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Orbea Opal versus Orca

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I am riding an Orbea Onix and may sometime want to move up the line to either an Orbea Opal or the Orca. Their web site says that the Opal is “team issue” and that the Orca is the lightest, stiffest frame they’ve ever built. The Opal can be had for $500 less, coming within 4 oz in weight of the comparable Orca. The shop expert says that Orbea advised that they carry the Orca, but not the Opal – because the Opal is so stiff, people would not like the ride. Any thoughts, comments, whatever?
post #2 of 23
what kind of riding do you do? race, casual? For racing I would go with the Opal because of the increased stiffness. For casual riding, the Orca as it will be more comfortable.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
I got some interesting answers to this on a bike web site. One of the answers notes that the new, new Orca is really stiff but still comfortable - AND that whatever is "team issue", the Orca appear to be the steed under a team rider in at at least one stage of TDF.

While I am by no means an accomplished biker and probably won't race - I am a relative new comer to serious road biking - I still enjoy getting into the tech talk. My recent accomplishment was doing 44 miles on August 11th and 47 miles on August 12th in the Multiple Sclerosis Tour. It was on Vermont's hilly roads, I only had to walk one monster hill each day, I didn't fall or get injured. Next year, I want to up the first day of the MS Tour to 75 miles. So, now you know the level of my biking ability and aspirations.

I did ride the 2006 Orca - and it was like the wheels were simply a part of my body. It was a beautiful experience. My chances for a ride on the Opal are extremely slim.
post #4 of 23
Originally Posted by oboe View Post
I did ride the 2006 Orca - and it was like the wheels were simply a part of my body.
That's probably all you need to know. There are many pro-issue bikes that would not be a lot of fun to own. Some are just too stiff.

I rode a Time VXRS ULTEAM. It too was an experience. Stiff and smooth together. Right now, that one would be my dream bike.
post #5 of 23

My honest opinion (and please don't take this the wrong way), is that the Orca is an awfully lot of bike for someone who's longest ride ever is under 50 miles. As for comfort (read long distance comfort), you should look at two things, materials, and geometry. All of the frames your are looking at have EXACTLY the same geometry. As for the materials, they are also bascially the same, with the only thing changing is the amount of this material in each frame (and with CF how it is "wrapped" and "cured"). If the Orca is 4 oz lighter, where do you think that weight went? While that extra CF in the opal might = stiffness, it also equals durability and additional frame life. You must remember that the pros we see riding the pretty bikes in the TDF get new bikes each year (sometimes each race) an don't have to make their's last, so they are willing to trade a few grams for seconds vs life of the frame. It seems like we as consumers are willing to do this too, which the bike shops and companies love....

I personally ride a starship (which is now the Lobular).

So, tell me again, what's wrong with your current ride?

