By Steve Medcroft
On July 14th in Sonoma, California, Georgia Gould (Luna Chix) rode her Orbea Alma carbon hardtail to her first-ever elite cross-country national championship. The win was somewhat of an upset. Her teammate, Shonny Vanlandingham, had been almost unbeatable in cross-country in the domestic 2006 season. But a fast, exposed racecourse with plenty of long, hard-surfaced sections, opened the door for a rider with a huge engine and the power to drive a strong tempo to take the Stars and Stripes jersey for herself.
Two morning's later, an hour before Gould would ride the short-track cross-country race, we cornered Luna Chix team mechanic, Chris Mathis (who lives down the California coast in San Luis Obispo), for a run-through of Gould's team-issued Alma.
Orbea manufactures the Alma using a monocoque carbon layup process and broad, flat-sided tube shaping. The result is a 1,200-gram (in the 18-inch size), boxy hardtail frame that includes more than one innovative element. The one that's gets the most attention though is the unusual shaping of the rear triangle. Where most bicycle designs call for a joint between the seat stay and chain stay, meeting at the dropout, Orbea adds a fourth angle to their one-piece rear-end. Dropout and replaceable derallier hanger are mounted with a collar around this angled tube rather than lugged into the frame. Mathis says "(the design) lets Orbea keep the bike carbon all the way back. They tell us this is the strongest way they can have it; so people don't rip this piece off or have the frame separate. It works really well for us."
Read the entire Georgia Gould's Orbea Alma Pro Bike article