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The Beta Tests

The Beta Tests: Orbea Rallon M-Team

One of the most refined, playful, and even-handed long-travel bikes we've tested—and it's packed with features. The Rallon should not be overlooked.

Basics

– 160mm rear travel
– 170mm front travel
– Full-carbon only
– 29-inch wheels
– Mixed-wheel compatible with a designated rocker link that comes with the bike


Pros

– Perfect mix of capability and playfulness
– Loaded with smart design touches
– Deep customization options

Cons

– Your friends will keep mispronouncing the name


Weight

32.3

Price

$7,300

Brand

Orbea


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The previous Rallon gained a reputation as an impressively even-handed enduro rig. The latest model maintains that balance while offering more travel, updated geometry, and an addictive, rowdy trail personality that elevated it to favorite status among several testers.

Orbea Rallon

Designed with enduro racing in mind, the Rallon looks exactly as you’d expect on paper. It’s long, low and relatively slack, with a 64 or 64.5 degree headtube angle, depending on whether you run it with mixed wheels or not. The 2022 model also has a longer reach and chainstays, adding stability at speed.

With the mixed wheel trend gaining popularity, it’s interesting to see how brands are choosing to spec their bikes for a potential party out back. Some models, like the Specialized Status and the Santa Cruz Bronson come with mixed wheels and geometry to match. Others lean on an existing flip-chip to help counter the geometry changes you’ll get if you decide to swap out a bigger front wheel. Orbea takes a different approach, offering a separate link to use with each wheel size. This ensures that the geometry is dialed whether you run it on a 27.5” or 29” platform.

You can’t order the Rallon as a mixed-wheel bike but, the bike does ship with the 27.5″ link. Just swap the link, find a 27.5″ wheel, and you’ll be ready for a party in the back.

The model we tested came as an all-business 29er, but that didn’t stop the party. The Rallon is a lively and self-assured descender, with especially intuitive handling. Where long, stable bikes can sometimes feel marshmallowy on the way down, the Rallon strikes the perfect balance, giving you just enough of a platform to really pick up speed while keeping you in touch with what’s happening on the trail.

Our test loop in Bellingham featured plenty of blind drops, roots, deep ruts, and perfect corners to smash—and the Rallon thrived in all conditions, especially when the trail got tight. The geometry really lends itself to steering from the hips and rear wheel, letting you slash and play in corners. It also gives what feels like an extra measure of control on the steeps, staying composed and centered even when the front end is absorbing big hits. It’s a bike that you feel will take care of you, even if you choose a less-than-artful line.

What isn’t so obvious from the specs is that the Rallon goes uphill really well too. Unlike many modern enduro rigs, which are starting to look (and feel) like downhill bikes with single-crown forks, the Rallon is the sort of bike that truly allows you to be your own shuttle. The split-pivot linkage provides support under both soft and hard pedaling—with no lockout required.

And that’s really what sets the Rallon apart from its competitors in the enduro category—while its price and spec are similar to what you’ll find from most brands, the list gets considerably shorter if you consider only bikes that you could feasibly climb to the top of your run without needing a lockout. Add those incredibly agreeable descending manners, and this bike becomes a competitive option for riders looking for a do-everything rig.

The Rallon also features some modern touches, like the internal frame storage compartment, which features a secure latching door and neoprene-like sleeves to keep tools from rattling inside. It also comes with a very clever, minimal multitool hidden in the linkage, which is secured with a magnet. With just the essentials, this tool is not a replacement for the full set you’d want to bring on a big day, but it will save you digging in your pack for a bolt check. We’re not sure how the magnet will fare long term, once it fills up with magnetic grit, but we like the intention.

Orbea is a Spanish brand with its US headquarters in Colorado. They’ve made mountain bikes for 32 years, but with their road, triathlon, and XC background, have gained recognition mostly in the endurance world. Still, the previous Rallon impressed us, and the latest version blew us away—if this brand isn’t on your radar yet, it should be.

Entry level:

Although there’s no aluminum option, and no option below $5,000, that $5,000 Rallon is a pretty remarkable bike. A Performance-level Float X rear shock and 38 fork absolutely will not hold you back. Nor will the M6120 brakes or honest-to-goodness full SLX drivetrain … well, almost honest. It’s got a 6000 series chain, but at least it’s a Shimano chain. And if you want a touch nicer brakes, you can opt for XTs at checkout. In fact, there are customization options in several key areas. Though the entry-level price point is already plenty impressive, you can also opt for a coil shock or even go for a mixed-wheel setup right out of the box. You really can’t go wrong here.

 

Studio Photos: Ryan Palmer

Action Photos: Paris Gore