Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Long Term Test: 2012 Orbea Orca Bronze post #2

Second update
Current mileage: 365.6 

I launch away from the stop sign, sprinting hard to race up the short hill. Standing on the pedals, every stroke translating into more speed as I try to beat the cars to the light at the top. The road levels off just before the red light comes into view and I squeeze the brakes gently to bring the bike to a stop. Looking back, I can't help but smile as the first car only just pops into view after I catch my breath.

The Orca continues to prove itself a perfect complement to where I am in my evolution as a rider. It is far and away the lightest bike I have ever ridden, coming in at a scant 18.6 lbs, and that translates into fantastic acceleration. The smoother shifting of the Ultegra components means quicker transitions in cadence and allows me to manage my energy consumption much better as I no longer cringe at the thought of shifting and dealing with the jolt and stutter that I used to get from the components on my old K2. Handling feels fantastic as the bike turns in much more willingly than I ever remember the K2 being and with less weight to move around, I am able to toss it around at will and be confident that I am in complete control. Best of all, despite being stiffer all around, the bike actually delivers a more compliant ride than the aluminum frame it replaced. The layup of the carbon in the seat stays and the use of a carbon seat post seems to damp the ride much better than the aluminum K2.

Of course, one clear thing to keep in mind is that this is a significantly more expensive bike than the one it replaced. It was nearly four times the cost in price paid and over four times the MSRP. It is not hard to see where the extra expense went as the bike is just all around a better ride. While I have not gone out riding nearly as much as I had hoped I would this year, every ride on it proves to me that it was worth every single penny.

As the miles rack up, I expect the bike to reveal ever more of its character to me and to become ever more enjoyable to ride.