Product news: The first Orbea Orca came onto the market 20 years ago and was already a loyal companion to the Basque professional cyclists of the Euskatel team. Over the years, the model has been repeatedly revised and adapted to current requirements. With the latest Orbea Orca for 2024, the racing bike is entering its 7th generation and seems to pay special attention to climbing abilities.
The new Orbea Orca 2024 is supposed to be more than just a particularly light racing bike, but the Spaniards' new road model was announced with the slogan "Praise the light" and the stated weight of 6,7 kilograms attracts additional attention. In addition to the low weight, the new Orca should ensure the best efficiency thanks to high-quality materials and also offer rapid acceleration, agile handling and effective vibration damping. The basis for this is the frame, which should be either particularly flexible or particularly stiff at the crucial points.
The Orbea Racing Philosophy has always ensured that the brand goes its own way, according to the manufacturer. In the road bike segment, increasing polarization has been observed with more and more special models for very specific areas of use, which is why the decision was made to declare war on the mountains and to launch real lightweights with the Orbea Orca 2024 models.
A small digression by Orbea's product managers gives interesting insights into the thoughts during the development work: "The most streamlined aero racing bike can never be particularly light. And vice versa, a super-light racing bike cannot at the same time achieve top values in aerodynamics. 500 grams less weight on a five percent steep climb saves about three watts. With a ten percent incline, we are already talking about six watts. At higher speeds, on the other hand, the aerodynamics come into play. A particularly streamlined aero racer saves around twelve watts at 30 km/h, 40 watts at 15 km/h and around 50 watts at 28 km/h. Accordingly, it makes no sense to increase the weight of a light racing bike with aerodynamic elements. When climbing, the following applies: the lighter the racing bike, the better. The use of aerodynamic elements with additional weight would detract from this advantage. In addition, the racing bike would lose its particularly agile and responsive handling, which of course would lead to less riding fun and a worse feeling on the descents after the climbs.”
In order to reduce the Orca's weight, Orbea took a close look at all the details. The lighter the frame gets, the more difficult it becomes to save more grams without having to accept disadvantages. Here it was all about various details to get the necessary grams out. The result of this work is a 750 gram OMX frame in size 53 and a 360 gram fork. The cheaper OMR frame weighs 1.030 grams and the corresponding fork 410 grams.
In order to achieve these numbers, the overlapping of material was minimized in the first place. A carbon frame consists of individual carbon mats that are precisely cut and laid together in a specific pattern before being bonded with epoxy resin. By using larger but fewer mats, the new Orca has fewer overlaps, which means a few grams of weight can be saved. In this way, 90 carbon mats could be saved on the high-quality OMX frame.
The paintwork and the small parts in the frame also play a major role in terms of weight. This is how all frames are painted at the Orbea headquarters in the Basque Country. This allows Orbea to precisely control the entire process and further reduce the weight. Specifically, this means savings of around 15 grams for paint and 20 grams for small parts.
Thanks to the cooperation with OQUO wheels and the use of components from the in-house brand OC Components, Orbea was also able to develop the racing bike as a complete overall system right from the start. For example, you could balance the weight perfectly and save valuable grams here and there.
However, to ensure that the lightweight does not come at the expense of efficiency, a rigidity target was set from the outset during the development of the Orca. This ensures that the power gets onto the road efficiently. The so-called Powerspine frame design plays a key role here. The lower part of the frame absorbs most of the torsional forces and lateral forces. Head tube, down tube and chainstays are particularly torsion-resistant. As a result, they transfer the power efficiently to the rear wheel. They also ensure precise control behavior and direct handling. With this concept, Orbea wants to save weight in other areas of the frame without affecting the stiffness according to their own statements. Rounded areas of the frame, which offer better vibration damping, ensure the necessary comfort.
The new Orbea Orca 2024 models and equipment
In addition to the Orbea Orca OMX top frame in two colors, there is also the slightly cheaper OMR frame in three color variants. Both models come in seven frame sizes. Thanks to the proven Orbea MyO system, you can personalize the models according to your own ideas and needs. The OMX models range in price between 10.999 euros and 5.799 euros depending on the equipment. The OMR models are available from 3.399 euros.