ORBEA ORCA AERO M10ITEAM-D19
£7199 › Catalan speedster gains a powerful set of disc brakes
The Orca Aero Disc feels like it’s arrived beneath the radar, without the big splashes created by the launch of the Venge, Madone and Cervélo’s radical new S5.
The disc version follows the rimbrake model’s shape closely, but Orbea has taken advantage of the extra space available to increase tyre clearance and smooth out the lines. The Orca’s sculpted front end looks slick and purposeful as it comprises an excellent aftermarket Vision stem and bar, but does mean that there’s still exposed cable. That Vision cockpit is the slick Metron 5D, with its straight front edge for a big aero gain. We like that the two out-front fittings are included with the owner’s manual and spares, so you can fit a GPS computer or a round bar section to fit traditional lights.
The bike’s shape is particularly good, our 57cm test bike featuring a tight 1m wheelbase and parallel 73.2-degree seat and head angles.
The kit levels are what we’d expect on a bike at this price, with full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and great wheels in the DT Swiss ARC1400 Dicuts. These feature a deep (48mm) rim combined with their premiumquality Dicut hubs for a wheel with impeccable stiffness, a nice quick pick-up and sharp responsive feel. At 1577g a pair, their weight is decent for this depth. Their internal width of 17mm is best suited to 25mm tyres, so even though the chassis has the tyre clearance, we wouldn’t advise going bigger on these hoops.
While the trend is towards wider rims and bigger rubber, there’s still something to be said for a setup like this as it imbues the Orbea Orca with a light, nimble-feeling front end, making the Orca Aero much more flickable than your average aero bike.
The Orca is undoubtedly a rapid ride but the lightness at the front end makes it feel more akin to a super-
Orbea has taken advantage of the disc brakes to smooth out lines
sharp criterium bike than a pseudo time-trial machine with drop bars. Orbea should be applauded for constructing a bike that goes this quickly without compromising the fun factor.
The contact points are excellent thanks to the aforementioned 5D bar and brilliant Prologo Dimension saddle. It’s a comfortable place to be, but the ride is definitely firmer than the S5, SystemSix or sublimely smooth Madone and Defy.
It climbs superbly, which is something we loved about the rim-braked version. This is every bit its equal, and even betters its predecessor on descents thanks to the superior brake control. We also love the fact 160mm rotors are specced on this larger-sized bike.
The Hutchinson tyres are designed to be run tubeless but come set up with inner tubes (the tubeless valves are included). Mounted on their rims, they come up bang on 25mm. They feel okay on the road and grip is good, but we think they would benefit from being set up tubeless sooner rather than later to save a few grams and introduce a bit more feel.
Taken as a whole, the Orca Aero Disc is a stunning machine. It’s as fast as an aero road bike should be yet comes with truly outstanding handling chops. In this mega-brand company it’s the dark horse, but it could well be the smart choice for those looking to go as fast as their legs can take them with a thick layer of fun on top.
Below Vision’s slick Metron 5D bars unleash aerodynamic benefits Bottom The Orca features parallel 73.2-degree seat and head angles
HIGHS Handling up with the best; great equipment LOWS Firm, slightly dull tyres; wheelset limits tyre choice BUY IF You want a cutting-edge aero road bike that stands out from the crowd It’s as fast as an aero bike should be yet comes with outstanding handling