FIRST LOOK: 2013 Orbea Ordu Gold
Aug 26, 2012
article & images by Nick Salazar
Before we leave the front end of the bike, just a couple more notes on how it wrenches. There is a very trick little piece right behind the stem that routes the rear brake and both derailleur cables with housing that stops right at the top tube, and the runs liner down to the appropriate exiit points in the rear half of the bike. This piece actually comes off the bike with a single bolt, making it trivially easy to set up. It's beautiful, and looks extremely well-thought-out. However, I'm reserving full judgment until I have a chance to build one up myself.
Every frame is cross-compatible with cabled AND mechanical systems - I'm thrilled to see Orbea take this route - I absolutely loathe frames that are built for only one or the other, forcing you to buy a completely new frame if you want to change components. This is just another in the long line of features that Orbea has obviously thought very carefully about while building the Ordu Gold. The battery doesn't get any kind of trick hidden location, but it smartly shielded behind the rear brake on the non-drive side of the bike, and should be a fairly good place to keep it. As it sits, it won't add much frontal area, although the hackers out there will have no problem putting the battery in the seatpost.
The Ordu Gold uses a standard 31.8mm stem which allows you to pick your own aerobar. And it does this while maintaining the enormous adjustability of that front end, and looking good doing it. I really like being able to pick my own bar, especially when the integration is as smooth as it is here. No spacers required - just adjustable angle, and adjustable reach via the swappable stems. No cutting the steerer tube, and no fussing with recabling the bike. It's a beautiful system. And I like it MUCH better than the strange triangle wedge system of the BMC TM01, which requires a chart in order to figure out how your changes affect your fit numbers.
The seatpost uses Selle Italia's Monolink rail system, which purports to have some advantages, but not a single usable tri saddle is compatible with that system. Adamo, Cobb, and Dash saddles all use traditional rails. Not to worry, the Ordu comes complete with an adapter so that you can use regular saddles as well. That seatpost telescopes at a very smart 78 degrees, meaning there's no need for crazy offset post heads just to achieve a regular tri position. The only drawback is that it appears there's not a lot of room within the frame for that seatpost, due to the funky angle change above the seat stays. That means you might be chopping your seat post to hit your position, which can be a scary proposition if you're unsure about your fit numbers. Again, this just stresses the need to know your fit well, or to have someone you trust who manages your fit for you.
The rear brake is the new TRP v-brake that has become popular with a lot of frame builders lately. It's a great choice for a rear brake - easy to use and wrench, compatible with wide rims, reasonably light, reasonably simple, and it integrates well with chain stays. I hate seeing it as a front brake, and Orbea has smartly avoided using it as such on the Ordu Gold.
Horizontal dropouts in the back do allow you to tuck your rear wheel in nice and close, but I've never been a big fan of them. I'm happy with a vertical dropout that assumes you use a particular tire size for optimal aerodynamics. Personally, I don't really care whether my rear tire is 21, 22, 23, or 24mm, but I do like the ease of entry with vertical dropouts. This is an incredibly minor detail, and shows you that I'm really fishing to find complaints about this bike. Even the paint schemes are pretty slick, sporting some minimal logos over gorgeous nude carbon.
Pricing and Availability
Orbea is currently taking dealer committments for the Ordu, so you could place an order today if you wanted to. Bikes will begin shipping in September and October, first in the Medium and Small sizes, and then later in the Large and X-Small (650c) versions. Orbea has a customizable build kit system on the site called MyO (as in, "My Orbea"), has a pretty has done something very interesting with the Ordu, similar to Trek's Project One. It offers customers the ability to choose each individual component and paint scheme separately, to get the exact bike desired. But there are five standard build kits pre-programmed, and they look roughly like this:
- $4,500 - Ultegra 6700
- $5,500 - Ultegra Di2
- $6,000 - SRAM RED
- $6,500 - Dura Ace 9000
- $TBD - Dura Ace Di2 9070
The Ordu Gold is a radically different bike than its predecessor, and yet not radically different from other bikes available today. The casual observer may be quick to point out its similarities to other existing bikes, and dismiss it as a copycat. But that would be missing the point. Today's tri bike landscape is less about separating a brand through radical features and off-the-wall design cues. Rather, it's about selecting the symphony of features that will accomplish the particular design features that the manufacturer wishes to provide for the end user. See my 2012 Superbike Shootout for a more detailed explanation of that idea.
I'd love to see more data about how fast this guy really is, especially compared to some of the more established players who have refined their designs every couple years, learning the kind of things during each one that can only come from hard-earned experience. Orbea hasn't done that, and yet the bike looks to be very well-thought-out, presenting a cohesive design story that appears to have picked a clear direction, and accomplished an end product that is representative of that direction. But has the new Ordu truly made a leapfrog over the missing years of design experience, or is it just a pretty face? I don't know the answer to that one yet, but I do know one thing: I want one. Stay tuned, I'm hoping to do a longer-term, in-depth review as soon as I can get my hands on one.