Orbea Rallon X-ltd Review

Reviewed by: Essex Herts MTB -
Orbea Rallon
We have been testing the Orbea Rallon X-ltd. Its been redesigned from the ground up and ticks all the boxes for a race ready enduro bike. We see how it rides.

Orbea Rallon X-ltd Introduction

Orbea completely redesigned the Rallon for 2014 with the aim of making it a race ready Enduro bike. They have been able to adopt all of the latest technologies and trends and integrate them in their latest offering. This mean you have a 160mm-travel, BOS Suspension equipped enduro race bike with 27.5" wheels, carbon componentry and the latest SRAM 1*11. The spec screams enduro!

Although Orbea are carbon experts as shown by their XC and Road bikes, they have used Aluminium in the Rallon's design to allow for a higher spec set of components at each price point. With carbon options available near what the Rallon X-ltd costs, we will be looking into whether or not this strategy has paid off.

Orbea Rallon X-ltd specification

  • Frame: Orbea Hydroformed triple butted alloy.
  • Adjustable geometry: HA 67 /66.5
  • Shock: Bos KIRK Rallon Custom providing 160mm of travel
  • Fork: Bos Deville 160 Tapered QR20
  • Crankset: SRAM XX1 28t 170mm
  • Headset: Orbit ZS Semi-Integrated
  • Handlebar: Race Face Sixc Riser 760
  • Stem: Race Face Atlas
  • Shifters: SRAM XX1
  • Brakes: Formula T1 Gold Hydraulic Disc
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1 X-Horizon
  • Chain: SRAM XX1 11-Speed
  • Cassette: SRAM XX 10-42 11-Speed
  • Wheels: SRAM Roam 60 carbon
  • Tyres: Geax Goma 27.5x2.25" TNT
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb 31.6x385mm Stealth
  • Saddle: Fizik Gobi
  • RRP: £5,499.00

Orbea Rallon
"BOS Suspension is regarded as class leading and its shows in how the Rallon rides"

Orbea Rallon frame

  • Orbea set out to create a long bike. This is the current trend and is fast becoming the norm. The other angles are shaped around this change but you need to take this into account when sizing. Each size is 40mm longer than the old Rallon but your meant to ride the same size as before. Its available in small medium and large. No extra large unfortunately
  • Even though the top tube is long the bike has nippy 420mm chain-stays.
  • The two-position suspension adjustment allows you to move between a 66 & 66.5 degree head angle, a bb drop of -7 to -14 and a seat angle of 75 & 74.5. Adjustable geo is always a good thing in our book and it feels great in both settings. It was quick and easy to move between the two. The high setting is slack and low and the low setting is very slack and very low!
  • Despite not being carbon the Orbea's frame is light. Its claimed to be 2750g without shock which put it in the same range as some carbon offerings.
  • The Orbea Rallon frame displays some interesting hydroforming. A lot of thought has been paid to the design to maximise stand-over, clearance and stiffness.
  • The Rallon comes with a low stack height allowing you to position your bars where it suits you. If you wish you can reduce the overall height of the front end to stop wandering on steep climbs.
  • The finish on the Rallon is excellent with lot of attention to details. Welds are neat and tidy and alignment was good. The internal ribbing and dropper cable routing are neat functional touches.The overall style of the frame is clean and well thought out. There are no real areas where mud can get trapped and access to pivots and the shock is easy.
  • The top tube with brace for the seat mast gives great stand over, whist giving a large contact area with the head tube helping with stiffness.
  • We loved the colour options of the Rallon. The 2 tone colour way giver it a great profile. The consensus was that it's a great looking bike and it has a tidy silhouette.
  • Cable routing on teh Orbea Rallon was external with full end to end housing. Just how we like it.
  • Chain slap is silenced by a custom designed chain-stay protector. The bike runs pretty much silent as the hubs are quiet too.
  • The frame uses Enduro Max Black Oxide bearings. We had no issues with any play developing in ouir time with the bike. In servicing the bike we took the rear shock off and cycled the rear eny by hand. It was silky smooth.
Orbea Rallon
  • The chain-stay bearings aren’t the beefiest and the rocker link is a 2 piece and fairly long. This does contribute to a bit of rear end flex on the Orbea Rallon. This built deflection adds to the bikes ability to track on the downs but the downside is a loss of efficiency on the ups. I don’t think it’s something most riders will notice and it’s not excessive.
  • The matt paint finish of the Orbea Rallon did grab the dirt and we would have to hose and rub the bike rather than just hose it down.
  • The decals are imaginative but not everyone's taste. Generally here at Essex Herts MTB towers we like clean and unfussy graphics and Orbea's are a bit 'jazzy' in places.