EDIT: I didn't really speak to CF modulus, which could effect the frame life cycle....
post #6 of 23
I am also riding the Orbea Onix, but for probably different reasons. First of all, I'm a two hundred pounder, so the weight difference between the Onix and Orca is not a big issue for me. I really didn't want a real superlight bike anyway, considering my weight, the sometimes poor condition of the roads I ride, etc., I just felt like I wanted a little more beef under me. Plus the additional cost was also a factor. Besides that, the Onix was as stiff as anything I would want or need, anyway. And I have to be realistic about my riding goals and ability. I'm not exactly Tour DeFrance material, and at 55 years old, I never will be. I use riding to compliment my workout routine, I usually ride at least twice a week. I typically do a 50 miler every Sunday with the boys from my LBS, and I get out on my own after work a couple of nights a week and do some thirty milers. Plus I get out and do a handful of the charity sponsered rides every year. The Opal is pretty much a competition level bike, and I don't need that for the same reason I don't need a pair of race skis. On the other hand, the Orca is supposed to be the cadillac of the Orbea line, their best blend of comfort and performance. They say the ride is unsurpassed, which would make it my choice if I was thinking about upgrading. I also skied with a friend last year who used to be a competitive cyclist, and still loggs an impressive amount of miles, who had ridden the Orca, and planned on buying one for himself, and he is about your size and age, FWIW. My advice would be the same as if I was recommending a pair of skis to someone. Be honest with yourself about your ability, your needs and goals before you lay your money down. Good luck.
post #7 of 23
The way I see it, you should get what you want. You don't have to "earn" or "deserve" it. If you have the money, get it. When I bought my first road bike, I went into a shop in New Haven, CT and wanted to spend about $2000 on a Specialized Carbon Epic with Dura Ace. It was the first year that the Dual Control shifters had come out and they were only available on DA bikes and not many companys were specing them. The shop asked me to show them a USCF license and then told me they'd sell me a 105 bike without a license and I could have DA when I got to Cat 3. I walked out of there and bought one in another shop. Dumbasses. There's not a lot of other sports where you can buy the best, the stuff that he pros actually use. I can't buy a Ferrari that just wone te GP of Turkey, but I could go and buy the exact bike that Alberto Contador just won the Tour de France on. I don't think longevity is a big issue either, CF bikes last pretty well, and if it carries a good warranty, who cares anyway? That's one reason I'd never hesitate to buy a bike from Trek or any of thier affiliates and it is why I ride a LeMond right now (plus Greg LeMond is cool and I like having his name on my bike). Anyway, just like skiing, this is someting we do for fun. I still say this is reason enough for Oboe to upgrade - "I did ride the 2006 Orca - and it was like the wheels were simply a part of my body. It was a beautiful experience."
post #8 of 23
Originally Posted by epic View Post
and it is why I ride a LeMond right now (plus Greg LeMond is cool and I like having his name on my bike).
Really? I always thought LeMond was a first class @$$hat.....
post #9 of 23
I agree with Epic. If you want it, then get it! We don't need new skis every year, either (just don't tell my wife that)! Trust me, you are not the first one to fall in love with that bike, and for good reason. Don't wait till you're too old and then regret you didn't get it. By the way, I'm not a big fan of Greg "sour grapes" Lemond, either. He should spend more time looking back on what a great career he had instead of dwelling on what shoulda woulda coulda been. If Lance hadn't come down with cancer, he might have won it 10 times. Get over it.
post #10 of 23
By the way, if you didn't already know, Orbea has a liftime warranty on all their carbon frames, and one of the few that actually build their own frames in house.
post #11 of 23
On a different tact here, for the $$$ we are talking, I'd suggest finding you local 7cycles dealer. They can custom build you a Ti or a Ti and Carbon bike. It will be a little pricier than the Orca, but when you are done, you'll know that your bike was built for YOU and the way YOU ride. I should last you a life time to boot.


post #12 of 23
I could be wrong, but I think Oboe's LBS is a Seven dealer. I looked at those when I bought my LeMond. I started filling out the questionaire and realized that I was actually pretty hapy with the Bianchi I already had. The LEMond geometry was within a few millimeters.

That said, if custom is something you (oboe) want to consider, you really need to take a trip down to Fitwerx in Waitsfield. I'll meet you down there for a ride if you like. The thing with the custom bikesis that what matters is going o be the fitter not the manufacturer. They can also assess where you are on your current bike and where you should go (if anywhere). Now you at least have some experience with a road bike and have an opinion of what you do and do not like.
post #13 of 23
Originally Posted by epic View Post
take a trip down to Fitwerx in Waitsfield
to the FitWerx crew. Also, I believe they are a Calfee dealer, which are the sweetest looking and best riding bikes out there. Not that I'm biased in any way. (Yes, I own one. Perfection on wheels. And if you're talking Orbea Orca / Seven Cycles type price-points -- heck, Calfee's are probably cheaper then either of those).
post #14 of 23
Calfee - if it was good enough for Greg, it's good enough for me.

