The second of our mid range ride reviews. Words: Guy Kesteven, Photos: Mick Kirkman
Ordu M20I LTD £5,899 orbea.com
A custom bike built to any taste, but will it satisfy our demanding testers?
Designed and then built to customer order in the northern Spanish mountains, Orbea’s Ordu is a proven top-level performer and this M20i version is packed with premium kit to justify its seriously steep price tag.
Frame a forks
A big wedge headstock behind the narrow straight steerer fork and another similar fin joint between top tube and seat tube shows the Ordu is primarily designed to cut through drag, rather than manipulate airflow to its advantage. The relatively thin forks sync into a notch on the deep, thin dropped down tube and the rear of the seat tube is extended to create a wheel hugger curve.
There are mounts for a bento box on the top tube, but you’ll have to wait for the 2016 frame later in the year to get an inset stem design. Cable routing is all internal, but the Di2 battery is carried externally under the offside chainstay. Drag from the conventional mounted brakes is reduced by the use of a specific aero design Tri Rig caliper at the front.
Orbea certainly hasn’t skimped on kit elsewhere either. The Ltd rolls on the ceramic bearings of Vision’s Metron 55 full carbon wheels and gloriously smooth and fast Challenge Elite tyres. Vision also supplies the hollow carbon arm aero chainset and full carbon cockpit held in place with an ultra trick carbon stem. Although we’re always disappointed when bikes miss the biggest advantage of Di2 by only putting shift switches on the extensions not the base bars as well.
The biggest advantage with choosing an Orbea is the wide palette of custom options available when you order so
adding extra shifter buttons or tweaking other componentry to suit isn’t an issue. There is a wide range of base Ordu bikes to choose from so if you want the same frame and gears as the bike here but with less bling kit then the 2016 M20i comes in at a much cheaper price of £2,959.
The softly sprung cantilevered arm rests of Vision’s tri bars are always a comfortable place to settle into, but there’s no doubt the Orbea amplifies ride smoothness all the way from your elbows to the road. While the deep frame tubes and firm padding might suggest a severe ride experience, the Ordu is certainly no ordeal even on the longest bike split. There’s a noticeably damped, vibration killing, comfort enhancing feel right through the frame and the
wheels and tyres are particularly silky smooth.
The easy glide even over rough surfaces is complemented by very neutral aerodynamics. It doesn’t feel outstandingly quick in any particular wind conditions but it doesn’t suck or blow around unexpectedly either. Add the adjustable saddle position and this all goes to create a bike that’s very easy to settle into an efficient tuck on and stay there indefinitely.
It all inevitably makes this bike a sorted speed sustainer that always ranked well on our timed test sections and Strava ride autopsies.
The only place where the Orbea did seem to struggle was when climbing or initial accelerations. While they look stiff, the deep chainstays and carbon crank arms don’t project power particularly well and the lack of base bar shifters makes upchanges slightly more awkward.
Considering the complete bike price and the low weight of the full carbon wheels, it’s heavy, which also dulls acceleration and altitude gain. That isn’t going to bother anyone heading for Hawaii or other predominantly flat courses though and if you want a distinctively comfortable, easy to ride speed machine with custom component potential then the Ordu is well worth ordering.
Read our review of the Cube Aerium Super SL here