When considering a new mountain bike, there are so many similar-looking bikes on the market being made by so many different companies, it is virtually impossible to (1) know where to begin; (2) quickly figure out which one or two products from a given brand might work well for you; and (3) determine what products from other brands might be the most similar and also worth considering.
So in our “Blister Brand Guide” series, we provide an overview of the entire product lineup of a brand; highlight how each product stands out from the rest of that brand’s lineup; and help you figure out quickly and easily which bike might work best for you.
In our individual product reviews, we go very deep into the details of particular products. With these Brand Guides, the goal is not Depth, but Breadth. Our Brand Guides and full reviews are designed to complement each other — provide a broad overview of entire company lineups, and then also very detailed reviews of individual products.
Our mountain bike Brand Guides are presented by CBGTrails. Learn more and start planning your trip today at cbgtrails.com, then download the CBG Trails app for info on the 750+ miles of singletrack and 150+ trails in Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley, Colorado.
Orbea was founded in 1840 by brothers Juan Manuel, Mateo, and Casimiro Orbea in Eibar, Spain. Orbea started designing and producing bicycles in 1920 after having produced rifles and guns for 90 years. They were involved in the Tour de France as early as 1934, and began making mountain bikes around 1989.
Today, Orbea is run as a co-op, making it a unique company in the bike world. They are part of the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation, an umbrella corporation of co-ops, giving them access to many different assets from other co-op partners. Their current lineup of bikes includes mountain, road, triathlon, and urban / commuter bikes.
Focusing on just their mountain bike lineup, they make five models ranging from an XC hardtail to a full-suspension Enduro bike. They make both alloy and carbon frames, and their build kits range from more budget-friendly, entry-level options to high-end kits with top-tier components. Build kits with an “M” in the title indicate a carbon frame, and kits with “H” in the title indicate an alloy frame. They also have the “MyO” customization program in which you can pick a unique combination of frame colors and change components to personalize your bike. All models mentioned in this guide can be customized in MyO besides the Laufey. You can also change various components of the bike to your liking in every standard build kit.
Orbea makes carbon frames in two different layups, OMR and OMX. OMR is more budget-friendly, whereas OMX is lighter and stiffer. OMX frames tend to be around 200-300 grams lighter than their OMR counterparts.
Orbea is currently headquartered in Mallabia, Spain.
Current Warranty (for the original purchaser)
Before we get into specific models and build options, here are some things to keep in mind when deciding on which build level to go with, and why.
First, when looking at complete bikes, suspension and wheels are going to make the biggest difference in how a bike really rides. Spend money on those before other things like higher-end drivetrain parts, cockpit parts (e.g., stem, handlebars, etc.), cranks, etc.
Tires make an enormous difference in performance, but are cheaper and easier to upgrade, especially since they tend to wear down quicker than other components. Upgrading a lower-end front tire to something better — and saving the original for rear-tire use — can be a good way to improve a bike while still making use of the originals, since front tires are generally a lot more important than rear tires when it comes to traction.
Drivetrain parts can be upgraded piecemeal as they wear out, or if you just want to upgrade down the line. Higher-end cassettes are mostly just lighter, while higher-end shifters and derailleurs get lighter, smoother, and sometimes last a bit longer as you go up in price.
We’ll outline here the different models in Orbea’s MTB lineup, organized from most cross-country-oriented (XC) to downhill-oriented (DH). In other words, the bikes at the top of the list are optimized to pedal and climb uphill very well, while the bikes at the bottom are optimized to handle very rough, steep, and challenging descents very well.
We’ve included some notable information for each model:
Available build kits & their MSRP
- Best Budget Build: These are the build kits that we think make the most sense for people trying to spend the least amount without ending up with a build that’s going to immediately break or need to be upgraded.
- Most Performance for the Price: These are the build kits that we think make the most sense for people seeking the best balance of performance and cost. I.e., if you don’t need to get the cheapest bike, but you also don’t need the absolute lightest bike or all the newest bling, this is the build we think makes sense for you.
- Suspension travel (e.g., 100 mm of travel, 130 mm of travel, etc.)
- Wheel size (e.g., 27.5”, 27.5+, 29”)
- Frame material options (e.g., alloy vs. carbon)
- A brief description of what the bike was designed for and any notable design details.
