Joining VeloClub not only supports the work we do, there are some fantastic benefits:
by Dave Rome
August 12, 2020
Photography by Orbea
Designed to be comfortable and efficient on the road, and also ready for some light gravel exploring, all-road bikes are arguably the new jack-of-all-trades for those who predominantly ride tarmac. These bikes are picking up the mantle previously held by endurance road bikes, and for us, it’s the growth of entry-level options that is proving most exciting.
The Giant Contend AR was perhaps the first big name to make a splash in the budget all-road market, and then Trek’s new Domane AL joined the party just a few weeks back. Now, Orbea has entered the fray with a versatile aluminium road bike.
This is the new Orbea Avant. Previously a carbon fibre endurance road bike in the Basque company’s range, the new Avant is now made of metal, is designed to handle up to 35 mm tyres, and the disc version brings (mostly) concealed cabling to the lowest price point we’ve seen yet.
Labelled as Orbea’s new endurance road bike, the Avant features an aluminium frame with triple-butted and hydroformed tubes while smooth-polished welds are seen (or not seen) at the joints. At first, it reads like a more affordable version of the newish Orca OMX road bike, but the new Advant is far more relaxed in its ways.
Compared to Orbea’s carbon all-road/gravel bike, the Terra, the new Avant features a more road-orientated geometry with a shorter trail figure (quicker handling), reduced wheelbase, and a lower bottom bracket height. And yet, it’s not nearly as aggressive in fit as the company’s Orca offerings. Instead it looks to be a comfortable bike for newer riders with reach figures which are kept relatively short while the stack heights are generous.
Orbea will offer the Avant in a choice of seven sizes.
Where things get really interesting is that the disc-brake versions of this bike utilise a similar internal cable routing system to that of the performance-focussed Orca, or really any performance bike released this year. Here the cables are run through a removable cover underneath the stem and fed into the Acros headset top cap. From there the cables run between the oversized 1.5″ headset bearing and regular 1 1/8″ fork steerer before snaking into the down tube.
While it introduces more difficult servicing, the new Avant signals the trickle-down of concealed cabling.
The rear derailleur cable does exit the frame at the bottom bracket, but otherwise, all cables are effectively concealed from view. Overall it’s a clean aesthetic that’s not expected of an entry-level bike.
As mentioned the new Avant offers room for up to 35 mm rubber (28 mm supplied as stock), and there are provisions for fenders at both ends. A carbon fork (aluminium steerer) features on the front, while other details include an English threaded bottom bracket, 12 mm thru-axles front and rear. The regular 27.2 mm seatpost is held with a regular external seat clamp — you can’t complain about proven simplicity.
Lower-cost options with rim brakes are also available in certain markets. These feature reduced tyre clearance and lose the concealed cable routing feature.
Model availability varies based on country.
The Avant ranges kicks off with the rim-brake-equipped options of the Avant H50 (US$NA / €899 / £799 / AU$NA) and H60 (US$NA / €1,199 / £1,099 / AU$NA). These feature Shimano Sora (nine-speed) and Shimano 105 (11-speed) shifting respectively.
Disc-equipped models start with the H60-D (US$1,299 / €1,099 / £999 / AU$NA), a bike that offers Shimano Claris eight-speed shifting and Tektro mechanical disc brakes.
Spending a little more gets you the H40-D (US$1,599 / €1,299 / £1,199 / AU$NA) and Shimano Tiagra (10-speed) shifting with Tektro mechanical disc brakes.
The range tops out with the Avant H30-D (US$1,899 / €1,699 / £1,499 / AU$2,699). This is equipped with a Shimano 105 drivetrain and matching hydraulic disc brakes.