They say you should never change a winning horse, so the Orbea Rallon M-LTD sees only minor improvement to the details instead. A new rocker arm in the rear linkage is said to improve the performance of the suspension, and even better, it’s available separately as an upgrade for the previous model. But how does the bike fare in direct comparison to the competition?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2020

Orbea Rallon M-LTD | 170/160 mm | 14.04 kg | € 7,381

The Orbea Rallon is a bike for individualists. You can customise the paint job however you want with Orbea’s MyO online configurator – giving you several million options, for free! But the Rallon already looks great in Orbea’s preconfigured colour scheme. The asymmetric frame with its clean lines is a feast for the eyes. The build spec can also be configured online. We chose the flagship configuration but opted against the ENVE wheelset which we found to be too stiff in previous reviews. Instead we choose the reliable DT swiss EX1501 wheels. That also saves a cool € 1,499. We also swapped the DHX2 coil shock for a FOX X2 Factory air shock. In this configuration, the Rallon comes in at € 7,381, which is fair given the extent of customisation options and the otherwise excellent build, leaving little to be desired. The spec list of the Rallon M-LTD includes a 170 mm FOX 36 FLOAT Factory GRIP2 fork and a Shimano XTR drivetrain with a Race Face Next R crankset. Thanks to the relatively short seat tube, riders should generally be able to choose between two frame sizes. We received the bike in size L for our test (our riders are all about 180 cm tall), but we’ve also ridden a size XL in the past, which felt slightly too long.

Flip-chip
The Orbea Rallon features a flip-chip for a low and high geometry setting. On the XL model, we kept it in the “lower” position, but on the L we set it to the higher “low” position so as not to shorten the effective reach even more.
Annoying
As on the previous model, the cables rattled inside the frame of our test bike. According to Orbea, the cables are routed through foam housings, but they don’t seem to perform as they should.
Too short
The chainstay protector is too short. The front section of the chainstay is covered in protective tape, but it would have looked better and kept the bike more quiet to simply make the chainstay protector longer.

Orbea Rallon M-LTD

€ 7,381

Specifications

Fork FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X2 Factory 160 mm
Seatpost Crank Brothers Highline 170 mm
Brakes Shimano XTR 4-Kolben 200/180 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR M9100 32 - 10/51
Stem Race Face Turbine R 35 40 mm
Handlebar Race Face Next R 35 Carbon 800 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss EX1501 Spline 29

Technical Data

Size SM, L, XL
Weight 14.04 kg


Convenient
Orbea’s custom frame bag is big enough to store a spare tube. It stays securely attached to the frame and is a much nicer alternative to tape. Unfortunately, it leaves no room for a water bottle.
Noticeable performance upgrade
Thanks to the revised rocker arm, Orbea have given the new Rallon more travel and improved the kinematics. The 160 mm travel suspension now responds much more sensitively than the 150 mm suspension of the previous model. You can buy the rocker arm separately for € 249 as an upgrade for the previous model.

Geometry and size of the Orbea

Riders at about 180 cm tall can choose the size of the Orbea Rallon M-LTD according to whether they want a more playful bike (size L) or a more composed bike (XL). This is made possible by the short seat tube. However, taller riders will be looking for an even longer version in vain: XL is the biggest option available. The geometry itself is balanced and a flip chip enables you to adjust the head and seat tube angles as well as the bottom bracket height.

Size SM L XL
Seat tube 406 mm 444 mm 483 mm
Top tube 583 mm 611 mm 644 mm
Head tube 100 mm 110 mm 125 mm
Head angle 65/64.5° 65/64.5° 65/64.5°
Seat angle 76/75° 76/75° 76/75°
Chainstays 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm
BB Drop 25/32 mm 25/32 mm 25/32 mm
Wheelbase 1,187 mm 1,217 mm 1,253 mm
Reach 430 mm 455 mm 485 mm
Stack 618 mm 627 mm 640 mm
Helmet 100% Trajecta | Goggles 100% Armega | Shirt Fasthouse Dropper MTB | Shorts Fox Ranger | Knee pads Fox Launch Pro

