This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Covered in dazzling white pinstripes, one bike in the Cofidis team parking lot was not like the others. Beyond the paint, the unique Orbea's lines were rounder, more delicate in places. Assembled and ready for action underneath one of Nacer Bouhanni's lead-out men, Geoffrey Soupe, the bike – Orbea's new Orca – is stunning.
The Orca will launch officially later this year, with pre-ordering starting in August. Both rim and disc brake versions will be offered. A Shimano Ultegra mechanical rim brake bike will sell for €3,500, with higher-end builds available. Orbea will also offer the new Orca as part of its MyO custom paint and component selector program.
The new look of the frame is to save weight and prioritize updated handling. Orbea engineers and product managers were at the Cofidis hotel to receive firsthand feedback from Soupe and to loop in media on the new bike.
Round tubes require less material for similar strength compared to square or angular cross sections. Going this route and using slender seatstays helped Orbea engineers trim 80g from the frameset. The rim brake frame tips the scales at 790 grams for a 53cm.
To sharpen up handling (Orbea engineers wouldn't expand except to say that it's better than the old Orca), the fork's axle to crown is 5mm shorter. This stiffens the fork. To maintain the same stack height, the head tube was extended. A nice aesthetic cue is the semi-integrated fork crown, which blends nicely into a notch in the down tube. Geometry numbers weren't available.
Moving with the times, the new race bike will easily clear 28mm tires and is compatible with both mechanical and electronic drivetrains. Soupe's bike had 25mm Kenda SC tubulars with loads of clearance. The electronic wiring is very neat as well, with the shift wire entering the frame alongside the rear brake cable.
Orbea has used the BB 386 EVO standard for some time, but moved to the larger 46mm frame opening instead of the 41mm used on the previous model. Orbea engineers mentioned that they like the spec because of its compatibility with most cranks on the market and the ability to use large frame structures in the bottom bracket area.
For the moment, Soupe's is the only new Orca being publicly ridden, but when the bike becomes available we look forward to learning more.
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