I'm really excited about the direction the triathlon bicycle market is taking. It wasn't long ago that this sphere was dominated by just a couple really good bikes, and a whole lot of mediocre ones. But bicycle manufacturers have gotten smarter. They've really upped their game, and now there are a lot of really, truly excellent bikes on the market. For several years, people have been waiting to see where Orbea was taking their lineup, and what their next-gen bike would look like. The big question was whether the new bike would be an A-lister, or an also-ran. In my opinion, the answer is yes, this is an awesome bike. Yes, it is worth a look, and yes, it is worth your money. But of course, the answer isn't quite that simple. I like the new Ordu, a lot, but there are caveats I have to make, and some little complaints here and there that I have about it. There's a lot to talk about here, and like any product this complex, I want to give it its due.
Back in August, I had the opportunity to be present for the launch of both the Orbea Ordu and for Shimano's new Di2 component platform. The bike and component group both had me really intrigued, each one really shining on its own merits. But they're even better together; more and more, bicycle manufacturers are embracing the advantages that electronic shifting has to offer, and are designing their bikes around the concept of a future where every component group is battery-powered. But in a very smart move, Orbea chose to offer a single frame type that works with both electronic OR traditional cabled groups. If you change your group in the future, you can keep your frame. Most manufacturers are moving towards this type of universal frame type, but a few are still holding out with separate frames for Di2 and cabled, which is rather frustrating.
I wasted no time getting my snazzy white Ordu tricked out with all the details that really make it mine. On the front end, I mounted up the Profile Design Aeria bar we just reviewed, added my Gamma extensions, a trusty Dash saddle, and of course, the Omega front brake. The Dash saddle I chose is the Stage.9 model, and I decided to style the Orbea up in my wild orange custom job.
When I covered the Ordu back at the launch, I tried to be a thorough as possible in covering the novel features of this frame. But there's no substitute for actual riding experience on a bike, and this review is going to focus on the real-world experience of owning one. As usual, I'm going to go over the bike from front to back, and try to give you all the information you might want to know if you have your eye on one of these Spanish beauties. My first impression of the Ordu was that it's a beautiful bike that hits a lot of the modern design cues buyers are looking for in today's tri bikes. But how does it work out in practice? Is it as easy to wrench as it seems at first? Is it easy to fit and adjust? Are there any hidden pitfalls? And what are the standout features after some real time riding the bike? These are the things I'm trying to find out.
With that said, let's jump right in. Click the link below to follow on to the next page, where we're going to talk all about the front end of the 2013 Orbea Ordu Gold.