The Orbea Rallon M-LTD on the trail

For our 180 cm tall tester, the riding position on the Orbea felt compact but very comfortable with a central and upright pedalling position. The Rallon feels sprightly when you get on the pedals and it climbs well, making it suitable for longer rides too. In previous reviews, the suspension was the Rallon’s weakest point. With the coil shock installed, the rear end felt too linear and couldn’t cope with repeated hits and the air shock was too firm overall. The new rocker arm changes all that. Now, the Rallon responds sensitively to small hits, offering lots of traction and plenty of mid-stroke support. It’s not quite as plush as the best bikes in the test field, but also responds better to rider input.

The new rocker arm on the Orbea makes it perform noticeably better – the rear linkage responds a lot more sensitively and has more reserves.

Thanks to the short 455 m reach in size L, the handling of the Rallon is very direct and agile. If you like weaving through corners and around obstacles, this is the bike. The short front triangle keeps a lot of the rider’s weight on the front wheel, preventing understeer and making the handling very easy. If you’ve got a need for speed, you’d be advised to go up a size. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself tensing up on steep descents as you try to balance your centre of gravity. Despite having opted against the carbon wheels, the Orbea Rallon still felt very stiff and direct and always hit the lines we aimed it at. However, it takes a powerful rider to keep it on line.

The Orbea Rallon is a great all-rounder, but it reaches its limits in very demanding terrain.

How does the Orbea Rallon compare to the competition?

The Orbea Rallon is one of the most agile bikes on test. It felt very similar to the Track Slash, though it climbs better and offers more traction on the descents. It’s more on the trail end of the enduro spectrum and struggles to keep up with bikes like the Nukeproof Mega 290C or the Specialized Enduro on rough terrain but it’s also a lot more agile as a result.

Tuning tip: secure the internally routed cables | less stiff handlebar

Riding Characteristics

12

Uphill

1
  1. sluggish
  2. efficient

Agility

2
  1. cumbersome
  2. playful

Stability

3
  1. nervous
  2. confident

Handling

4
  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Suspension

5
  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

6
  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

7
  1. terrible
  2. very good

Intended Use

XC

8

Trail

9

Enduro

10

Downhill

11

Conclusion

The Orbea Rallon M-LTD scores with its direct, agile and balanced handling as well as its beautiful looks. It makes for an excellent climber and thanks to the revised linkage it is more capable on the descents. If you’re choosing between two frame sizes, you should think about whether you want a playful bike (smaller size) or a composed bike (larger frame). Details like the rattling cables and the very stiff rear end cloud the overall impression.

Tops

  • very comfortable climber
  • predictable and good-natured in the corners
  • tons of configuration options

Flops

  • lacks composure at high speeds
  • rattling cables in the frame

You can find out more about the Orbea Rallon M-LTD at orbea.com

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2020

All bikes in test: Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 LTD | CUBE Stereo 170 SL 29 | Giant Reign Advanced 29 0 | Ibis Mojo HD5 | Norco Sight C1 29 | Nukeproof Mega 275C RS | Nukeproof Mega 290C Pro | Orbea Rallon M-LTD | Pole Stamina 180 LE | RAAW Madonna V2 FOX Factory Built | Rocky Mountain Slayer Carbon 90 29 | Santa Cruz Megatower CC X01 Reserve | SCOTT Ransom 900 Tuned | Specialized S-Works Enduro 2020 | Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert | Trek Slash 9.9 X01 AXS | Yeti SB150 T2 | YT CAPRA 29 CF Pro Race

Words: Christoph Bayer Photos: Christoph Bayer / Finlay Anderson / Markus Frühmann

About the author

Christoph Bayer

Christoph loves to be kept on his toes – both on the bike and in his role for ENDURO. He’s known as the guy in charge of the bi-monthly magazine and masquerades as both its editor and photographer. You’ll usually find him tearing up the mountains on his bike, soaking up the flow or tackling technical, narrow trails.