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Orbea is a company with has over a hundred years of history in making bicycles, and they are highly reputed with roadbikes rather than mountain bikes. I am sure everyone will go ?Oh! Orca!?, or ?Oh, that orange Euskatel team!? at the very mention of the name Orbea. Little do these people know that Orbea does have mountain bikes too! recently had the pleasure of reviewing the Orbea Lanza MTB frame. Hopefully this review of the Lanza will further enlighten riders as to the quality and attention to detail of the Orbea brand.


First impression of the frame

On first impression, the frame is coated with gloss black and gold colours, matched with the white wordings ?Orbea?. For classic colour lovers, it is a joy to look at, even though when you are looking at the bike from a distance away. The rear uses an A-stay to allow minor flexing to take out the sting on the trails.

The frame is produced from 7005 aluminium specially manufactured for Orbea. It weighs a claimed 1459.5g, and the size of the frame was not even taken into consideration yet (the frame for our reviews was a 16 inch, which meant a possibly lighter weight). It is one of the lighter bike frames in the market today (compared to other makers which average out to about 1.5-1.6kg). Overall, this frame is built tough for trail use and at the same time, weight is not compromised.

The frame is set to a race-ready geometry with a short chainstay length of 425mm, a headtube of 110mm and a top tube of 553mm C-to-C to aid climbing – a rather compact geometry which is very suitable for the compact-sized Asian body type. The body geometry of Spaniards is generally about the same as Asians, thus it will fit most Asian riders pretty nicely.


The specifications

Our review bike was set up with a Shimano XT groupset, Mavic 517 Ceramic rims laced with Chris King hubs, Easton EA70 stem, a XACD titanium handlebar, Easton CT2 carbon seatpost, and a Fizik Nisene saddle. A Marzocchi EXR Pro provided front-end suspension. The whole setup looks good, and the ride quality will be discussed in the following sections.


The ride

We brought the bike to Bukit Timah and some singletrack for testing. Decked with so many goodies, the Orbea Lanza should be fun to ride on. The conventional A-stay design does its job well in terms of balancing between ride stiffness and flexing on the rear end, and the top tube, down tube, and seat tube stiffness makes the power transfer effective. The ride is smooth overall, minus the tall fork which made out climbs a tad difficult, but overall we are convinced that the frame has a lot of potential when put in the hands of a skilled rider and when coupled with a fork of suitable travel.

The reviewers generally had a common grouse with the Marzocchi EXR fork. The travel appears to be too much for the frame and it seems to have affected the geometry of the bike. The short head tube which was supposed to help in climbing was somewhat neutralized by the tall fork. It proved quite difficult to maneuver the bike in tight single trail, but yet in open trails such as BT, it did its job pretty well. On climbs the front wheel was fairly sketchy with a higher travel up front, but on descents it was much better. The stiffness of the fork made the ride a bone-jarring one and we were complaining of sore wrists after riding. This however, is plainly due to the fault of the choice of components. A better fork will definitely bring out a better ride quality.

However, having said about the minus points of the front, the overall quality of the frame was still good. The rear end was quite balanced, and your back did not really hurt, even during descents or hard braking. This is a plus point, especially for long distance riding. The effectiveness of occasional sprints and out of saddle climbs were not affected by the A-stays.

The paintjob of the Orbea Lanza is a high-gloss one, which is attractive. However, it translates into higher maintenance, and a higher susceptibility to suffer from hairline scratches. The rider might spend a fair amount of time ?heart-paining? about his bike and attempts at patching, which robs one of the joy and time riding on his bike. However, riders who really take good care of their bikes would appreciate this frame.


We liked the Orbea Lanza frame – for its classy colour coordination, and handling. Prior to this I had only known that Orbea was more reputed for its road bikes. The Lanza is competent both on and off road with a compact geometry and when built with near-top-notch components. For a more race-oriented setup, we suggest losing the stock suspension fork and acquiring one with for a much more aggressive riding posture.

To conclude, this frame is an excellent choice for those racers-wannabes and pros alike. With a great frame to start with, and a limitless choice of components in the market today which you can select, this is something which you will look forward to ride with to hone your technical skills and satisfy your speed freak needs.