FIRST LOOK: 2013 Orbea Ordu Gold
article & images by Nick Salazar
Aug 26, 2012
I'm a big believer in the idea just mentioned, that aerodynamics can be improved without compromising on usability or ease of adjustment. This philosophy suggests that a standard bolt-on brake can be the best choice in the modern tri bike world, when it's done right. And I (quite brashly) believe that TriRig Omega is perhaps the best execution of that philosophy currently on the market. Of course, I'm biased, since that's my product. But the philosophy behind it is shared by many, as mentioned in the preceding paragraph. As we look at the 2013 Orbea Ordu, we see that while it uses a hidden rear brake, the new TRP v-brake that has become popular on many new bikes, it has smartly retained a traditional brake mount up front, meaning it is compatible with the TriRig Omega, or any standard brake you'd want to put on it.
In my opinion, Orbea nailed it. They added integration where it works, and left things alone where integration wasn't needed. The front brake is a great example. Brakes behind the fork crown look silly, and most everyone who has taken the time to do the testing finds that you can build a faster total package with a fork that's tucked neatly into the down tube and head tube, eliminating little gaps for the wind to vortex. This is a brilliant decision on Orbea's part, and Again, my biased opinion will tell you that the Omega is the best choice, but there are certainly other options out there too - the new Magura hydraulic brakes are a great aero choice, produce very good numbers in the wind tunnel, and are reported to work very well. In my opinion, there's no reason to use a standard road caliper, given the two options just discussed. Obviously, I think the Omega is a rock star of a brake. But don't take my word for it - ask around, and you shouldn't find it too difficult to get some feedback from consumers around the web. But there are other options around - TRP has been making centerpull aero brakes for years (even if they don't quite match the performance of the Omega), and the aforementioned Magura is another great centerpull option.
The point is, there is absolutely no reason to muck up your bike with a nasty sidepull cable housing. Front brakes have reached the point where they are both aerodynamic and easy to wrench. The Ordu Gold takes full advantage of this fact, and indicates a continuation of the trend away from integrated front brakes. This is a trend that I'm very happy to see, and hope it continues going forward.
Fork and Stem Cluster
The remainder of the Ordu Gold's front end cluster consists of a bayonet-style fork attached to a variable-angle stem, a dropped down tube that hugs the back of the front wheel, and a raised top tube that hides behind the frontal profile of the stem. That's a lot of equipment smashed into a single sentence, and is actually easier to describe with a picture - so have a look at the photograph adjacent. Let's start with the stem, which Orbea calls the Monolink. It's an adjustable angle stem, similar to what was on the 2011 Felt DA. However, it fits even better with the shape of the Ordu Gold than any adjustable-angle stem previously released. And it's built to allow both VERY low setups, as well as moderate-to-high ones. At its lowest setting, it puts the center of the stem clamp about 25mm below the top of the head tube. That's super low, and I'm really glad to see Orbea accommodate aggressive riders.
Another big plus is that every Ordu sold comes with ALL FOUR stem lengths that Orbea makes for the system - from 75mm to 110mm. However, there's also a nuance of fit geometry here, and it's perhaps the trickiest part of using this bike. Ordinarily, the range of 75mm to 110mm would be ideal for tri bike geometry, which should be centered somewhere around 90mm. But you have to keep in mind that on the Ordu Gold, these stem lengths have to be added to the length from the head tube out to the pivot point of the stem in order to get the effective stem length. That distance from the head tube to the pivot is probably close to 30mm. So the effective stem lengths are more like 105mm to 140mm, which is on the rather long side. However, it's entirely warranted, due to the fact that only a few riders will use the stem at zero degrees (flat). Most riders will be tilting the stem up or down by some amount, which shortens the amount of reach that the stem adds. In these scenarios, a longer stem is needed. What a brilliant system, and my hat is off to Orbea for doing is in such a thorough way, making life really easy for the end user.
Add that to the fact that all this easy-access adjustability comes in a very slick package. The stem's entire frontal profile creates a shadow in which the top tube sits. That keeps the drag very low. Normally this would come at the price of a higher standover height, but Orbea uses a very gentle slope to reduce that height once you're back at the seatpost.
The bayonet fork is an area where Orbea has invested quite a bit of cash. Following a theme we're starting to see more of from various manufacturers, there are two different versions. One is a 3:1 UCI-compliant fork, the other a 4:1 triathlon-only version that tests faster in the tunnel. Both feature the bayonet, which Orbea is calling a nosecone, and they both contribute to a very good high-yaw performance.
Hit the jump for more details on the rest of the bike, and my conclusions.