First Look Review: Orbea Rallon 5 M-LTD 2017 (29er enduro)
July 18th, 2017
July 18th, 2017
Anna is a jack-of-all-bikes, and has been riding and racing in a myriad of genres for over seven years; from World Cup level cross-country, to grass roots coaching kids on the road.
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The Obea Rallon has made a come-back this year with some tweaks to the prior geometry and some big monster truck wheels to boot too. Offering internal cable routing imbedded in foam, as well as a flip-chip system for altering the geometry on-the-fly, isn't exactly groundbreaking; Evil Bikes have been offering both on 29ers for some time now, and the little storage bag above the bottom bracket seems like a bit of a cheap alternative to the Specialized SWAT system, but, unlike those two brands, Orbea are offering an equally trail-smashing carbon ride from £2,399 - built up! This should make a few ears prick up. Add the ability to custom configure your spec online, and the choice of a custom paint job at no extra charge for models over £3,899 and you've started to build something worthy of interest. But does the ride live up to the hype?
Spec & Geometry
The Rallon M10, M Team and M-LTD all come with a SRAM Eagle drivetrain, with GX, X01 and XX1 respectively. FOX sorts out the suspension with 160mm up front and 150mm in the rear; we had the new 36 Float Factory forks on the top spec M-LTD with a FOX Factory DHX2 coil shock. The rest is configured by you online, allowing everything from saddles, wheelsets, brakes, shocks, seatposts and chainrings to be custom chosen to suit needs and budget. I can't say a bad word about anything on the M-LTD we tested, with SRAM Guide brakes performing well, if a little punchy (as expected), and Race Face dropper and finishing kit looking clean and working smoothly. DT Swiss XMC–1200 wheels are a stable choice too. SRAM Eagle XX1 certainly suits big wheels, allowing extra room for the longer derailleur, but the coil shock may not be to everyone's tastes with its cushy "always on" ride quality. The Rallon 5 is marketed as a 'downhill oriented' bike with a slack head angle of 65° or 65.6°, depending on the position of your flip-switch.
It is certainly a burly looking bike that promises big-alpine capabilities. A closer look at the scuffs and scratches gouged out of the frame, apparently from being dropped out of a helicopter, makes me more than sure that the Rallon is no fragile princess, despite being almost entirely made of carbon throughout, with only the rocker and the inside of the bottom bracket being aluminium. A word of warning though; the Small/Medium is really not a small bike at all, the top tube and reach is rather long, even for a Medium, in my opinion, but it suits the modern trend of "longer is better" provided you can handle a big bike.
Firstly, let me point out that we had a few difficulties with the forks on our initial ride. This s not the fault of Fox at all though, these things just happen, but it meant we couldn't get all 160mm of our travel and it messed with the geometry and the ride of the bike a little. What I can say for sure is that the Rallon is a stiff and viscous trail tool. I don't think it will be a bike for novice enduro riders looking to buy a race partner that will easily forgive mistakes, but it does make for a precision tool for someone who knows exactly where they want to put a bike on a trail. The 29er isn't as playful as other bikes we've tested, but a little bit of forethought into corner entries could see you shooting out of them a lot faster than the 650b equivalents. It certainly picked up speed with ease, and the long reach makes for stable warp-speed descending.
This bike needs a bit more than a day to get used to, and having fork issues didn't help me with my "first look" review, but I can say for sure that it's a bike that will divide opinions; and that's not a bad thing. It may not be a forgiving, flickable, play-mate, but not everyone wants that. The Rallon 5 is long, burly, stiff and precise and would seem to suit proper big alpine epics for experienced trail smashers. Orbea aren't offering anything new or revolutionary here, but the realistic price tag and the custom paint options will surely be a big success, and it certainly looks the business with that chunky, asymmetric frame.
The Rallon 5 on test was the M-LTD with a custom spec expected to retail at around £6,899 with free custom painting and decals, but full builds with start from £2,399.