from Charlotte, NC, USA
Date Reviewed: October 10, 2011
Strengths: Light, stiff, geometry, components
Weaknesses: None so far
This is an amazing bike. I really debated about going from a full suspension to a hardtail. Let's just say I don't miss full suspension at all. This bike is agile and forgiving. I can ride it for over two hours with no issues on my back. In fact, my back hasn't bothered me at all since getting this ride.
I love the geometry. Even though it's a much taller bike than my Pivot you feel like your sitting within the bike and not on top of it.
When you stand up to hammer you can feel the bike lurching forward. There's no wasted energy on this bike.
Similar Products Used: Pivot Mach 4, Specialized S Works M4
Bike Setup: Full XTR, Crossmax wheels, Maxxis Ignitor tubeless
a Weekend Warrior
from Arlington, TX USA
Date Reviewed: June 17, 2011
Strengths: F^$*#'n light and has not broken with my ape butt riding it! Makes you sit in the garage and stare at it... I guess it's looks are hypnotizing. Setup is fun to listen to while riding.
Weaknesses: To be honest, so far... none. I have bunny hopped logs and pipes, done 10 foot whoopties up and down fast and she's holding together so far!
So far so good! I am a 43yo 6'2" 230# dude and I ride for fun. No big jumps/drops, I have learned in life, if you break it, you have to pay good money to fix it so, the goal is not to "see what it takes to break it" since my money tree withered away a while back. I do have fun on it and ride it 4 days a week... all trail, It gets rinsed off after every ride so if it's ever sold, it will look as close to how it looks now as possible so a future rider will enjoy sitting in the garage staring at it as much as I do! (Plus, you take care of your bike, you get more when selling to eventually buy a new bike). Did I mention that this bike is stinking fast? I feel like Slim Pickens riding the bomb down in Dr Strangelove. If you are young... see referenced clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcW_Ygs6hm0
Similar Products Used: 1997 Specialized FSR & 1996 Rockhopper, 1995 Cannondale Super V 1000 (present second bike), Cannondale F700
Bike Setup: Juicy Ultimate, XO Trans, XT cranks, XO Grip shift, DT Swiss, Crossmax tubless, WTB rocket perch.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: April 12, 2011
Strengths: Rides great, good handling.
Weaknesses: The lacquer is thin and frail.
The Bottom line is the paint chips easy and the lifetime warranty is not a lifetime warranty. After speaking with Jason Macom at Orbea USA, he stated that there was a run of bikes in White that had a paint issue- magically when he gets the bike, that was not the issue. Then they offered to replace the bike for $1400, other bike companies do not charge half that for a replacement,and that would be for a crash. Orbea does not state how their warranty truly works. I was then promised by Jason's boss Tony Karklin to have the frame by Monday. He said "we will give you an Odin helmet and have this out tonight, so you could have it by Monday." Monday comes along and NO BIKE. So, I have to set up to get this thing painted, then have it rebuilt, we are looking at 2 weeks to resolve and Tony says, sorry. I don't know about this company in Europe, but in America, steer clear and get yourself a Specialized or Scott.
Buy this if you want are prepared to spend more money on toughening up the lacquer. Orbea knows there is an issue with their paint job and putting crankskins on a frame, as well, but they won't tell you that.
Similar Products Used: Orbea Lanza, GT Zaskar Expert,
Bike Setup: XX with Sid Fork.
from Boston, MA USA
Date Reviewed: April 7, 2011
Strengths: Light, responsive.
Weaknesses: Fragile frame
Rode this bike for less than 100 miles. Slid out on a right hand turn of loose, dry dirt, laid the bike down and cracked the seat stay. Frame is now garbage and Orbea says that the crack was NOT caused by mfg defect but by me crashing it so the warranty doesn't apply. If a mtn bike can't survive a mild crash (not sure I can even call it a crash) like that, it shouldn't be a mtn bike. Really disappointed because I did really like the bike. It was very fun to race - the bike just wanted to go.
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Juliana, Seven Sola
from McKinney, TX, USA
Date Reviewed: March 21, 2011
Strengths: Light with superior stiffness and believe it or not, vibration absortion. Extremely responsive...especially for a 29er. Steep head tube makes this possible. Great climber and super tough.
Weaknesses: Tight rear triangle. Can only handle a 2.25 tire with a true rim. Anything larger rubs.
This is an awesome bike for the raer or the novice. The racer can certainly see the handling capabilities. Quite frankly, it handles as good as any bike i've ridden. I do live in Tesas and ride a variety of trail. One could easily argue a hardtail is the most "raceable" bike for this type of terrain. I would ague the Alma is the best bike fo this terrain...Fast, rocky, step ups requiring explosive climbs, and fst downhill sections with curves, roots, and rocks. Full suspension bikes don't even hold a candle to this bike in our racing environment.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Epic and Spot Brand 29er SS. Wouldn't say these are close comparisons, but do give a great contrast to the Alma.
