There’s a lot of talk nowadays about whether bikes have gotten as good as they ever will be. If the evolution in design and geometry will have anywhere to go once our engineers collectively longer/lower/slacker themselves out of a job. One option is to do what Orbea has done with the brand new Oiz. Update what needs updating, but don’t fix what ain’t broke.
In the case of the current-generation carbon and aluminum Oiz (moving forward as the Oiz OMR and Oiz Hydro respectively), there’s a whole lot that ain’t broke. The frame itself is going forward unchanged, but Orbea bolted some neat new things to it for 2021. The ports for the internal cable routing now do a better job directing and controling the housing, though Orbea stopped short of tube-in-tube routing. Also, there’s now a clean-looking integration between headset, spacers, stem and GPS device mounts.
And of course, there are a handful of new colorways added to Orbea’s MyO paint customization program. Aside from that, the Oiz is going forward unchanged. The carbon version is still available in a dedicated 100-millimeter race package or an over-stroked 120-millimeter maraton package, while the alloy model is 120-millimeters only. They haven’t messed with any of the spirit of the Oiz And why should they? This bike already has seen two XC world championships, so it must be doing something right … But it could always be better.
That’s why, today, the real news is the release of the Oiz OMX. A new more refined carbon frame material and manufacturing process, combined with an entirely new rear triangle, has given the Oiz OMX the lightest-weight full-suspension XC frame on the market. The Oiz M LTD, M Team, M Pro and 120-millimeter M Pro TR all use the OMX frame while the M10, M20 and M30 all use the existing OMR frame.
First, the boring part; the carbon itself. “OMX frames blend high modulus fibers of up to 588GPa with tensile strength of 3800MPa.” If you have a way to put that in context like maybe knowing your current frame’s carbon tensile strength, that’ll mean something to you. If not, OMX carbon is stronger, so Orbea used less of it. Beyond the long-fiber injection-molded carbon swing link, both the front and rear triangles on the Oiz OMX are made of the new fancy fibers. But that rear triangle went a little further. Or shorter, as it were. Shrinking to 430 millimeters from 435, the OMX rear end is meant to be a little more snappy. But the change that has done the most for its weight was the swap to a flat-mount disc caliper. Seen in the road and gravel world for a while, flat-mount calipers save weight in a few ways. The hardware on the frame is simply smaller, so it’s less intrusive and offers designers more freedom. Also, unlike the dominant post-mount approach, the threads are in the caliper, not the frame. That means no bulky glued-in threaded aluminum inserts. And to top it all off, the new rear triangle uses SRAM’s UDH universal derailleur hanger which, at the moment, is still just adding another hanger option to most brand’s lineups. But given that we’ve seen a couple other brands (including Santa Cruz) already adopt it this season, it’s very promising to help solve a long-standing issue in our industry.
The net result is a frame that drops a pretty damn impressive 250 grams off the already-pretty-damn-impressive weight of the Oiz OMR. That puts the Orbea Oiz OMX at 1,740 grams with rear shock. And this is what we’ve come to. The world of elite cross-country racing has been trying to squeeze every last bit of speed out of its riders for decades. The advent of full-suspension clawed back some seconds on the descents and deposited some well-earned relief in the muscles of XC’s pain-hungry athletes, but by and large, races are still won and lost on the climbs and sprints. Saving weight and adding quickness will likely forever be the primary frontier in cross-country bike development. At least until the day comes when we start to hear a lot of talk about bikes getting as light as they will ever be.
Get spec, pricing and availability info at orbea.com/oiz