Recently we got to test ride the Orbea Orca in San Sebastain Spain, headquarters to the Orbea factory. Why not test ride a bike that was designed for the Euskaltel-Euskadi road team and the infamous Pyrenees. Sami Sanchez won the Olympic road race on it.
We connected with Borja a local tour operator with www.travelbike.es. He was taking us to ride the infamous Col de Tourmalet and Luz Ardiden. The Tour had just rolled through 2 days earlier up the Tourmalet in the French side of the Pyrenees. The names painted on the road were still bright with Tour fever. The Orca felt light and lively. No problem for these Pyrenees climbs. Stiff when you stood up on some of the steeper pitches, but not so stiff you were beat to death on the descent. This was a true climbers bike. Mine came with Sram Red and the other bike was Campy Record. Both bikes performed flawless. Maybe it was the French Pyrenees and the Basque ambiance, but this bike felt right for these mountains. It descended with great confidence.
After parking in Luz-St. Sauveur, the first pass we ascended for warm up was Luz Ardiden approximately 14k. At the bottom we rolled across Napoleon bridge, a main stay photo opp for the TdF. Kind of like the Big Sur bridge in the TofCA. With grades mostly in the 7-8% we ascended a nice pace. Every K was a sign to let you know how many more K to the top. The Orca was definitely in it’s element. Nothing like having the right tool for the job. After reaching the summit we turned down on a super twisty nice pavement descent. I railed a few turns with Bordja who was also on the Orca. I had a hard time keeping up with him, not the fault of the Orca. Maybe I needed some more of those Pintxos. A Spanish breaded ball of goodness.
Next the Tourmalet with 19k of climbing. I nice steady pull up 7-8% grades until we came out of the trees and started climbing in earnest. Towards the top some 10% pitches where I could really push on the pedals. I see Schleck, Cadel, Wiggo, Voekler, all freshly painted. I can’t help but wonder how many watts they were putting out at this same point into the climb.
The Orca is more than a worthy machine. The Spaniards know how to build a bike that can climb.
I give it a 5 stars.
Orbea Orca GRC Specifications
- Frame: Orbea Orca Gold
- Crankset: Campagnolo S Record 34×50 CT
- Handlebar: Orbea Wing Carbon
- Shifters: Campagnolo S Record
- Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo S Record
- Chain: Campagnolo S Record
- Wheels: Mavic Ksyrium SLR
- Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Monolink
- Fork: Orbea Orca Gold
- Headset: Integrated Carbon 1 1/2
- Stem: Orbea Carbon Pro
- Brakes: Campagnolo S Record
- Front Deraileur: Campagnolo S Record
- Rear Cogs: Campagnolo Record 11-25 11S
- Tires: Mavic Ksyrium SLR
- Seatpost: Orbea Orca Monolink