Orbea Rallon
"The Orbea frame displays some interesting hydroforming. A lot of thought has been paid to the design to maximise stand-over, clearance and stiffness."

Orbea Rallon suspension

  • Up front the Rallon uses the BOS Deville 160 with a Tapered QR20 axle. We love having a 20mm axle and its associated stiffness and the BOS forks are beautifully finished. The Deville's chassis is burly without being overly stiff. Nicely machined dials give it a high end feel. That's matched by the performance. We think that the Deville is the fastest 160mm fork out there right now. However “fastest” doesn't mean the plushest. What it does mean is that it will only use what it needs to allow the wheel to clear the obstacle. This efficient use of travel means that it’s quickly back in position to take the next hit. It has superb dive resistance resulting in an incredibly supportive platform for pushing transitions back-slopes and into berms. The Deville is as supple as the competition but blows them away with its mid stroke control.
  • The Orbea Rallon's suspension design uses a concentric rear pivot. Essentially a single pivot suspension path where the brake forces are isolated. The Kirk is set up to have a very linear stroke and the long rocker arm is there to work in conjunction with this.
  • Orbea have specced the BOS Kirk which displays similar characteristics as the Deville. Its efficient through its travel and supportive when weighting it with body movements. If you love punchy exit speed from your berms then its a great set up to run. You have access to low and high-speed compression adjustment as well as rebound. There are baseline settings on the website which help get you started.
  • The BOS Kirk also has a climbing switch which adds a layer of low speed compression to help with long fire road climbs.
  • The decals on the BOS Deville didn't appear to be very durable. Almost like stuck on paper, and showed signs of wear at the end of the test. Come on BOS go thick and glossy to help protect those lowers. Its a strange choice as the rest of the fork is so refined.
  • The BOS Deville doesnt have a lot of tyre clearance which might be a concern in muddy conditions.
  • The Kirk shock's Schrader valve was rather particular about what shock pump it would work with. A couple we tried we wouldn't detach without all the air coming out. The Deville didn't exhibit this issue. In addition the Kirks dials are very stiff to adjust, especially with tired hands out on the trail.

Orbea Rallon
"The Rallon's suspension design uses a concentric rear pivot. Essentially a single pivot suspension path where the brake forces are isolated"

Orbea Rallon equipment

  • The entire drive train on the Orbea Rallon is XX1. Its the best drive-train you can currently fit in our opinion. Shifts were smooth and clean as you would expect and the overall system is incredibly light.
  • The headset is a Orbit ZS. Not a particularly glamorous choice, but because it is semi integrated, it helped keep the front end nice and low. We had no issues with wear over the course of the test depite giving it a good number of jet washes.
  • The Orbea Rallon's cockpit is made up of a Race Face Sixc Riser 760 and Race Face Atlas. The stem was 50mm and as you would expect from Race Face looked great. 760 Carbon bars are the perfect choice on an enduro bike. Race face grips completed the package and were excellent too. Styled with the topographical pattern that race face kit often has, and felt as good as anything you would buy as an after market option.
  • Brakes are the Formula T1 Gold Hydraulic with 200mm rotors up front and 180mm out back. A sensible mix. The brakes had DH bike levels of power and ran drag free for the entire test.
  • The SRAM Roam 60 carbon wheels are a real highlight on the Orbea Rallon and genuinely change the way the bike rides. Stiff and only weighing 1570g. Light rims make a real difference on the bigger wheel sizes and helped with the bikes nimble feel. They stayed true throughout the test. The DT Swiss hubs looked and sounded great and had a quick pick up. These wheels retail for £1000 and it could be argued affect overall performance as much as a carbon frame would. They also came with a non XD hub driver which was a nice touch if you decide not to go XX in the future.
  • The MRP chain device is a nice safely net to have and didn't add much weight.
  • The tyres are the Geax Goma 27.5x2.25". Out of the box we were a little concerned that they might not be that grippy or robust. Despite our reservations they offered good grip in middling to dry conditions and rolled fast. They are single ply and came with non DH tubes but survived some hard landings and being rattled through Bike Park Wales rock gardens without flatting. Tyres are of course personal preference but we would tun these till they wear out or conditions get sloppy, and then replace them with something like a Hans Dampf.
  • The seat-post and saddle are a RockShox Reverb stealth and a Fizik Gobi. Both class leading.
  • The front ring is a 28 tooth which will defiantly be too small for some. A 30-32 is a better size for most people. The chain guide will cover up to a 34 tooth ring and looks a bit odd with the very small ring.
  • The Formula T1 brakes on the Orbea have great power but the levers couldn't be adjusted far enough for smallish hands.

