Orbea as a mountain bike brand might not be the first brand to come to your mind when thinking about a new bike, especially if you’re considering a boutique brand. The Spanish brand has been making bikes for quite some time now and has spent lots of time in both on-road and off-road disciplines, however, they are much more commonly seen on the road or XC rides.
The Orbea Rallon has been redesigned from the ground up with all new geometry, wheel size, looks, and has become a bike with a very good reputation since it was released a year or so ago. With 29” wheels and 150mm of travel out back, it puts itself in the oh-so-popular long travel 29 category of bikes. With a plethora of bikes to choose from in this range, what makes the Rallon carry such a good reputation? Well, its modern yet conservative geometry like the 455mm reach for a size large and the 65/65.5 head tube angle allows a wide range of riders to get along with the bike. Its climbing prowess and well thought out suspension design also has many riders loving this bike’s great all around characteristics.
The Rallon has a few unique features aside from its geometry and suspension design. The Rallon has a custom build and color option called MyO. It allows consumers to not only choose between a few stock component options, but 100% customize the color options. More on the MyO in a bit.
When it comes to looks, the Rallon is at the top of the list. With its asymmetrical frame design, big lovely carbon tubes, and smooth bends who cares how it rides when you have such a good looking bike. Well, we care, but if you can't be fast, at least look fast. The asymmetrical design might remind you of the newest version of the Stumpjumper, but it was in fact Orbea who brought that to the market first. So sorry Specialized, teacher caught you copying homework.
Geometry wise, the Rallon is very neutral, shooting right down the middle. We actually liked this about the Rallon and it made for a great all around handling bike. More on specific geometry numbers in a bit.
Diving into the suspension design, we can confirm there will be no diving of travel with the Rallon’s concentric rear axle, four bar linkage design. Since it has a common four bar linkage, you can assume many traits that the bike might possess, but with some little tricks from Orbea, we found it to be one of the better four bar linkage bikes available. Utilizing a concentric rear pivot axle, the Rallon has extremely great braking performance. This is the same rear pivot that brands like Devinci, Trek, Salsa and more use and it is a great way to separate anti-rise and anti-squat values. There is also an adjustable geometry flip chip located on the rear shock mount to the shock clevis. They call the two positions low and lower, slackening out the seat tube by 0.5 degrees in the lower position, as well as dropping the bb a few mm.
The MyO custom configurator is one of the Rallon’s most unique features and separates this bike from just about any other brand in the market. The MyO configurator allows consumers to choose just about everything they want on a Rallon. Custom frame colors are available and yes, all of the colors and accents can be customized. You also have a few options on components, allowing you to fine tune which brakes, shock, wheels, and even stem length your Rallon comes with.
Just playing around with the MyO configurator alone is a deep rabbit hole. I spent a little time playing around with it and by the time I looked up, I missed my riding window and realized I had just spent 2 hours messing around with frame colors before I even started changing components. I highly suggest you go and play around with some frame designs, even if the Rallon is not your type of bike. Any bike lover can agree that having a custom paint job unique to what you want is something very special. Just make sure you give yourself a few hours of time, as you will get hypnotized by the pretty colors.
As mentioned above, the Rallon has modern, yet neutral geometry numbers. That might sound like a bit of a contradiction but let me explain. We tested a size large that has a 455mm reach number. For comparison, the new Yeti SB150 rocks a 480mm reach, the Devinci Spartan 29 is 465mm reach, and the Specialized Stumpjumper 29 is 445mm. So as you can see it’s slightly shorter than some of the more extreme cutting edge bikes recently released, but we didn't find that as a bad thing. For reference, the late SB5.5 has a 442mm reach, and I’ll explain why I bring this up in a bit.
Other geometry numbers follow the same neutral path, making this bike feel very balanced. The chainstays are 435mm, again right down the middle for most bikes in this range. And the seat tube angle is also down the middle sitting at 75.5/76 depending if you are in low or lower on your adjustable chip. Shooting right down the middle on almost all geometry numbers isn't a bad thing, in fact it was a nice refresher when it comes to riding this bike as many new bikes are, dare I say, too long.
The last bit of geometry information to check out is the fork offset. With fork offset becoming a new topic recently, I’m always curious if manufacturers choose to go with the previous traditional 51mm offset or the newer reduced offset of 44/42mm. Orbea went with the reduced on the Rallon, and with its 65/65.5 degree headtube it makes sense why you would choose the reduced. For us, it feels great on this bike.
Jeff was able to take the Rallon on a trip out east and spent much of his time riding the Rallon in North Carolina. Having never ridden those trails, he said the bike’s neutral geometry, and the concentric rear axle pivot allowed him to recover from some small mistakes more so than other bikes.
Once I got on the Rallon, I as well was able to not only ride it at home on the local testing trails, but also took it out to Phoenix, Arizona and rode the rocky chunk and loose dirt Phoenix has to offer. In addition, I spent a full day shuttling out at Los Angeles Mt. Wilson trails where you get a bit of everything from tight exposed switchbacks, steep chutes, and high speed chunks. Needless to say I got comfortable on the Rallon and found its strengths and weaknesses.
Immediately I discovered how well the Rallon could go uphill. The pedaling performance was some of the best for a long travel bike, having a very efficient sporty feel. With the neutral reach and wheelbase numbers, I was able to tackle some technical climbs with ease. Some of which are not usually possible with a few of these long and slack big bikes. I was very comfortable on long climbs thanks to its decently steep seat tube. The pedaling platform is extremely efficient and one that I consider to be a mountain goat for a 150mm travel bike.
Both Jeff and I agreed that the Fox Float X2 gave the bike a planted feeling but felt a little “dead” to us. Not that is a bad thing and I’m sure on race day the X2 would eat holes for snacks, but we wanted to feel what it was like with a more trail oriented shock. We installed a Rockshox Super Deluxe that also has a MegNeg can on it. The Rallon became a different bike with that shock. It has much more “pop” and is able to get off the ground easier as well as give a bit more rider feedback from the trail. I spent the majority of the time riding this bike with the SuperDeluxe as it felt better to me. That is more opinion than anything, as the X2 is a great shock for certain riding styles and trails. That being said, the Fox DPx2 is an option for the Rallon and I would bet that the DPx2 would give a similar feel to the SuperDeluxe we liked.
The other part we changed out for on trail performance was the stem. We used the same brand stem, but went from the 32mm that it came with to a 50mm. This helped bring out a little length in the front end as well as add some weight and traction to the front wheel.
With these changes, the Rallon got lots of ride time. We found that the bike made for a great all around bike and reminded us of the Yeti SB5.5. The SB5.5 has since been discontinued, but the geometry numbers and great all around feel are very similar. One spot I found the Rallon to excel from other bikes was in the corners, especially tight switchbacks. The not too long wheelbase made for excellent control through switchbacks. This also has a bit to do with the concentric rear axle pivot which allows you to accidentally touch the back brake mid corner and still manage to recover and keep speed that otherwise might have been lost. Cornering speed and momentum from pumping around is where the Rallon shined. I found myself flying into corners faster and as a result, flying out of them also.
The Orbea Rallon is an impressive long travel 29” bike. With a great all around personality, we think the Rallon can be that one quiver bike we are always looking for. Unique looks, as well as MyO color customization, you can be sure to have a bike that nobody else does! The Orbea Rallon will feel at home on a wide range of trails, suiting many riders. With some amazing climbing skills, confidence inspiring cornering traits, and a really good neutral feel, the Rallon reminded us of one of our all time favorite bikes, the SB5.5, and that is top honors.