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
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.
Orbea Rallon M-LTD
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
Size SM, L, XL
Weight 14.04 kg
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.
|Seat tube||406 mm||444 mm||483 mm|
|Top tube||583 mm||611 mm||644 mm|
|Head tube||100 mm||110 mm||125 mm|
|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|
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
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.
- very comfortable climber
- predictable and good-natured in the corners
- tons of configuration options
- 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
This scale indicates how efficiently the bike climbs. It refers to both simple and technical climbs. Along with the suspension, the riding position and the weight of the bike all play a crucial role.↩
How does the bike ride and descend? How spritely is the bike, how agile is it through corners, how much fun is it in tight sections and how quickly can it change direction?↩
Is the bike stable at high speeds? Is it easy to stay in control in demanding terrain? How composed is it on rough trails? Stability is a combination of balanced geometry, good suspension and the right spec.↩
This is all about how balanced the bike is and particularly about how well it corners. Balanced bikes require little physical effort from the rider and are very predictable. If a bike is unbalanced, the rider has to work hard to weight the front wheel to generate enough grip. However, experienced riders can have a lot of fun even with unbalanced bikes.↩
How sensitive is the suspension over small bumps? Can it absorb hard impacts and does it soak up repeated hits? Plush suspension not only provides comfort and makes a bike more capable, but it also generates traction. The rating includes the fork and the rear suspension.↩
This aspect mainly comes down to the suspension. How much pop does it have, does it suck up the rider’s input or is it supportive, and how agile and direct is the bike?↩
We don’t calculate value for money in an excel spreadsheet or based on how high-end a bike is specced. We are more concerned with how a bike performs on the trail and how the bike benefits the rider. What good are the best components if the bike doesn’t perform well on the trail? Expensive bikes with a lower-end spec can offer very good value for money – provided they excel where it matters. Just as supposedly cheap bikes with good components can get a bad rating if they don’t deliver on the trail.↩
No, it’s not about racing, it’s about efficiency. Fast, fleet-footed and efficient – those who want to speed along flowy singletrack and gravel roads need a defined and spritely bike that accelerates with ease and efficiency. Nevertheless, reliable components are important too. We interpret XC more like the Americans do: big back-country rides instead of a marathon or XC World Cup with the ultimate in lightweight construction! Uphill-downhill ratio: 80:30 (not everything has to be 100%!)↩
...also known as mountain biking. Classic singletrack with roots, rocks and ledges – sometimes flowy, sometimes rough. For this, you need a bike with good all-round qualities, whether climbing or descending. Uphill-downhill ratio: 50:50↩
Even more extreme and challenging compared to Trail riding, riddled with every kind of obstacle: jumps, gaps, nasty rock gardens, ruts and roots. For this, you need (race)proven equipment that forgives mistakes and wouldn’t look out of place on a stage of the Enduro World Series. Climbing is just a means to an end. Uphill-downhill ratio: 30:70↩
Strictly speaking, a 200 mm travel downhill bike is the best choice for merciless tracks with big jumps, drops and the roughest terrain. Those would be the black or double-black-diamond tracks in a bike park. But as some of the EWS pros (including Sam Hill) have proven, it’s the riding skills and not the bike that define what you can ride with it. Climbing? On foot or with a shuttle, please! Uphill-downhill ratio: 10:90↩
Words: Christoph Bayer Photos: Christoph Bayer / Finlay Anderson / Markus Frühmann