First Ride - Orbea Launches the Fully Redesigned Wild eMTB 5

The Wild ushers in a new age of full-power eMTBs, fit for the most challenging climbs and big mountain descents.

Though the full-power Wild has existed in Orbea's lineup since 2016 with numerous iterations—the original was a hardtail—Orbea was aware that today's eMTB technology demanded more than a revision. Going back to the developmental stages, the goal for the new Wild was to develop a full-size enduro eMTB with uncompromising traction, stability, and handling in a reasonably lightweight and agile package. An eMTB for riders desiring to tackle technical climbs, big descents, and simply have more fun. The new Wild arrives with updated geometry and suspension kinematics, two Bosch motor options paired with two integrated battery designs, and a claimed weight of less than 46-pounds (21kg) with the top-level carbon build. 

Highlights

  • Orbea's OMR carbon frame with Secure Battery System
  • 29-inch wheels
  • 160mm (6.3 inches) of rear wheel travel // 170mm (6.7 inches) fork travel
  • 64-degree head angle
  • 77.5-degree effective seat tube angle
  • Internal cable routing
  • SIC integrated cable guidance system
  • 85Nm Bosch Performance CX Smart System 
  • 625Wh integrated battery
  • 12x148mm Boost rear hub spacing
  • Sizes: S-XL
  • Measured weight (size large, no pedals): 46 pounds (20.9 kg)
  • Carbon frame builds start at $7,299 USD (as tested: M-LTD Build - $11,999 USD) // Hydro aluminum builds start at $5,699 USD

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Bosch motor is smooth, powerful, and very quiet
  • Suspension is incredibly supple and sensitive
  • Lightweight and agile for a full-power eMTB
  • Climbs technical terrain with predictability and finesse 
  • Stiff chassis can be fatiguing on long rides with jarring terrain
  • No internal storage or integrated tool

Wild Overview

The carbon frame of the Wild utilizes Orbea's premium OMR carbon construction to balance stiffness and weight. Citing from their own research that an eMTB frame needs to be 10% stiffer than an equivalent mechanical bike frame, Orbea implemented an E-Optimized Rigidity construction design to achieve the desired stiffness, which amounts to a massive 32.5% increase from the previous Wild. 

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Deciding not to employ internal storage or windows for battery removal—which Orbea claims to negatively affect frame performance and stiffness—Orbea has opted for an integrated battery. Referred to as the Structural Battery System, Orbea has developed custom hardware to house the battery low and centered within the frame to optimize weight distribution and increase stiffness by 51% in the front triangle. The new system has also dropped 900 grams from the frame compared to the previous Wild.

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When designing the new Wild, Orbea took the opportunity to improve its integration technologies. Their new integrated cable guidance system, or SIC, presents a cleaner cable aesthetic and a shorter cable length but maintains the ease of maintenance and component adjustability of a non-integrated cockpit. Regardless of how one feels about cables routing through the headset, it's hard to argue the tidiness is phenomenal, with only the front brake cable exposed.

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The custom SIC headset utilizes Orbea's new Spin Block, a bumper that activates at 124 degrees, prohibiting the bar and stem from turning further than necessary and allowing for shorter cable lengths. All cables are routed internally, and the rear brake and derailleur cable are no longer exposed around the bottom bracket. 

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Sealed Enduro bearings are used in all pivots to prevent water intake. The bearings are double the cost of a standard bearing, an investment Orbea believes is well worth long-term durability. 

Bosch Performance CX Smart System 

The Wild's power is supplied by Bosch's Performance CX Smart System, delivering up to 85nm of torque. There is also a Race version exclusively on the M-LTD model that is 140 grams lighter. 

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An integrated system controller embedded in the Wild's top tube hosts the system's power button and an illuminated display that changes color per each power mode. The battery percentage is indicated by a column of white lights that extinguish at 10% intervals as the battery declines, turning orange when the battery reaches 30%.

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Bosch's new low-profile wireless Bluetooth Mini Remote is mounted snugly next to the left grip for easy toggling between power modes. The Performance CX Smart System features five power modes plus a walk-assist mode: Eco, Tour+, eMTB, Turbo, and in the case of our Race motor, you guessed it, Race mode. 

