Free Watts: That’s the irresistible carrot Orbea have dangled in front of riders as they launch the latest incarnation of the Orca Aero. And living up the hype, the bike sure looks set to attract some significant attention with a number of new and unique features from the front forks through to the rear stays.
An out-an-out aero race bike, the 2022 Orca features a number of changes and the company describe it as ‘the most specific aero bike Orbea have ever designed’.
It features a horizontal top tube and chainstays to improve airflow, along with the down tube and seat tube profiles having been aerodynamically optimised for 25-28mm tyres, however it will accommodate tyres to 30mm.
Profile transitions between the head tube and downtube, along with the seat tube and seat stays, have been re-designed to reduce turbulence in these areas.
The new Orca Aero, a slick and aerodynamically-optimised frameset from the 100+yo Spanish manufacturer.
Drag around the rear wheel has been reduced by aligning the upper seat tube junction with the airflow, and a new aerodynamically designed fork has been optimised for high profile wheels.
There’s a new aero handlebar that follows the trend of less bar tape and a clean, bare carbon top bar grip section. The stem has been redesigned with aero optimisation in mind, as has the seatpost.
Enter The ‘Frame Foil’
And what’s that behind the front wheel, under the frame? That is a ‘Frame Foil’, an aero storage compartment for essential tools, tubes or anything else you care to carry.
The new Orca Aero features a utility compartment between the front wheel and downtube, and an aero water bottle.
Wind Tunnel, Indoor Track & Road Testing
Orbea say they have invested hundreds of hours on field tests, testing the aerodynamic improvement for the whole system of rider and bike at high speeds on the road, velodrome and wind tunnel.
They say the tests reveal that the bike is their fastest aero road bike they’ve ever released, with a 15W improvement at 40k/ph. For those able to ride at 50k/ph, a saving of an impressive 28 watts is possible.
Stiffness & Efficiency
Orbea say the goal is always to reduce the weight but keep the stiffness required for power transmission, which is the capacity to transfer the power from the pedals to the wheels in order to drive the bike forwards.
Aerodynamic improvements become more obvious at higher speeds, however the effects of weight, stiffness and power transmission dominate on challenging climbs. In testing the Orca Aero showed no efficiency loss and they claim it still climbs with the best of them.
“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,” said an Orbea rep.
“The design of each of the sections, the OMX carbon fiber and the specific lay-up for each frame size, make the stiffness to weight ratio of this aero frameset one of the most efficient and fastest on the market.”
The redesigned forks have space for 30mm tyres.
The riding position is aggressive to maximize body aerodynamics and efficiency, with angles and dimensions considered carefully across a range of sizes. This, they say, helps riders put more power to the road with every pedal stroke, and more power means more speed.
● Shorter wheelbase for a more responsive ride
● Shorter chainstays for better acceleration
● Size-specific fork offset gives improved control no matter what frame size
● Lower stack and bigger bb drop give better aerodynamics and stability
● Racing ergonomics = more watts!
With clearance for 30c tires, Orbea acknowledges that speed can also be comfortable. Modern road riders have discovered the advantages of bigger tires – A wider tire inflated to lower pressures can reduce rolling resistance and the added air volume dramatically increases compliance and traction.
OC3 AERO ROAD HANDLEBAR: New 5o flared aero bars and stem give up to 15 degrees of rotation plus a choice of width and reach. When considered together with our ICR stem we see a significant reduction in drag as well as excellent stiffness for the most aggressive riders.
ORCA AERO OMX SEATPOST: The new aero seat post allows up to 25mm adjustment on setback and +/- 10o tilt. Additionally they have reduced drag by 2% from previous designs.
The bike features a redesigned handlebar and cleaner cockpit.
FASTER CARGO FOIL: The age-old question of where to carry essential tools, tubes and identification is answered by an integrated Cargo Foil behind the front wheel. Like the bottle cage, the Cargo Foil is not only useful but aerodynamically beneficial. Fill it up or leave it empty, it’s yet another feature that makes Orca Aero better.
AERO BOTTLE: Airflow around the downtube rolls seamlessly past the bottle and cage. The sleek and stylish shaping of the aerodynamic water bottle and cage keep you hydrated without interfering with aerodynamics. In fact, the Orca Aero is faster with the bottle in place. For those who need more carrying capacity, there are standard bottle mounts on the down tube and seat tube.
NEW MyO GRAPHICS: Orbea have announced additional personalization options through their MyO custom design platform. For more on this – or to design your own bike – visit their website.
Dropped stays with aero-focussed sculpting are one of the key design changes.
Pricing & Availability
All Australian stock has been pre-sold to Orbea dealers. Tthose keen to know more or purchase the new Orca should contact their local dealer as soon as possible.
M21eTeam – spec levels to be advised $8,899
M20iTeam – spec levels to be advised $7,999
M20Team – spec levels to be advised $6,499
M30Team – spec levels to be advised $5,799