Take a Loki at this

Loki was known in Norse mythology as a trickster God and a shapeshifter. Orbea is taking inspiration from him for its latest hardtail, which comes with a bag of tricks to adapt it to any trail.

Key Points

  • Compatible with 27.5in+ or 29in wheels
  • Certain models uses the Digit dropper post
  • Slack, aggressive geometry with a trail focus
  • Hydroformed alloy frame shared across the range

Who is Orbea?

Orbea is a Spanish brand that operates out of the Basque country, just below the Pyrenees. It was traditionally known as a cross-country brand, but a recent change in direction has seen it embrace the trail and enduro market.

We’ve been really impressed with its recent offerings including the Rallon X-Team, which we gave a nine out of ten, and the Occam that was great on its first ride.

Orbea Loki first look 1

What is the Loki all about then?

The Loki is a totally new frame from Orbea designed to jump on the 27.5+ bandwagon. That’s not to say it’s a throwaway though, Orbea has still managed to think outside the box with some interesting features.

>>> Click here for our complete wheelsize guide

Orbea wants to pitch this at a beginner / improver rider. The bike starts at $1,200 (£773), so while it may not be the cheapest beginner hardtail, it’s not totally beyond a beginner’s budget.

The wider contact patch of 27.5+ tyres combined with the bike’s slack geometry should provide a reassuring and planted ride for someone new to the sport.

What made Orbea choose 27.5+ wheels?

Well technically it hasn’t. As we’ve said previously, 27.5+ wheels are becoming all the rage, and it seems that the industry has decided that hardtails are the best place for them. However, because 27.5+ and 29er wheels share the same diameter, Orbea is offering builds of the Loki with both.

Orbea is trying to make the most versatile bike possible, and the option to choose between a more floaty ride on 27.5+ or a faster rolling 29er reinforces this.

Orbea Loki first look 5

What else is new?

The Orbea Loki will be the first bike to use the Digit dropper seat post. We think that the Digit is the simplest dropper post out there and we highly commend Orbea for thinking outside the box to make high-end-tech more accessible.

The seatpost has a groove at the back and runs on a rail that’s fitted to the seatpost clamp, it also has limit screws that determine how high or low the saddle can go. This means that whenever you adjust your seat you know it will be pointing the right way and at a height that’s right for you.

Here’s a video of us demonstrating its use:

What else is there to know?

Like most 27.5+ bikes, the Loki will be using Boost 148 rear axle spacing. This allows it to reduce the chainstay length, which Orbea hopes will bring nimbler handling.Orbea Loki first look 2

The geometry on the Loki is pretty radical too. At 67°, its head angle is slacker than other 27.5+ hardtails that have been released so far (69° for a Mongoose Ruddy and 67.5° for a Trek Stache). It also has a long toptube of 620mm for a large, putting it on par with out £1,000 Hardtail of the Year, the Vitus Sentier VRS.

Orbea Loki geometry 2

What’s it like to ride?

Quite honestly, we wanted to hate the Loki. Our eyes hurt when we look at the plus-size tyres, and we couldn’t help thinking it would feel vague, detached, cumbersome and draggy. How wrong we were…

The ride was floaty, with comfort that’s previously unheard of on a hardtail. But we always knew what was happening beneath the wheels. There was none of the feared bouncy, beach ball ride either. That was running 11psi front and 14psi rear on Maxxis Chronicle 3in tyres.

Orbea Loki first look 3

It took no more effort to stop, go and turn than a regular bike, but the cornering grip and braking traction was seriously impressive. And when the tyres did let go, they did so so progressively that you can actually play on the limit.

Climbing traction is also impressive and it doesn’t beat you up like a normal hardtail. Yes, it had a top end, non-production build kit, but considering the challenging nature of the test trails around Ainsa, in Spain, we were very impressed.

Any final words?

There will be three models released. The H10 and H30 can be built with 27.5+ or 29er wheels, the H-ltd can only be built with 27.5+.

Availability is September, and pricing is as follows:

  • Loki 29 H30 £1,039
  • Loki 29 H10 £1,439
  • Loki 27+ H30 £1,119
  • Loki 27+ H10 £1,519
  • Loki 27+ H-LTD £2,159