Orbea lent us an Oiz M10-TR 19 to try, the TR, I presume, is the trail version of their XC racing machine. That TR badge means it comes with 120mm Fox 34 and a degree slacker head angle at 68°. The extra degree was a little lost on me with the 90mm stem. I needed shorter but I should not criticise as it was a large and I am definitely a medium. According their size chart the large will fit up to 190cm (6’3”). Testing a new bike is always fun, especially when it is a category that I like.
Modern cross country race bikes are always fun as they are quick and designed to cope with World Cup courses which are gnarlier than anything that we ride around here. This version is perhaps designed for the world cup rider less skilled or for a guy like me that wants all the speed but can ride around calling it a “trail” bike. The Orbea had a lot to live up to bearing in mind that I ride, probably, the best world cup bike on the market, my trusty Scott Spark 900 RC World Cup. To be fair, Orbea’s roots are firmly planted in the cross country race scene just like Scott.
I set the Oiz up with plenty of sag and the tyres soft but, as it turned out, not soft enough. I have ridden with a Maxxis Forekaster several times now and every time have had to let more air out. The Oiz ended up with 15psi in the front wheel. Once adjusted the bike did everything well and my confidence increased with each kilometre despite the wet and greasy conditions. It was so fast that it was only my legs and a slipping seat post that held me back.
The Oiz is equipped with Sram GX Eagle transmission and Shimano XT brakes. The Sram drive train and Shimano brake combo is pretty much standard these days as the Yanks really have left the Japanese floundering in the dirt with their transmission although, to be fair, the Japs are still winning with price and weight with their brakes. The bike is light at 11.68kgs (25.12lbs), Wheels are Mavic Crossmax Elite with Maxxis Forekaster 2.35 front and Ardent Race 2.2 rear.
The fun started when we got to Whiteways. I don’t have a dropper on my bike but as I was taking a lesson from Phil I thought I had better lower the seat post. The forks and shock immediately locked out and as I fumbled to get them active again my mentor disappeared from sight. Hence my confusion over the design not just of having both dropper and shock lock out less than a thumbs width apart but the “off” position of the shock lever is full lock out! Bizarre! This is not a feature limited just to Orbea.
And then I crashed! Blame the bike, the tyres, the mind I don’t care, it didn’t matter, I was glad. On the last drop of the Three Amigos I aimed the front wheel at the V join of those rising roots expecting to have enough speed to keep me on the straight and narrow. Not so, a full on, flying wipe out ensued. I screamed with joy as my mates rushed in fearing the worse. I was fine. As you know most crashes, especially steep ones in winter, are not normally a problem. I needed that to allay any fears lingering after my accident last summer. The rehab and strength work helped too (thanks: Infinity Fitness Journey).
Running out of time I had to power up to get home as promised. I was gagging for a drink. I didn’t mention this before but my Camelbak bag leaked as I left home. My back was soaked and I had lost over half before I realised that I hadn’t tightened the cap properly. I was riding back, dressed for winter, in summer sunshine but with power still in my legs I began to cramp. I had to stop and walk. I was pretty pissed at getting cramp after 6 hours in the saddle on the South Downs way in the summer but, in February!!! I really did wonder what was going on. Drink more, eat more…….
The Downs were wetter than expected, Whiteways was running much drier than expected, Orbea Oiz M10-TR 19 performed as well as expected. Weather way better than expected. It’s February for crying out……!
No trail pictures, enjoy riding too much to stop. Here’s the ride on Strava.