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There is no digital display on the bike, although Bosch does offer an optional handlebar-mounted add-on display. Orbea said they prefer to refrain from offering too many distractions to the rider, instead promoting concentration on the trail ahead. The Bosch app allows for specific power tuning, software updates and provides current battery charge. Orbea also includes a removable Garmin mount integrated into the top of the OC stem. 

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625Wh Battery
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750Wh Battery

Our M-LTD bike was equipped with a 625Wh battery. With Orbea's MyO customization program, it is possible to choose between two battery options: 750Wh or 625Wh. Riders looking for the longest range will be best suited with the 750Wh, while riders looking for the best-handling bike will benefit from the 625Wh battery. Bosch does not currently offer a range extender for the system. 

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The charge port, located on the left side of the frame above the motor, features a new, more durable cover that rotates upwards and remains flush with the frame. 

Suspension Design

Orbea updated the Wild's leverage ratio curve to 24% progressive, slightly less progressive than the previous model. Orbea claims that the new suspension design increases sensitivity at the beginning of the stroke, improving grip on technical climbs and rear wheel tracking down chattery descents. Midway through the stroke, the new Wild offers more support than its predecessor, and the final part of the stroke is designed to offer greater control during harsh compressions.

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Anti–rise has also been decreased to allow the suspension to remain more active under braking, while anti-squat remains nearly identical to the prior Wild. 

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Geometry

Though the Wild's geometry is influenced heavily by its non-motorized enduro brother Rallon, Orbea has optimized the numbers to be suitable for an eMTB.

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Compared to the previous Wild, the head angle has been slackened to 64 degrees, and reach numbers have grown—our size large had 480mm reach, 25mm longer than the previous model. The seat tube angle sits at 77.5-degrees, and the chainstay has shortened to 448mm in all sizes.

 
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Orbea also brings its "Steep 'N' Deep" concept to the Wild, which is the ability to mount long-travel droppers throughout all sizes due to the uninterrupted seat tube. 

Build Kits

Five carbon framed builds are available starting at $7,299 USD, plus three aluminum, or Hydro, builds ranging from $5,699 to $6,999 USD. We tested the top-level carbon build, M-LTD, that retails for $11,999 USD. The M-LTD features the Bosch Performance CX Race Smart System with a 625Wh battery, FOX Factory suspension and dropper, Shimano XTR drivetrain and brakes, Orbea's Oquo wheels, and Maxxis tires. The other carbon builds use the larger capacity 725Wh battery, as do the top two Hydro builds. 

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Going beyond the factory builds, Orbea's detail-driven ethos is best defined by its MyO customization program that allows riders to choose specific component details and pick from a plethora of eye-catching paint colors for a truly custom frame. With the Wild, riders can choose which battery size suits their needs best, plus suspension, brakes, tires, handlebars, and more. 

On The Trail

Orbea graciously invited us to their homeland in the beautiful Basque Country of Spain to test the new Wild and tour their MyO assembly factory. Upon arriving in the western Pyrenees, it quickly became evident that whether it be the food, hospitality, or building bicycles, the Basque pride themselves on quality, authenticity, and attention to detail. These traits were especially apparent as we toured the MyO factory, where lines of employees of the co-op-owned company were meticulously painting frames, pulling components from shelves, and assembling bikes to ship to dealers worldwide. 

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The trails in the Basque region offered a wide range of diversity, with many trail networks stretching across varied terrain, all of which are incredibly beautiful—a perfect canvas for testing a full-power eMTB. Our first day of riding comprised of flowy, wooded singletrack littered with berms and small jumps covered in freshly fallen autumn leaves. Perfect terrain that enticed us to push faster, testing the Wild's grip and playfulness. Other trails chicaned back and forth through tight trees, challenging the bike's handling and agility. A descent named "Whistler" had more than a few sections that reminded us of our favorite bike parks' steep, flowy trails. The first day's climbs were mostly singletrack with lots of roots and tight switchbacks to test the Wild's uphill traction and finesse. 

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Orbea saved the more technical, big mountain terrain for our second day, where we ventured to the border of Spain and France. Guided by the local knowledge of the friendly Basque MTB crew, the backcountry terrain gave us much more elevation change—steeper climbs and descents, bigger rocks, off-camber chutes, and tricky drops that equated to a physically demanding day on the bike. 

