Tour de France regulars Cofidis switched bike supplier from Orbea to Kuota at the start of the 2018 season. One of the outcomes of this move means that, unlike competitors, the Spanish manufacturer no longer has a spot at the top table where it can release its latest developments.
That hasn’t stopped Orbea coinciding a release of a disc-brake totting update to its Orca Aero range at the start of the Tour de France, though, following in the footsteps of the likes of Specialized, BMC and Cannondale.
A disc-shaped future
The main talking point of the release (as can be deduced from its name) is that Orbea's Orca Aero platform is now available with disc brakes. This continues a growing trend among bike manufacturers to offer up a disc brake option, even if those in the pro peloton are yet to make the switch.
The Orca Aero Disc retains the ‘freeflow’ fork from its 2017-released rim-brake sibling, only with the inclusion of flat mounts for the disc brakes just above the thru-axles. Orbea claims it has designed the fork in line with the relaxation of the UCI’s 3:1 tube profile rule, and that results in a claimed saving of four watts at the front end of the bike.
Other aerodynamic boosts come in the form of truncated tubes with flattened sides – apparently reducing drag at lower speeds, according to Orbea. These form the heart of a frame that has been 'optimised for improved torsional strength' at the headtube, bottom bracket and chainstays, which translates to improved power transfer, as we'd naturally expect from a top-end launch like this.
Orbea Orca Aero Disc models
Orca Aero M10i Team-D
(Shimano Dura-Ace Di2) - £7,199
Orca Aero M10 Team-D
(Shimano Dura-Ace) - £4,499
Orca Aero M20i Team-D
(Shimano Ultegra Di2) - £3,899
Orca Aero M20 Team-D
(Shimano Ultegra) - £3,199
Orca Aero M30 Team-D
(Shimano 105) - £2,999
Finally, for those in the search for marginal gains (and let’s be honest, that’s exactly what those riding aero bikes are after), the Spanish brand claims its oval seatpost will give riders a boost over competitors, with the design reportedly reducing air turbulence during pedalling when compared to the d-shaped or more conventional airfoil posts that have almost become an industry standard on bikes like this.
Integration and customisation
It wouldn’t be an aero release without a bit of integrated wizardry and Orbea hasn’t disappointed, creating a one-piece stem and handlebar that also has a mount for a computer, while at the other end of the toptube an integrated seat clamp keeps things in place. The bike’s internal cable routing keeps those wind-cheating lines looking clean, while Orbea says a third bottle cage mount (with two different options possible on the downtube) enables riders to improve the bike’s centre of gravity and aerodynamics depending on the number of bidons they require.
Five bikes from Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 to Shimano 105
There will be five Orca Aero Disc models available, from the top tier M10i Team-D with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut wheels for £7,199, down to the M30 Team-D, which features Shimano’s new 105 R7000 groupset for £2,999.
And thanks to Orbea’s MyO customiser, it’s also possible to switch out and upgrade components on the Aero Disc. Options include an alternative handlebar and stem setup, and the ability to add Rotor a 2INpower power meter for £929.