The latest Orbea Alma hardtail offers impressive race ready weights at a price to suit every pocket.
Orbea gets 1/3 of its revenue through its XC bikes, so it should be no surprise that they’ve put some effort in to modernising their XC hardtail, the Alma. To bring it up to date with the latest demands of buyers, it is now specifically designed for 1x gearing and wider rims, will take up to a 2.4in tyre, and has been tweaked to make it more comfortable. At the same time, it’s now been given the OMX carbon makeover, making it lighter than before in its top end model. It also gets flat mount brakes on the carbon models to give further weight saving, plus a chain guide for those worried that their 1x chain might feel a little too free without a front derailleur. To keep things quiet, there’s a new internal cable routing set up ‘ICR’ (original name there), that will accommodate traditional or electronic routing systems without rub or rattle.
The frame weights are impressive in all models:
- OMX Carbon – medium – 830g
- OMR Carbon – medium – 1100g
- Alloy – medium – 1650g
Comfort comes both in the frame structure, and in the inclusion of a 27.2in seat post – which Orbea says tests proved was more comfortable. They’re confident that the market is going to see an increase in the availability of 27.2in dropper posts, so don’t see this as being a barrier to riders looking to include one. The frame structure is planned around what Orbea calls their ‘Dynamic Structure’. Here’s their explanation of what that means in practice:
“STIFFNESS: The large majority of torsional and lateral loads are handled by the lower spine of the frame. The headtube, downtube and chainstays resist twisting and transmit power to the rear wheel. There is no doubt about it, resistance to flex in the bottom of the frame translates directly to more watts to the wheel and a sensation that power transfer is instantaneous.“
“SMOOTHNESS: Studying the way the frame behaves under a rider’s weight is critical to tuning the way vibrations are transmitted through the upper structure of the frame. The seat stays of the new Alma are thinner, the cross-sections and diameters reduced to provide graceful support for the seat tube and nothing more.“
“The top tube is robust at the head tube where it contributes to torsional stiffness, but quickly tapers to eliminate unnecessary material. The natural flex patterns created by the carbon layup and minimal bulk of the top tube and seat stays deliver a dynamic, smooth ride that feels like floating over rough terrain. The sensation is subtle – but it is noticeable and can be tested. And at the end of a gruelling ride it could make the difference between the podium and the consolation prize.“
To provide protection from bar/top tube strikes, Orbea has worked with ACROS to develop a custom ‘Blocklock’ which is built into the headset of the Orbea Alma. This means that the block mechanism is internal – with no rubber bumpers etc on the top tube – but also allow a low stack height that they think Orbea Alma riders are looking for. The lower bearings are replaceable so that this higher wear part doesn’t cause issues within this proprietary set up. As well as the top tube protection, there’s also Orbea’s own OC cockpit system for a neat look and integration with a GPS or mapping device.
The Orbea Alma now has a head angle of 68º, a seat angle of 74,5º, with 435mm chainstays and a reach of 426mm (size Medium). The riding position is designed to be similar to the Oiz Full Suspension XC bike. You can opt to plug in a 100mm fork up front, or go for a rigid ‘Spirit’ fork. Orbea’s market research found the perhaps surprising fact that about 50% of their market expressed an interest in running a rigid fork. To make it easier to swap your bike set up between a suspension and rigid fork, the Spirit fork – which weighs just 500g – now comes with internal or external cabling options.
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As well as the OMX top end carbon frame option, you’ll also be able to choose from OMR carbon and alloy models, all of which offer up ‘MYO’ pick’n’mix build options – and there are some very pretty paint finishes to be had as well as component choices. Prices start at an impressive £799 for the H50 alloy model, and work up to £6,799 for the top end OMX M-LTD model. Complete bike weights have’t been provided, but with those frame weights as a starting point, there’s plenty of room for upgrades to lighter components in future.