Setup

Not only did we visit Orbea's factory before throwing our legs over the new Wild, Orbea essentially brought the factory to us trailside with an entire team of mechanics ready to dial in our new test bike. Initially, we hopped on a size medium and felt comfortable with its 40mm stem and modest reach. After the standard cockpit adjustments, we set our rear shock to 30% (Orbea recommends 28%-33%), our fork at our usual pressure, and set off for a few quick test laps as a group. Orbea wanted us to get a feel for the bike and then return to base camp with any desired setup changes. 

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Our immediate impressions were that the suspension was incredibly supple, although the fork was too soft for our liking. But something else felt out of balance from fore to aft; the rear wheel felt as if it was directly underneath us, pushing us further over the front end more than we preferred. Was the chainstay really that short? Was the wheelbase too short as well? We pondered our choice of the size medium. Back at our professional race pit, the mechanics added a token to our fork (for a total of three)  and increased air pressure to combat the diving sensation we felt on g-outs and steeper sections. We also removed a bit of pressure from the rear shock and added 5 mm of stack height to our cockpit. Speaking with the team about our challenge to find a centered balance on the bike, Orbea kindly offered to upsize us to a large if the changes we made didn't completely fix the problem. Going back for another lap, the suspension and cockpit changes made a noticeable improvement, but we still felt like we too forward over the bike and continued to bottom out the fork. Because of this, we decided to upsize to a large frame. 

Descending Performance

While some eMTBs are designed as a "self-shuttle DH bike" for fire road access to the DH tracks, the Wild is designed to go where vehicles can't—a true trail and enduro e-bike. While the Wild is not a "choose any line and plow" machine, it will handle almost anything you put in its path. But more specifically, it has the ability to hold precise lines, a trait that rewards riders who can ride creatively and work the bike to maintain momentum. Maintaining a centered stance over the Wild was vital to allow the bike to move underneath us when tackling obstacles encountered on descents. 

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We quickly realized the bike loves to corner, and the low and centered position of the battery may indeed help initial turns compared to a non-eMTB. We had no issues whipping the rear end around quickly, likely due to the short chainstay, and the 46-pound weight was impressively unnoticeable in most situations. The delayed handling that many eMTBs suffer from through tight corners or when making last-moment corrections was nonexistent on the Wild. 

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One major takeaway—for good or bad— is that the Wild is stiff. Incredibly stiff. On the second day of riding, we did two laps on a very physical descent loaded with rocks, jumps, drops, and steep chutes, and we were forced to pause during the second lap to let our fatigued hands and arms recover. However, the upside to the frame stiffness was an increase in efficiency in less physically demanding sections where the Wild maintained forward momentum with less rider input. 

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We were impressed by the overall lack of noise from the Wild. Chain slap was unrecognizable, the motor had no clunking, and the SIC system eliminated any cable rattling.

Climbing Performance

During the presentation of the new Wild, Orbea product managers stressed the significance of the 29-inch wheels in achieving the best climbing performance, convinced that a 29-inch rear wheel was necessary to provide the most traction and efficiency. We tested the bike on plenty of climbs—15,000 feet of them, in fact—some much longer, steeper, and more technical than the climbs we encounter on our home trails in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The Wild was not only impressive across a variety of uphills, but it was also insanely fun and challenged us to take on steeper and more technical climbs than we would have previously considered. We tested the more aggressive power modes—eMTB and Race— on sustained, wide-open climbs and had too much fun racing others to the top. 

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So how about that traction? When it was necessary to get out of the saddle climbing, we quickly found the proper balance point that kept the front end from wavering and the rear wheel glued to the dirt. The rear suspension performance under pedaling forces, combined with the smooth power delivery of the Bosch motor, had us feeling like we had discovered a secret climbing formula that unlocked a new category of fun. One of the more challenging climbs we rode was a tight, rooted switchback starting from the bottom of a small canyon and exiting on a small ledge along the hillside. This steep incline required slow, technical moves to balance climbing traction with tight turning and just the right amount of pedaling and power output from the motor to not spin out or loop out. Despite the slack head angle and healthy wheelbase, the Wild maneuvered up and out of the canyon with the finesse of a cross-country bike, aided by the extra watts of the motor.