Bike Setup: SRAM XO grip shift and rear der. XTR front der. Avid Juicy Ultimate carbon disc brakes. Stans ZTR 355 rims with DT swiss 240s. Carbon, stem, bars, setpost, seat. XTR pedals. Gore cables. Super tricked ride...love it!!!
a Cross Country Rider
from Santa Barbara, CA
Date Reviewed: June 7, 2009
Strengths: Extremely lightweight; extremely well-designed and engineered; beautiful component spec; looks great; limitlessly fast; very responsive.
Weaknesses: Few, indeed. About the only improvement I would make would be to design the frame and spec the bike toward an 80 mm XC/race fork, instead of the 100 fork the bike came with: on a bike of this nature, 80 mm will handle everything the frame is designed for, and will save weight and lower the center of gravity vs. 100 mm.
I've waited a year to write this review; I really wanted to get to know the bike, as I feel that there is a kind of "new bike aura" that leads many new bike owners to fawn over their fresh steed for a month or two, and perhaps overlook faults or drawbacks to the bike that might become apparent with more time in the saddle.
That said, this is a truly remarkable bicycle. I did a tremendous amount of research and riding before I bought his bike, even going so far as to speak at length on the phone with the product manager of carbon hardtails at Bianchi, Specialized, Giant, and Orbea. Orbea has done a truly amazing job of blending comfort/compliance and stiffness/rigidity on this bike. If you look at the carbon layup, you can see that Orbea paid a great deal of attention to the details of fiber direction on the frame.
In terms of the ride, this is an undiluted race/cross-country bike. It loves to go really fast and be pushed hard. It's actually a little awkward at low speeds, but totally revels in climbing fast and drawing fast lines on technical descents. I don't race, but I'm really into big, solo epic days in the backcountry, covering lots of ground quickly. For this purpose, it is my opinion that nothing beats a lightweight, crabon hardtail. Between the compliance of the tubeless Crossmax SLs and the give of the superbly designed carbon rear triangle, this is a very comfortable, very responsive bike that is supremely suited to big adventures.
Clearly, this bike is not for everyone- if you think that the shuttle is a viable means to the top, this is not your bike. If you feel that climbing is located in the seventh circle of hell, this is not your bike. If, however, your goal is to cover heaps of ground quickly, be able to throw your bike over your shoulder (or over a fence) easily, climb without having (or being able to) make excuses for the weight of your bike, and slide through technical single track with superlative ease, I would strongly suggest taking a hard look at the Alma.
Similar Products Used: Numerous high-end hardtails and FS bikes.
Bike Setup: My bike came specc'd with EC90 bars, a carbon XTR shadow rear derailleur, full XTR drive train, a sweet Selle Italia saddle, Mavic CrossMax SL wheels, and a Ritchey WCS stem. With the exception of the stem, which cracked due to a design flaw (I use a torque wrench, and the carbon bars were undamaged, even as the stem broke), everything has worked perfectly.
Strengths: Light! 1270g for a large frame. 21.2 lbs for the full bike. Stiff bottom bracket. Instant-acceleration. Snappy handing. Visible carbon weave under clear coat is eye-catching. Geometry feels both racy and stable into the corners. Frame has some vibration dissipation qualities that are nicely executed.
Weaknesses: The future durability of the brake caliper mount and dropout cluster on the rear triangle concern me. The downtube carbon seems quite thin as well. However, Orbea offers a lifetime warranty on this frame.
The Orbea Alma is a truly remarkable frame that far exceeded my expectations. I bought it because I was looking for a fast, short-course cross country race machine that I could also use for road to trails riding from my home. The frame itself is 1270g with collar and derailleur hanger. Fully assembled with some fairly light pieces, but nothing dangerous, the full bike is 21.2 lbs.
What I love about this bike is how comfortable it feels in the cockpit. It inspires confidence on and off road. For instance, like a good carbon bike, road and trail vibration dissipates. Further, when off-road it offers a bit of give to soften the ride somewhat over roots and rocks.
It gives up nothing in the bottom bracket, which is as stiff as anything I've found. All my energy is channeled into the rear wheel and the surge in acceleration is unlike anything I've found with aluminum (hardtail or fuly-suspended). Leaned over, it feels completely solid and trustworthy.
I was worried that the steep headtube and racer SID fork would make the bike nervous, but the opposite is the case. This machine carves through corners and between trees in a surgical fashion that is breathtaking. Climbing off-road is almost an experience of being pulled by a tow rope compared to full suspension.
The future durability of the bike concerns me somewhat, but Orbea is good at honoring their lifetime warranty, and I don't intend to crash it in rocks. Some reviews say that the bonded and riveted dropout and caliper mount cluster stays intact, and others say it separates from the frame. Provided it remains sound, the four point rear triangle is a nice concept that seems to enhance this bike's ride characteristics well. One note is that the carbon acts as a soundboard for the shifters and derailleurs. Shifts are loud!
