If the shoe fits, you’re in for a treat
Orbea Rallon combines efficient pedalling dynamics with light weight and it feels like a very capable 29er trail bike with enduro race bike geometry.
Features like the adjustable geometry that lets you choose between a low or extra low BB height. In fact, the whole single-sided frame strut design evolved to offer optimum shock placement and easy access to the geometry flip-chip on the shock yoke.
Orbea Rallon M-Team
Orbea also kept its Advanced Dynamics suspension design, albeit with a more compact upper link. The design employs a pivot concentric with the rear axle to separate how braking and acceleration forces impact the behaviour of the suspension and is similar to Trek’s ABP and Devinci’s Split Pivot design.
There are big changes to the Rallon too, like the full carbon monocoque frame construction. The frame also has better standover clearance than the old 27.5in bike, and rear wheel travel has been reduced by 10mm to 150mm to accommodate the bigger wheels.
Sizing has also increased, even if the Rallon is still only available in three size options, S-M, L and XL. At 5ft 11in we’re still on the biggest bike that Orbea currently makes, mainly because the size L is a little shorter than we’d have liked. Up-sizing was easy though, because the seat tube height on the XL Rallon is only 15mm taller than the size L Specialized Enduro, so by simply fitting a short stem the XL Rallon felt totally normal.
For the past two years, the 160mm travel Fox 36 Float RC2 suspension fork has been the top performer in our enduro fork test, but it always gets beaten on price. If it comes fitted to your bike as standard like on the Rallon M-Team however, you’re quids in. It’s super smooth off the top and even when you run it firmer for extra mid-stroke support it doesn’t lose any of its ground-hugging suppleness.
Out back, the Rallon doesn’t pump out as much travel as the Enduro: 150mm Vs 165mm. It also has more anti-squat and pedal kickback than the Specialized so even with the Fox Float X2 shock it is not as quite as planted. It does pedal more efficiently than the Enduro though, especially on smooth trails, and if you want to give it a more gravity focus, simply increasing the chain ring size from 32t to 34t will kill off some of the pedal kickback and make the rear suspension more responsive.
As standard, the Rallon M-Team comes equipped with SRAM Guide RSC brakes. Stopping power is ample even on this monster truck, but the Guide brakes have more dead lever travel than the new Code brakes fitted to the Specialized Enduro, so modulation isn’t anything like as good. With Orbea’s customisation options however, you can simply upgrade the Guide RSC brakes for Codes and it will only cost set you back an extra £35.
In fact, when ordering your bike you can also choose different wheels, saddles, shocks, cranks or seat posts. Best for all, you can choose between a 150mm or 170mm Race Face Turbine dropper post at no extra cost, which is ideal if you’re up-sizing.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding carbon wheels so it may come as a surprise that the alloy DT Swiss E-1501 wheels are lighter than the carbon wheels on the Enduro. They also have more flex, which gives the Rallon a calmer, less twitchy response on wet, rooty trails.
And, even though the Rallon is a full size bigger than the Enduro, the complete bike is almost 0.5kg lighter. This, combined with its more efficient pedalling dynamics, means is feels more like a very capable 29er trail bike with enduro race bike geometry.
The ability to upsize to the longer XL frame without the bike feeling too cumbersome brings a real sense of stability and confidence that can’t be underestimated. So even though it has less travel and the Enduro, once you’re tucked in behind the Fox 36 fork nothing will phase you. The fact that it’s best part of grand cheaper than the Enduro Pro 29 can’t be overlooked either.
After tyres, the fork is easily the most important component on a mountain bike, and at present there’s simply no better option for enduro than the Fox 36 RC2 fitted to the Rallon M-Team. And good as the new Rallon is, it isn’t perfect. The size range is limited and the rear suspension isn’t as capable as the Specialized Enduro or Evil Wreckoning, even if Orbea’s geometry has the measure of both. Would it be even better if it were a 160mm bike? Probably. Would it be better still if Orbea offer a more comprehensive range of sizes? Definitely. Still, if the shoe fits, you’re in for a treat.