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It’s hard to break down mountain-bike-design history into generations in the same way we can with cell phones or video game consoles. Sure, there have been important trends that left lasting influences, but rarely has there been a distinct sea change broad enough to separate a “before” from an “after.” Unless, that is, you count The Geometry Revolution of just under a decade ago. Like a light switch, our bikes got longer, lower and slacker. Or rather, hundreds of light switches. It’s taken a few years to finally plateau. A few bikes are only now settling into the new normal, and whatever will become the next generation is again going to be hard to define. If anything, it’s a generation of refinement. A generation of quality-of-life improvements that give riders what they want. And the new Orbea Rallon is here to give us what we want.
First, this meant catching up to that whole “new normal” thing. The Rallon’s reach jumped by about 30 millimeters, and its head angle slackened by a degree. The seat tube angle steepened by a degree, but we should note that the angle on the previous-generation Rallon was already pretty far ahead of that curve. The new Rallon still has a flip chip in the shock yoke that will shift those angles by a half degree. The chainstays got 5mm longer, and are constant through all the sizes, with a slight exception that we’ll get to later. All in all, the new Rallon’s geo numbers fit firmly in the Post-Revolution era.
At 160mm rear and 170 front, the travel technically didn’t change, but that’s only because halfway through its previous generation, the Rallon got some new linkage components that added 10 millimeters of rear travel and a more progressive leverage-rate curve. But the new Rallon is all-natural super enduro, including the progressivity. In fact, there’s significantly more ramp than the previous generation.
In a move we hope will continue to catch on, the new Rallon offers frame storage inside the downtube, with a release lever not unlike the system Trek uses. Also inside the frame are guided cable routing channels that actually connect to external routing channels when your lines leap from front to rear triangle.
The new Rallon is available with one of two different shock yokes. One is meant for a nice, safe, 29-inch setup, and one will convert it to the mixed-wheel configuration your mother warned you about. The mixed-wheel Rallon (which embraces the name “Mullet” while many other brands ignore it) keeps the same travel and most of the same geometry, but ends up shortening the chainstay by about 2mm.
Orbea’s approach to the mixed-wheel setup could be an interesting model for other brands potentially looking to offer it as an option. Orbeas that are purchased online are assembled to-order, and can be customized to an extent. While people are choosing things like tires, bars, saddles and wheels, might as well choose between 29-inch and mixed-wheel. Another impressive customization option is dropper-post length, going all the way up to 200mm. Normally reserved for XL frames (if you’re lucky), a 200mm post will slam comfortably in nearly any Rallon frame. Thank you, Orbea. And if even that isn’t enough, there’s also Orbea’s deep MyO color customization. Pick the color of the frame, the highlights, and the logos and decals.
That customization does add some wait time, but we’re used to that in 2021. What it doesn’t add is cost. In fact, for a well-specced full-carbon bike you can pick up from an actual shop (customization and all) the Rallon has a high entry point, but one that offers high value. $5,000 gets you a Fox Performance 38 fork, a Float X shock and a mostly SLX parts package. There are four total off-the-shelf build options, but each can be tweaked to suit your needs.
We’ve got a Rallon on its way to us for an upcoming Beta Test, so we’ll be getting you our ride impressions soon.