Orbea Rise First Impressions
The new Orbea Rise E-MTB was a big surprise to the cycling industry. Coming in cheaper, lighter and better value than any of the other bikes from the biggest brands. On paper, this light-weight E-MTB is shaping up really well.
I was a bit sceptical of this bike, being used to a normal weight e-bike which is about 8kg’s heavier, you get used to the massive amount of grip from the tyres, support in turns and stability over rough terrain. I haven’t ridden a normal bike in around 2 years so I thought this would be a totally different experience.
With a small internal battery at 360wh, I didn’t think the range would be great but with the low torque mode, we managed over 4000ft of climbing and only in the last 18 miles did it drop to 25% charge. If you want big miles and plan on lots of uphill, there is an extended range option which should be available from February.
On first impressions, the bike looks sleek and the weight is lighter than you expect. I was riding the m-team spec, which is the early demo/pre-production bike. The final spec may be slightly different. After sticking my pedals on it and setting the suspension up, I had a quick pedal around the carpark. Firstly with it switched off and then on eco profile. These two options felt very similar.
The motor has two profiles
Profile 1 provides very low torque in eco/trail and boost mode has a maximum output of 49nm. This is almost half of what I’m used to on my Bosch equipped 85nm cx line motor.
In profile two, your mode gives out more torque with the maximum of 60nm in boost.
On the first climb, eco was giving really light assistance as 20nm doesn’t really feel any different from a normal bike. The first climb was a fairly long one, we climbed from 600ft up to around 2000ft. By the top I was definitely feeling it.
The motor really needs to be worked to get the most out of it which I found out on the first climb around 10 minutes in. When you work the motor really hard, you get so much more back. Obviously, going as hard as you can for a while isn’t easy (for me anyway) but the motor is totally different when you do. This is one of the two things that separate this from a full power e-bike. On a bike with 85nm you can be lazy if you like, as the extra torque gets you out of trouble on steeper and more technical climbs. With less power and a more demanding motor, you definitely need to think about what’s coming next, gear selection and body position.
The motor doesn’t have a feature that the Bosch motor I’m used to does. With the Orbea Rise, on technical climbs, as soon as you stop pedalling the motor stops, just like a normal bike. The Bosch cx motor has a feature called extended boost; when you get to a steep climb, you can crank it hard and the motor will run on for a split second giving you a little extra boost of traction at the bottom. This helps to get over rocks, roots etc which does make a noticeable difference.
I’ve tried not to compare this to the Bosch or other bigger power motors too much, as it's a totally different bike and isn’t on the market to rival them.
Nearing the top, I was looking forward to the first downhill section where I thought I would notice the biggest difference. There was a few small downhill sections between the climbs where the bike felt really lively, so I was expecting more of the same. With the weight being so low, I also wanted to try it on a faster, more technical section to check the stability and grip. The first proper downhill part of the trail was really rocky. We ran a black trail so it was fairly rough. Personally, I didn’t find it massively technical and the bike did not disappoint. The stability was there, as was the grip which I wasn’t expecting.
Considering on the rear it had the Maxxis Rekon tyres, (which have been tweaked and specifically designed for this bike) on the rocky downhills it was really grippy. Even on the climbs, it provided more than enough grip. However, if it was a muddy climb then it did lose traction almost instantly. I also found really high lines, that I can’t normally fling my 23kg bike onto, weren't an issue.
You can throw the bike exactly where you want it to go which also makes your line choice a bit more exciting. We did a few sections that are not included in the black route which were more natural and a little more technical. Again, I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was; super agile, fast and more fun than a normal weight E-MTB. Overall, it didn't miss a beat on the downhills even when you add an over the handle bars crash into the mix because I got carried away!
Overall this bike wasn't what I expected. IT WAS BETTER!
I can't fault this bike in terms of performance. Once you get your head round the fact it's not a full fat e-bike, you will enjoy the task of heading up climbs you wouldn't normally tackle. This bike could easily sit in between your standard bike and your full power e-bike. In theory, it's a third bike because you can't have too many toys...!
If your mates all have full power e-bike, yes, you will need to work harder to keep up with them but the fitness you gain will be immense. Two days after riding the bike my legs are still feeling it. If your mates have normal bikes, yes, you can stick it in profile 1, cruise in eco and feel like you are on a normal bike.
You might wonder why would you buy this bike when it feels like a normal bike with a tiny bit of assistance. Why not just buy an Occam? If you want an e-bike but you are worried your mates might disown you, then buy this bike! If you want an e-bike but you are worried you won’t get fit, then buy this bike! If you want to have tons of fun on the downhills and not have to worry too much about pedalling back up and doing it over and over again stick it in profile 2 and then buy this bike!
Custom MYO Option
Shimano brakes (for me. I'm used to my Magura’s)
I DONT HAVE ONE...
The review above is my own personal thoughts. I’m by no means a professional just simply trying to review this bike as best I can.
Cheers Dave :)