Joining the recent tradition of rolling out a staggered run of surprise new bike releases, Orbea has rounded out its new XC lineup with a totally redesigned Alma hardtail. Yep, a hardtail. With all the buzz about more aggressive full-suspension race bikes lately, it’s easy to forget that there still are plenty of die-hards who just want the simplest, quickest and above all lightest bike they can. The new Alma definitely has the “lightest” part handled. In fact, it takes the crown as the lightest production XC frame on the market. A medium frame is 830 grams. I’m gonna say that again so your eyeballs don’t have to double back. 830 grams. That’s light for a road frame. Orbea achieved it thanks to the higher-grade OMX carbon they introduced with the Oiz earlier this week, which isn’t meant to be revolutionary. It’s just better.
On top of shaving grams, the new Alma aims to shave bumps thanks to its most compliant frame yet. The stays taper to be razor-thin as they approach the seat tube, as does the top tube. And where they meet, a 27.2 seatpost which, honestly, is where most of the flex will be happening. And if you want a dropper, the Alma is routed for it. The frame is also packed with other new touches. Orbea went with the SRAM UDH universal hanger, there’s a unique rub-free removable chain guide pinched around the bottom bracket shell, a move to a flat-mount disc brake on the chainstay, and the Block Lock headset designed in partnership with Acros. That last bit is crucial, as the new, lighter frame can use all the help it can get to protect itself from dings and dents, and a handlebar or brake lever can do some damage if you bail with enough force. The Block Lock keeps it all safe but leaves 164 degrees course-tape-navigating freedom.
Unlike the Oiz, the Alma got a full geometry makeover, across the OMX, OMR and alloy frames. 448-millimeter reach on a large, 68-degree head angle and 74.5-degree seat angle. Not boundary-pushing, but this is a hardtail. It’s meant to be quick and precise, not blunt and relaxed. For those who really don’t want to relax, the Alma is still available with the Spirit rigid fork. Meant to mimic the size of a 100-millimeter fork at 20% sag, the Spirit fork weighs 500 grams. Yeah, that’s more than half the weight of the frame, but you don’t want to skimp on your fork. And anyway, even the RockShox Sid SL is 1326 grams, so that’s a nearly two-pound savings. And Orbea made the Spirit fork easy to swap, with either external hose routing or internal if you’re committed to the rigid.
The OMX Alma builds range from $4,300 for an XT build up to $8,000 for an Eagle AXS, the OMR versions go from $2,000 for either an XT/Deore mix or NX build up to $3,000 for a full XT option. And the aluminum Alma Hydro goes for $1,100 for a Deore build up to $1,500 for an NX build.