a few laps, we were all a little surprised. The Rise felt a whole lot like...a mountain bike. Pushing it through turns and pumping rollers felt intuitive, like any other bike we'd ridden. On descents, there was only the occasional clacking of the EP8 motor in rougher bits to remind us that it was actually there. The shakedown was complete but we were looking forward to the next day when we could get the Rise on some natural singletrack to see what it was made of.

Photo

The test loop in Cascade, Idaho was 13-miles, consisting of a fire road climb and multi-use singletrack descent. For the first lap, we just jumped on and rode the trail at hand. Lap two would be for footage.

Climbing the Rise did not create the pulling feeling that many e-bikes deliver. Typically, it is a matter of finding a cadence and letting the bike do a lot of the work. In order for that to happen, we put the Rise in Boost mode, which is just fine by us. To that end, based on our experience with the Levo SL, tuning Trail mode to deliver a touch more power is a more efficient way to get that extra help on climbs. There is, of course, the option of just working a little more and getting up the hill a tad slower, but where's the fun in that?

Photo

Descending the Rise was intuitive and an absolute blast. In brief, it rode like a really well-rounded mountain bike. The most surprising trait is the Rise's ability to pop and take flight with ease. The few extra pounds of our test bike were utterly imperceptible on the descents. Every bit of the spritely, active feel that we had on the manicured berms of Eagle Bike Park translated to the natural flow of the singletrack.

Orbea has now created its offering, effectively leaving everyone else to catch up.

Photo

If there was one riding trait we were hoping for but did not get, it was the planted feeling that so many full-sized e-bikes give. Even for a traditional mountain bike, the Rise's relative weak point was successive mid-sized hits and small moto whoops. In fairness, we are still talking about a 150mm/140mm trail bike, so we're asking a lot of the Rise. This is fairly subjective, but we will take pop over plow almost any day.

In all, we did two, 13-mile loops for a total of 4,000-feet of vertical climbing. Running the Rise in Boost most of the time, we got about 20 miles before hitting the 20% life indicator on the battery. After that, we just ran Trail mode the rest of the time and made the full run just fine. The beauty here is that even if you run out of juice with the Rise, you aren't in that bad of shape.

Photo

What's the Bottom Line

This is just a first look, so our conclusions are not final just yet. We will say that based on the miles we've logged thus far that the Rise is a disrupter. This is something that blurs the lines of e-bike and mountain bike in only the most flattering of ways possible. Specialized may have made the first move with its Levo SL, but that is an in-house drive unit. Using outside brand partnerships, Orbea has now created its offering, effectively leaving everyone else to catch up.

Head to Orbea.com to learn more about the Rise.

Create New Tag
14 comments