Orbea Rallon
"The SRAM Roam 60 carbon wheels are a real highlight on the Orbea Rallon"

Orbea Rallon climbing

  • Despite the slack front end the Orbea Rallon has a steep seat angle at 75 to 74.5 degrees. This means that you are in a great position for long winching climbs.
  • Good suspension is as important when climbing as descending. The BOS kirk maintained traction over loose terrain even when putting power down. Despite the shocks suppleness there was hardly any mid stroke dive. So when you crunched the bike into a rock ledge or big set of roots while pedaling up, the bike stayed high in its travel limiting pedal strikes. Despite the low BB.
  • The overall light weight of the frame and carbon wheelset gave the Rallon a spritely feel. With the slack front end you are never going to be the fastest up the fill but you will get up in comfort and without our expending any excess energy muscling the bike around.
  • As mentioned previously the rear end isn't the stiffest. So when really stomping on the pedals there was some rear end flex. Nothing untoward but if you are a real power house, and like a stiff frame it might not suit you.

Orbea Rallon descending

  • With the fast rolling tyres and carbon rims you’re up to speed in a couple of pedal strokes on the Orbea Rallon. Sometimes it’s a bit unnerving how quickly you get rolling.
  • The suspension design combined with the Kirk rear shock and the carbon wheels help carry your speed through choppy terrain. At all times the bike felt balanced and ready for your input. There aren’t any nasty surprises or spikes in the suspension to put you off balance. The bike is always where you would expect it to be. Having the same brand of shock front and rear helps with that balance.
  • Working through the travel you get suppleness support then a sensible and progressive ramp up towards the end of the stroke.
  • The Orbea’s design provides good stand-over even in the small sizes. This allows for a lot of body movement when descending or pressing the bike into a flat corner.
  • The extra top tube length adds stability to the chassis. When it gets fast and loose pick a line, drop your heels, and the Rallon will monster through. However you can also approach the terrain with a bit more of a light touch, and the bike is nimble enough to dance and skip around.
  • The Orbea Rallon’s short 420mm chainstays help maintain it manoeuvrability. Like a lot of 650 bikes it leans more towards being stable than playful but with minimal effort you can get it sideways and flick it about.
  • There is good traction from the rear end, when braking on steep loose terrain. The concentric pivot stops the rear end locking up, letting the ever supple Kirk can do its job and maintain traction.
  • With the relatively high mounted shock, the center of gravity could be a little better. With such a good balance to the rest of the bike it’s not really an big issue.

Orbea Rallon
"When it gets fast and loose pick a line drop your heels and the Orbea Rallon will monster through."

Test Info

  • Size tested – Small.
  • Tested – For 3 Months from Spring 2014 to Summer 2014.
  • Riding – Full on DH days, winch and plummet days in the hills, trail centres and quick local rides
  • Where – Triscombe, Exmoor, Bike Park Wales, Surrey Hills, Woburn, Welsh Trail Centres, Danbury, Epping
  • Care level - Good. Washed and chain lubed after each muddy ride. 1 strip downs during the test.
  • Tester height & weight - 173cm 75kg.
  • Tester riding style - Fairly aggressive on the trail. Always looking for the fun lines.
  • Similar bikes used and abused: Nicolai Helius FR, Specialized Enduro, Santa Cruz Nomad, Canyon Strive.

Orbea Rallon X-ltd - Final Thoughts

Orbea have gone for the modern approach of wide bars, short stem, long top tube, steepish seat angle and slack front end. It's what riders now want in this type of bike and it comes together well in this package. The bike is very stable on rough terrain, and the generous stand-over helps the rider position the bike. Point it downhill and it will just power over whatever is put in its way. There is plenty of traction when climbing the and rear end remains supple under braking. On the flat and uphill it carries speed well with the light wheels and centred riding position helping you deliver the power to the ground.

The stand-out kit on the Rallon is the BOS Suspension. Once you get them dialled , the performance is exemplary. We have so far struggled to find a situation where the suspension is not composed. Configuring the Kirk & the Deville in a race setting and adopting a really aggressive riding style gave the best results.

The rest of the Orbea Rallon kit is the best of the best. Its not just a case of hanging expensive stuff off a frame however. A lot of thought appears to have been put into the choices meaning that this is a bike you wont need to upgrade.

If you want a bike which has a great suspension platform, the best kit currently available and is is race ready out of the box then you have to consider the Rallon. It's a lot of money but also a lot of bike. When you add the retail price of the XX1, Carbon Wheels, and BOS suspension together it does start to seem like reasonable value. The Orbea Rallon is without doubt one of the the best enduro bikes you can currently buy. Find out more about the Orbea Rallon X-ltd here.

Orbea Rallon