They also do Serotta, IF and Cervelo. Probably other too.
post #15 of 23
I have the Orca ad the time trial bike Ordu. The carbon is laid out differently giving you a Grand Tour feel rather than a Stiff Sprint feel of the Onix. I cycle 200+ miles a week and race. I am not a sprinter but a breakaway and mountain guy. The Orca does this with AMAZING results - I can feel fresh 70 miles in and still push hard to keep a gap. Best of all, if I do need to hammer up the hills or a quick sprint to put some time on someone, I can. That is the beauty of the Orca - it is stiff when you need it, but you become one with it when you ride all day.

I am moving up to the 2007 model now, so if you want my 2005 orange, drop me a line.

BTW, just check out the Orbea web site and you will see most of the tour riders are on the Orca. And if you are in the NYC area, drive across the George Washington Bridge and go to Strictly Bike on Main Street in Fort Lee. They will let you demo any Orbea in the shop...
post #16 of 23
I just re-read this and I kind of sound like a @$$. That wasn't my intent. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that for the type of $$$ you are going to be spending on an Orca, I would want to be 100% certain it is the right bike. I guess this is what this thread is all about. That's why I posted the link to seven. I think it would be helpful to go through their questionnaire just to get an idea of what you are looking for in a bike.
post #17 of 23

before you get a bike with custom tubes built for your style of riding

you might want to get to the point that you are not walking up the hill on a paved road.
post #18 of 23
Oboe, I don't know a ton about cycling so you will have to forgive my ignorance. Seeing the difference between the Orca, Opla, and Onix I am not sure how much help upgrading from the Onix to either of the other two bikes would really offer you. Sure the new Orca ranks among the sexiest bikes on the market these days, but when it comes down to raw performance difference I don't know if you will notice an improvement in your riding.

I ride a Trek 1500 Limited Edition, and so far it has been plenty of bike for my riding level. I will probably hit only about 1k in miles this year and my longest ride is still only just shy of 70 miles. Some of my rides I have done between 3k and 4k feet of climbing and trust me when I say that the thing that holds me back from catching the fast guys is in no way related to the bike (accept I ride a double 105 with a small ring of 39t... but I'm young I can handle it... I think). It is a hard sport and unfortunately shaving your bike down by a pound or increasing your aerodynamics slightly, is probably not going to drastically affect your overall performance (unfortunately).

If you want the bike simply for bling factor, or just to have such a nice bike - by all means purchase one, but I wouldn't look for huge gains in performance to come from the purchase. Above all, make sure you are comfortable on the bike before you make your purchase.

Out of curiosity, what is the gearing on your current bike?


post #19 of 23


Sorry Oboe, What I meant was Opal, not Onix as you already have. Anyway, it seems you have the means to get an Orca if you are riding an Onix, so just go for it. Or, keep the Onix frameset and get youself some really fast wheels! That is an upgrade you will feel no doubt! Just for fun:

Mavic - ES or even the new carbon spoke wheels - super stiff and extremely fast off the line.


Mavic Cosmic - carbon deep dish- unreal ride but harder to get up to speed. Once there though, it is as if they are pedeling for you. The deep dish aerodynamics are sweet! Until you get hit with a 30+ mph cross wind. Hold on!

post #20 of 23
I'm not really into the Orbeas, but I'd ride this one.

post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by duke walker View Post
you might want to get to the point that you are not walking up the hill on a paved road.
I might not live that long. I'd rather enjoy what I can as soon as possible, whatever my level of conditioning and skill.
post #22 of 23
Originally Posted by oboe View Post
I might not live that long. I'd rather enjoy what I can as soon as possible, whatever my level of conditioning and skill.
post #23 of 23
I test rode all 3 of these bikes side by side. If you want an all out racing bike- get the OPAL. This bike is ultra stiff and virtually all the power you put in at the cranks will go into forward motion. It sprints well, climbs well and handles well. One of my friends who is an elite racer says "it's hands down the best racing bike he's ever owned."

If you ride mostly recreationally, I would get the Orca. While not as stiff vertically, it has plenty of lateral stiffness at the Bottom bracket. The Orca will give you all day comfort, especially over rough roads. The Opal is a much stiffer machine and you may not be as happy with the Opal if you live somewhere that has rough pavement.
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