Review: 2013 Orbea Ordu Gold

 Nov 14, 2012 article & images by Nick Salazar

The 2013 Orbea Ordu Gold

I'm really excited about the direction the triathlon bicycle market is taking. It wasn't long ago that this sphere was dominated by just a couple really good bikes, and a whole lot of mediocre ones. But bicycle manufacturers have gotten smarter. They've really upped their game, and now there are a lot of really, truly excellent bikes on the market. For several years, people have been waiting to see where Orbea was taking their lineup, and what their next-gen bike would look like. The big question was whether the new bike would be an A-lister, or an also-ran. In my opinion, the answer is yes, this is an awesome bike. Yes, it is worth a look, and yes, it is worth your money. But of course, the answer isn't quite that simple. I like the new Ordu, a lot, but there are caveats I have to make, and some little complaints here and there that I have about it. There's a lot to talk about here, and like any product this complex, I want to give it its due.

Back in August, I had the opportunity to be present for the launch of both the Orbea Ordu and for Shimano's new Di2 component platform. The bike and component group both had me really intrigued, each one really shining on its own merits. But they're even better together; more and more, bicycle manufacturers are embracing the advantages that electronic shifting has to offer, and are designing their bikes around the concept of a future where every component group is battery-powered. But in a very smart move, Orbea chose to offer a single frame type that works with both electronic OR traditional cabled groups. If you change your group in the future, you can keep your frame. Most manufacturers are moving towards this type of universal frame type, but a few are still holding out with separate frames for Di2 and cabled, which is rather frustrating.

I wasted no time getting my snazzy white Ordu tricked out with all the details that really make it mine. On the front end, I mounted up the Profile Design Aeria bar we just reviewed, added my Gamma extensions, a trusty Dash saddle, and of course, the Omega front brake. The Dash saddle I chose is the Stage.9 model, and I decided to style the Orbea up in my wild orange custom job.

When I covered the Ordu back at the launch, I tried to be a thorough as possible in covering the novel features of this frame. But there's no substitute for actual riding experience on a bike, and this review is going to focus on the real-world experience of owning one. As usual, I'm going to go over the bike from front to back, and try to give you all the information you might want to know if you have your eye on one of these Spanish beauties. My first impression of the Ordu was that it's a beautiful bike that hits a lot of the modern design cues buyers are looking for in today's tri bikes. But how does it work out in practice? Is it as easy to wrench as it seems at first? Is it easy to fit and adjust? Are there any hidden pitfalls? And what are the standout features after some real time riding the bike? These are the things I'm trying to find out.

With that said, let's jump right in. Click the link below to follow on to the next page, where we're going to talk all about the front end of the 2013 Orbea Ordu Gold.

Tags » di2group,  frames,  orbea,  rigs
  • This is the Ordu we built up for review. It's been built up in serious style, tricked out with Ultrgra Di2, Zipp Firecrest hoops, a TriRig Omega front brake, and TriRig's own Gamma extensions sitting on the Profile Design Aeria bar.
  • The 'hindquarters' view of the Ordu is striking. The gentle slope of the down tube looks very cool in my opinion, and improves standover height. Moreover, manufacturers like Cervelo have demonstrated via bikes like the S5 that a sloping down tube doesn't have to be an aero penalty.
  • With careful component choice, you can set this bike up with minimal frontal area. This Ordu Gold is a beautiful rig.
  • The Profile Design Aero has been set up with TriRig Gamma extensions, which work exceptionally well with the long Di2 pods. There are no brake lever shifters available for the E-tube platform yet, but they are slated to be available very soon.
  • The bottom bracket uses the BB86 standard, which works well as long as you stick with 24mm spindle cranks. No boutique 30mm spindles like those found in Lightning or the S-Works crank.
  • The Ordu retains some of the sharp angular design of its predecessor. These sharp lines as well as its diamond-esque tube profiles may be the biggest point of contention among those worried about the bike's aero performance.
  • Obviously I'm a bit biased, but I think the Omega just looks gorgeous on this bike. It hides completely within the frontal profile of the head tube and fork crown.
  • This is my build of the 2013 Orbea Ordu Gold. I've really enjoyed the ride, and love the look of this machine.
  • The whole bike is black, white, and nude carbon, except for the bright orange Dash Stage.9 saddle I put in back. Such a loud color choice is often considered a faux pas, but I have to say I like the way it looks.
  • Our review of the Ordu is also a review of Shimano's new Ultrgra Di2 component group. As you might expect, it basically delivers the benefits of Dura-Ace Di2 for half the price, at the cost of more weight.
  • The seat post cluster is very clean, and uses a single bolt to tighten an internal wedge and lock it in place. My only gripe is that the bolt is a Torx 25, meaning you have to keep an extra wrench. No mid-ride adjustments unless you remember to put a Torx wrench in your bag.
  • The cable management under the BB is clean and straightforward. A single cable guide works for both cabled and electronic systems. My only gripe is that the TRP rear brake requires a sharp cable bend that can make the operation a little sticky, and it's very difficult to keep the thing centered properly.
  • The Ordu Gold has an integrated adjustable-angle stem that means you can alter your fit without needing to buy a bunch of extra parts. There are four different stem lengths, and they all come standard with the bike, nothing else to buy.
  • The user-replaceable cable guide sits right over the head tube and makes it a snap to route either cabled or electronic wires back to the BB. This version has two ports, for use with Di2. But there is a three-port version for cabled drivetrains.
  • Here's what the cable guide looks like when you take it out. It's very easy to do so - a single M4 bolt keeps it in place. It's all very simple and well-thought-out. Sadly there isn't anywere to hide the Di2 boxes or excess wire, but the cable management going into the frame is excellent.
  • One thing to watch out for is the propensity of a bayonet-style fork to cut into your head tube when it's turned lock-to-lock. Other manufacturers add little frame protection stickers at these locations to prevent this kind of thing, but looks like Orbea hasn't done that at this point.

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