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by James Huang
July 23, 2020
Photography by Orbea
Need more evidence that the cross-country mountain bike market is heating up again? Cannondale showed off its new Scalpel not long ago, followed shortly thereafter by the new Specialized Epic, and now Orbea is the latest company to debut an update to its short-travel, full-suspension MTB, the Oiz.
The Oiz was first introduced in 2019 and Orbea is continuing to offer it in both race and trail variants with 100 mm or 120 mm of travel, respectively, both with 29-inch wheels exclusively. There’s a new OMX flagship carbon fiber version now, however, which not only drops a substantial amount of weight relative to the existing OMR edition, but also brings a unique rear triangle.
On the surface, the Oiz hasn’t changed much: the carbon fiber mold for the front triangle carries over, as does the hydroformed and butted aluminum version with its slickly filed and polished TIG welds. Also carrying over is the single-pivot rear suspension layout with its tuned flex zones in the seat stays that supposedly save 100 grams relative to conventional dropout pivots while also increasing rear-end rigidity.
Orbea is using a single-pivot rear suspension design on the Oiz, with engineered flex in the seatstays to account for slight changes in rear-end geometry as it moves through its travel.
The new OMX flagship version drops weight further still, however, thanks to more advanced carbon fiber blends and more complex lay-up schedules. Going along with that is an all-new carbon fiber rear triangle that mixes things up by abandoning the long-running post-mount disc-brake tabs in favor of the flat-mount interface that’s now commonplace in the road world.
Orbea says that this yields “the cleanest, stiffest, and lightest caliper integration available” — all of which may be true. The tidier caliper also allows for a more compact rear end that now features an impressively short 430 mm chainstay length. However, it’ll also limit parts availability and rotor compatibility (at least for now), although this is a trend that will continue moving forward nevertheless given the more efficient packaging. Cannondale has also adopted flat mount out back for that new Scalpel, and smaller custom builders have been using flat mount for mountain bikes even earlier than that.
Either way, claimed weight for the Oiz is indeed impressive. In the lightest iteration, the official figure for a painted medium frame with rear shock and hardware is a feathery 1,740 grams (3.84 lb).
The housing for the rear shock lockout is hidden inside the top tube.
Other features include clearance for “most” 2.4 inch-wide tires, neatly integrated cable routing for the remote rear shock lockout, room for two water bottles inside the main triangle on all but the smallest frame size, integrated chain guides, molded frame protection, PF92 press-fit bottom bracket shells, nifty integrated computer mounts, and internally routed cables with captured entry and exit points to help reduce rattling and frame wear. The top-end OMX version also gets a Universal Derailleur Hanger that SRAM introduced last year for easier (and cheaper) replacement.
Orbea has understood for some time now that while full-blown cross-country race bikes are wicked fast on the race course, they’re not always ideally suited for more general-purpose XC-type riding. As a result, Orbea continues to split the Oiz family into two: the XC version which features 100 mm of travel front and rear, and a more versatile TR edition with 120 mm. Both use the exact same front and rear triangles, and the suspension is primarily tuned for pedalling efficiency across the board, but the TR variant gets 5 mm of additional shock stroke to squeeze out a little more travel.
Orbea is offering its new Oiz in two versions. The more versatile TR variant is shown here, featuring 120 mm of travel front and rear.
Frame geometry in either case is on the more traditional side, with the speedier XC models getting a 69º head tube angle (shared across the four-size range), a 75º seat tube angle, and surprisingly short reach dimensions, with the medium measuring just 425 mm. With its longer 120 mm-travel fork, the TR version is slightly more relaxed with a 68º head tube and 74º seat tube angle. Save for the new OMX version, all Oiz frames feature 435 mm-long chainstays.
The Oiz frame is now offered in three different versions, with the top-end OMX model featuring the lightest and more complex OMX carbon fiber materials and lay-up design front and rear, as well as the aforementioned carbon fiber shock link and flat-mount rear brake. Last year’s OMR model continues on with carbon fiber front and rear triangles, but the older rear triangle and a machined aluminum shock link that, in total, add 340 g relative to the OMX. Finally, there’s also still an aluminum model built with butted and hydroformed tubing, polished welds, and a sleek overall appearance that honestly looks quite stunning.
The Oiz XC is – as the name implies – the more racing-oriented of the two frame versions on tap, complete with shorter travel and racier geometry.
If only as a means of setting the company apart, Orbea is offering a generous selection of component customization on all Oiz models through its MyO program. The OMX will also be offered with a dizzying array of paint colors, along with your choice of matte or glossy clearcoats and even three different graphics schemes.
Prices start at US$2,600 / £2,200 / €2,400 for the entry-level Oiz H30 aluminum model with Fox Rhythm-level suspension components and a Shimano Deore groupset, and top out at US$9,000 / £7,700 / €8,600 for the Oiz M-LTD flagship with Fox Factory-level suspension and a SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS wireless electronic groupset. Exact availability varies by model and region, but Orbea says that much of the range should be available immediately. Australian pricing is to be confirmed.
Just as is happening in the road world, mountain bike design seems to be converging somewhat as engineers settle on common solutions for shared problems.
The top-end Orbea Oiz frames feature flat-mount rear disc brakes.
Raised ribs on the chainstay guard help decrease noise, while the miniature chain guide should provide bulletproof chain security together with the standard rear derailleur pulley cage clutch.
Several striking graphics options are available on the new Oiz.
It’s hard to argue with a tinted translucent clearcoat on a carbon frame.
Orbea Oiz frames built with the flagship OMX carbon fiber blend are available with custom paint finishes.
Want a matte finish instead? Done.
Or, you say you want both matte and gloss, plus a weird combination of colors? The world is your oyster, my friend.
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