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We also want to applaud Orbea for choosing 160mm length crank arms across all frame sizes. The short crank arms allowed us to basically never strike our pedals on obstacles climbing. And for that, we rejoice.  

Rear Suspension Performance

The custom tune on the FOX Factory Float X2 rear shock was incredibly supple and compliant. We can attest to Orbea's claims that the updated kinematics provide excellent sensitivity and mid-stroke support, where the progressive curve of the suspension becomes apparent. The supportive curve is perfect on high-speed compressions, drops, or jumps and helps propel the bike out of corners and efficiently pump rolling terrain. 

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On trails with consecutive square edges and lots of chunk, the progressive curve of the shock made the rear end feel stiff. We found ourselves working our legs to help suck up the impacts, especially when a smooth or fast line wasn't obvious. Again, the stiff chassis was a factor, transferring more feedback into our body than we prefer. We tested with our compression mostly open and, with more time, would continue to experiment with the shock settings. We'd also like to try a coil shock on the Wild to see if it would lessen trail feedback in the harshest sections. 

Geometry

The Wild's geometry is solidly in line with modern enduro bikes. But numbers on a page only tell part of the story. In this particular case, when it comes to sizing, our riding experience was a reminder that it's always best to try before you buy. Orbea suggests choosing your size by considering your riding preferences first and your height second. 

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When referencing Orbea's 'Balanced' sizing chart, our 5'9" (175cm) tester was smack in the middle of the medium size while simultaneously being at the beginning of the size large. As we mentioned earlier, we first rode the medium frame, and while searching for more balance over the bike, we switched to a large frame. For an eMTB, the 448mm chainstay is noticeably short. The wheelbase is still relatively long, stretching to 1277mm on the large, but we didn't feel it compromised the Wild's playfulness or cornering ability. 

Bosch's Performance CX Smart System Performance

During each day of testing the Wild, we managed about 30 miles (48km) and 7,000 feet (2,130m) of elevation gain. Despite vastly different locations and terrain, our daily numbers were nearly identical. On day one, we rode with the 750Wh battery on the morning ride, then for the afternoon, the Orbea mechanic team swapped our batteries to the 625Wh to see if we could notice a difference in handling. However, this is when we also switched to a large frame, so we felt the sizing change more than the two-pound (900g) weight penalty of the larger battery on the medium frame. 

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During testing, we spent most of our time in the second and third power modes: Tour+ and eMTB. In Tour+, the motor would continue to provide assistance equal to our cadence and output and maintain torque where other e-systems seem to top out. Because of this, we could ride mostly in Tour+ mode unless the climbing pace among the group increased aggressively. There wasn't a massive difference between Tour+ and eMTB, but as fatigue set in, the eMTB mode made pedaling a bit easier. While the Bosch system allows for motor tuning by the user via the app, we didn't find it necessary to tweak the preset modes. The five modes are aptly configured, easy to switch between with the Bluetooth mini remote and work seamlessly with the trail performance of the bike. 

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On the second day, we received a charge-up at our lunch stop— both in terms of the bike and delicious Basque cuisine and cider for our bodies— which conveniently did double duty as our hotel for the night. Because of this, we made quicker work of the longer fire road climbs in the afternoon by using the more powerful modes. The pace was still a solid workout as we were slightly lethargic from the massive meal and a glass (or two) of cider. 

We tested the Race mode on several climbs. The amount of immediate power provided by Race mode with just the slightest pressure on the pedal was almost absurd, and the bike would lurch forward for a couple of seconds after letting off the pedals. We don't see using Race mode often as it is quite specific to needing a burst of power at the right moment, and Turbo mode is generally more practical. Race mode will obviously drain the battery more quickly, but it's called Race mode for a reason and surely would be beneficial in an eMTB race setting. 

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We ended each day with battery levels in the red (both the bike and our body), which we believed to be fair and similar to other bikes and motors we've ridden. It's important to note that not only was the Bosch motor smooth, lacking any peculiarities or sudden surprises, but it was also almost perfectly silent, more so than some light eMTBs on the market. 