- Some of the bike’s most direct competitors from other brands
- Which Orbea bike it’s most similar to
- Reasons why you should buy it
- Reasons why you should not buy it
Orbea Mountain Bikes
(Most Cross-Country-Oriented to Most Downhill-Oriented)
Orbea’s XC race hardtail, designed to be lightweight and efficient. The Alma frame was designed with a comfortable ride and efficient power transfer in mind. Features “Blocklock,” a steering limiter system to protect the frame and allow for a straighter downtube. “M LTD” build features a rigid front fork.
Don’t Bother If:
- M50: $2,099
- M50 Eagle: $2,099
- M30: $2,699 – Best Budget Build
- M25: $3,199
- M Pro: $4,599 – Most Performance for the Price
- M Team: $5,899
- M LTD: $8,599
- OMX Frame: $3,099
- OMX Frame & rigid fork: $3,599
- Specialized Epic HT
- Trek Procaliber
- Santa Cruz Highball
- Scott Scale
- Giant XTC
- Norco Revolver HT
- Pivot Les
- Canyon Exceed
- Mondraker Chrono Carbon & Podium Carbon
Orbea’s lightest and most efficient full-suspension bike, designed for XC racing and riding. Standard builds come with 100 mm of travel front and rear, and “TR” builds come with 120 mm of travel front and rear as well as a dropper post and a few more downhill-oriented components. Sizes M-XL can fit two water bottles in the front triangle. Higher-end kits feature a three-position remote suspension lockout. H30 and H20 builds come with 120 mm of travel front and rear, but without the dropper and more downhill-oriented components.
More like the Alma than the Laufey.
Don’t Bother If:
- H30: $2,799
- H20: $3,199 – Best Budget Build
- H10 TR: $3,499
- M30: $3,999
- M20 TR: $4,499
- M10: $4,999
- M10 TR: $5,199
- M Pro: $5,999
- M Pro TR: $6,199 – Most Performance for the Price
- M Team: $7,999
- M LTD: $9,899
- OMX Frameset: $3,899
- Specialized Epic & Epic EVO
- Scott Spark RC & Spark
- Giant Anthem 29
- Cannondale Scalpel & Scalpel SE
- Santa Cruz Blur
- Pivot Mach 4 SL
- Intense Sniper XC
- Norco Revolver FS 100 & Revolver FS 120
- Canyon Lux
The Laufey is designed to be a versatile, capable, and fun hardtail with aggressive trail geometry that comes in at affordable prices. Comes with wide 2.6-inch tires with confidence-inspiring traction.
More like the Occam than the Oiz.
Don’t Bother If:
Orbea’s best Quiver Killer, the Occam is meant to handle a bit of everything. Certain builds come with a 140 mm fork, while others come with a 150 mm fork for a little more downhill capability. Features adjustable high/low geometry settings and an asymmetric frame, designed to improve stiffness and access to shock damper controls.
More like the Rallon than the Laufey.
Don’t Bother If:
- H30: $2,799
- H20: $3,299
- H20 Eagle: $3,299 – Best Budget Build
- H10: $3,999
- M30: $4,299
- M30 Eagle: $4,299
- M10: $5,699 – Most Performance for the Price
- M-LTD: $8,499
- OMR Frameset: $3,599
- Santa Cruz Hightower
- Trek Fuel EX
- Pivot Switchblade
- Kona Process 134 29
- Yeti SB130
- Specialized Stumpjumper
- Commencal Meta TR
- Giant Trance X 29
- Rocky Mountain Instinct
- Intense Primer 29
- YT Jeffsy 29
- Norco Sight 29
- Devinci Troy 29
- Evil The Offering
- Scott Genius
- Cannondale Habit
- Revel Rascal
- Canyon Spectral 29
- Ibis Ripmo & Ripmo AF
Designed around Enduro racing, the Rallon is Orbea’s most downhill-capable bike, able to crush descents while still being able to pedal to the top. Features adjustable high/low geometry settings.
Don’t Bother If:
- M20: $4,899 – Best Budget Build
- M10: $5,599
- M Team: $6,999 – Most Performance for the Price
- M LTD: $9,699
- Frameset: $3,899