So far, the Alma is a great bike and more than worth the price paid for the frame and components. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be fast.
Bike Setup: SID Team fork, Crossmax SL wheels, Middleburn RS-8 crankset, SRAM X.0 transmission, Formula K24 brakes, Eggbeater 2Ti pedals, Answer Pro-Taper carbon bar, Thomson Masterpiece steapost, WTB Pure V Team Ti Saddle.
Weaknesses: Stifiness, build quality, strengh and reliability...
At the beginnig the bike Was amazing! light, stiff and very agile! I mean, technical sections required less effort! also Its the best climber I've ever ridden! The frame weights 1250kg!!!
But after a few months of abuse at technical trails, few races, and all that.. Its stifiness disappeared completelly, the carbon protection laminade started to peal at the botton bracket area and I could feel the frame has weakened at the rear triangle "VERY MUCH"!
The little aluminum piece that holds the caliper at the rear triangle is not strong, its a sh*t really! A very annoying noise started from the back of the bike! nhecnhecnhec It didnt feel like a "world class championship bike" at all...
I basically rode it at the same spots I rode my Aluminium Hardtail bike for 3 years! I am not a heavy rider, I am 75kg. This bike should be able to take much much more!
I think ORBEA changes Absalon's frame every 2 or 3 months (I am serious!) This is one bike that can definatelly not take the abuse!
Buy it if you want to try riding an eggshell! Or if you re pro and/or rich enough to have a "XC Competition only!" bike lying around...
Bike Setup: xtr, xtr, xtr, mavic crossmax, and carbon every thing else!
from Boulder, CO, USA
Date Reviewed: February 28, 2008
Strengths: light, good looking, fast, rear triangle design
Weaknesses: prone to wear and chipping, cracks
this bike is super nice. its compliant, quick, and undeniably sexy. the 4point rear triangle is well designed and surprisingly forgiving. BUT, the seat tube, seat stay cluster was built too light, and is prone to cracks. I did buy the bike used, but there was very little frame damage when I got it. after a year of use (and I am a 5'11", 140lb xc racer so it was not heavy use) small cracks had developed around this area. In addition, the clear coating held up quite poorly, several chips on the down tube and bb cluster as a result of small rocks being kicked up. Also, the bonding agent used to attach the cable stop on the seat tube is very weak, which will cause the stop to crack or break off entirely.
bottom line: its a killer ride, but the reliability is beans. spend your money elsewhere.
Strengths: I though I got a bike... but this is an airplane! This baby rocks. Feels great, excellent handling and control, best in class for climbing and it is everything I could have dream when going down. World Cup graphics looks great.
Weaknesses: None so far.
If your looking for a XC competition machine, this is simply the best you can get. Its cost is lower than similar frames (Scott, Trek, Specialized) and it is just perfect in every detail.
Similar Products Used: Orbea Lanza, Specialized Stumpjumper, Salsa Caballero
Bike Setup: Fox Fork 100X, Crossmax wheels, Shimano XT components.
from Arlington, VA
Date Reviewed: August 27, 2006
Strengths: Everything I listed below and great customer service!
This is a follow up to my previous review. The new frame came in and I've been riding it for a few weeks now. All is right in the world. One thing I did discover is that the frame I originally purchased in February 06 was actually an 05 model. The replacement frame is 06 ... I'm not quite sure why I was given an 05 model but it doesn't matter anymore. What I did notice immediately is that the seatpost tube appears to be redesigned on the 06 model ... they seem to have beefed it up a bit near seat post collar (right where my original frame cracked) and my confidence in this frame has been restored.
This is an awesome bike from an awesome company and I would recommend it to anyone else like me (unmarried or with no girlfriend telling you that you shouldn't spend your money on it ... or you just want an absolutely beautiful and kick ass bike).
Strengths: Unbelievably light Carbon Fiber Looks slick Orbea Service
Weaknesses: Frame cracked at the seatpost collar after three months
While I've had this bike it has been absolutely amazing. Incredibly fast, stiff, responsive and an awful lot of fun to ride. Plus there's something kind of cool about a 20 pound MTN bike. It's just been a great all around ride ...
Until the frame cracked right at the seat tube after three months. I don't know how this happened as I havne't had a chance to take the bike offroad yet but it happened and it sucked. However, between Bicycle Pro Shop in DC (one of the top two places I have been to) and Orbea, the frame is getting replaced under the lifetime warranty.
I'm willing to chalk this up to a one off problem and I do appreciate that Orbea is taking care of it. Plus, give it one ride, and you'll see why I'm more excited about the new ride and less upset at this happening.
If I was still riding this right now, I'd be giving it 5 each.