M-LTD Build Kit

It's hard to find anything to complain about with Orbea's build kit on the Team model. Outside of swapping the immensely uncomfortable Fizik saddle, there isn't much we would change if this was our own bike. Considering the $11,999 price tag of the bike, the package is top-notch and aptly chosen for the purpose and capability of the Wild. 

Fork / Shock Performance

After adding the third token and increasing air pressure in the FOX 38 Factory fork, we still experienced the occasional bottom-out on more aggressive G-outs and drops. Had we been able to ride the bike for more than a few days, we would certainly dedicate time to finding the right balance in the fork's bottom-out support. We were already running more pressure than we typically would with the same fork on a non-eMTB, but that seems to be a common phenomenon for eMTBs. That said, the small bump sensitivity of the GRIP2 damper was outstanding, as usual, and paired well with the Float X2 shock. 

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Tire Performance

Orbea chose the Maxxis Assegai 2.5-inch tire with 3C MaxxGrip and DH casing to handle the front-end traction duties. We were glad to see the softer MaxxGrip compound option up front as we prefer its predictable grip and handling over the MaxxTerra compound. The DH casing on the front tire may be overkill, but considering this is an eMTB, we weren't super concerned about the weight and enjoyed the piece of mind of a durable casing. 

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Out back was a tried and trusted 2.4-inch Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxGrip. Conditions were dry but not loose, and we experienced no issues with braking performance on steep descents or losing grip on climbs. 

Wheel Performance

Orbea recently launched its own wheel brand, Oquo. While the wheels aren't exclusive to Orbea bikes, Orbea will include Oquo on most mountain build kits moving forward.

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When testing a new bike for only a few days, wheels are easy to overlook unless an issue occurs. The MC32 Team wheelset felt plenty stiff for eMTB needs and featured DT Swiss 350 hubs for quick engagement. The wheelset kept us rolling smoothly, and we had no concerns regarding performance. 

Brake Performance

Once we threw a leg over the Wild, it was immediately refreshing to feel the trusted and consistent stopping power of the Shimano XTR M9120 four-piston brakes. We adjusted to the bite of the lever and never thought about them again outside of a few steep, slow-speed sections where we thanked their maker. The brakes are matched to stylish, large 220mm rotors provided by fellow Spanish brand Galfer, completing the powerhouse package. 

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Long Term Durability

We only rode the Wild for a few days, but nothing struck us as concerning in terms of early wear or reliability. In the off-chance something does happen, Orbea offers a lifetime warranty on the frame.

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What's The Bottom Line?

The Wild is the ideal instrument for getting far out in the mountains—mastering technical climbs and amplifying the fun on flowy and technical descents—while compromising very little. Orbea has not only successfully developed a full-power eMTB that closely mimics the handling of a mountain bike, but they have also advanced the enduro eMTB category. Stable and precise at speed without sacrificing playfulness, the Wild leaves behind the notion of a motor and battery until the climb sets in. Despite these gains, it is still an eMTB; the additional weight and very stiff chassis are apparent on longer days filled with demanding descents. The stiffness translates to a race-ready machine for an aggressive rider that can deliberately influence the bike. At the same time, the Wild's agility and sensitive suspension strike a balance ideal for riders who prefer flow and steadiness. The Bosch motor is of the highest performance and, paired with Orbea's attention to detail, makes the Wild a worthy investment for riders with the terrain and appetite to put it to use. 

For more information on the Wild, please visit www.orbea.com

Photos by Jeremie Reuiller


View key specs, compare e-bikes, and rate the new Orbea Wild FS in the Vital MTB Product Guide.


About The Reviewer

Rick Reed - Age: 39 // Years Riding MTB: Who’s counting? // Height: 5' 9” (1.75m) // Weight: 142-pounds (64.4kg)

A veteran of the bike industry, Rick now finds himself in his first phase of self-described “early retirement,” allowing him time to actually ride. Obsessive about bike setup, dissecting products and European croissants, Rick enjoys riding fast tech, backcountry singletrack, and bike parks, occasionally with the company of a select human being or two (you know who you are). He resides and takes siestas in Reno, NV with his terror dog, Zuul.

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