Ever wonder what?s been happening with aluminum since carbon fiber has become all the rage? In some cases, it?s only gotten better by being swept along in the mad rush for lighter ? stronger ? stiffer. With the Alma 29 Hydro, Orbea shows that metal can still compete with carbon. On a strictly performance basis, the Alma 29 Hydro is a fantastic machine. On the scale it?s still the underdog in comparison to its carbon fiber big brother, but it wins big time at the checkout.As the name would imply, the Alma 29 Hydro makes liberal use of advanced hydroforming technology to shape the tubes. The tube profiles and general shaping mimics the carbon fiber version, and there?s a reason for it all. You?ll see that both the front and rear triangles are actually quadrangles, with four corners and four sides. The fourth member unlocks the triangle in a way that invites a small amount of deflection in the frame. Orbea?s engineers intended it to absorb some of the harsh input from the trail. They call it their 4x4 design. Couple this comfort-adding design with the advantages of 29er wheels and the Alma Hydro 29 is a true all-terrain bike.Like we said earlier, aluminum has been improved over the years. Where we used to ride with straight gauge alloy tubes many years ago, Orbea employs TIG-welded, triple-butted tubing here. The butting process reduces the wall thickness away from the weld zones where the tube can be thinner and therefore lighter. This helps with ride quality as well. The thinner tubes temper the overall stiffness of the frame. One of our favorite elements from the Alma 29 Silver is the lack of bridges on the rear stays. This seriously increases the tire clearance so that mud and leaves that get stuck to your rear tire can pass through without getting hung up. The Alma Hydro gets this same free-running design. The aluminum Alma also uses DCR (direct cable routing). This version can use a standard cable set as well as Gore?s slick-shifting cables like the carbon version does. The Orbea Alma 29 Hydro is available in Small, Medium, and Large and comes in three colors ? Black/yellow, White/blue, and White/red. It has a straight head tube with 44mm ID. The frameset includes an FSA semi-integrated 1-1/8? headset. It requires a 31.6mm seatpost and a 34.9mm top-pull front derailleur. The bottom bracket uses typical English threading. All Orbea bicycle frames come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defect.
Strengths: Handles very well in tight situations you would usually be slower on a 29 in. Great rear wheel clearance for mud and leave shedding. It is a work of art, the bike is beautiful. It is light never measure exact weight.
Weaknesses: Paint is thin (i guess for weight?) but it scrapes off very easily. I put helicopter tape on the down tube and you cant even see it. One thing that is wonky but not bad, is the way they set up the cable routing, I ignored a few of the holds that just don't fit nicely.
This is for just the 2012 frame not the whole bike build from Orbea. I ride central East Coast (Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia) and this 29er handles great for the tight woodsy switch backs, rocky rooty down hills and climbs you find in the east coast. I rode a Fuji Tahoe before this and it had a lot more stretched out of a feeling and handled completely how people explain 29ers negatively. But the Orbea is different with its geometry and the setup I am running everything's set back and handles well in tight situations, fast downhills, and uphills. The lack of bridges on the chain stays is awesome, I did a 100 mile race in the rain with my thick 2.2 Bronson's and the mud shed away from the bike. If you ride and get leaves stuck allot, that doesn't happen at all with the Orbea (besides the ones that get stuck on my front derailleur).
4 Chilis for price because as I got it for close out for 500, Its original price is $749 which seems high to me in comparison to other frames in the range
4 Chilis for Overal Rating becuase wonky routing and thin paint, which is not that bad i just feel 5 Chilis should be perfect