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Orbea launches two new trekking e-bike models for escaping the everyday

Orbea Kemen e-bike in red, in an urban setting
(Image credit: Orbea)

Orbea has just unveiled two brand new e-bikes — the Kemen and the Kemen SUV — designed to fit seamlessly into the everyday and provide some escape when it’s needed. Joining the Vibe, Katu and Optima in its range of urban electric bikes, the Kemen and Kemen SUV are two variations of a do-it-all trekking bike, with the former designed for speeding along city streets, and the latter equipped to carry cargo.

In designing the new Kemen range, the Basque brand says it wanted to bring a smart solution with cutting edge technology to an all-terrain machine while saving weight and delivering efficiency. The question now remains to be answered, will the new Orbea Kemen and Kemen SUV nab a spot in our guides to the best electric bikes, and the best electric bikes for commuting?

Proprietary power

A diagram with an inside view of the integrated battery in the downtube

Orbea's proprietary battery apparently holds more power for less volume, resulting in a narrow downtube (Image credit: Orbea)

In addition to the Shimano EP8 motor around which the bikes are built, both Kemen models feature Orbea’s proprietary 540 Wh battery found in the award-winning Rise model. According to Orbea, it consists of 21-700 cells that it says can house more energy in less volume, i.e. more power, smaller size. What this translates to is a narrower down tube than we’re used to seeing on most e-bikes with integrated batteries. Orbea says that in optimal conditions, the battery should maintain 80 per cent of its capacity after 500 full charge cycles, though it’s worth bearing in mind that the lifetime of a battery can be affected by temperature, storage conditions, and frequency of charges.

It comes with its own smart charger as well, which Orbea says will extend the life of the battery by up to 30 per cent, because it adapts the charge power depending on various factors like temperature, the state of the cells, or the number of charge cycles already consumed. This, says Orbea, prevents the battery from ‘overcharging’ and optimises its use.

While the battery isn’t removable, Orbea says its complete integration into the downtube reduces the overall weight of the bike and improves frame stiffness, translating into better and easier bike handling.

Orbea claims the Kemen’s battery setup is so efficient that it offers up to five hours of pedalling. If more power is required, there is also a separately available Range Extender, which can be mounted to the frame, and is said to add an extra 252 Wh.

Orbea Kemen geometry and frame

A Kemen and Kemen SUV head to head, with a side by side comparison on the mudguards

The Kemen and Kemen SUV have build differences, making the former better for speed in the city, and the latter more of a workhorse and adventure machine (Image credit: Orbea)

The aluminium Kemen frame is hydroformed and uses triple butted tubing, while the brand says it has perfected the wall thickness at specific points of the frame to reduce weight where it’s not needed, as well as reinforce areas more likely to come under stress.

Both the Kemen and Kemen SUV models come in two frame options: the Top Bar, which has a more traditional horizontal top tube, and the Mid Bar, which has more of a staggered step-through top tube. According to Orbea, the Top Bar model for both Kemen and Kemen SUV is designed to offer maximum frame stiffness in order to better handle rougher trails with heavy loads. The Mid Bar, meanwhile, is designed to carry heavier loads and deliver a stable ride while carrying cargo.

Smart solutions

A diagram with an inside look at the internal cable routing through the handlebars and stem

All the cabling is internally routed for a clean cockpit (Image credit: Orbea)

One of the key things Orbea is proud of when it comes to the new Kemen range is what it calls its “cutting edge technologies aimed at simplifying design and removing unnecessary weight from the entire bike.” This not only includes the integrated battery and its resulting slimmer design, but also its handlebar cable integration. All the brake wiring and the display and control cables are internally routed through the handlebar and stem cover. 

Both models come readily equipped with integrated lights at the front and rear, with the latter apparently emitting more brightness when braking, to communicate the rider’s actions to drivers behind them. In addition to this is a spotlight that’s controlled from the handlebar. 

The Kemen range comes with Shimano’s Link Glide drivetrain, designed specifically for e-bike transmissions, and said to offer smooth shifting that can withstand the stresses generated by motors. This is partly due to the fact that it removes gears which aren’t necessary with an electric motor, thereby also removing additional weight and complexity.

Other useful features for the everyday cyclist include a kickstand and a prioritising of durable components.

Orbea Kemen

The Kemen is designed for speed and comfort, according to Orbea, with “intuitive and confident handling” that can be taken on mixed terrain. The Kemen is more geared towards city use, and therefore comes equipped with longer mudguards than the SUV, as well as a lightweight rack with plenty of mounting points and carrying capacity of up to 18kg. The 29in wheels are shod with 2.25in tyres to allow for more comfortable traversal of poorly kept city roads.

There are four Kemen models in the range: Kemen 10, Kemen Mid 10, Kemen 30 and Kemen Mid 30. At the top end of the range, the Kemen 10 is equipped with a Fox 34 Float AWL 100 Rail fork, Magura MT5 E-Stop hydraulic disc brakes, 11-speed Shimano XT Link Glide shifting, OC MC20 Mountain Control dropper post, Oberon OC1 tubeless ready wheels and Schwalbe G-One Allround 29 x 2.25in tyres. It retails for £4,299 / $5,499 / €4,799.

The Kemen 30, on the other hand, features a Marzocchi Bomber Z2 100 fork, Magura MT30 hydraulic disc brakes, 10-speed Shimano Deore Link Glide shifting, no dropper post, and the same wheel and tyre combo as its stablemate. The Kemen 30 retails for £3,599 / $4,599 / €3,999.

Orbea Kemen SUV

The Kemen SUV, as suggested by its name, is designed for more adventure and heavier cargo. It’s equipped with more aggressive 2.35in Schwalbe Johnny Watts tyres for grip in wet weather, and its rack is suitable for loads of up to 27kg. This makes it more capable of carrying a baby seat, compared to the Kemen. An additional feature of the Kemen SUV’s rear rack is compatibility with Ortlieb’s QL3.1 mounting system.

There are four Kemen SUV models in the range: Kemen SUV 10, Kemen Mid SUV 10, Kemen SUV 30 and Kemen Mid SUV 30. At the higher end, the Kemen SUV 10 has a similar spec to the Kemen 10, with the key difference being the Schwalbe Johnny Watts 29 x 2.35in tyres. The Kemen SUV 10 retails for £4,299 / $5,499 / €4,799.

The Kemen SUV 30, in the same way as the 10, shares many similarities with the Kemen 30, aside from the tyres. This model retails for £3,599 / $4,599 / €3,999.

The Orbea Kemen and Orbea Kemen SUV are now available to buy from Orbea’s website and your local Orbea dealer. 

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Mildred joined as Reviews Writer for Cyclingnews and BikePerfect in December 2020. She loves all forms of cycling from long-distance audax to daily errand-running by bike, and does almost everything on two wheels, including moving house, and started out her cycling career working in a bike shop. For the past five years she's volunteered at The Bristol Bike Project as a mechanic and session coordinator, and now sits on its board of directors.

Since then she's gone on to write for a multitude of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. She's dedicated to providing more coverage of women's specific cycling tech, elevating under-represented voices in the sport, and making cycling more accessible overall. 

Height: 156cm (5'2")

Weight: 75kg

Rides: Stayer Groadinger UG, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Marin Larkspur, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike