We tested the Orbea Oiz M-LTD 2021, one of the great stars of the World Cup
Last July, the new Orbea OIZ 2021 was presented, which arrived with few changes that were noticeable at first sight, but very important in terms of performance. It was just a matter of time before the brand renewed its XCO/XCM full suspension model and not because it was outdated, but because they had already used a new carbon and new manufacturing techniques in their road models, and given their good results, we could only hope that these improvements would be extended to their MTB frames.
We had the pleasure of testing the brand's top-of-the-range model, the OIZ M-LTD. Orbea has put all its best weapons and all its love into giving birth to this bicycle. A bike that we have already seen on the podiums of the two World Cups, held this year at the Nove Mesto circuit, where the Team KMC-Orbea has been proclaimed absolute winner by teams riding the new OIZ.
Orbea Oiz M-LTD 2021: the OMX and the new geometry change everything
Not long ago, Orbea renewed its geometry and was very well received by the biker community. It was placed in the top sale of XC full suspension models and now it is renewed again. This time the changes are less visible but very important, so much so that the new OMX frame of the Orbea OIZ M-LTD weighs 1,740g with the screws and the shock absorber. This means a reduction in weight of 250g compared to the OMR carbon frame, which will still be available in lower versions.
To explain the weight loss we have to look at the manufacturing process, in which high modulus carbon fibres are chosen and combined and in its construction the best pre-impregnated carbon sheets are used, cut by laser to the specific size of each frame avoiding overlaps to minimise excess materials.
The direction of the fibres and their arrangement is adjusted on the basis of different tests on prototypes. After a specific pre-molding that takes hours for each final production frame, the optimal compaction of the resin and fiber is ensured with a minimum amount of carbon and then goes to the heating. The frames obtained are lighter, but maintain a stiffness similar to that of the OMR frames, as indicated by the tests carried out by the brand.
Its main triangle is identical to that of the OMR version, here only the material has changed. The rear triangle is the one that has really been remodelled. A new swingarm that thanks to the use of carbon OMX, saw the possibility of modifying it in order to reduce a few more grams on the scale.
At first glance it may be hard to tell the difference, but when you compare it with one of the lower models you can see its changes. Its pods are 5 mm shorter than the OMR version, remaining 430 mm long and keeping the wheel arch unchanged. They are also asymmetrical, trying to use the straightest lines possible to save a few more grams. Another change is the use of the flat mount brake caliper anchorage which makes the design of the casing easier and more integrated. On the opposite side we also find a novelty, is the use of the UDH shift pin designed by SRAM that is being used more and more in the new frames that come to market. It is not only a question of improving the performance of the frame but also of updating it to keep up with market developments.
The two parts of the bicycle are connected by the Fiberlink carbon crank, similar to the one used in the OMR frames and which will now only be used in the OMX models. It is made of long injected fibre, providing an optimal balance between lightness and firmness and integrates perfectly with the shapes and the OIZ seat tube.
Further details of the frame are its integrated conical steering, its PressFit PF92 bottom bracket, the optimal ICR internal wiring guide system that leaves the frame very clean and which has taken into account the possibility of mounting a telescopic seat post and the placement of protectors in the most critical areas that can be hit by the chain or the jump of a stone.
It has the option to put 2 bottle cages from size M thinking about the bikers that are going to give it a more XCM oriented use.
This unit came with a bright blue finish that shows the arrangement of the carbon layers when the light hits it and the emblems and markings in gold. It is a spectacular finish, but if you prefer to choose other colours, Orbea gives you the chance to customise the paint and finish of the frame with the MyO customisation programme, a free extra to consider when choosing a new frame.
Changes in geometry
Its geometry has hardly changed, only the variation in the length of the pods is introduced and only affects the OMX models while the rest remain unchanged. The new sheaths are 5 mm shorter and now measure 430 mm.
If we analyse the geometry and compare it with its competitors we can say that it has an intermediate design, in which no risky measures are applied, by this we mean that it is halfway between the new designs with angles close to Trail bikes and the old more radical XC designs.
Its head tube is relatively short, 95 mm in the case of the bike we have tested and its angle is 69º. The seat tube has an angle of 75º and a reach of 435 mm that offers us a racing position but not in excess.
By reducing the length of the pods, the wheelbase has also been reduced, making it more manageable in technical areas.
Its rear suspension system is an articulated monopivot based, as we already know, on the use of the flexion of the carbon itself in pods and straps, to avoid having to place an extra pivot point that would result in an increase in weight, a system that has been characteristic of the OIZ since its birth. It is connected to a FOX i-line DPS Factory shock absorber that in our case provides us with a 100 mm travel in the rear axle.
A fork from the same manufacturer, a Fox 32 Float SC Factory 100 with FiT4 cartridge, has been chosen for the front. Both come with a Kashima finish and 3 positions, full lockout, intermediate and open positions that are commanded from the remote lockout located on the handlebar, a control that Orbea brand calls Squidlock and has the possibility of incorporating in it the activation of the telescopic seatpost if desired. The control is quite ergonomic and smooth to operate.
Riding the Orbea OIZ M-LTD 2021
The time has come to test the Orbea OIZ M-LTD, like always we check its weight on our scale before taking action. A model with full suspension and a 125 mm Fox Transfer Factory Kashima telescopic seatpost, which weighs 10.2 kg without the pedals yet in place.
From the start, as soon as we get on it it feels light, we ride comfortably in a position that is not too racing despite having its OC3 power in the inverted position 8º and not having placed any of the semi-integrated spacers that it comes with as standard. On flat ground and with a good road surface you can ride with the suspension locked, in this case you don't have to press the Squidlock control, because the suspension lock acts in a Push-Unlock way, that is, you press the control when you want to unlock the suspension.
The first sections of paved uphill allow us to stand up and give some acceleration by testing its stiffness, the feeling of agility in the front axle and the lightness of the set in general makes you gain speed quickly and notice its solidity in the steering and bottom bracket area, to which we can also add the incredible performance and stiffness of the DT-Swiss XRC-1200 Spline carbon wheels with DT-Swiss 180 hubs.
When the terrain becomes more bumpy, we act on the first of the blocking positions, an intermediate mode that gives us comfort, allowing us to continue pedalling with a happy cadence without the wheels losing contact with the ground.
As expected, we were looking for an area where the route had a clear resemblance to an XC circuit in which to get the most out of this bike.
When we are faced with bumpy and rather sloping uphills we have tried to do so with both the intermediate position of the block and the blocked suspension. In the first case you notice how you get good traction without losing too much efficiency in pedalling, and you can appreciate a good steadiness of the whole set. The times we have chosen to do it with the suspension completely blocked, we could see how sometimes when the bump was too pronounced the rear wheel would come off losing some traction, although it is true that thanks to the generous ball of the 2.35" Maxxis Rekon Race tyres mounted on both wheels and that the internal width of 30 mm of its rims allows the pressures to be lowered quite a bit, the imperfections of the terrain are not so much appreciated.
Its geometry, with features closer to those of a climbing bike, makes us enjoy each of the uphills we face, showing itself to be agile and reactive.
On the downhill sections it behaves remarkably well, moving smoothly through slow, tight curves with agility thanks to its shorter wheelbase, although it is true that this can take its toll as the downhill sections become too fast, reducing its stability a little. With the suspension in open position we enjoy its progressive travel, more absorbing in the central part of the shock absorber and hardening at the end. In areas of very inclined downhill can give the impression of being placed far ahead on the bike but it is true that we had the telescopic seat post that gave us much security and confidence when facing these segments.
In the most complicated and technical areas it moves well, the 760 mm wide carbon FSA K-Force handlebar makes it easy to change direction, and when we have needed to touch the brake to correct a line we have at our disposal the SRAM Ultimate Carbon brakes that have offered us a powerful bite. In this type of terrain is where we least liked how the suspension blocking acts, since being a Push-Unlock system we have involuntarily hit the button a couple of times, making it block the suspension not being able to take advantage of all the travel of it.
As far as the rest of the components are concerned, it is equipped with the SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS drivetrain, with a 34T crankset and a 10-50 cassette with enough development to be able to squeeze it to the maximum. To avoid possible chain outflows, it has a small chain guide anchored to the swingarm. It is equipped with a comfortable carbon Selle Italia SLR saddle, which helps to contain the weight of the OIZ.
In short, this is one of the lightest full suspension bicycle frames on the market due to the 250g reduction in the weight of the whole, thanks to the use of OMX carbon and the new swingarm, without losing any stiffness. It has a balanced geometry, plus the shortened 5 mm seat stays to make it even more responsive.
It incorporates updates such as the SRAM universal pin and the flat mount brake caliper and maintains its ICR cable guidance, 3 position control and the possibility of placing two bottle cages, the latter being very much appreciated by the user in general.
In addition, the frame has a lifetime guarantee and offers the possibility of customising it with the MyO programme.
All this for a price of 8,599 euros. It may seem high and far from the reach of many pockets, but if we look at the features of the frame and the equipment that comes as standard, we are looking at a very competitive price within the sector of high-end bikes.
Orbea Oiz M-LTD specifications – 8.599€
Orbea Oiz M-LTD – 8.599€
Frame: Orbea Oiz Carbon OMX, Fiberlink, Boost, PF BB, UFO2, I-line shock
Fork: Fox 32 Float SC Factory 100 FIT4 Remote-Adj Push-Unlock QR15x110 Kashima
Shock absorber: Fox i-line DPS Factory 100mm Remote Push-Unlock Evol Kashima custom tune190x40mm
Wheels: DT Swiss XRC-1200 Spline 30c TLR 15/110mm CL
Tyres: Maxxis Rekon Race 2.35" 120 TPI Exo TLR
Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS
Cranksets: SRAM XX1 Eagle Dub Grey Boost 34t
Rear Derailer: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS
Cassette: SRAM XX1 XG-1299 Eagle 10-50t 12-Speed Rainbow
Chain: SRAM XX1 Eagle 12-Speed rainbow
Derailer Pulleys: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS
Handlebar: FSA K-Force Flat 760mm Di2 compatible
Stem: OC3 31.8mm interface -8º
Brakes: SRAM Ultimate Carbon Stealth-a-majig Black Hydraulic Disc 180/160mm
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Boost Fill Carbon Keramic Rail Ø7 x 9 mm
Seatpost: Fox Transfer Factory Kashima Dropper 31.6x363,5/125mm (Internal routing)
Chainguide: Orbea OC chainguide
Remote lock: OC Squidlock 3-position
Weight: 10,2 kg